Academic Honesty

Statement On Academic Honesty

Ursinus College is a small community, which functions on a social contract among students, faculty, administration, and alumni. In order for the spirit of community to endure and thrive, this agreement, based upon shared values and responsibilities and a sense of mutual respect, trust, and cooperation, must be preserved. Students have an obligation to act ethically concerning academic matters and the faculty has a responsibility to require academic honesty from students and to be vigilant in order to discourage dishonesty.

Lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty violate this spirit of mutual respect and collaboration and corrode the atmosphere of openness and free inquiry upon which the educational process is based. Such activities are demeaning and potentially damaging to those who undertake them. Moreover, academic dishonesty is damaging to the student body as a whole, in that it cheapens the achievements of the honest majority of students and subverts the integrity and reputation of the institution with which they will be identified for the rest of their lives.

Students should be aware that there are many legitimate sources of help available on campus. Several departments provide help sessions. There is a writing center run by the Department of English, and the Library provides research help. Tutorial Programs are coordinated through the Ursinus Institute for Student Success for all disciplines and the Dean’s Office arranges peer-mentoring services. The student body, faculty, and administration of Ursinus College therefore unanimously condemn academic dishonesty in all its forms and affirm that it is the responsibility of all members of the college community to prevent such activity.

Statement On Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the act of taking the ideas or words –written or spoken—of someone else and passing them off as one’s own. You are plagiarizing if you copy exactly a statement by another and fail to identify your source. You are plagiarizing if you take notes from a book, an article, a lecture or the internet, express those materials in your own words, and present the result as your work without identifying your source. You are plagiarizing if you copy part or all of a paper written by a friend, another student, or a writing service and offer it as your own work.

You are plagiarizing if you take material verbatim from a source (even though the source is acknowledged) without identifying it as quoted material by means of quotation marks. Plagiarism is easy to avoid by using common sense and following the advice and directions for acknowledging sources. Such forms and methods are available from professors and style sheets provided by departments as well as by a composition textbook. Never take notes verbatim or in your own words without using appropriate quotation marks and noting exact sources, including page number of the material.

For example, you are cheating if you:

  1. Copy answers or use information from a fellow student’s paper during a quiz, test, or examination.
  2. Divulge answers or information, or otherwise give improper aid to another student during a quiz, test, or examination or accept such aid.
  3. Relay or receive any improperly obtained or confidential information concerning a quiz, test, or examination. (Example: if one sees the test before it is given and transmits information concerning its contents or whereabouts to other students.)
  4. Use or refer to any unauthorized notes, books, calculators, and/or problem solving aids such as “cheat sheets” during a quiz, test, or examination.
  5. Collaborate improperly with another student on an open-book or take-home quiz, test or examination; or obtain information from an unsuspecting fellow student during such an exercise.
  6. As a proctor or student assistant, divulge confidential information or aid any student in an improper manner during a laboratory exercise, quiz, test, or examination.
  7. Commit an act of plagiarism in any form.
  8. Borrow under false pretenses, steal or otherwise improperly obtain lecture or research notes, laboratory data, or any information gathered by another student and present it as your own work (examples: term papers; laboratory reports or experimental yields; computer programs or assignments; English composition themes), or knowingly collaborate with another student by making such material available to him/her.
  9. Falsify laboratory data, notes, results, or research data of any type in any course and present it as your own work.
  10. Steal or intentionally damage or destroy notes, research data, laboratory projects, library materials, computer software (including the intentional passing of a computer virus), or any other work of another student (or faculty member), out of malice, or for the purpose of sabotaging that person’s work and thereby gaining an unfair advantage to yourself.
  11. Knowingly and willingly violate any special rules concerning research procedures, group assignments, or inter-student collaboration, which may be established by an instructor in any course.
  12. Submit the same work including oral presentations for different courses without the permission of the instructors involved. Since it is expected that different courses offer different learning experiences, students are depriving themselves of an educational opportunity by submitting the same or similar work for more than one course. Examples include but are not limited to submitting a partial or complete paper previously handed into another class, superficially reworking one assignment for submissions to another class. (Example: submitting a sociology paper as an English 100 paper.)
  13. Misrepresent yourself to an instructor or an administrator for the purpose of gaining special favors or extensions for academic work missed. Examples include but are not limited to lying about your health or the health of a relative, forging doctor’s notes.
  14. Forge signatures on forms, documents, or letters pertinent to College business. This may include but is not limited to course of study sheets, drop/add forms, or doctor’s notes.

You are an accessory to cheating, and penalties may be applied, if you:

  1. Witness or have direct knowledge of any of the aforementioned forms of cheating and fail to inform an authorized person (faculty member, administrator, proctor, or student assistant).
  2. You bring unauthorized materials into a testing area and fail to or refuse to remove them when instructed to do so.
  3. You fail to or refuse to comply with admonitions from a faculty member or authorized proctor to cease any activity, which might aid other students in cheating.

The above has been adapted from, and credit is given to: Millward, Handbook for Writers, pp. 354-355.

Procedures for Suspected Academic Honesty Violations

Should a faculty member suspect you of having committed an academic honesty violation of any kind, they should confront you with the evidence.

If you admit guilt, the faculty member should inform the Dean of the College of the violation and your confession. After consultation with the Dean of the College, the faculty member will impose a penalty of either a zero (0) on the work in which you were dishonest or a failure (F) in the course in which the dishonesty took place. If you have previously been found guilty of a violation of academic honesty of any kind, the Dean of the College will impose additional penalties. Normally, for the second offense, you will be suspended, be asked to withdraw from the College, or be permanently dismissed. If it is a third offense, you will be permanently dismissed.

If you maintain innocence, or if the faculty member or the Dean of the College requests it, the case will be immediately referred to the Committee on Academic Standards and Discipline. The procedure is as follows:

The Subcommittee on Academic Discipline of the Committee on Academic Standards and Discipline will amass evidence and hear testimony regarding the case. The Subcommittee is composed of two students selected by the USGA and three-elected Faculty from the Committee on Academic Standards and Discipline. Alternate Faculty may be chosen from the faculty at large by agreement of the parties. The Subcommittee from within the Subcommittee selects the chair. This committee will then hear evidence in the case. The Faculty member will present his/her evidence to the committee in your presence and then you may present your defense in the presence of the Faculty member. The hearing will be closed, but you may have a campus friend with you during the proceedings. Members of the committee may question any parties involved in the case. The committee will then deliberate and judge your guilt or innocence in the case.

In the event of a verdict of guilty, the Faculty member will impose a penalty of either a zero (0) on the work in which you have been dishonest or a failure (F) in the course in which the dishonesty took place. If you have previously been found guilty of a violation of academic honesty of any kind, the Dean of the College will impose additional penalties. Normally, for a second offense you will be suspended, be asked to withdraw from the College or be permanently dismissed. If it is a third offense, you will be permanently dismissed.

Decisions of the Committee on Academic Discipline or the Dean of the College may be appealed to the President. The President’s decision is final.

Procedures for Record-Keeping in Cases of Academic Honesty Violations

  1. The Dean of the College will keep a record of all cases of academic dishonesty reported to him or her by individual faculty members and of all cases, regardless of their outcomes, which are adjudicated by the regular three-person committee process.
  2. These records will not be kept in the regular academic files of the students involved, but in a special records section. Accused students may view their records at any time.
  3. Records are to be preserved until such time as students named therein are graduated or leave the College for other reasons. At such time, these records are to be destroyed, unless the individual student has been dismissed for disciplinary reasons relating to academic dishonesty or has withdrawn from the College while the circumstances of a charge of academic dishonesty against the student are still under investigation. If a student voluntarily resigns from the College after the conclusion of a case involving a charge of academic dishonesty against that student, the record will be expunged.