• Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  • 548 Capen Hall
  • Phone: 716-645-6003
  • Fax: 716-645-2549
  • Email:

What possible penalties can be imposed for an integrity violation?

Much depends upon the individual instructor and his/her determination of the severity of the offense. Sometimes the student is given the opportunity to make up the work (often with a grade penalty). Other options include a zero for the given assignment, or even a grade of F in the course as a whole.

Further possible sanctions, especially in particularly serious cases or repeat offenses, include a notation on the transcript or suspension/expulsion from the university. A student may also be required to do community service or provide restitution in certain cases. There may also be formal civil or criminal ramifications beyond the university’s internal procedures.

Academic dishonesty has serious consequences. Students should take due care to avoid any infringement.

What should I do if I see other students cheating?

Oftentimes if students are dishonestly gaining an advantage on the exam, honest students are inadvertently penalized. This happens primarily when exams are graded “on the curve.” Therefore, we strongly encourage students to step forward and inform their instructor or TA about any cheating on exams. At a minimum, the instructor can monitor subsequent exams more diligently or design exam questions in such a way that cheating is discouraged or any advantage mitigated.

What if I dispute a charge of academic dishonesty?

Students have a right to due process as outlined in the policy and procedures for academic integrity violations. However, invoking procedural rights automatically starts a formal process (rather than the informal resolution with the instructor). There is a hearing at the department level, with subsequent hearings higher up as necessary. The Adjudication Committee is final arbiter of such disputes, and the Committee can impose additional sanctions beyond those imposed by the course instructor.

Consult the Undergraduate Catalog for the most current statement on policies and procedures relating to academic integrity cases.

What resources are available for learning how to properly cite sources of information?

Every discipline will adhere to a preferred style manual, even though the principles for citation are largely identical across disciplines. The UB Libraries website offers additional Web References.

What sorts of actions violate the integrity policy?

Some types of violations are quite obvious, while others may be either less clear or may depend upon policies set by the particular instructor in your course.

In the case of taking tests or exams, looking at another student’s test paper and copying answers is obviously a violation. Similarly, using test aids (cheat sheets, taking phone calls or text messages) during an exam are clear violations. Use of a calculator (and the type of calculator capabilities available) depends upon your instructor’s guidelines. So, if in doubt, ask in advance of taking the exam.

Another form of dishonesty is plagiarism. Plagiarism involves using the words or ideas of another without proper citation. In the case of written work, one is expected to set off the other person’s words in quotations and then provide a complete citation elsewhere (footnotes, reference list) in the paper. Ideas, whether from published authors or from discussions with others, should also be properly attributed. Obviously, purchasing papers, tests, assignments, or other materials to hand in as one’s own work also constitutes a form of plagiarism. More largely, this is a form of misrepresentation, claiming work as one’s own when it is really the work of another. Speak with your professor or check the syllabus to be sure you understand plagiarism.

Related to plagiarism is the notion of self-plagiarism, or using material for one assignment for another assignment as well. This is also sometimes referred to as “double-dipping” or recycling assignments and is another form of academic dishonesty. While this is sometimes permissible, especially if the student will be doing a larger project or greater work in order to fulfill more than one assignment, the permission of each affected instructor must be obtained. We also wish to remind students that using internship work to fulfill more than one course requirement or requirements in more than one course is also a violation without the prior (written) consent of all affected instructors.

Unauthorized collaboration also constitutes a violation of the integrity policy. It is therefore important to avoid working with or getting help from others unless explicitly allowed by the instructor. Such collaboration may involve take-home exams, homework assignments, papers, projects, or other types of assigned work. While getting some editorial help on a research paper would not be a violation, having another person write any portion of the paper would be a violation.

Students must also take care not to be a party to the dishonesty of others. Helping a fellow student by providing test answers, writing portions of a paper, or selling papers or assignments to others all constitute academic dishonesty, even though the person is only facilitating the dishonesty of another student.

Finally, we remind students that misrepresenting oneself in a resume or regarding one’s accomplishments is also a form of dishonesty. We encourage students to be diligent, responsible, and trustworthy — characteristics we expect from our UB community of scholars.

Can I have a lawyer?

With respect to any university-based proceedings or hearings, students are not allowed to have an attorney. Such proceedings are wholly internal to the institution, and as such do not constitute a formal legal matter.