To The Point Student Handbook 2013-2014

Article III - Judicial Procedures For Academic Misconduct 

Preface 

St . Mary’s College of Maryland is committed to the ideals of honesty, personal integrity, and mutual trust.  Academic integrity is a responsibility of all students, members of the faculty, and administrative officers.  All students are expected to uphold the highest ideals of academic integrity throughout their career at St . Mary’s.  The following policy has been adopted for fair judgment in cases of suspected academic misconduct.  Students who commit acts of academic misconduct (see “Definitions of Academic Misconduct” below) are subject to in-class penalties imposed by the instructor and to a hearing before the Academic Judicial Board with possibilities of additional penalties. See the “Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities” included in this student handbook and located on this web site: http://www.smcm.edu/tothepoint/index.html

Please see Glossary of Terms

Section 1: Definitions of Academic Misconduct  

Academic misconduct may include, but is not limited to, the following acts: 

  1. Cheating: Cheating involves dishonest conduct on work submitted for assessment. Specific instances of cheating include, but are not limited to, the following: 
    1. Assisting another student or receiving assistance from anyone to complete quizzes, tests, examinations, or other assignments without the consent of the instructor.
    2. Using aids unauthorized by the instructor to complete quizzes, tests, examinations, or other assignments
  2. Plagiarism:Plagiarism is the act of appropriating and using the words, ideas, symbols, images, or other works of original expression of others as one’s own without giving credit to the person who created the work. If students have any questions regarding the definition of plagiarism, they should consult their instructor for general principles regarding the use of others’ work. Among sources commonly used for documenting use of others’ work are the style manuals published by the American Psychological Association, the Council of Biology Editors, the Modern Language Association, and Turabian’s Manual for Writers of Term Papers. The final authority concerning methods of documentation is the course instructor. Specific instances of plagiarism include, but are not limited to, the following: 
    1. Word-for-word copying of sentences or paragraphs from one or more sources that are the work or data of other persons (e .g ., professional or peers;including books, articles, theses, unpublished works, working papers, seminar and conference papers, lecture notes or tapes, graphs, images, charts, data,electronically based materials, etc .), without clearly identifying their origin by appropriate referencing.
    2. Closely paraphrasing ideas or information (in whatever form) without appropriate acknowledgement by reference to the original work or works.
    3. Presenting material obtained from the Internet as if it were the student’s own work.
    4. Minor alterations, such as adding, subtracting, or rearranging words, or paraphrasing sections of a source without appropriate acknowledgement of the original work or works.
  3. Falsification: Falsification involves misrepresentation in an academic exercise. Misrepresentation includes, but is not limited to: 
    1. Falsely attributing data or judgments to scholarly sources.
    2. Falsely reporting the results of calculations or the output of computer programs, or materials from other electronic sources.
    3. Presenting copied, falsified, or improperly obtained data as if it were the result of laboratory work, field trips, or other investigatory work.
  4. Resubmission of work: No student may turn in work for evaluation in more than one course without the permission of the instructors of both courses. 

Section 2 Procedures 

  1. Confidentiality requirements: All parts of an academic misconduct procedure are confidential. The following guidelines should be followed:
    1. If an instructor seeks advice from colleagues or the school administration concerning a suspected case of academic misconduct, he or she should not divulge the name of the student or students involved before taking any action.
    2. If the instructor imposes an in-course penalty (section 2 below), he or she may not divulge the name of the student or students involved except to the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, with all forms being submitted through the Office of Academic Services.
    3. If the instructor or the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty requests a hearing from the Academic Judicial Board (AJB), the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty's designee from the Office of Academic Services shall inform the hearing officer of the AJB about the case, provide the hearing officer with a statement of purpose of the hearing, and provide the hearing officer with the materials in the files.
    4. All hearings of the AJB (as described below) are confidential. The AJB shall submit its rulings and recommendations only to the student or students accused of misconduct, the instructor involved in the case, the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, and other relevant SMCM personnel.
    5. All records of academic misconduct are kept by the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. All such records are confidential and may not be discussed with the faculty or other staff members of the College, with the following two exceptions:
      1. As outlined below, the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty shall forward relevant information concerning penalties for academic misconduct to the registrar, the dean of students, and any parties involved with the imposition of these penalties;
      2. The Office of Academic Services shall inform the the hearing officer of the AJB if the student or students involved in any action have been previously charged with or penalized for academic misconduct.
  2. In-course penalties:If an instructor has compelling evidence of a student’s academic misconduct, he or she may impose an academic penalty, including assigning a final grade of “F” to the student for an assignment or for the course. The instructor shall send the student an Academic Misconduct form and /or a letter outlining the evidence of the student’s academic misconduct and informing him or her of the penalty within four weeks of discovery of the misconduct. The written documentation shall be sent to the student either by hand delivery, overnight mail, or certified mail (return receipt requested). The student will also be notified by email with notification that the mail has been delivered and read-enabled (see Glossary, item H). The instructor shall send a copy of the documentation to the Office of Academic Services and the file will be forwarded to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. If the instructor submits an F for the course, the registrar will be informed that the student may not withdraw from the relevant course because of a penalty for academic misconduct.
  3. Requests for a hearing by the Academic Judicial Board:
    1. If the instructor believes that the matter warrants a review before the Academic Judicial Board (AJB), he or she may ask the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty to request the Academic Judicial Board to schedule a hearing on the matter. The instructor shall send copies of the request to the student and the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. The copy going to the student shall be sent either by hand delivery, overnight mail, or certified mail (return receipt requested). The student will also be notified by email with notification that the mail has been delivered and read-enabled (see Glossary, item H).
    2. If, after review of the documentation and any prior records in the student’s file, the Office of Academic Services on behalf of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty may request the Academic Judicial Board to schedule a hearing. The Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty shall send copies of the request to the student and the instructor. The copy going to the student shall be sent either by hand delivery, overnight mail, or certified mail (return receipt requested). The student will be notified by email with notification that the mail has been delivered and read-enabled (see Glossary, item H).
    3. Appeal by the student: The student may appeal in writing an instructor’s process for decision of responsibility or in-class penalty to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, who shall schedule a hearing on the appeal before the AJB . The student has 10 business days from the date the penalty letter was sent to make the appeal. The appeal must be sent either by hand delivery, overnight mail, or certified mail (return receipt requested). The student will also be notified by email with notification that the mail has been delivered and read-enabled (see Glossary, item H). Possible outcomes of such an appeal are outlined in section 4 .5 below. If students have any questions or concerns about the process, please contact the assistant vice president for Academic Services.
  4. Hearing Procedures:
    1. The AJB will inform the student of the hearing date within 14 business days from the time the hearing officer receives the request. The hearing shall take place as soon as the hearing participants' schedules will allow. If the request is received during a school holiday, the hearing will take place after classes resume. If the student is graduating, and the matter arises during the student’s final semester, the student may not graduate until the hearing procedures have been completed.
    2. The student may not withdraw from the class or from the College before a decision is reached and the imposition of any penalties by the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty.
    3. The AJB shall meet privately before the hearing to discuss the proceedings. The hearing shall be adjudicated by the members of the AJB. At least five members of the AJB must be present at any hearing,unless it is impossible to find a quorum of the regularly appointed members of the AJB within the set time. In this case, the hearing officer, in consultation with the Student Conduct Officer, may appoint substitutes. The hearing officer of the AJB or his or her designate shall preside.
    4. The hearing officer shall keep a record of the hearing. The hearing officer shall forward all records of the hearing to the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty for final storage. All records are held in the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty for between five to seven years before they are destroyed.
    5. The hearing shall consist of four phases:
      1. Presentation of Evidence: The instructor shall present the evidence of academic misconduct to the board. The AJB shall also hear witnesses which it or the instructor may call.
      2. Presentation of Defense: The student shall present his or her defense. The student may call witnesses. The names of such witnesses shall be presented to the hearing officer of the AJB five business days prior to the hearing. The AJB may limit the number of witnesses called during the first two phases of the hearing. The AJB may question the instructor, the student, and any other parties giving evidence. AJB proceedings are not a court of law and should not be held to the same standard of procedure and evidence. At the conclusion of the presentation of all testimony, both the complainant and the respondent student will be given the opportunity to ask questions of the AJB concerning any discrepancies in testimony.
      3. Board Ruling: The board shall then rule on whether the student is responsible or not of academic misconduct if the instructor’s ruling was appealed by the student. All deliberations by the AJB shall be made in private, with only members of the AJB present, and their counsel, if any. All decisions of the AJB are made by a majority vote of those voting, with all members, including the hearing officer, eligible to vote. If a student is found not responsible in a charge of academic misconduct, he or she may not be tried again for the same instance of misconduct.
      4. Assessment of Penalty
        1. If a student is found not responsible for academic misconduct, the AJB may recommend that the instructor remove any penalty that has been imposed. Because there may still be a dispute over the student's grade or class standing, the AJB shall recommend a course of action for the instructor to take concerning the student. The recommendation shall be made in consultation with both the student and the instructor. The Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty shall arbitrate any disputes which cannot be resolved in this manner. The Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty shall also consult with the AJB hearing officer privately to discuss the board's reasoning behind its recommendations.
        2. If a student is found responsible of academic misconduct, mitigating circumstances may be taken into account when recommending a penalty. It is however the student’s responsibility to know the policies and definitions regarding academic misconduct. If appropriate, the AJB shall then recommend an alternate academic penalty to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. The AJB may interview the student to learn of any possible mitigating circumstances before recommending any penalty.
        3. If the case was referred to the AJB at the request of the instructor or the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, or if the student appeals her/his responsibility and is found responsible, the penalty may range from simply upholding any penalty given by the instructor to expulsion from the College. In this case, the board may not recommend a penalty lighter than any imposed by the instructor. If the case was referred to the AJB because of an appeal of an in-class penalty by the student, the board may recommend that the faculty member consider a lesser penalty if deemed appropriate.
        4. The penalties that may be recommended by the AJB include, but are not limited to:
          • Upholding any in-class penalty applied by the professor (e .g .) F for the course
          • Non-removable F for the course
          • Non-repeatable F for the course
          • Notation on the transcript that the F was due to academic misconduct
          • Suspension for a semester or a year
          • Ineligibility to participate in sports and/or study abroad
          • Any combination of these penalties
          • Expulsion
    6. The hearing officer shall send a letter to the student informing him or her of the ruling and (if appropriate) any penalty recommendations. The official letter must be sent either by hand delivery, overnight mail, or certified mail (return receipt requested). The hearing officer has the option of sending an unofficial electronic copy of the letter to all persons involved. A copy of the letter will also be sent to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty and to the Assistant Vice President for Academic Services, and the AJB hearing officer may divulge any pertinent information to the Board members.
    7. A student may appeal any finding of responsibility by the AJB to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. A letter of appeal must be sent within 10 days after the letter of decision from the AJB was sent. The appeal must be sent either by hand delivery, overnight mail, or certified mail (return receipt requested). See Article II, Section 11 for appeal procedures.
  5. Further Procedures and Policies:
    1. In any hearing, the student shall be presumed not responsible unless a preponderance of the evidence establishes his or her responsibility.
    2. All hearings are private. The only people present at the hearings shall be those determined by the AJB to be material to the proceedings.
    3. The student may request that an employee or student member of the College community be present to offer advice to and consult with the student concerning procedural matters during the hearing. This individual shall not testify at the hearing. Both parties have the right to be assisted by an attorney. They may do so only if they notify the hearing officer of the AJB or his or her designee 48 hours in advance of the hearing. The attorney may not participate in the hearing and may not address the board or hearing officer. Attorneys are present as a support and have no speaking role in the hearing process.
    4. In cases where several students are accused of a linked act of academic misconduct, the students may petition the AJB to sever their cases (treat them separately). It is up to the AJB to decide on this matter.
    5. The student may not be compelled to testify against him- or herself.
    6. An accused student who fails to attend a hearing may be found responsible of violation of Academic Misconduct rules and may be assessed appropriate penalties, based on the evidence presented. Should this occur, the respondent student shall be informed in writing of the outcome of the AJB hearing.
  6. Penalties imposed by the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty:
    1. The Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty may not impose a penalty if the student was found not responsible of academic misconduct by the AJB.
    2. If the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty imposes a penalty for academic misconduct, he or she shall:
      1. Send a letter to the student stating the penalty. The letter must be sent either by hand delivery, overnight mail,or certified mail (return receipt requested). The student will also be notified by email with notification that the mail has been delivered and read-enabled (see Glossary, item H).
      2. Send a copy of the letter to the instructor and the hearing officer of the AJB.
      3. If appropriate, inform the Office of the Registrar, assistant vice president for academic services and the dean of students that the student may not withdraw from the relevant course or from the College because of a penalty for academic misconduct.
      4. Send all relevant information concerning the penalty to all parties involved in the imposition of the penalty.
      5. The penalty may range from simply confirming any penalty imposed by the instructor to expulsion from the College.
  7. Composition of the AJB
    1. The Academic Judicial Board shall consist of seven members: four faculty members and three students.
    2. The faculty members shall be chosen by the Faculty Senate from the full-time faculty of St. Mary’s College. Faculty members shall serve for a two-year term and shall be appointed at the beginning of the school year. The Faculty Senate will appoint one of the faculty members of the AJB to serve as hearing officer during her or his term. The hearing officer will also serve as the chair of the AJB.
    3. The Student Conduct Board shall choose the student members of the AJB. Student members shall serve for a one-year term and shall be appointed at the beginning of the school year.
  8. Case Records: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (the Buckley Amendment) regulates the maintenance, confidentiality, and accessibility of students’ education records. This act protects the privacy of parents and students by providing them with certain rights regarding specified records. The complete text of, and information about, the act are available to the student for inspection. When a student has been found not responsible, all records related to the case will be destroyed, except for information concerning findings of not responsible due to ignorance of the rules of definitions of academic dishonesty. This information will be kept on file for purposes of judging any future claims of ignorance that may occur.
  9. At the end of the academic year, the AJB hearing officer will submit a report of the types of penalties recommended throughout the year. This report will be available for the future AJB hearing officer.
  10. Basis upon which an Appeal May Be Considered
    An appeal may be made for one or more of the following purposes:
    1. To determine whether the original hearing was conducted in conformity with the prescribed procedures of this Code. Minor deviations from designated procedures will not form the basis for sustaining an appeal unless it is determined that such deviation resulted in significant prejudice. For any substantial deviations from designated procedures, the appeals officer may, at his or her discretion, remand the matter for reconsideration.
    2. To present new evidence which could not reasonably be made available at the time of the original hearing. Such cases, at the discretion of the appeals officer, may be remanded back to the appropriate hearing format for reconsideration in light of new evidence.
    3. To determine whether the sanction imposed was appropriate to the violation with which the respondent student was charged.
  11. Appeal Procedures
    1. The respondent student may appeal any decision reached as a result of an AJB hearing.
    2. All appeals must be made in written form specifying all reasons given for the appeal and given to the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty within ten (10) business days after the initial hearing. The respondent student shall be able to present in person his/her appeal to the appropriate appeals officer after submitting the written appeal. Such presentation shall be limited to no more than forty-five (45) minutes.
    3. The Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty or his/her designee will notify the complainant(s) and hearing officer of a pending appeal in order to permit the complainant(s) to submit an "impact statement" to be considered along with the respondent's appeal.