Academic Integrity and Misconduct

Student Guidance

Visual guide of academic misconduct timeline. All content described in text below.

Full Policy access

Please review the academic misconduct policy every semester. Every course might have additional academic integrity policies, rules, and instructions. Always ask your faculty member for clarification when you need it.

FACULTY, STUDENT, and Student Life ROLEs

Faculty-senate oversees the Academic Integrity Policy. 

Faculty are deemed as the decision-makers when evaluating student responsibility (or lack thereof) to academic misconduct. They follow a timeline, provide due process, and make decisions of responsibility for each case of academic misconduct in their course(s). 

Students are responsible for reading and understanding the academic misconduct policy. Students can provide their perspective when involved in academic misconduct and can appeal decisions based on specific criteria.

The Office of Community Standards administers this faculty-approved policy. Within this office in Student Life, two administrators will facilitate the separate parts of the policy. One staff member assists faculty and students through the process and sends communication to those involved if a student is found responsible for academic misconduct. Another staff member oversees the appeal process. There are two staff members a part of the process in order to remain impartial if there is an appeal. Students’ main point of contact through the initial case review and resolution is the Assistant Director of Community Standards, Sam Ralston (seralston@mines.edu). 

Definitions of Academic Misconduct
  1. Dishonest Conduct – general conduct unbecoming a scholar. Examples include issuing misleading statements; withholding pertinent information; submitting previously graded work as new and/or original without acknowledgement and permission; not fulfilling, in a timely fashion, previously agreed to projects or activities; and verifying as true, things that are known to the student not to be true or verifiable.
  2. Plagiarism – presenting the work of another as one’s own. This is usually accomplished through the failure to acknowledge the borrowing of ideas, data, or the words of others. Examples include submitting as one’s own work the work of another student, a ghost writer, or a commercial writing service; quoting, either directly or paraphrased, a source without appropriate acknowledgment; and using figures, charts, graphs or facts without appropriate acknowledgment. Inadvertent or unintentional misuse or appropriation of another’s work is nevertheless plagiarism.
  3. Falsification/Fabrication – inventing or altering information. Examples include inventing or manipulating data or research procedures to report, suggest, or imply that particular results were achieved from procedures when such procedures were not actually undertaken or when such results were not actually supported by the pertinent data; false citation of source materials; reporting false information about practical, laboratory, or clinical experiences; falsifying attendance or participation; submitting false excuses for absence, tardiness, or missed deadlines; and, altering previously submitted examinations.
  4. Tampering – interfering with, forging, altering or attempting to alter university records, grades, assignments, or other documents without authorization. Examples include using a computer or a false-written document to change a recorded grade; altering, deleting, or manufacturing any academic record; and, gaining unauthorized access to a university record by any means.
  5. Cheating – using or attempting to use unauthorized materials or aid with the intent of demonstrating academic performance through fraudulent means. Examples include copying from another student’s paper or receiving unauthorized assistance on a homework assignment, quiz, test, or examination; using books, notes or other devices such as calculators, PDAs and cell phones, unless explicitly authorized; acquiring without authorization a copy of the examination before the scheduled examination; and copying reports, laboratory work or computer files from other students. Authorized materials are those generally regarded as being appropriate in an academic setting, unless specific exceptions have been articulated by the instructor.
  6. Impeding – negatively impacting the ability of other students to successfully complete course or degree requirements. Examples include removing pages from books and removing materials that are placed on reserve in the Library for general use; failing to provide team members necessary materials or assistance; and, knowingly disseminating false information about the nature of a test or examination.
  7. Sharing Work – giving or attempting to give unauthorized materials or aid to another student. Examples include allowing another student to copy your work; giving unauthorized assistance on a homework assignment, quiz, test or examination; providing, without authorization, copies of examinations before the scheduled examination; posting work on a website for others to see; and sharing reports, laboratory work or computer files with other students.

Additionally, individual courses may specify appropriate and/or inappropriate scholastic conduct as long as course specific guidance is not in conflict with this senior, university misconduct policy and is well known by way of advanced written distribution to all students enrolled (e.g. published course syllabus). Students are encouraged to seek prior authorization and permission to use online homework or tutoring sites including, but not limited to, CHEGG. The Academic Misconduct Policy prohibits unauthorized help or assistance. Unauthorized use of CHEGG or similar sites to the benefit of studying, homework, or examinations may result in Academic Misconduct investigations/sanctions. Viewing, uploading, and downloading material is not tolerated when the course material was illegally or improperly uploaded. Contact your faculty member to proactively seek permission or clarity.

Suspicion of Academic Misconduct

Faculty members and thesis committees have discretion to address and resolve misconduct matters in a manner that is commensurate with the infraction and consistent with the values of the Institution. This includes imposition of appropriate academic sanctions for students involved in academic misconduct. However, in order to maintain consistency when handling such issues, if a member of the Mines’ community has grounds for suspecting that a student or students have engaged in academic misconduct, they have an obligation to act on this suspicion by using the following procedure.

Throughout a course, faculty may suspect a student or students alleged behavior as it relates to one or more of the definitions of academic misconduct. When a suspicion arises, faculty will follow a timeline and steps to resolve the case through the academic misconduct policy. Those steps are described below and visually above. Students and faculty have certain rights and responsibilities as part of this process. 

NOTIFICATION FROM FACULTY TO STUDENT

 

Based on the first day of suspicion, faculty must notify and meet with the student(s) involved in an alleged academic misconduct policy within 10 business days. As a student, faculty will email a student using their Mines official email account.

When a student receives communication from faculty involving academic misconduct, the communication may include:

  • Disability Support Services information. It is up to the student to work with Disability Support Services, Community Standards, and/or their faculty member to determine if accommodations are needed through the academic misconduct process.
  • Students and faculty are both allowed to have a support person invited to the meeting
  • It is encouraged that faculty share with students involved why there is a meeting. Faculty share with students that the meeting is to discuss academic misconduct, but faculty may choose not to provide additional information beyond that. More information will be shared in the meeting.
  • Faculty will likely share a timeline of when they are available to meet. It is up to the student to reply to faculty communication. Students can request to meet at a different time; students can request an extension to meet through their faculty member or through the AD of Community Standards.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR A MEETING

As students prepare for a meeting, they should consider taking the following steps:

1. Reflect on the following questions:

  • What knowledge did you have of academic misconduct policies specific to your course before this incident?
  • What happened during the incident? How can you best explain your situation?
  • If you did not violate an academic misconduct policy, how can you explain you did not? Are there others who can vouch for you? Do you have other information to explain why you would not violate an academic misconduct policy?
  • If you worked with others, who were they, and how did you work with them?
  • Do you have questions or scenarios to clarify with your professor?

2. Consider how you want to share this information during the meeting. You could bring a written statement to read from, you could bring evidence from your own devices, you could practice what you want to say in advance of the meeting, and other ideas. 

3. Read up on the full policy and the information on this page. There are resources at Mines available students can use through this process.

MEETING WITH FACULTY

Within 10 business days of suspected academic misconduct, faculty should notify and meet with the student(s) involved. Some additional information for students to know:

  •  Students and faculty are allowed to invite one support person each to the meeting. A support person must remain quiet during the meeting and may prepare with the student and faculty member in advance. Students should tell their faculty member who their support person is if they choose to bring one. 
  • The intention of the meeting with the student(s) is to provide faculty perspective and evidence and collect the perspective of the student(s). The meeting also provides faculty and students to clarify policies specific to the course. 
  • Faculty will use the evidence from the suspected misconduct incident and the meeting to make a determination of responsibility. It is the responsibility of the student to attend the meeting and provide perspective, otherwise a faculty member can make a decision without the student. 
DETERMINING RESPONSIBILITY

After meeting with the student, faculty need to make a decision of responsibility and report it to the Office of Community Standards within 5 business days. If multiple students are involved together in one case (to be clear, they are intertwined), faculty will need to make a decision of responsibility for all involved within 5 business days of the last meeting. There are two options when determining responsibility:

  • To determine there is no responsibility. No communication needs to be provided to Community Standards. Faculty still need to communicate the decision to the student(s) involved.
  • To determine there is responsibility. If faculty find a student or students responsible for academic misconduct, faculty need to complete this form to report it to Community Standards. Faculty also need to communicate their decision to the student(s), within 5 business days of meeting with the student.
WHAT COMES NEXT

Once the academic misconduct has been reported to the Office of Community Standards, the Assistant Director of Community Standards will send notice to the student(s) involved within 5 business days of the case being reported. This email comes externally from a software called Maxient and is safe to open. 

The resolution notice will include faculty involved, department leadership related to the course, the academic advisor for the student, and when necessary, athletics staff and International Student Support Services (ISSS) staff. 

The resolution may require faculty to take additional steps like changing a grade or changing a final grade. Faculty will note the following sanctions are automatic and will be taken toward the student(s) involved, if it is for regular coursework:

  • 1st Offense: Zero credit (or no points) on the assignment/exam/effort. Educational sanctioning as prescribed and facilitated by the Dean of Students Office. Notation of first offense in disciplinary record.
    • Failure to comply with educational sanctioning expectations and timeline will result in immediate acceleration of offense to sanctioning prescribed with 2nd offense (F in course and inability to withdraw). Additionally, the student’s disciplinary standing will also be upgraded to 2nd offense.
    • With 1st offense, faculty may choose to provide a restorative credit assignment or make-up quiz or exam wherein students can work to recover credit penalized as part of misconduct sanctioning.
  • 2nd Offense: “F” in the course and inability to withdraw. Notation of second offense in disciplinary record. 
  • 3rd or Greater Offense: “F” in the course. Suspension from school for 1-year minimum (calendar year). “Suspension as a result of Academic Misconduct” permanently noted on university transcript. Return to Mines not guaranteed, and only possible by way of Mines Readmissions Committee.

Finally, the resolution will include appeal information.

    how to appeal

    In every resolution notice sent to faculty and students, appeal information is included. An appeal is not a second hearing of the case, but rather it is a review of the procedures followed and information presented to determine if the process provided was in accordance with the policy, or if the decision was unsupported by the evidence, as shared below. A student can appeal using this linked form. Appeals for academic misconduct are managed through Dr. Derek Morgan, Dean of Students. 

    Students can appeal based on the following grounds:

    • Due Process.  To determine whether the meeting with the faculty member and the process followed was conducted fairly and in conformity with the prescribed procedures. Any procedural errors must have been so substantial as to effectively deny the student a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present information about an alleged policy violation. The student should be able to show that there would have been a different outcome if the procedural error had not occurred.  Minor deviations that do not materially affect the outcome are not a basis for sustaining an appeal. Violations of due process include, but are not limited to:
      • Faculty member not providing time to listen to a student’s perspective (unnless the student never replies to the faculty member)
      • Faculty member going into a student meeting with their mind already made that the student is responsible
      • Faculty member was not open to hearing the perspective of a student involved in an academic misconduct case
      • Faculty member did not provide details and/or evidence in their meeting with a student as to why they are suspicious of academic misconduct
    • New Information. To consider information or other relevant facts sufficient to alter a decision because such information was not known by the student at the time of the original conduct meeting with the faculty member.
    • Unsupported Decision. To determine whether the decision reached by the faculty member was supported using the preponderance of evidence standard to establish that a violation of the policy occurred. This ground for appeal requires the student to show that no reasonable person could have determined that the student was responsible or could have imposed the sanctioned issued based on the available evidence.

    WHAT HAPPENS IF AN APPEAL MOVES FORWARD

     If an appeal is approved to move forward by the Dean of Students, the appeals process begins. The process is as follows:

    1. Notify the student and the faculty member that the appeal has been accepted and the appeal will proceed.
    2. Schedule a date and time for the appeal meeting to be held. 
    3. Provide the student and faculty member with an overview of the appeal process and allow them to submit any additional information related to the academic misconduct charge that they would like to be included in the appeal meeting. 
    4. Forward the appeal and all supporting documents to the participating members of the Student Conduct Appeals Board.

    The Student Conduct Board is made up of 16 individuals who represent students, staff, and faculty. A minimum of three Board members (including 1 student and 1 faculty member) are required for all appeal meetings. Each faculty member and student involved in an appealed case are allowed to disinvite one Student Conduct Board member due to conflict of interests, if applicable.

     If faculty are involved in an appeal, the Dean of Students will send additional information as to the logistics and specifics of the appeal meeting with the Student Conduct Board. Both student and faculty are allowed to bring a support person to join them on the call. Witnesses may also be a part of the appeal meeting. 

     

    APPEAL DECISIONS

    At the conclusion of the appeal meeting, the Student Conduct Appeals Board will make one of the following decisions:

    1. Reverse the decision of the faculty member and withdraw the charge from the student’s record. 
    2. Affirm the decision of the faculty member and uphold the sanction(s).
    3. Forward the case to the Office of Academic Affairs for further consideration: the Student Conduct Appeals Board believes that additional matters implicated in the appeal should be reviewed and considered which could include increasing or decreasing the sanctions imposed or addressing additional issues that arose through the appeal process.  Recommendations for appropriate sanctions should be made by the Student Appeals Committee to the Office of Academic Affairs.  The additional review and consideration will be conducted by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies or Dean of Graduate Studies, depending on the academic standing of the student requesting the appeal.  The Office of Academic Affairs staff member will make a final decision that will be communicated to the student within 10 business days. 

    The decision made will be communicated to the student and faculty member within 24 hours of the conclusion of the appeal meeting.  The decision issued by the Student Conduct Appeals Board or the Office of Academic Affairs (in matters that are forwarded for further consideration) is final and shall be considered binding upon all involved, from which no additional appeals are permitted.

    Samantha Ralston

    Samantha Ralston

    Assistant Director of Community Standards

    Responsibilities:

    • Oversees academic misconduct process
    • Sends communication to faculty and students through academic misconduct cases when necessary
    • Can provide information on how to appeal and how to prepare
    • Sends final resolution notice when students are responsible for academic misconduct
    CASA

    CASA

    Academic Advisor

    Responsibilities:

    • Will be included on the final communication resolution if a student is found responsible for academic misconduct
    • Can navigate how a course, semester, or journey at Mines may be impacted when students are involved in academic misconduct
    • Can provide resources on academic coaching, tutoring, academic wellness, time management, and other resources
    International Student Support Services

    International Student Support Services

    Are you an international student? Working with an advisor from ISSS could be helpful:

    • ISSS staff can assist international students if they are involved in an academic misconduct case, especially if the outcome impacts immigration status
    • ISSS staff can navigate the policy and provide orientation to academic misconduct policy before becoming and while a student
    Mentorship

    Mentorship

    Student Choice

    Build community within your network. Is there someone in your life who can discuss with you your academic misconduct case, provide guidance, support, and accountability? This might include:

    • Your faculty members
    • Any resource at Mines (CASA Advisor, Counseling Center, Student Outreach and Support staff, etc.)
    • Coach/Athletics Advisor
    • Parent or family member
    • Peer Educator at Mines