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Eastern Mennonite University – Academic Integrity Policy

Printable copy of the current policy

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Eastern Mennonite University fosters a culture where faculty, staff, and students respect themselves and others. In this culture, faculty, staff, and students gain confidence in their desire and ability to discover their ideas, construct new knowledge, and think critically about their own ideas and the ideas of others. In doing so, EMU community members grow as competent thinkers and writers.

EMU faculty and staff care about the integrity of their own work and the work of their students. They create assignments that promote interpretative thinking and work intentionally with students during the learning process. Honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility are characteristics of a community that is active in loving mercy, doing justice, and walking humbly before God.

A. At EMU, academic integrity means

  1. honesty in producing one’s own work.
  2. use of documented course information and aids.
  3. submission of work that is one’s own.
  4. honesty in representation of research results, one’s credentials, and facts or opinions.
  5. honesty in use of technology, including cell phones and the Internet.
  6. honesty in acknowledging sources used in research and presented in papers and other assignments.
  7. honesty in establishing and maintaining the appropriate parameters of collaborative work.

B. Academic integrity includes

  1. using accurate quotations. When used, quotations are exact, word-for-word as they appear in the original document. Every quotation, including a short phrase or a single word if it is unusual, includes the required citation and quotation marks.
  2. using appropriate paraphrasing with documentation. Paraphrasing is more than rewording the original material. It must be nearly entirely in the writer’s own words, using new phrases and synonyms. The writer may repeat technical terms. Place quotation marks around any exact words that are retained. The sentence structure should not be the same as in the source. In the paraphrase, do not add interpretations, ideas, and assessment that are not in the original source.
  3. documenting and citing work that was created for a previous assignment or prior work, whether for the current course or for another one.
  4. using appropriate documentation when using words from a class speaker, including the class instructor, in an assignment, i.e. cite professors’ lectures.
  5. using common knowledge appropriately. Common knowledge is information that is easily observed, commonly reported facts (George Washington was the first president of the United States.), or proverbs. Common knowledge does not need to be cited, but be certain that these words are in the public domain. When in doubt, ask the professor.
  6. using a dictionary to produce original work in a second language. When using software, like Google Translate, to translate words, sentences, or paragraphs from one’s native language to the second language, the student is copying and not learning the language or applying skills learned in the classroom. Use a translation dictionary (e.g. English-Spanish, English-Bulgarian) to find the precise word or idiom needed to construct a sentence. Entries in a dictionary are more accurate than software that translates phrases and paragraphs. Professors would like to see your original work, not the work of a machine.

EMU defines plagiarism as occurring when a person presents as one’s own someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source (adapted from the Council of Writing Program Administrators, 2005, http://www.wpacouncil.org).

C. Academic integrity violation for students may be evidenced as a

  1. Minimal Violation
    A minimal violation of academic integrity codes includes doing the following without appropriate documentation:
    a) using a minimal number of distinguishing words from a source.
    b) re-arranging the word order of a sentence.
    c) producing a similar sentence or style from a source.
    d) using an idea or argument from a source.
    e) reproducing one’s own work from a previous work.
    (These items are adapted from “Westmont College Plagiarism Policy,” 2002, http://www.westmont.edu/_academics/pages/provost/curriculum/plagiarism/.)
  2. Substantial Violation
    A substantial violation of academic integrity codes includes (but is not limited to): 
    a) cheating on a quiz, test, or exam.
    b) copying or attempting to copy someone else’s work, including paraphrasing or quoting a professor’s classroom lectures, handouts, and presentations without appropriate documentation.
    c) falsifying results and credentials, withholding data, misrepresenting facts.
    d) using someone else’s work as one’s own work.
    e) using quotations with no documentation.
    f) using an online source by copying and pasting with no documentation. Online sources may appear free. In this case, free means economically free. While a source may not be paid for, it is to be used only for its specified use. A citation must be given if words, graphics, or ideas are used.
    g) presenting material as one’s own from a site that sells essays. Some of the papers-for-sale sites do have disclaimers that state the work must be cited. Remember, if a source can be found, the professor can also find it.
    h) frequently committing minimal violations within a single document or repeatedly over time.
    i) assisting another student to cheat or to copy one’s own or someone else’s work without appropriate documentation.
    j) using Google Translate or other software to translate work from one’s native language to the language of instruction and submitting the work as one’s own work.

Undergraduate academic departments and graduate units are responsible for establishing right-of-use parameters for non-print materials (e.g. presentations).

D. Procedures (Graduate, Seminary, and Undergraduate): When a student violates academic integrity values, the student and professor/advisor will work together to restore the student to community.

  1. Procedures for Minimal Violations
    When a first-time minimal violation is noted, the professor will use this as an opportunity to teach the student/s explicitly about academic integrity. A minimal violation should be reported to the respective dean’s office using the Academic Integrity Violation form. When a second minimal violation occurs, either within the same class or in multiple classes with the same instructor, faculty will document this as a substantial offense using the Academic Integrity Violation form.
  2. Procedures for Substantial Violations¹
    At EMU, when academic integrity codes are violated to this level, the following procedure will be followed. 
    a) The professor will: 
    1. notify the student of the violation.
    2. determine whether the student is guilty of the violation. 
    3. contact the respective chair or program director’s office to check on previous student violations in order to determine first, second or third offense.
    4. document the finding and the action either taken (First-time offense) or repeated (Second and Third-time offenses) on the Violation of Academic Integrity Record. 
    5. meet with the student to obtain the student’s signature, either acknowledging her/his violation or acknowledging discussion in which the professor explained the charges to the student. In the event that a student refuses to sign, the professor will document that the violation was discussed with the student and the student refused to sign. (Under some circumstances, the professor may want to request another professor present as witness. Students have the option to include a faculty or staff member, e.g. academic advisor, student life personnel, coach.)
    6. submit the Violation of Academic Integrity Record to the respective chair or program director. Copies are forwarded to the dean.
    b) The dean will:
    1. for undergraduate students, inform the Vice President for Student Life of violations and actions taken.
    2. for all students, follow steps described below for Second and Third-time offenses.
    c) The student will either:
    1. accept the decision or
    2. submit an appeal to the respective in writing within five (5) working days following notification of the Academic Integrity Violation report. Reasons for the appeal must be clearly stated and based on one of the following.
    • Significant and relevant new evidence,
    • Alleged procedural error that may have affected the decision, or
    • Unduly harsh and arbitrary consequences of the academic integrity violation.

On the basis of these factors, the dean will review the appeal and, in consultation with the course professor, make a decision to uphold or modify the academic integrity violation record. This decision will be communicated to the student in writing within five (5) days after the receipt of the appeal. The decision is final.

Each dean will maintain a database recording all violation of academic integrity reports. Reports of substantial violations will be kept as part of the student’s permanent record, unless a report is withdrawn following appeal.

E. Consequences for Students

  1. First-time substantial violation: If a student cheats on a quiz, test, or exam or plagiarizes material in an assignment, the quiz, test, exam, or assignment receive an F or 0 grade at faculty discretion. For an extreme first time offense, a professor may give the student an F for the course (e.g. essay taken from Internet, test answers from another source). At the discretion of the professor, educational and restorative outcomes could include enrolling in an Academic Integrity workshop, provided by EMU’s Writing Program Director, revising and re-submitting the assignment.
  2. Second-time substantial violation: If the student repeats the above violation in the same or another course or commits another violation in the same or another course, a professor may give the student an F for the course, and the student may receive a Letter of Probation. (See Student Handbook, University Policies, https://emu.edu/studentlife/studenthandbook/)
  3. Third-time substantial violation: If the student commits the violation for the third time, the professor may give the student an F for the course, and the student may receive a Letter of Indefinite Suspension/Disciplinary Withdrawal. (See Student Handbook, University Policies.)
  4. Upon re-enrollment and a subsequent violation, the professor may give the student an F for the course, and the student may be subject to a Letter of Dismissal at the discretion of the university.
    (See Student Handbook, University Policies, https://emu.edu/studentlife/studenthandbook/)
  5. When a professor gives a student an F for the course, the student will not be allowed to withdraw from the course. The student is prohibited from attending class after the professor assigns the F grade. The course continues to apply towards the number of credits the student is pursuing that semester.

Faculty and staff who violate academic integrity codes are subject to review by the Provost’s office.

The graduate, seminary, and undergraduate units use this policy for processing academic integrity violations with the exception of student appeal. (See above.) This policy appears in yearly course catalogs; the Student Handbook; on graduate, seminary, and undergraduate websites; and at z://provost/forms. The Academic Integrity Policy flow chart is also available at z://provost/forms.

Reviewed by Undergraduate Council, Graduate Council, and Faculty Senate 
Approved by Academic Cabinet, March 25, 2009 and revised October 6, 2010
Revised by Academic Cabinet, February 26, 2013
Revised by Academic Cabinet, October 8, 2014
Revised by Provost’s Council, December 16, 2015

Responsible party
The provost is responsible for this policy.

Policy Review
This policy is to be reviewed annually.

¹ Adapted from American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (2007) Academic Dishonesty: Developing and Implementing Institutional Policy