Policy 5500 — Academic Integrity Policy | Mount Allison

Policy 5500 — Academic Integrity Policy

Policy section:
Section 5500-5599 Academic Integrity
Policy number:
5500
Subject:
Academic Integrity
Group:
Institutional
Approved By:
Senate
Approved date:
May 12, 2016
Effective date:
September 6, 2016
Revised:
May 13, 2021
Administered by:
Provost and Vice-President, Academic & Research

1 — INTRODUCTION

Mount Allison University is a community that encourages the individual growth of each student through development of personal values and integrity. Collectively, we endeavor to foster an atmosphere conducive to scholarship and the academic aims of the University, embracing core values of respect for the scholarly enterprise and a commitment to honesty.

1.1 Purpose

The Academic Integrity Policy provides members of the University community general guidelines for appropriate academic conduct and administration of this policy.

Acknowledgements:  The following institutions’ related policies and procedures provided background that assisted in the development of this policy: Brock University, Colby College, Dalhousie University, McMaster University, Middlebury College, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, University of New Brunswick, University of Alberta, Wilfrid Laurier University. In particular, authors of Brock University’s and McMaster University’s policies have authorized adaptation of text from their policies.

1.2  Scope

This policy applies to the academic activities of all students registered at Mount Allison in undergraduate or graduate studies, both on and off campus, including students registered in correspondence courses, in non-degree studies, and as visiting students attending on Letter of Permission or as an exchange student. This policy may also apply to individuals who have withdrawn or graduated but who were students at the time when it is alleged that academic misconduct occurred or who are alleged to have acted with academic misconduct to gain admission or registration.

1.3  Policy statement

All members of the University community are expected to conduct themselves in an ethical manner, demonstrating a commitment to academic integrity and inherent fundamental values of honesty, fairness, respect, including respectful disagreement, and responsibility. It is the policy of the University that academic misconduct will not be tolerated.

1.4 Related policies

The following are governed by codes of conduct or regulations and disciplinary procedures separate from this policy. Normally the areas listed below act independently of one another, however, in serious circumstances, more than one of these policies may apply. Decisions about the application of this policy or related policies shall be determined by the Academic Dean in conjunction with the administrator of the other policy or policies.

a) Policy 5202 — Policy on Research Integrity
c) Policy 1006 — Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Policy (policy under review)
d) Policy 7001 — Terms & Conditions for Use of University Computing Accounts
e) Policy 7002 — Password Policy
f) Policy 7003 — Computer Network Usage Policy

1.5 Responsibilities

a) All members of the University community (i.e. students, faculty, and staff) are responsible for maintaining an atmosphere of academic integrity in all aspects of the academic enterprise.

b) Students have a responsibility to familiarize themselves with the University regulations and the conduct expected of them while studying at Mount Allison University.

c) Instructors are required to articulate clearly academic expectations in course outlines, including expectations regarding collaboration and group work, and are encouraged to use strategies that reduce opportunities for academic misconduct. For advice on strategies, instructors are encouraged to consult the Purdy Crawford Teaching Centre.

d) Any member of the University who has reason to believe that academic misconduct has occurred has a responsibility to report the matter promptly to the instructor of the course or, if the allegation does not involve a specific course or courses, to the appropriate Academic Dean. A teaching assistant or exam invigilator shall report to the Instructor of the course who will investigate and report the incident as per Appendix A, 7.2.1.

e) Authority to deal with academic matters under this policy rests with the Academic Dean assigned with this responsibility as the Academic Integrity Officer (AIO) by the Provost and VP Academic & Research.

f) All allegations of academic misconduct will be reported to the Academic Dean (AIO). It is the responsibility of the Academic Dean (AIO) to conduct the appropriate follow-up to ensure the implementation of educative action, academic penalties, or sanctions, if applicable.

g) Decisions taken by the Academic Dean (AIO) may be appealed to the Academic Appeals Committee.

1.6 Principles

a) The Academic Integrity Policy is intended to be educative and to be a guideline for appropriate behaviour. Consequences will be educative and developmental where possible. The primary intent is for students to self-discipline and the policy is used to support that perspective.

b) Confidentiality and Protection of Information.The University is bound by its policies regarding the confidentiality of student information and complies with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). In the administration of this policy, information, documentation, or evidence may be accessed by, submitted to and/or reviewed by members of the University community as a function of their position (e.g., Instructor, Department Head, Academic Dean, the Senate Academic Appeals Committee, Registrar, etc.) Every member of the University community shall respect and maintain the University’s obligation to protect the right to confidentiality and the privacy of its students, faculty, and staff.

c) Communication will be via the e-mail address assigned by the University as per academic regulation 10.1.  

1.7 Policy review

After an initial review within one year from the date of its approval, this policy and associated procedures will be reviewed every five years, or more frequently when relevant changes otherwise warrant an update, to maintain this policy’s currency and relevance. In the case of a discrepancy between this policy and the Mount Allison Academic Calendar the calendar prevails.

2 — DEFINITIONS

Academic integrity refers to ethical standards and a commitment to values of honesty, respect, and responsibility in academic work.

Academic misconduct refers to any act or behaviour, whether intentional or unintentional, that contravenes the ethical standards and values of honesty in academic work. 

The “Academic Dean (AIO)” refers to the Academic Dean with authority as designated Academic Integrity Officer to deal with academic matters under this policy.

The “Chair” refers to the Chair of the Academic Appeals Committee.

The “relevant authority” refers to the Instructor, the Academic Dean (AIO), or the Academic Appeals Committee.

An “Advisor” may be any member of the University community such as a MASU representative, Chaplain, Counselling Services, the Meighen Centre, and the Student Life Office.

Educative Action refers to an outcome imposed by an Instructor or Academic Dean (AIO) for academic misconduct that has been determined to reflect an infraction that may be attributed to lack of understanding.  Educative action may include but is not limited to: re-writing of the assignment; participation in an educational or remedial academic activity.

Academic Penalty refers to an outcome imposed by an Instructor for academic misconduct that has been determined to reflect a serious infraction. An academic penalty may include but is not limited to: lower grade or failure on the assignment or test; failure in the course.

Academic Sanction refers to an outcome imposed by the Academic Dean (AIO) or the Academic Appeals Committee for academic misconduct. Academic sanctions include disciplinary probation, suspension, dismissal, or expulsion, which will be recorded on the transcript.

“Calendar days” are used in this policy to establish timelines and are intended as guidelines.  In some instances those timelines may require flexibility depending on the circumstances.

A "Witness" must be a member of the university community such as another student, a TA, or a lab instructor, who witnessed the event(s), or can provide evidence regarding the event(s) in question.

3 — ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT

3.1 Academic misconduct offences

Examples of academic misconduct include but are not limited to the following:

a) Plagiarism or misrepresenting someone else’s work, whether ideas, words, creative works, published or unpublished, as your own.

b) Submitting work you’ve already received  a grade for, academic credit for, or that you are already submitting for another course, without written permission from your Instructor. Work submitted for a previous attempt at the same course is considered to have been submitted for another course.

c) Falsifying results in lab experiments, field exercises, or other assignments

d) Copying someone else’s work on assignments, tests, or exams

e) Use of unauthorized aid or assistance in tests or exams

f) Collaborating on assignments that were designated by the Instructor as individual work

g) Impersonating another student, or knowingly allowing someone to impersonate you, in an assignment, test, or exam

h) Using someone else’s computer account or using your computer account for unauthorized purposes

i) Interfering with or damaging someone else’s academic work including their access to campus resources

j) Obtaining, viewing, or sharing information about an assignment, test, or exam

k) Knowingly helping someone else engage in academically dishonest behavior

l) Submitting false information or false medical documentation or misrepresenting personal circumstances to postpone or gain an advantage for any academic work

m) Tampering with academic transcripts or records and/or submitting false credentials

n) Any other form of misrepresentation, cheating, fraudulent academic behavior, or other improper academic conduct of comparable severity

See Appendix C for more detailed explanations of academic misconduct.

3.2 Determination of offences and outcomes

a) Academic misconduct may be alleged by a course Instructor with respect to a course or courses taught by them. A determination of academic misconduct shall be based on a discussion between the student and the Instructor, in person if possible, including a review of the evidence.

b) If academic misconduct has been determined, the Instructor may impose an educative action (e.g. for instances that could be attributed to lack of understanding of appropriate citation) or an academic penalty (e.g. for instances that reflect a serious breach of academic integrity). 

c) The Instructor will report the allegation and the outcome, whether educative action or academic penalty, to the Department Head, the Academic Dean (AIO), and the Registrar, using the Report of Academic Misconduct form. 

d) Academic misconduct may be alleged by a member (or members) of the university community other than a course Instructor (e.g. invigilators in examinations, other students, Computing Services staff, etc.). If the allegation involves a course it will be referred to the course Instructor, who will follow procedures as above and as outlined in Appendix A, Section 7- Procedures for a Report of Academic Misconduct.

e) If the allegation does not involve a specific course or courses, it will be referred to the Academic Dean (AIO), who will follow procedures as outlined in Appendix A, Section 7.

f) Students who wish to dispute the allegation or the severity of the academic penalty imposed by the Instructor may appeal to the Academic Dean (AIO).  

g) If the student’s record (housed in the Registrar’s office) shows a previous report of academic misconduct, the Academic Dean (AIO) may impose additional sanctions. 

h) All decisions of the Academic Dean (AIO) may be appealed to the Academic Appeals Committee (under the conditions outlined in Section 6).

i) Students must be advised of resources for support and their right to appeal decisions.   Resources to advise students include any member of the University community such as: a MASU representative, Chaplain, Counselling Services, the Meighen Centre, and the Student Life Office.

4 — ACADEMIC PENALTIES AND SANCTIONS

a) In each case in which it has been determined that there has been academic misconduct, the relevant authority will determine and impose appropriate educative actions (Instructors, Academic Dean (AIO)), academic penalties (Instructors), or academic sanctions (Academic Dean (AIO) or the Academic Appeals Committee).

b) The circumstances surrounding each case of misconduct may vary to a significant degree. The educative action, penalty, or sanction imposed should reflect these circumstances.

c) or the benefit of the student an explanation will be provided in writing, with the major reasons(s) the educative action, penalty, or sanction imposed was deemed warranted.

d) In each case the relevant authority shall exercise discretion, taking into consideration the relevant factors as outlined below. Factors to be considered when imposing an educative action, academic penalty, or academic sanction include, but are not limited to:

  • the severity of the offence, including its impact on others (students, faculty or staff, members of the community);
  • relative weight of the assignment;
  • the student’s year of study;
  • whether the student admits guilt, accepts responsibility, and is amenable to  educative remedies;
  • extenuating circumstances that may help explain the action taken by a student;
  • any aggravating factors;
  • any record of previous offences (Academic Dean (AIO) and Academic Appeals Committee only; Instructors should base their decision on the allegation under consideration)

e) The following educative actions, academic penalties, or sanctions may be imposed:

i) Educative Actions (may be imposed by Instructors or Academic Dean (AIO)), such as:

  • re-writing of the assignment;
  • letter of reprimand  and requirement to participate in an educational or remedial academic activity;

ii) Academic Penalties (may be imposed by Instructors), such as:

  • lower grade or failure on the assignment, test, or exam;
  • failure in the course.

iii) Academic Sanctions (may be imposed by the Academic Dean (AIO) * or Academic Appeals Committee)

  • rescinding of an offer of admission
  • disciplinary probation, suspension*, dismissal* or expulsion* which will be recorded on the transcript
  • revocation of degree*, diploma*, certificate or course credit*  

*decision requires consultation with the Senate Academic Integrity Committee.

NOTES:

  • “Being an accessory” equates to “committing the offence”.
  • Disciplinary suspension refers to a term up to three years, disciplinary dismissal is for three years, expulsion is permanent.
  • Disciplinary suspension or dismissal for academic misconduct means complete withdrawal from the University for the specified period. This means that students may not attend classes, do presentations or submit tests, essays or assignments of any sort, whether online, on paper or other medium, nor may they receive credit for courses taken elsewhere during the period of suspension or dismissal.  
  • The terms of suspension or dismissal are effective until such time as the student applies for and is offered re-admission to the University.

5 — REPORTING

a) At the conclusion of an investigation, the person investigating will advise the student in writing of the determination. Normally, the person who reported the incident will be advised that the matter has been dealt with.

b) Correspondence relating to an allegation and documentary evidence from the investigation is kept on file until the time has elapsed for further appeal and may form part of the relevant authority’s official file for University purposes.

c) Any time an academic penalty or academic sanction has been imposed, the records and notes of the relevant authority shall be kept and may have a bearing on an academic sanction imposed in a future case. 

d) For all cases, records of reports and decisions pertaining to academic misconduct shall be retained permanently on file by the Registrar, separate from the students’ individual academic record, unless it is concluded that there has been no misconduct, or that there is insufficient evidence to support the allegation.  In cases where there has been no misconduct or insufficient evidence to support an allegation, records related to the investigation will not be forwarded to the Registrar, although the relevant authority shall maintain official records for University purposes.  In cases where it has been concluded that misconduct did occur records related to the investigation will be kept on file by the relevant authority until one year after graduation.

e) Disciplinary probation, suspension, dismissal and expulsion will be recorded on students’ transcripts. Except in cases of expulsion, one year after the expiry of the sanction the student may make a written request to the Registrar to have the notation of the offence removed from the transcript.

f) The Academic Dean (AIO) will prepare an annual report based on anonymous aggregate data, to be submitted for information to Senate.

6 — APPEALS

a) An appeal may be launched by the accused student or by the student, Instructor, or other member of the university community originating the initial allegation.

b) Normally, an appeal is valid only if it has been filed with the Chair of the Academic Appeals Committee within five calendar days of the communication of a decision.

c) An exception to the normal five calendar day limitation on filing appeals can be made for appeals based on availability of new evidence. These appeals may be filed within a time limit deemed reasonable by the Chair of the Academic Appeals Committee based on the validity of the reason for the delay in new facts coming to light and based on the strength of the new facts which have come to light.

d) An appeal must be in writing, and specify the grounds on which the appeal is based.

e) Appeals will be considered on the following grounds:

  • i) the initial authority had no right to make the decision it made;
  • ii) the initial authority was biased;
  • iii) the initial authority did not allow the accused student the opportunity to respond to all the aspects of the case against him or her;
  • iv) since the initial decision, new facts have come to light which are relevant.  New facts must be documented within the appeal request;
  • v) the initial authority’s decision was patently unreasonable (the basis of which must be included in the appeal request);
  • vi) the initial authority made an error in interpreting a regulation. Such error must be outlined in the request for appeal;
  • vii) the severity of the sanction was not appropriate.

f) The Chair of the Academic Appeals committee will review the letter of appeal and relevant written documentation, and, in consultation with the Academic Appeals Committee, make a decision to:

  • i) allow for limited rehearing* if newly discovered factual material or procedural error is found (It is the responsibility of the Chair to determine which aspects of the case merit a rehearing, and to direct the Appeals Committee accordingly.);
  • ii) allow for limited rehearing*, consisting of review of the  written materials submitted, if significant new mitigating circumstances are present;
  • iii) deny the appeal.

*The appeals process would not be a ‘de novo’ hearing but a limited rehearing of relevant evidence as determined by the Chair based on the grounds for appeal

g) Decisions of the Committee will be communicated by the Chair, in writing, to the person appealing and reasons for the denial (if applicable) will be stated.  If a limited rehearing is deemed necessary, a time for that hearing will be set so that it occurs as soon as possible and allows for adequate notice to all parties.

h) If the Committee determines that an appeal should be considered based on any one or more of the grounds above, the report and any documentation from the original investigative process will be provided to the Academic Appeals Committee. A limited rehearing of the case by the Appeals Committee may be required.  

i) The Academic Appeals Committee will review the decision of the initial authority and, as appropriate, impose, revise, or remove sanctions. Students are advised that more severe penalties may be imposed as a result of an appeal.

j) While an appeal is pending, suspension from access to academic services will not be in effect until after the appeal decision has been made.

  • a) In cases where there is a limited re-hearing by the Academic Appeals Committee, students have the right to have an advisor present at the hearing.  Advisors may be members of the University community. (refer to the definition of an ‘Advisor’ in section 2. Students must inform the Chair of the Academic Appeals Committee in writing at least three calendar days prior to the appeals hearing if they plan to bring an advisor.  

k) The decision on whether a hearing is open or closed rests with the Chair of the Committee.  Normally the hearing will be closed if the accused student, or the person originating the initial allegation, or the initial authority that rendered a decision requests that it be closed.

l) Witnesses will not be called at a re-hearing by the Academic Appeals Committee.  Where required, records of witness testimony from the original investigative process will be reviewed by the committee.

Appendix A: Procedures for a Report of Academic Misconduct

7.1 — PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS

7.1.1 Consultation and resources  

a) Instructors are strongly encouraged to consult with their Department Heads regarding an allegation of academic misconduct, without divulging the identity of the accused student(s), in determining whether there is sufficient evidence of academic misconduct to proceed with a report, and/or appropriate educative action or academic penalty for the academic offence.

b) Students who receive notification alleging academic misconduct are strongly encouraged to consult with any of the following University resources for procedural clarification, personal assistance and support: a MASU representative, Director of Student Life, University Chaplain, Student Development Counsellor, Meighen Centre.

7.1.2 Conflict of interest

a) If it is deemed that there is a conflict of interest between parties involved in an allegation of academic misconduct, (e.g. the complainant is a member of the accused student’s immediate or extended family), the matter will be referred to the appropriate Dean to determine appropriate course of action.

7.2 — NOTIFICATION OF ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT

7.2.1 Notification to the student

a) The Instructor shall inform the student of the allegation of academic misconduct in writing via the student’s university e-mail account. The notification will include the evidence against the student and an invitation to meet either in person or via email to discuss the allegation within five calendar days of being informed by the Instructor of the allegation.

b) The student should respond to the notification via return e-mail within five calendar days.

c) In certain circumstances, timelines and procedures may need to be adjusted. (e.g. if the allegation pertains to courses offered by correspondence; or cases that occur during the exam period.)

d) In situations where an allegation of academic misconduct involves more than one student (e.g. unauthorized collaboration; providing questions or answers in a test or exam; impersonating a student in a test or exam; providing an essay or lab report, etc. that is subsequently plagiarized and submitted by another student as his/her own work), the Instructor or complainant will treat each student as individual allegations of academic misconduct whereby each student is notified and interviewed individually during the initial investigation.

7.2.2 Notification to University officials

a) Undergraduate Students — If academic misconduct is confirmed as per 7.3.1 Instructors must notify concurrently via email the student, the Department Head, the Academic Dean (AIO), and the Registrar, using the Report of Academic Misconduct form.  

b) Graduate Students — If academic misconduct is confirmed as per 7.3.1 Instructors must notify concurrently via email the student, the student’s Supervisor, the Academic Dean (AIO), and the Registrar, using the Report of Academic Misconduct form.  

c) Any member of the University who has reason to believe that academic misconduct has occurred has a responsibility to report the matter promptly to the Instructor of the course, (e.g. a teaching assistant or exam invigilator shall report to the Instructor), who will then investigate and if it is determined that academic misconduct has occurred, the Instructor shall follow procedures as in 7.2.2 a) or b).

d) If the allegation does not involve a specific course or courses, the allegation will be reported to the Academic Dean (AIO).

7.3 — DETERMINING THAT AN OFFENCE HAS OCCURRED

7.3.1 Meeting with the student following notification   

a) The Instructor will meet either in person or through e-mail correspondence with the student to determine whether academic misconduct has occurred based on discussion and a review of all relevant material.

b) If the student does not arrange to meet with the Instructor or respond via e-mail within five calendar days of being informed by the Instructor of the allegation, the Instructor will proceed with the investigation and make a determination with the student ‘in absentia’, barring any circumstances to adjust timelines as in 7.2.1 c).

c) If the Instructor is unable to make a determination pending further investigation, the student shall be informed via e-mail that a decision will be delayed.

d) If the Instructor determines that there is not sufficient evidence to proceed with the allegation, the Instructor will so inform the student and will not file a Report of Academic Misconduct.  The Instructor may recommend appropriate educative action.

e) If the Instructor determines that academic misconduct has occurred, the Instructor will inform the student (in person or via e-mail) by filing a Report of Academic Misconduct indicating any appropriate educative action that is required or academic penalty to be imposed (see Academic Integrity Policy, Section 4 e). For undergraduate students, the report will be copied to the Department Head, the Academic Dean (AIO), and the Registrar. For graduate students, the report will be copied to the student’s Graduate Studies Supervisor, the Academic Dean (AIO), and the Registrar. The student will be informed of their right to contest the decision.

f) Immediately upon receipt of a Report of Academic Misconduct, if the Registrar determines that there is a record on file of previous reports, the student, the Instructor, the Department Head (undergraduate students) or Graduate Studies Supervisor (graduate students) and the Academic Dean (AIO) will be so notified and the matter will be referred automatically to the Academic Dean (AIO) for further action.

g) If there is no previous record but the student wishes to contest the allegation of academic misconduct, or the educative action, or the academic penalty, the student must submit a request for the case to be referred to the Academic Dean (AIO) within five calendar days of the Report of Academic Misconduct having been filed.

7.3.2 Referral to Academic Dean (AIO) — Contested allegation 

a) The Academic Dean (AIO) will co-ordinate a meeting with the student and the Instructor to review the allegation and the evidence of academic misconduct. 

b) The accused student and Instructor must be informed in writing of the date, time, and location for the meeting at least five calendar days prior to the meeting to allow adequate time for preparation and also be advised that a member of the university community acting as an advisor may attend the meeting. (refer to the definition of an ‘Advisor’ in section 2 of the Academic Integrity Policy).

c) If either party wishes to bring witnesses, they must inform the Academic Dean (AIO) at least three calendar days prior to the meeting. It is the responsibility of both parties to notify their own willing witnesses of the time and place of the meeting. The Academic Dean (AIO) may compel witnesses to attend.

d) It is the responsibility of the Instructor to provide evidence of academic misconduct committed by the student.

e) The accused student has the right to respond to the allegations.

f) If it is determined that academic misconduct has occurred, before deciding on a sanction, the Academic Dean (AIO) will confirm with the Registrar that there is no record of a previous report on file.

g) The Academic Dean (AIO) will inform the student, the Instructor, and the Registrar of their decision in writing  and include a statement that the decision may be appealed to the Academic Appeals Committee, the grounds for appeal and timelines within which an appeal must be submitted.

7.3.3 Referral to Academic Dean (AIO) — Contested educative action or academic penalty

a) The Academic Dean (AIO) will review the allegation and the evidence in determining the appropriateness of the educative action or academic penalty, and inform the Instructor that the educative action/academic penalty has been contested.

b) It is the responsibility of the Instructor to provide evidence of the appropriateness of the educative action or penalty (e.g. consultation with Department Head (undergraduate students) or Graduate Studies Supervisor (graduate students).

c) Depending on circumstances, the Academic Dean (AIO) may or may not meet with the student or with the Instructor prior to rendering a decision. If such a meeting is deemed necessary, parties shall be informed in writing of the date, time, and location for the meeting at least five calendar days prior to the meeting to allow adequate time for preparation, and also shall be advised that a member of the University community acting as an advisor may attend the meeting (refer to the definition of an ‘Advisor’ in section 2 of the Academic Integrity Policy).

d) The Academic Dean (AIO) will inform the student, the Instructor, and the Registrar of his/her decision in writing within five calendar days of receipt of the request if adjudicated without a meeting, and include a statement that the decision may be appealed to the Academic Appeals Committee, the grounds for appeal, and timelines within which an appeal must be submitted.

e) If an educative action that has been contested involves another member of the University community (e.g. University Library resource person), that person shall also be so informed.

7.3.4 Referral to Academic Dean (AIO) for second or subsequent reports

a) If there is a record of a previous report of academic misconduct on file, the case will be referred to the Academic Dean (AIO).

b) If the student did not contest the allegation, a meeting may not be required for the Academic Dean (AIO) to render a decision on the appropriate sanction to be imposed, based on the evidence of academic misconduct provided by the Instructor, a review of the previous record, and a written statement by the student. If a decision could result in disciplinary suspension, dismissal, or expulsion, consultation with the Academic Integrity Committee is required.

c) The Academic Dean (AIO) will inform the student, the Instructor, and the Registrar of their decision in writing  and include a statement that the decision may be appealed to the Academic Appeals Committee, the grounds for appeal and timelines within which an appeal must be submitted.

d) If the student contests the allegation, the Academic Dean (AIO) will coordinate a meeting with the student and the Instructor to review the allegation and the evidence of academic misconduct. If a decision could result in disciplinary suspension, dismissal, or expulsion, consultation with the Academic Integrity Committee is required.

e) The accused student and Instructor must be informed in writing of the date, time, and location for the meeting at least five calendar days prior to the meeting to allow adequate time for preparation and also be advised that a member of the University community acting as an advisor may attend the meeting. (refer to the definition of an ‘Advisor’ in section 2 of the Academic Integrity Policy).

f) If either party wishes to bring witnesses, they must inform the Academic Dean (AIO) at least three calendar days prior to the meeting. It is the responsibility of both parties to notify their own willing witnesses of the time and place of the meeting. The Academic Dean (AIO) may compel witnesses to attend.

g) It is the responsibility of the Instructor to provide evidence of academic misconduct committed by the student.

h) The accused student has the right to respond to the allegations.

i) The Academic Dean (AIO) will inform the student, the Instructor, and the Registrar of their decision in writing  and include a statement that the decision may be appealed to the Academic Appeals Committee, the grounds for appeal and timelines within which an appeal must be submitted.

7.3.5 Referral to Academic Dean (AIO) for allegation not involving specific course/courses

a) The Academic Dean (AIO) will coordinate a meeting with the accused student and the complainant to review the allegation and the evidence of academic misconduct.

b) The accused student and the complainant must be informed in writing of the date, time, and location for the meeting at least five calendar days prior to the meeting to allow adequate time for preparation and also be advised that a member of the University community acting as an advisor may attend the meeting. (refer to the definition of an ‘Advisor’ in section 2 of the Academic Integrity Policy).

c) If either party wishes to bring witnesses, they must inform the Academic Dean (AIO) at least three calendar days prior to the meeting. It is the responsibility of both parties to notify their own willing witnesses of the time and place of the meeting. The Academic Dean (AIO) may compel witnesses to attend.

d) It is the responsibility of the complainant to provide evidence of academic misconduct committed by the student.

e) The accused student has the right to respond to the allegations.

f) If it is determined that academic misconduct has occurred, before deciding on the sanction, the Academic Dean (AIO) will confirm with the Registrar that there is no record of a previous report on file. If there is a previous record, and if a decision could result in disciplinary suspension, dismissal, or expulsion, consultation with the Academic Integrity Committee is required before rendering a decision.

g) The Academic Dean (AIO) will inform the student, the complainant, and the Registrar of their decision in writing  and include a statement that the decision may be appealed to the Academic Appeals Committee, the grounds for appeal and timelines within which an appeal must be submitted.

7.4 — RECORD OF PREVIOUS REPORTS OR MULTIPLE REPORTS

a) Immediately upon receipt of a Report of Academic Misconduct under 7.3.1 e), the Registrar will inform the student, the Instructor, the Department Head (undergraduate students), Graduate Studies Supervisor (graduate students), and the Academic Dean (AIO) if there is a record of a previous report. 

b) If the record shows that there is a previous report of academic misconduct, the matter will be referred immediately to the Academic Dean (AIO) for further action.

c) Reports submitted concurrently or in close succession pertaining to the same student involving more than one assignment or courses, will be referred to the Academic Dean (AIO).

8 — ACADEMIC APPEALS COMMITTEE — APPEALS PROCEDURES

8.1 — PREAMBLE

a) The Chair of the Academic Appeals Committee will be the sole determinant of the exact order of proceedings; what evidence shall be heard, and when; who shall be heard, and when; and, in general, the Chair will make alone or in consultation with other members of the Committee, any or all decisions regarding the procedure of the hearing.

b) The goal of the hearing is to be as fair and just as possible to all concerned within the limits of the Chair's own common knowledge and common sense.

c) Failure to follow these guidelines does not in itself affect the validity of any proceeding.

8.2 — PREPARATION FOR THE PROCEEDINGS

a) The Chair of the committee will review the grounds for appeal, and any and all applicable rules and regulations that might have any bearing on the case.

b) The Chair will then determine whether the grounds for appeal have been filed correctly, and whether correct notices of a hearing have been given to the student originating the appeal (appellant), responding initial authority (i.e. the Academic Dean (AIO)) (respondent).

c) The Chair will ensure that a convenient time and place for the hearing have been arranged and that arrangements have been made for proper recording of the proceedings.

8.3 — THE APPEAL HEARING

8.3.1 Preliminary Considerations 

a) In cases where there is a limited re-hearing by the Academic Appeals Committee, the Chair will see that all Committee members and all parties to the dispute, namely the student originating the appeal (hereafter referred to as appellant) and the Academic Dean (AIO) (hereafter referred to as respondent), and their advisors (if any) are available. Each side will have one advisor only.

b) If the appellant and/or their advisor does not appear at the hearing, the Committee will decide whether to proceed in their absence, whether to adjourn, or whether to dismiss the case.

c) If the respondent and/or their advisor has failed to appear without what the Committee feels is an adequate cause then the Chair will:

i. ask for proof that adequate notification of the time and place of the hearing has been given;
ii. decide whether to hear the case or decide to dispose of, or reschedule the case
d) The Chair will read the grounds for appeal and ask the parties if they are ready to proceed (the appellant first, then the respondent). If anyone requests a postponement of the hearing, the Committee will decide at this time whether or not to postpone the hearing for good cause only. Normally, this will be the last point during the hearing that either party will be able to affect the hearings’ proceedings based on:

i. lack of proper notice;
ii. the grounds for appeal were not clearly stated
iii. the time and/or place of the hearing is not fair;
iv. that the Committee hearing the case lacks jurisdiction to deal with it;
v. that a Committee member has a conflict of interest (the disqualification of one member does not normally invalidate a committee, as long as there is a quorum);
vi. that a fair hearing is impossible based on an apprehension of bias;
vii. or any other similar procedural complaints that could be raised at this time.
e) If any such request is made and accepted, the Committee shall decide upon the appropriate course of action. If no such request for postponement is made, or if it is made and denied, the hearing will proceed.

NOTE: It should be kept in mind at all times that the Chair, or other Committee members speaking through the Chair, may interrupt the proceedings at any time to ask questions of any person(s) about relevant matters, but should not do so in such a way, or to such an extent, as to show bias or disrupt orderly presentation by the appellant or respondent.

8.3.2 The appeal

a) The Chair shall read the grounds for appeal

b) the appellant will state the case in relation to the grounds for appeal;

c) the respondent will make a statement providing rationale for the original decision;

d) the Chair will ask committee members if there are any questions;

e) the Chair will ask the appellant and respondent if they have any questions;

f) the appellant will present a summary of their case;

g) the respondent will present a summary of their case.

NOTE: After, or during each presentation, the committee members may ask further questions regarding the case. The appellant or the respondent may ask questions after the Committee members ask their questions. All questions must be directed through the Chair.

8.3.3 The decision  

a) When the testimony and statements of the parties are concluded, the Committee Chair will excuse non-committee participants from the room to deliberate upon whether to uphold or deny the appeal.

b) Decision will be by simple majority vote of those present throughout the entire proceedings and will be based on any additional evidence presented during the hearing and on evidence from the original investigative process.

c) The finding will be limited to "denied" or "upheld" plus a very brief indication of any mitigating circumstances.

d) As soon as a decision is reached, the Chair will read the findings and sanctions, if any, in the presence of the parties (only if possible and practical at the time). The Chair shall also send a written statement of the findings and sanctions, if any, to the parties concerned within five calendar days of the appeal hearing.

e) Decisions taken by this committee are final and there is no further avenue for appeal.

8.3.4 Adjournment

a) The Chair, after the decision has been rendered, shall dismiss the hearing. The records should be turned over to the Registrar’s Office.

b) The discussion of the committee leading up to the decision and sanctions must be as confidential as possible. The Chair only shall speak on behalf of the committee and provide the reasons for the decision to the respective parties.

Appendix B: Guidelines for Natural Justice
  1. The burden of proof is preponderance of evidence or balance of probabilities rather than “beyond a reasonable doubt”. The burden of proof will be established by an analysis of “what is most likely to have happened.”
      
  2. The process should ensure as speedy a resolution of cases as is consistent with due process.
      
  3. Each party must be given sufficient notice (normally five calendar days) of an investigative process or Academic Appeals hearing, in writing, to allow for preparation of the case.
      
  4. The student must be informed of the allegations forming the basis of the report of academic misconduct against them.
      
  5. The student has the right to hear and to respond to evidence presented against them.
      
  6. Each party may have an advisor who shall be a member of the University community (i.e. students or current employees of the University). Students are encouraged to consult a MASU representative, who will advise upon request. (refer also to the definition of an Advisor under section 2 of the Academic Integrity Policy)
      
  7. Accused students and persons initiating a complaint may call witnesses at the initial investigative meeting. Witnesses must appear. It is the responsibility of both parties to notify their own willing witnesses of the time and place of the meeting. The relevant authority may compel witnesses to attend.
      
  8. Students may be accompanied by an advisor at both the initial meeting(s) and any appeal hearing(s) (as appropriate). Students must inform the relevant authority, in writing, at least 3 days prior to the review/hearing or appeals hearing if they plan to bring witnesses or an advisor.
      
  9. Both sides of the case have the right to be heard.
      
  10. Accused students who request access to the case against them and to the names of witnesses are entitled to such access provided that a request is made in a reasonable amount of time in advance.
      
  11. Hearsay evidence may be presented at the discretion of the relevant authority.
      
  12. Evidence of guilt or innocence is to be heard, and the decision made, without reference to previous record, except where appropriate and relevant to the case at hand. If academic misconduct is determined, the previous record may be considered in determining the academic sanction.
      
  13. Any record of the process will not be maintained in the student’s academic or personal files if no charges are laid, although the relevant authority shall maintain official records for University purposes.
      
  14. At all levels of the process, decisions must be given promptly in writing. Reasons for the decisions must be provided.
      
  15. No one should hear a case if he or she is biased in any way. In particular, no one who is involved in the investigation of the initial complaint may sit on the Appeals Committee.
Appendix C: Academic Misconduct Explanations

This appendix includes explanations of terminology and some examples and is not to be considered as a comprehensive or complete list of academic misconduct.

a) “Plagiarism” means misrepresenting someone else’s work including oral presentations, in whole or in part, whether ideas, words, creative works (including music, performance pieces, artwork, computer code), published or unpublished, as your own.

b) Submitting work you’ve already received academic credit for, or that you are already submitting for another course, without written permission from your Instructor(s). Permission from the Instructor(s) must be in writing and must clearly outline any restrictions related to the academic work.

c) Falsifying results in lab experiments, field exercises, or other assignments
For example: faking or omitting lab data constitutes academic misconduct.

d) Copying someone else’s work on assignments, tests, or exams
Copying someone else’s work or allowing your work to be copied constitutes academic misconduct.

e) Use of unauthorized aid or assistance in tests or exams.                                    
Students are expected to work on their own in all tests or exams, including take-home exams, using only aids that have been explicitly authorized for use in the test or exam by the Instructor. For example, use of a cell phone during an exam is not permitted and constitutes academic misconduct.

f) Collaborating on assignments that were designated by the Instructor as individual.            
Inappropriate collaboration occurs when students work together beyond the level of collaboration that has been approved by the Instructor. Instructors are expected to outline the appropriate level of collaboration in course outlines and/or for each assignment.  Students should assume that all assignments are to be done individually unless the Instructor has specified otherwise.  If unsure of the Instructor’s expectations, students are responsible for clarifying the expectations with the Instructor.
 
g) Impersonating another student, or knowingly allowing someone to impersonate you, in an assignment, test, or exam
Allowing another student to do one’s lab work, preparing an essay or assignment for submission by another student, writing a test or exam for another student or allowing another student to write one’s test or exam constitutes academic misconduct.

h) Using someone else’s computer account or using your computer account for unauthorized purposes
Students should refer to the following policies that pertain to computer accounts: Policy 7001Policy 7003, and Policy 7005.

i) Interfering with or damaging someone else’s academic work including their access to campus resources

j) Obtaining, viewing, or sharing information about an assignment, test, or exam
For example, sharing with other students the questions and/or answers for an assignment, test, or exam constitutes academic misconduct.  Equally, illicitly obtaining or viewing the questions and/or answers for an assignment, test, or exam constitutes academic misconduct.

k) Knowingly helping someone else engage in academically dishonest behavior                   
“Knowingly” means “ought reasonably to have known”. For example allowing access to one’s essay, or assignment to another student who then copies it and submits it for credit; allowing one’s computer file or assignment to be copied; allowing another student to copy a lab report.

l) Submitting false information or false medical documentation or misrepresenting personal circumstances to postpone or gain an advantage for any academic work
For example, submitting false medical documentation to support a request for exam accommodation, or falsifying registration records, constitutes academic misconduct.

m) Tampering with academic transcripts or records and/or submitting false credentials
Forging or falsifying academic transcripts, certificates, or other documents, constitutes academic misconduct.

n) Any other form of misrepresentation, cheating, fraudulent academic behavior or other improper academic conduct of comparable severity
For example, “misrepresentation” may be interpreted as false, distorted, altered, or misleading representation, whether intentional or unintentional.  This may include false citation, citing sources that were not consulted or attributing material that was not obtained from the cited source.
Also, failure to disclose prior academic records required for admissions decisions or for other academic purposes, constitutes an example of “fraudulent academic behavior”.

Appendix D: Administrative Flow of Academic Misconduct Procedures

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

1. Academic Misconduct Suspected

2. Notification to the student - Instructor informs student via email of allegation of academic misconduct  and evidence of misconduct; invites student to meet or respond to the allegation within 5 calendar days of notification

3. Instructor meets with student  (in person or via email) to discuss the allegation and determine whether an offence has occurred

4.

  • a) Insufficient evidence to proceed with the allegation - NO report is filed and the matter is dropped; educative action may be recommended (e.g. tutorial with librarian on properly citing sources)
  • b) Evidence supports misconduct meriting Academic Penalty - Instructor files Report of Academic Misconduct indicating appropriate educative action and/or academic penalty to be imposed.  Report, along with evidence, is copied to student, Department Head, Academic Dean (AIO), and Registrar.

5. Immediately upon receipt of a Report of Academic Misconduct, the Registrar shall inform the student, the Instructor, Department Head, and the Academic Dean (AIO) if there is a record of a previous report.

  • a) Previous Record - If the Registrar determines that there is a record on file of a previous report, the matter is referred automatically to the Academic Dean (AIO) for review and further action.
  • b) No previous record – if there is no previous record but the student wishes to dispute the report of academic misconduct, the educative action or the academic penalty imposed, the student may request that the Academic Dean(AIO) review the case.  The request must be made within 5 calendar days of the Report having been filed.

6. Referral to Academic Dean (AIO) – Contested Allegation

  • a) Academic Dean (AIO)  meets with student and Instructor  (notice of meeting – allow 5 calendar days)
    • i. Insufficient evidence to proceed with the allegation - NO report is filed and the matter is dropped; educative action may be recommended (e.g. tutorial with librarian on properly citing sources)
    • ii. Evidence supports misconduct meriting Academic Penalty – Academic Dean (AIO) confirms with Registrar that there is no record of other reports on file before confirming decision to uphold the Instructor’s assessment that academic misconduct has occurred.
  • b) Academic Dean (AIO)  informs all parties of the decision and maintains all records pertaining to the Report
  • c) Either party has the right to appeal the decision to the Senate Academic Appeals Committee (normally within 5 calendar days of Academic Dean’s (AIO) decision)

7. Referral to Academic Dean(AIO) – Contested Educative Action or Academic Penalty

  • a) Academic Dean (AIO) reviews allegation and evidence in determining appropriateness of the educative action or academic penalty
  • b) Academic Dean (AIO)  may or may not require a meeting to discuss the matter with both parties (notice of meeting – allow 5 calendar days)
  • c) Academic Dean (AIO) informs all parties of the decision and maintains all records pertaining to the Report
  • d) Student has a right to appeal the decision to the Senate Academic Appeals Committee (normally within 5 calendar days of Academic Dean’s (AIO) decision)

8. Referral to Academic Dean (AIO) – Previous Record

  • a) If the student did not contest the allegation
    • i. Academic Dean (AIO)  reviews allegation and evidence
    •  ii. Academic Dean (AIO)   may or may not require a meeting to discuss the matter with the student (notice of meeting – allow 5 calendar days)
    • iii. Academic Dean (AIO)  informs all parties of the decision and maintains all records pertaining to the Report
    • iv. Student has a right to appeal the decision to the Senate Academic Appeals Committee (normally within 5 calendar days of Academic Dean’s (AIO) decision)
  • b) If the student contests the allegation  -
    • i. Academic Dean (AIO)  meets with student and Instructor (notice of meeting – allow 5 calendar days)
      • Insufficient evidence to proceed with the allegation - NO report is filed and the matter is dropped; educative action may be recommended (e.g. tutorial with librarian on properly citing sources)
      • Evidence supports misconduct meriting Academic Penalty – Academic Dean (AIO) confirms decision to uphold the Instructor’s assessment that academic misconduct has occurred and, in addition to the academic penalty imposed by the Instructor, may impose additional academic sanctions (e.g. disciplinary probation, suspension, etc.)  If it is possible that a decision may result in disciplinary suspension, dismissal, or expulsion, consultation with the Academic Integrity Committee is required before rendering a decision.
    • ii. Academic Dean (AIO)  informs all parties of the decision and maintains all records pertaining to the Report
    • iii. Either party has the right to appeal the decision to the Senate Academic Appeals Committee (normally within 5 calendar days of Academic Dean’s decision)

GRADUATE STUDENTS

1. Academic Misconduct Suspected

2. Notification to the student - Instructor informs student via email of allegation of academic misconduct  and evidence of misconduct; invites student to meet or respond to the allegation within 5 calendar days of notification

3. Instructor meets with student  (in person or via email) to discuss the allegation and determine whether an offence has occurred

4.

  • a) Insufficient evidence to proceed with the allegation - NO report is filed and the matter is dropped; educative action may be recommended (e.g. tutorial with librarian on properly citing sources)
  • b) Evidence supports misconduct meriting Academic Penalty - Instructor files Report of Academic Misconduct indicating appropriate educative action and/or academic penalty to be imposed.  Report, along with evidence, is copied to student, Graduate Studies Supervisor, Academic Dean (AIO), and Registrar.

5. Immediately upon receipt of a Report of Academic Misconduct, the Registrar shall inform the student, the Instructor, Graduate Studies Supervisor, and Academic Dean (AIO), if there is a record of a previous report.

  • a) Previous Record - If the Registrar determines that there is a record on file of a previous report, the matter is referred automatically to the Academic Dean (AIO) for review and further action.
  • b) No previous record – if there is no previous record but the student wishes to dispute the report of academic misconduct, the educative action or the academic penalty imposed, the student may request that the Dean review the case.  The request must be made within 5 calendar days of the Report having been filed.

6. Referral to Academic Dean (AIO)  – Contested Allegation

  • a) Academic Dean (AIO)   meets with student and Instructor  (notice of meeting-  allow 5 calendar days)
    • Insufficient evidence to proceed with the allegation - NO report is filed and the matter is dropped; educative action may be recommended
    • Evidence supports misconduct meriting Academic Penalty – Academic Dean (AIO) confirms with Registrar that there is no record of other reports on file before confirming decision to uphold the Instructor’s assessment that academic misconduct has occurred.
  • b) Academic Dean (AIO)   informs all parties of the decision and maintains all records pertaining to the Report
  • c) Either party has the right to appeal the decision to the Senate Academic Appeals Committee (normally within 5 calendar days of Academic Dean’s (AIO) decision)

7. Referral to Academic Dean (AIO)   – Contested Educative Action or Academic Penalty

  • a) Academic Dean (AIO)   reviews allegation and evidence in determining appropriateness of the educative action or academic penalty
  • b) Academic Dean (AIO)  may or may not require a meeting to discuss the matter with both parties (notice of meeting – allow 5 calendar days)
  • c) Academic Dean (AIO)   informs all parties of the decision and maintains all records pertaining to the Report
  • d) Student has a right to appeal the decision to the Senate Academic Appeals Committee (normally within 5 calendar days of Academic Dean’s(AIO) decision)

8. Referral to  Academic Dean (AIO)  – Previous Record

  • a) If the student did not contest the allegation  -
    • i. Academic Dean (AIO)  reviews allegation and evidence
    • ii. Academic Dean (AIO)   may or may not require a meeting to discuss the matter with the student
    • iii. Academic Dean (AIO) informs all parties of the decision and maintains all records pertaining to the Report
    • iv. Student has a right to appeal the decision to the Senate Academic Appeals Committee
  • b) If the student contests the allegation  -
    • i. Academic Dean (AIO)   meets with student and Instructor (notice of meeting - allow 5 calendar days)
      • Insufficient evidence to proceed with the allegation - NO report is filed and the matter is dropped; educative action may be recommended (e.g. tutorial with librarian on properly citing sources)
      • Evidence supports misconduct meriting Academic Penalty – Academic Dean (AIO) confirms decision to uphold the Instructor’s assessment that academic misconduct has occurred and, in addition to the academic penalty imposed by the Instructor, may impose additional academic sanctions (e.g. disciplinary probation, suspension, etc.) If it is possible that a decision may result in disciplinary suspension, dismissal, or expulsion, consultation with the Academic Integrity Committee is required before rendering a decision.
    • ii. Academic Dean (AIO)  informs all parties of the decision and maintains all records pertaining to the Report
    • iii. Either party has the right to appeal the decision to the Senate Academic Appeals Committee (normally within 5 calendar days of Academic Dean’s (AIO) decision)
Appendix E: Forms and Templates

Forms


Templates

Guidelines for notifying the student of an allegation of academic misconduct

When an instructor suspects academic misconduct:

  • The student shall be notified via e-mail
  • The subject line should indicate that the communication is ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ and the purpose of the communication
  • The opening paragraph should include a brief description of the allegation
  • There should be a statement specifying the form of misconduct outlined in academic regulation 10.6.2 (a, b, c, etc.) and the penalty and/or educative action for the offence (refer to AIP, sections 2, 3.2a), b), 4), as indicated in the course outline.
  • The body of the letter shall include contact information for student to arrange an appointment to meet in person or via e-mail to discuss the allegation and/or penalty, specifying a date by which the student must respond (normally within five calendar days). This is an opportunity for awareness and education on academic integrity and to determine if there are any additional factors to be considered (see AIP section 4.d))
  • The student should be advised of the resources available to accompany the student to the meeting and/or act as an advisor (such as a MASU representative, the chaplain, staff in Counselling Services, The Meighen Centre, and the Student Life Office)
  • Closing paragraph should indicate that if the student does not respond by the specified date, a Report of Academic Misconduct will be filed

E-mail template for instructors: allegation of academic misconduct

From: instructor name@mta.ca
To: studentname@mta.ca
Subject: CONFIDENTIAL: Student’s Name — Allegation of Academic Misconduct; Course

Dear [student name],

I am writing in regard to the [assignment/paper/test] that you submitted on [date] for [course]. My assessment is that this [assignment/paper/test)] involves a breach of the Academic Integrity Policy. (Give brief details of offence, e.g. "Specifically, you were caught in possession of study notes in a mid-term where none were allowed." Or “There is evidence of plagiarism with passages taken from the following online sources [name sources])

This is an allegation of academic misconduct under 10.6.2 [indicate a), b), c), etc.)] at http://www.mta.ca/academic_calendar/_10.html#_10.6.2. The penalty for this offence is [provide details here], as indicated in the course outline.

Please contact my office at [phone number] by [provide a date, normally within five calendar days] to arrange an appointment to discuss this allegation and the academic penalty [educative action]. If you wish, you may be accompanied by a member of the University community, such as a MASU representative, the chaplain, or staff in Counselling Services, The Meighen Centre, or the Student Life Office, who may act as an advisor. [Alternatively, if in person meeting is not possible… Please contact me by return e-mail by [provide a date, normally within five calendar days] to discuss this allegation and the academic penalty [educative action.] Please note that you may consult with a member of the University community, such as a MASU representative, the chaplain, or staff in Counselling Services, The Meighen Centre, or the Student Life Office, to act as an advisor in this matter.]

If I do not hear from you, by [date indicated above] I will proceed with the allegation and submit a ‘Report of Academic Misconduct’ to the Academic Dean (AIO) as required under academic regulation 10.6.1 f). A copy of the form will be sent to you, to the department head, [or supervisor for MSc students] and to the registrar to determine if there is a previous report of academic misconduct on file.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

[Instructor’s name, Department]

 

Guidelines for notifying the academic integrity officer (AIO) of an allegation of academic misconduct

After the instructor has discussed the allegation of academic misconduct with the student (i.e. initial e-mail notification and allowed opportunity for follow-up discussion):

  • Complete the Report of Academic Misconduct form and create scanned copy of the form to send as pdf attachment
  • Send cover e-mail to AIO (cc’d to student, department head/ MSc supervisor, and registrar) that includes the following attachments:
    •  Report of Academic Misconduct form that includes description of incident, date, time, details, and synopsis of meetings with student (in person or via e-mail) or explanation of why meeting was not possible (see Appendix A — 7.2.1)
    • Copies of relevant or related correspondence with the student involved with the case
    • Evidence: copies of work in question, any other relevant materials such as source that was plagiarized, test that was copied, etc. 
    • Relevant assignment/test/exam as distributed to class
    • Course outline

E-mail template for instructors to AIO: report of academic misconduct

From: instructor name@mta.ca
To: AcademicDean(AIO)@mta.ca
Cc: studentname@mta.ca; departmenthead@mta.ca or MScsupervisor@mta.ca; registrar@mta.ca
Subject: Student’s Name  — Report of Academic Misconduct; Course
Attachments: Report of Academic Misconduct form; other documentation (relevant correspondence with student, evidence, relevant assignment/test/exam distributed to class, course outline)

Dear [Academic Dean AIO],

I am writing to report a breach of the Academic Integrity Policy involving [student Name, ID] in an [assignment/paper/test] submitted on [date] for [course]. See attached Report of Academic Misconduct form for details.

I met with [student name] on [date] to discuss the allegation and academic penalty. See attached relevant correspondence with the student and evidence pertaining to the allegation of misconduct.

Please contact me if you have any questions concerning this matter.

Sincerely,

[Instructor’s name]


Additional resources

Guidelines for faculty on how to handle academic misconduct

Step 1: Gathering information  

  • collect any information that supports your suspicion of academic misconduct
  • inform the student of your concerns via e-mail and provide the student with a fair opportunity to meet or respond (normally within five calendar days). If the allegation involves more than one student, each student should be notified separately and interviewed individually during the initial investigation.
  • meet with the student (in person if possible) to discuss the allegation
  • based on your discussion(s) and a review of all relevant evidence, determine whether you think academic misconduct has occurred

Step 2: Decision-making

  • if  there is insufficient evidence to proceed with the allegation, NO report is filed and the matter is dropped; educative action may be recommended (e.g. tutorial with librarian)
  • if  there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the allegation, inform the student in writing via e-mail that you will be submitting a Report of Academic Misconduct form; recommended educative action and/or academic penalty (see section 4 of the Academic Integrity Policy); inform student that they have the right to appeal

Step 3: Reporting an allegation of academic misconduct

  • complete the Report of Academic Misconduct form and forward it, along with all other information specified on the form, via e-mail attachment  to the academic dean (AIO), copied to the student, the department head (UG students) or supervisor (MSC students), and registrar. Note: if an allegation involves more than one student, a separate report must be filed for each student
  • the registrar will confirm if there are any previous reports of academic misconduct on file
  • the academic dean (AIO) will review cases when:
    • there is a previous record on file
    • the student wishes to contest the allegation
    • the student wishes to contest the educative action and/or academic penalty
  • the academic dean (AIO) may or may not require a meeting to discuss the matter with both parties and possibly in consultation with the Academic Integrity Committee (notice of meeting is normally five calendar days)
  • the academic dean (AIO) informs all parties of the decision and maintains all records pertaining to the report; either party has the right to appeal the decision to the Academic Appeals Committee (normally within five calendar days of the decision)

Additional information

  • Templates for e-mail communications will be available as Appendix E under Policy 5500
  • If you experience difficulty reaching the student or receiving a response to e-mail within the specified timeline, you may proceed without the student’s information.  
  • Do not return the relevant test, assignment, essay, etc. to the student. Original material and related paperwork is a critical part of an allegation of academic misconduct. Scanned copies of the relevant material should be included with the Report of Academic Misconduct, which is copied to the student.
  • If you are uncomfortable meeting with the student alone, you may have another person attend the meeting (for instance, department head, TA). The student should be notified of this in advance and informed that they too have the right to bring a support person (such as a MASU representative, chaplain, or a staff member from Counselling Services, the Meighen Centre, and the Student Life Office. (However, set some guidelines: you will be addressing your concerns to the student, who will be expected to respond to them. The support person may advise the student, but may not speak for the student. )
  • Consider timing and the nature of the case. Because the consequences of academic misconduct may result in serious sanctions for the student, each case must be treated seriously and given the requisite time to properly process it. Sometimes, this takes place within a relatively short period of time, but sometimes it takes much longer.
  • Questions? Consult with the department head, academic dean, or registrar.