Academic Honesty Policies and Procedures

The following information is intended to guide faculty who have a reasonable suspicion of possible academic dishonesty in their classroom. The following link and information below comes directly from the VSU Student Handbook, and it should be used as the basis for any disciplinary action and one should review it prior to any disciplinary action regarding an academic dishonesty case. Guidelines regarding the disciplinary process, the rights of the student, hearing procedures, etc. are addressed in Appendix B. Sections I thru V of the Handbook. Please call the Student Conduct Officer in the Dean of Students Office (333-5409) or visit Student Conduct Office if you need clarification on how to proceed in dealing with an academic integrity issue.

Appendix A. Section I. (Academic Student Conduct Code)

Updated November 15, 2007 

Section I Academic Integrity Conduct Code

Academic integrity is the responsibility of all VSU faculty and students. Faculty members should promote academic integrity by including clear instruction on the components of academic integrity and clearly defining the penalties for cheating and plagiarism in their course syllabi.  Students are responsible for knowing and abiding by the Academic Integrity Policy as set forth in the Student Code of Conduct and the faculty members’ syllabi.  All students are expected to do their own work and to uphold a high standard of academic ethics.

A. Academic Integrity Violations

Cheating and plagiarism are academic integrity violations.  Additional violations may be added as deemed appropriate.  The following academic integrity violations are not to be considered all-inclusive: 

1. No student shall use or attempt to use unauthorized materials or devices to aid in achieving a better grade on a component of a class.

2. No student shall receive or give or attempt to receive or give assistance not authorized by the instructor in the preparation of an essay, laboratory report, examination or other assignment included in any academic course.

3. No student shall take or attempt to take, steal, or otherwise procure in an unauthorized manner any material pertaining to the conduct of a class, including but not limited to tests, examinations, laboratory equipment, and roll books.

4. No student shall sell, give, lend, or otherwise furnish to any unauthorized person material which can be shown to contain the questions or answers to any examinations scheduled to be given at any subsequent date in any course of study offered by the University, without authorization from the University.

5. No student shall engage in plagiarism, which is presenting the words or ideas of another person as if they were the student’s own.  Essays, term papers, laboratory reports, tests, online writing assignments, and other similar requirements must be the work of the student submitting them. Some typical examples of plagiarism are:

  • Submitting an assignment as if it were one’s own work when, in fact, it is at least partly or entirely the work of another.
  • Submitting a work that has been purchased or otherwise obtained from an Internet source or another source.
  • Incorporating the words or ideas of an author into one’s paper without giving the author due credit, e.g., when direct quotations are used, they must be indicated, and when the ideas of another are incorporated in the paper they must be appropriately acknowledged. 

B. Academic Integrity Academic Response

Valdosta State University policy is that a violation of Appendix A, Section I may and should be handled by the professor, the student, and possibly the department head or academic dean concerned with the offense. Sanctions for an academic integrity violation should be outlined in the course syllabus.

Any faculty member who has documentation and/or suspects that academic dishonesty has occurred shall

  1.  gather all pertinent information, and
  2.  meet with the student or students involved, and
  3.  inform the student or students of the academic response to an alleged violation of academic integrity.  The faculty member will notify his/her department head and/or dean of these decisions and may also contact the Student Conduct Office in the Dean of Students office for procedural clarification if desired.

The most severe action that may be administered by any faculty member is a grade of “F” in that particular course.  This is an academic response and not a disciplinary recommendation.  A student who wishes to appeal an academic response to an alleged violation of academic integrity may follow the grade appeal process (grade appeal form).

C. Academic Integrity Disciplinary Response

To initiate the disciplinary response process to an academic integrity violation, a faculty member should submit a Report of Academic Dishonesty, along with supporting documentation as noted on the report (Report of Academic Dishonesty) to the Student Conduct Office in the Dean of Students Office.  This report shall be made part of the student’s disciplinary record and shall remain on file with the Student Conduct Office in the Dean of Students Office in accordance with Board of Regents record retention policy.  A student’s file on academic dishonesty is not intended nor designed to allow access by faculty members seeking historical information or otherwise concerning a particular student.  The purpose of the file is for the Dean of Students Office to determine if multiple cases of academic dishonesty have occurred during a student’s academic career at Valdosta State University.  If a student is found to have cheated/plagiarized and withdraws from the course prior to the awarding of a grade, the Report of Academic Dishonesty will still be placed on file in the Student Conduct Office. 

After a second (or subsequent) Report of Academic Dishonesty has been submitted to the Student Conduct Office in the Dean of Students Office, official charges will be drawn up and the disciplinary matter will be referred to the Valdosta State University Judicial Committee.  The VSU Judicial Committee will utilize the disciplinary procedures outlined in Appendix B, Sections II.-V. of the Student Code of Conduct.  The most severe sanctions such as expulsion or suspension should only result from a VSU Judicial Committee hearing and can be appealed via Appendix B, Section V of the Student Code of Conduct.

Faculty members may request that a particularly serious violation of the Academic Integrity Policy (buying or selling papers, stealing an exam, significant plagiarism at the graduate level, etc.) be referred directly to the VSU Judicial Committee.  The Dean of Students and the academic dean of the student’s major will consult concerning the referral of a particularly serious first offense to the VSU Judicial Committee. 

Withdrawal From Courses Policy (from the VSU Catalogue):

Students may withdraw from courses following the drop/add period until mid-term by completing the withdrawal process on BANNER. A withdrawal before mid-term is non-punitive, and a grade of “W” is assigned. However, a student may not exercise this right to withdraw to avoid sanction for academic dishonesty.

Other Academic Dishonesty Policies

Some programs have further policies and information on academic honesty, such as the following: