Academic Integrity Policy
The mission of Southern Arkansas University empowers all members of the University community to develop and encourage learning environments that create, expand, acquire, share, evaluate, and communicate knowledge. Academic integrity at SAU is an organizational and individual responsibility. Students, faculty, and staff share responsibility for maintaining the highest standards for academic integrity.
Academic Misconduct Definitions
Any act of dishonesty in academic work constitutes academic misconduct and is subject to disciplinary action. Acts of dishonesty include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, and fabrication.
Plagiarism is the act of taking and/or using the ideas, work, and/or writings of another person as one’s own. Plagiarism occurs both when the words of another (in print, electronic, or any other medium) are reproduced without acknowledgement and when the ideas or arguments of another are paraphrased in such a way as to lead the reader to believe that they originated with the writer.
- To avoid plagiarism, give written credit and acknowledgement to the source of thoughts, ideas, and/or words, whether you have used direct quotation, paraphrasing, or just a reference to a general idea.
- If you directly quote works written by someone else, enclose the quotation with quotation marks and provide an appropriate citation (e.g., footnote, endnote, bibliographical reference).
- All course work including research performed and all assignments such as a written paper, must be the work of the person seeking academic credit for the course. Under no circumstances can purchased papers, book reports, projects and/or other class assignments, or work otherwise obtained from individuals or companies be submitted as work of the student.
- It is not sufficient to provide a citation if the words of another have been reproduced – this also requires quotation marks. It is the responsibility of all University students to understand the methods of proper attribution and to apply those principles in all materials submitted.
Cheating is an act of dishonesty with the intention of obtaining and/or using information in a fraudulent manner. Examples of cheating include:
- Observing and/or copying from another student’s test paper, report, computer file, and/or other assignments.
- Giving or receiving assistance during an examination period. This includes providing specific answers to subsequent examinees and/or dispensing or receiving information which would allow a student to have an unfair advantage in the examination over students who did not possess such information.
- Using class notes, outlines, and other unauthorized information during an examination period unless permission is specifically given.
- Using, buying, selling, stealing, transporting, or soliciting, in part or entirety, the contents of an examination or other assignment not authorized by the professor of the class. This includes the uploading of quizzes, examinations, or any other graded material, with or without answers, to a third-party website.
- Exchanging places with another person for the purposes of taking an examination or completing other assignments.
- Fabrication is faking or forging a document, signature, or findings of a research project.
- Other forms of fabrication may include unauthorized collaboration or submitting the same paper or portions of the same paper to two different courses without the consent of current instructor.
- Forging a signature on an official SAU or other document.
Academic Integrity Policy Application to all Students
The University’s academic integrity policy applies to all students enrolled in courses at the University. All forms of academic misconduct at SAU will be regarded as serious and may result in the student being expelled from the University.
Faculty Syllabus Requirements
Faculty will place in every course syllabus the following language:
Southern Arkansas University affirms its commitment to academic integrity and expects all members of the University community to accept shared responsibility for maintaining academic integrity. Students in this course are subject to the provisions of the University’s Academic Integrity Policy, approved by the president and published in the Student Handbook. Penalties for academic misconduct in this course may include a failing grade on an assignment a failing grade in the course. Continued enrollment in this course affirms a student’s acceptance of this University policy.
An instructor may include in the course syllabus additional information about academic integrity if he or she wishes to do so.
Academic Misconduct File and Assistance with Notice to Students
All documentation relevant to a student’s academic misconduct will be maintained in the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs in a digital form. Academic misconduct files shall only be used in accordance with University FERPA policy.
If the student makes a formal appeal, it will be decided in accordance with the procedures set forth below. If the matter is appealed to the Academic Integrity Council, the VPAA (or designee) will forward all forms and other materials associated with the specific violation and a summary of other Academic Integrity violations committed by the student to the Chair of the Academic Integrity Council to be disseminated to members of the Council.
Students may not drop a class until the allegation of the academic integrity violation has been resolved. If the allegation is confirmed, the instructor retains the ability to assign a grade for the course, consistent with the criteria below, if the student decides to drop the class after completion of the process.
Notification of Charge of Academic Misconduct to Student
All forms used in the process will be located on SAU Academic Integrity web page and will be sent via SAU email. All forms will be copied to the instructor and to the student to keep them informed of the process. A copy will be sent to the appropriate dean of the college in which the alleged misconduct occurred.
When an instructor determines that a student has engaged in academic misconduct, the instructor may take one of two actions: 1) the instructor may complete the web-based academic integrity violation form; or 2) the instructor may choose to meet informally with the student to discuss the alleged academic misconduct and then decide, on the basis of that meeting, whether or not to complete and submit the web-based academic integrity violation form. The form is found on SAU’s Academic Integrity webpage. This form will notify the student, Dean, and the VPAA of the allegation through the student’s SAU email account. The notice will include the justification for the allegation. Once the form has been received, the Office of the VPAA will inform the Dean as to whether the student has been found responsible for any previous violations of the Academic Integrity Policy and at what level.
NOTE: Faculty members should not penalize a student for acts of academic misconduct unless an academic integrity violation form has been completed and the process described in this section has been followed. To do otherwise would deprive students of their due process right to appeal any actions taken against them.
Meeting with the Dean
The student will have three days (excluding weekends and holidays) to make contact with the appropriate academic Dean and schedule a meeting. (Should the student fail to make contact with the Dean within the prescribed time, the Dean’s decision as to violation level and sanction will be final.) Once contacted, the Dean should ensure that the meeting take place within seven (7) calendar days of the student’s receipt of the initial notification email. If the Dean is unable to schedule a meeting within seven days, he or she may ask an assistant dean, an associate dean, or the Provost to serve in his or her place. At the meeting, the Dean will inform the student of the violation level associated with the alleged academic misconduct and provide the student with a copy of the entire Academic Integrity Policy, pointing out the relevant sanctions. The Dean will then inform the student that he or she has seven (7) calendar days to submit an appeal. If the student does not submit an appeal within seven calendar days, the Dean’s decision as to violation level and sanction will be final. At the end of the meeting, the Dean must fill out (within 24 hours) the associated form including the sanction value of the violation. This form should be send to the student, the instructor, and the VPAA.
A student may appeal the charge of academic misconduct and/or the proposed violation level through the procedures set forth below.
- Appeals at the College Level
- Within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the appeal, the Dean will review all materials submitted by the student and VPAA and, if necessary, meet with the student to attempt to resolve the matter. Online students may speak with the Dean via electronic telecommunications. After the meeting with the student, the Dean will render a decision on the appeal and fill out the online form within 24 hours. The instructor, student, and Office of the VPAA will be informed of the Dean’s decision.
- If the student is not satisfied with the action of the Dean, the student can appeal the decision of the Dean to the University Academic Integrity Council.
- If the instructor is not satisfied with the action of the Dean, the faculty member may also appeal the decision to the University Academic Integrity Council.
- Appeals to the University Academic Integrity Council
- Within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the notice of the College/Dean appeal decision, the student or instructor may appeal to the Academic Integrity Council. The party filing the appeal will use the appropriate form found on SAU’s Academic Integrity Council web page. Upon receiving this form, the VPAA will forward all forms and other materials associated with the specific count and a summary of other Academic Integrity violations committed by the student to the Chair of the Academic Integrity Council and that material will be disseminated to all members of the Council.
- Within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the appeal, the Academic Integrity Council will consider the appeal with at least three members of the Council being present. The decision of the Academic Integrity Council will be forwarded (within 24 hours) to the student, the instructor, the Dean, and the Provost/VPAA via the web based form.
- The Provost/VPAA will review all decisions recommending suspension or expulsion.
- Final Notification To Student and Instructor
Once the process is complete, the student, the instructor, the Dean, the Chair of the Academic Integrity Council, and the Registrar will receive information from the VPAA of the final disposition of the case, including the violation level and sanction points if the student is guilty.
The following violation levels are assigned to specific types of violations of the University’s Academic Integrity Policy; if a violation occurs which is not specifically provided below, then any sanctions will be based on the most similar type of violation that exists in the rubric. A violation will be considered as a single violation up until the point that a student receives notice of that violation; additional infractions occurring after that point will be considered separately for purposes of this rubric. If assignment of a sanction requires the Academic Integrity Council to interpret the sanction rubric, the Academic Integrity Council shall provide a rationale for its determination and application of the particular sanction(s). General guidance on substantial issues of interpretation of the sanction rubric shall be provided by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.
A student receives the assigned number of sanction points for each violation for which he/she is found responsible. Sanction points are cumulative over the length of the student’s matriculation at Southern Arkansas University. Graduate students will be considered new matriculates.
The violation levels are as follows:
- Level Zero Violation – 0 sanction point
- For plagiarism/copying in work done for a course, if the plagiarized/copied material constitutes less than 10% of the assignment in the judgment of the Dean (first offense only).
- Unauthorized collaboration on homework assignments constituting less than 10% of the assignment in the judgment of the Dean (first offense only).
- Use of any materials or resources that are not authorized by the instructor in completing any assignment having a value of less than 10% of the assignment in the judgment of the Dean (first offense only).
- Level Zero Violation – 0 sanction point
- Level One Violation – 0 sanction point for each violation
- Copying from or viewing another student’s work during an examination.
- Using any materials or resources that are not authorized by the instructor for use during an examination or in completing any assignment having a value equal to or greater than 10% of the assignment in the judgment of the Dean, or a second offense.
- Collaborating during an examination with any other person by giving or receiving information without specific permission of the instructor.
- Facilitating or aiding in any act of academic dishonesty.
- Collaborating on laboratory work, or other assigned work when instructed to work independently.
- Submitting, without specific permission of the instructor, work that has been previously offered by the same student for credit in another course.
- Falsification of attendance and/or participation.
- Submitting as one’s own any theme, report, term paper, essay, computer program, speech, painting, drawing, sculpture, or other written or creative work or project of any nature prepared totally or in large measure by another /plagiarizing, in work completed for a class assignment, when that copying/plagiarizing constitutes less than 10% of the assignment in the judgment of the Dean and is a second offense, or when that copying/plagiarizing constitutes 10% or more of the assignment in the judgment of the Dean.
- Unauthorized collaboration on homework assignments constituting 10% or more of the assignment in the judgment of the Dean, or less than 10% of the assignment on a second offense in the judgment of the Dean.
- Level One Violation – 0 sanction point for each violation
- Level Two Violation – 2.0 sanction points for each violation
- Submitting as one’s own any work prepared totally or in large measure by another.
- Uploading of quizzes, examinations or any other graded materials, with or without answers, to a third-party website.
- Submitting altered or falsified data (in work completed for a class assignment).
- Level Two Violation – 2.0 sanction points for each violation
- Level Three Violation – 4.0 sanction points for each violation
- Altering grades or official records.
- Falsifying or signing another person’s name on any academically-related University form or document.
- Buying or selling course work (paying another person to complete exams, assignments, etc. or being paid to do this for another).
- Sabotaging another student’s work.
Note: For offenses not specifically mentioned in this rubric, faculty members may confer with the Academic Integrity Council Chair and propose a description of the offense and the level of sanction to be recommended in the faculty member’s syllabus. The proposed description and sanctions will be forwarded to the Academic Integrity Council Chair to review the proposed offense and sanction for consistency with existing offenses and sanctions. If a faculty member and Academic Integrity Chair disagree over a particular offense or sanction, the matter may be discussed with the relevant dean and /or the Academic Integrity Council.
Sanctions: The possible university sanctions are as follows:
Sanction points for Level 0 = 0.0: The student will be issued a Letter of Reprimand (first offense only). There will be no grade sanction for a Level Zero offense. Student must attend the Academic Integrity Course.
Sanction points for Level 1= 1.0: For work for a course, the instructor will give the test or an assignment an immediate zero (0) which will then be averaged into the course grade. If that involves missing a stated deadline, the stated late penalty will apply. Student must take the Academic Integrity Course.
Sanction points for Level 2= 2.0: The student will receive a course grade of XF for work done for a course. A 2.0 offense will result in academic integrity suspension for one semester.
Sanction points for Level 3= 4.0 or more: The student will be immediately and permanently expelled. An XF will be given for the course(s).
Opportunity and Removal for the “X”
After two semesters of acceptable performance at the University following the imposition of a penalty, with no student conduct or academic dishonesty infractions, the student may request grade forgiveness by VPAA.
To remove the X on the transcript, the student may request that the X be removed by submitting a written petition to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. This written petition must provide evidence that the student now understands ethical standards (e.g. GPA following the infraction; lack of subsequent infractions [academic and conduct]; proactive activities that the student has engaged in to learn about appropriate techniques for citation, etc.), The X will still be counted if future infractions occur.
Degrees, Honors & Awards
The University reserves the right to withhold or withdraw degrees, honors, or awards due to violations of the Academic Integrity Policy.
Suspension and Expulsion
Suspension involves withdrawal of enrollment privileges for a specified period of time and ordinarily carries with it conditions which must be met for re-enrollment. Suspended students are not permitted to live or board in University facilities or approved student organization housing (i.e., facilities owned by the University and leased to a student organization). Students suspended may not receive credit for University work completed by correspondence or in residence at another university without prior permission from the Provost or designee. Records of suspension are maintained indefinitely.
Expulsion is a permanent dismissal from the University. These records are maintained indefinitely.
Expulsion from Southern Arkansas University for academic dishonesty will be permanently noted on the student’s transcript.
Note: The Academic Integrity Policy of the University of Arkansas was a source for the update of this policy.
Academic Integrity Video Tutorials
The below video tutorials have been developed to assist the SAU community in understanding academic integrity as well as SAU’s Academic Integrity Policy:
- Module 1 Introduction: http://www.saumag.edu/library/AIWM1/AIWM1/AIWM1.html
- Module 2 Plagiarism: http://www.saumag.edu/library/AIWM2/AIWM2/AIWM2.html
- Module 3 Cheating: http://www.saumag.edu/library/AIWM3/AIWM3/AIWM3.html
- Module 4 Fabrication: http://www.saumag.edu/library/AIWM4/AIWM4/AIWM4.html
- Module 5 Academic Integrity Policy – Consequences: http://www.saumag.edu/library/AIWM5/AIWM5/AIWM5.html