Frequently Asked Questions
What possible penalties can be imposed for an integrity violation?
Academic dishonesty has serious consequences. If a student has violated the academic integrity policy, several different sanctions may be imposed, including:
- Warning. A written notice is provided to the student that he/she has violated a university academic integrity standard and that repetition of the wrongful conduct may be cause for more severe sanctions.
- Revision of Work. The student may be required to replace or revise the work in which dishonesty occurred. (The instructor may choose to assign a grade of “I” [Incomplete] pending replacement or revision of the work.)
- Reduction in Grade. The student’s grade may be reduced with respect to the particular assignment/exam or final grade in the course.
- Failure in the Course. The student can receive a failing grade in the course.
- Instructors can impose other reasonable and appropriate sanction(s) as they see fit.
- Recommendation of the following sanctions. (These require review and approval by the Office of Academic Integrity.)
- Failure in the Course, Remediation Required, Temporary Notation of Academic Dishonesty: The student can receive a failing grade for the course with notation on the transcript that the grade of “F” was assigned for reasons of academic dishonesty. Upon successful completion of the Office of Academic Integrity remediation assignment, the transcript notation will be removed. Failure to successfully complete the remediation assignment as prescribed will result in permanent notation of academic dishonesty.
- Failure in the Course with Permanent Notation of Academic Dishonesty: The student can receive a failing grade for the course with permanent notation on the transcript that the grade of “F” was assigned for reason of academic dishonesty.
- Recommendation of the following University sanctions. The Office of Academic Integrity must review and recommend these sanctions to the University President or his/her designee for approval.
- Suspension from the University: The student can be suspended for a defined period of time with stated conditions that may include a permanent notation on the transcript.
- Expulsion from the University: The student can be expelled with permanent notation on the transcript.
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 a 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?
The steps a student should follow if charged with a violation are defined in the Undergraduate policy and procedures or the Graduate policy and procedures. However, students may wish to also consult with the Student Conduct and Advocacy office for clarification or questions regarding this process. If a student chooses to appeal a decision or sanction, the policy defines the steps and timetable to do so.
What is remediation?
Remediation is an opportunity for students to learn about the value of academic integrity, why it is vital to uphold, and how to ensure academic honesty in their own work.
Graduate students can be assigned remediation as a sanction to be completed with the Office of Academic Integrity within 60 days of the sanction letter.
Undergraduate students with first-time, non-egregious offenses have the opportunity to expunge their record by successfully completing the Office of Academic Integrity remediation assignment within 60 days of the sanction letter. Expunging a record means that students would not be required to disclose the violation on future applications for education or employment and the Office of Academic Integrity would not report the infraction to other universities or employers. The only common exceptions to this are if a student grants someone a full release of their records (e.g., if they are applying to work for government or law enforcement) or if an entity has a legal right to see the complete record (e.g., for a legal proceeding).
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 information on properly citing sources. In addition, the Center for Excellence in Writing offers both online information and in-person advice in 209 Baldy Hall with an appointment.
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, cell phones, etc.) 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 from 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 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. Your honest conduct here at UB should extend beyond our campus to your life’s work.
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. The Academic Integrity Policy states:
At the hearing(s), the Committee will provide sufficient opportunity for both principals to present their positions and shall allow each principal the right to question those presentation(s) to the committee. The hearing(s) shall be conducted in a fair and expeditious manner, but shall not be subject to the rules governing a legal proceeding. Each principal shall have the right to be present and to have one advisor present at all hearings. In no such case shall the advisor be an attorney, unless he or she is a member of the UB faculty who is not acting in a legal capacity on behalf of a principal. An advisor may not speak on behalf of a principal or otherwise address members of the hearing committee. Either principal may ask the Committee chair if they may participate in hearings remotely. In exceptional circumstances, such as where either party is considered to pose a physical threat to the other or to the Committee, the chair of the Committee may require that either principal participate remotely.
The technical and formal rules of evidence applicable in a court of law are not applicable at Academic Integrity Hearings, and the Committee may review all relevant and reliable information that will contribute to an informed final decision. The Committee shall only consider information relevant to the current alleged misconduct.