Academic Honor Code

Academic Policies & Procedures

In the context of a community of scholarship and faith, and anchored in a belief in the inherent dignity of each person, the students, faculty, staff and administration of Stonehill College maintain an uncompromising commitment to academic integrity.

We promote a climate of intellectual and ethical integrity and vigorously uphold the fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, and the responsibility while fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect within and beyond the classroom. Any violation of these basic values threatens the integrity of the educational process, the development of ideas, and the unrestricted exchange of knowledge. Therefore, we will not participate in or tolerate academic dishonesty.

Academic Integrity Policy

All member of the College community have the responsibility to be familiar with, to support, and to abide by the College's Academic Honor Code. This responsibility includes reporting knowledge of or suspected violations of this policy to the appropriate faculty member or to the Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee.

Violations of the Academic Integrity Policy include but are not limited to the following actions:

  1. Presenting another's work as if it were one's own;
  2. Failing to acknowledge or document a source even if the action is unintended (i.e., plagiarism);
  3. Giving or receiving, or attempting to give or receive, unauthorized assistance or information in an assignment or examination;
  4. Fabricating data;
  5. Submitting the same assignment in two or more courses without prior permission of the respective instructors;
  6. Having another person write a paper or sit for an examination;
  7. Unauthorized use or electronic devices to complete work; or
  8. Furnishing false information, including lying or fabricating excuses, for incomplete work.

Each year, the Vice President for Academic Affairs is responsible for maintaining and publishing a set of procedures relative to the Academic Integrity Policy. These procedures can be accessed through the Office of Academic Services and Advising.

Academic Integrity Procedures

Authority

  1. The Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) is responsible for the overall administration of the Academic Honor Code. Under the direction of the VPAA, the Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee has been charged with the day-to-day responsibility for the administration of the Academic Honor Code, including the development and execution of all procedural rules related to academic integrity. The Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee is also responsible for protecting the rights of all parties involved throughout the entire hearing process. All Academic Integrity Reports will be held in confidential files in the Office of Academic Services and Advising.
  2. The Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee gives each faculty member the right to approach a student suspected of violating the Academic Integrity Policy to determine whether or not a violation has occurred, and if so, decide the appropriate sanction for the violation.
  3. The Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee gives authority to the Academic Integrity Board (AIB) to conduct hearings on alleged violations of the academic integrity policy when an agreement cannot be reached between the faculty member and student regarding the violation or the sanction.
  4. The Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee gives authority to the Academic Appeals Board (AAB) to hear appeal cases regarding violations of the academic integrity policy.

Academic Hearing Boards

The purpose of the Academic Integrity Board (AIB) is to review statements from a charged student, the faculty member, and witnesses with knowledge of the incident when there is a dispute over either the alleged violation or sanction. The AIB determines whether or not the charged student violated the academic integrity policy, and determines the nature of the sanction if the charged student is found responsible.

The AIB contains representatives from students, faculty, and administrators. Because these hearings must occur soon after the alleged event, a representing group of faculty and students will be trained so that a quorum of five AIB members can be present to conduct a hearing. The Board will be comprised of two faculty, two students, and Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee who serves as chair of the Board. The Director of Community Standards serves as an "ex officio" member of the Board, ensuring appropriate procedures are followed. Members of the College community may nominate student members of AIB. From these nominations, the Student Government Association will appoint students to serve on the AIB for the following academic year. The Faculty Senate will appoint two faculty members from each division and fill any vacancies during the year by appointment. Members of the AIB may not serve of the Academic Appeals Board.

The Academic Appeals Board (AAB) is charged with hearing all requests for appeals resulting from an AIB hearing. A quorum of three AAB members must be present to conduct a hearing. The AAB is comprised of one faculty member and one student representative, chaired by the Dean of the Faculty or designee. Members of the College community may nominate student members for the AAB. From these nominations, the Student Government Association will appoint students to serve on the AAB for the following academic year. The Faculty Senate will appoint one faculty from each division and fill any vacancies during the year by appointment. Members of the AAB may not serve on the Academic Integrity Board. It is expected that all hearing board members be impartial. All decisions by the AIB and AAB will be arrived at by a simple majority vote. The chairperson will vote only in case of a tie. All board findings are reviewed by the Vice President of Academic Affairs before being released.

In order to participate on either board, all members must complete a training process. The term of office for AIB and AAB board members will be two years for faculty members and one year for students. There are no specific term limits for board members. Student members of the AIB and AAB must be full-time students in good academic and disciplinary standing. If a student member does not maintain good academic or disciplinary standing, he or she will be removed from the AIB or AAB for that academic year. A member of the AIB or AAB may be removed from the Board for non-fulfillment of duties essential to the position. A majority vote of the members is required for removal.

Charged students are required to attend all hearings related to academic integrity violations. Hearings are not open to the public and are confidential in nature. Therefore, friends, parents, siblings, or legal counsel may not be permitted in the room where the hearing takes place but, may wait nearby for support purposes. However, charged students are encouraged to be advised by an advocate during the process, which is defined as a faculty, administrator, staff member or member from the student body who is not an attorney.

In the absence of a functioning AIB or AAB, such as before the appointment of members or at the end of an academic semester, the Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee may appoint an impartial group of faculty, administrators, and students to review the case.

Initiation of Academic Integrity Procedures

Faculty members must respect the student's right to confidentiality during this process. Discussion of any matters related to the event that would violate the student's confidentiality should be avoided. Faculty members seeking advice from others should not use the names of the alleged students and should be careful not to reveal confidential information. Designated staff members in the Office of Academic Services and Advising are available for confidential consultation.

When a faculty member suspects a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy, the faculty member meets privately with the student (in person, or by phone with email documentation, if a face-to-face meeting is impossible, as can happen at the end of a semester) as soon as possible but within five business days of discovering the alleged violation, presents the evidence, and asks for an explanation. Specific time limits within the process may be extended for reasonable cause at the discretion of the Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee. The faculty member and the student may arrive at one of the following conclusions:

  • Both agree that violation did not occur and the case is dismissed. No written report is necessary.
  • Both agree that the action was an unintentional matter resulting from miscommunication or lack of understanding. The faculty member and student agree to a limited sanction which can include a reduction in the grade for the assignment, a requirement to rewrite and submit the assignment and/or the requirement that the student schedule an appointment with the Writing Center personnel for assistance on proper procedure. Reporting of the incident to the Director of Academic Services and Advising is left to the discretion of the faculty member.
  • Both agree a violation did occur and come to an agreement on appropriate sanctions within five business days of their initial meeting. The faculty member imposes the appropriate sanction, depending on the nature and severity of the violation. The faculty member submits an Academic Integrity Incident Report to the Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee who will send a copy of the report to the student. The Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee will review all reports to determine if a repeated offense has occurred. In cases of a repeated offense, the AIB will be convened.
  • The faculty member and student are not able to reach an agreement about either the violation or the sanction. The faculty members is then required to submit, within five business days from when the initial meeting occurred with the student, an Academic Integrity Incident Report to the Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee who will send a copy of the report to the student. The Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee will refer the case to the AIB.

In cases where the personal safety of a faculty member is a concern, the faculty member may either request a third party to be present when meeting with the student or may report the violation directly to the chair of the AIB or designee without prior discussion of the incident with the student.

The student and faculty member involved will be contacted by the chair of the AIB to arrange a date, time and place of the hearing through a written notice. During this contact, the faculty member and student can recommend witnesses.

Formal AIB hearings will be conducted as soon as possible but no sooner than two business days nor more than ten business days after the charged student has been notified.

Specific time limits within the process may be extended for reasonable cause at the discretion of the Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee.

Students Rights to formal AIB and AAB Board Hearings

A charged student will be considered notified of the charges once the Academic Integrity Incident Report has been mailed to the student's local or campus address on file with the College.

A student charged with allegedly violating the Academic Integrity Policy will be entitled to:

  • be notified of the date, time and place of the formal discipline hearing, as well as the names of the witnesses (if applicable) called to the hearing;
  • receive notice of the fact that failure to appear for a formal hearing may result in the hearing being conducted in the absence of the charged student;
  • provide in writing the names of witnesses with knowledge of the incident that may appear at a formal discipline hearing on his/her behalf to the Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee, within twenty-four hours of the hearing. Character witnesses are not permitted;
  • be notified of the fact that he/she may request additional information about the Honor Code;
  • challenge the composition of the hearing board with cause;
  • present his/her case;
  • decline to answer any questions or make any statements during a formal board hearing. Such silence will not be used against the charged student; however, the outcome of the formal hearing will be based upon the information of lack thereof presented at the hearing
  • be advised by an advocate, who is defined as a faculty, administrator, staff member or member of the student body who is not an attorney.
  • be informed in writing of the decision and sanction, if any, within three business days of a hearing; and
  • request an appeal of the decision resulting from an AIB hearing with five business days of receiving the decision in writing. A charged student is entitled to one appeal.

Academic Integrity Board Hearings Procedure

The order of Academic Integrity Board hearings will proceed as follows:

  1. Review and signing of the Honesty Statement;
  2. Reading of the alleged violations(s);
  3. Charged student's opportunity to challenge member(s) of the Academic Integrity Board for Bias;
  4. Charged student's plea;
  5. Charged student's statement;
  6. Faculty member's statement;
  7. Witness' statement(s);
  8. Person who believes he/she was the victim of the student's Academic Integrity Violation statement;
  9. Charged student's closing statement;
  10. Discussion and decision making in close session.

Sanctions

Faculty members and hearing boards review cases on their own individual merit and determine appropriate sanctions. Possible sanctions can include but are not limited to: warning, reduction or loss of credit for the assignment, or failure of the course. Sanctions of separation or dismissal from the College may only be imposed by the AIB and AAB. In the case of a student with past academic integrity violations, these violations will only be considered when a decision has been made and a sanction is being determined.

For a repeated offense, the AIB may separate the student for a minimum of two semesters. If a student who has been separated for past academic integrity violation is re-admitted and violates the policy again, the AIB permanently dismisses the student from the College. Sanctions do not become effective until the appeal process is completed.

The Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee may impose interim restriction(s) upon a student pending a formal board hearing. Interim restrictions become effective immediately without prior notice whenever the Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee, believes the student may cause serious disruption to the College community.

However, interim restrictions may include: separation from the College; restriction of communication with named individuals or faculty within the College community; or the restriction from attending a particular class.

Whenever reasonably possible, a meeting between the charged student and Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee will be held prior to the imposition of interim restrictions. The charged students will have the opportunity to meet with the Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee to present his/her version of the facts, and to indicate why interim restrictions should not be imposed. Following this meeting, the decision of the Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee will be final.

Appeals

  1. If a student and faculty member both agree that a violation did occur and they are able to come to an agreement on an appropriate sanction, then this outcome may not be appealed.
  2. A charged student or faculty member may submit a request for an appeal of a decision or sanction resulting from AIB hearing no later than five business days after receiving written notice of the decision or sanction.
  3. A request for an appeal is to be submitted in writing to the Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee.
  4. The Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee refers the request to the Dean of the Faculty or designee who serves as the chair of the AAB.
  5. Appeals will be considered based on the following criteria:
    a. Failure to follow the stated processes or procedures that significantly prejudices the outcome;
    b. Insufficient or inappropriate evidence used to justify a decision; or
    c. Unjustified sanction.
  6. Upon receipt of the request for an appeal, the Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee will normally refer the request to the AAB within 10 business days.
  7. In reviewing the request the AAB may:
    a. Determine there are no grounds for the appeal, thus upholding the AIB decision;
    b. Refer the case to the AIB that originally heard the case for re-consideration of special issues;
    c. Change the original decision or sanction after reasonable review of the appeal request and the decision rationale of the AIB; or
    d. Determine the appeal request merits a formal appeal hearing and schedule a hearing no later than 10 business days from the date the request is reviewed. Typically, a formal appeal hearing would not be granted unless significant prejudices result from deviations of designated procedures.
  8. All decisions, once realized by the AAB, are binding.

Academic Discipline Records

  1. Academic discipline records are educational records are maintained in the Office of Academic Services and Advising for seven years post-graduation. These records are kept confidential and are shared only under the following circumstances: (a) in the case of a repeated violation of the Academic Integrity Policy; (b) upon request of student; and, (c) upon request from law enforcement.
  2. Academic discipline records are not considered to be part of a student's permanent academic record maintained by the College. However, a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy that results in a sanction of college separation or college dismissal is considered part of the student's permanent record.

Interpretation and Revisions

Any questions of interpretation or application of the Academic Integrity Procedures will be referred to the Director of Academic Services and Advising or designee for determination.