Academic Honesty

(The Academic Senate is currently reviewing the policies and procedures below for adoption by the faculty at large and the Faculty Academic Senate for West Hills College Lemoore. This is an unofficial document and subject to change until officially adopted)

Preamble

West Hills College Lemoore seeks to promote and ensure academic honesty and personal integrity among students and other members of the College Community. A policy on academic honesty has been developed to serve these goals. All members of the academic community are responsible for knowing the policy and procedures on academic honesty.

Purpose

Academic honesty is vital to the very fabric and integrity of the College. All students must comply with an appropriate and sound academic honesty policy and code of honest behavior. All members of the College community are responsible for creating and maintaining an honest environment, and all must work together to ensure the success of the policy and code of behavior.

Student Honor Code

"I will be academically honest in all of my academic work and will not tolerate academic dishonesty of others."

All students agree to abide by this code by signing the West Hills College Lemoore Admissions Application.

Policy and Procedures

The statement on policy and procedures will be made readily available to all students and faculty to ensure understanding of the academic honesty system and its proper functioning. Where suspected violations of the academic honesty policy occur, appropriate procedures are designed to protect the academic process and integrity while ensuring due process. The academic honesty system is an academic process founded on educational opportunities, not a judicial process focused on adjudications.

This policy is adopted by the College to further its academic mission. In the interest of fairness, the policy requires notice to a student who is believed to have violated this policy, provides for a facilitated discussion between the student and the faculty member to seek a fair resolution, and if no resolution can be found, allows for a continued discussion with a Grievance Panel as designated by the Academic Senate. These procedures are designed to 1) protect the rights and interests of students and other members of the College community, 2) guarantee fundamental fairness to all, and 3) ensure order. The forums used in academic honesty matters are intended to enhance educational opportunities while providing appropriate consequences when academic dishonesty occurs.

Goals of this Policy

The goals of this academic honesty policy are to:

  1. Foster a culture of academic honesty in the College community.
  2. Maintain the integrity and academic reputation of the College.
  3. Process fairly and consistently matters related to academic dishonesty.
Definitions for Purposes of this Policy

For purposes of this policy, the following terms are given the following definitions:

Academic Honesty means performing all academic work without plagiarism, cheating, lying, tampering, stealing, receiving unauthorized or illegitimate assistance from any other person, or using any source of information that is not common knowledge.

"Academic Dishonesty" means knowingly performing, attempting to perform, or assisting any other person in performing any academic work that does not meet this standard of academic honesty.

"Academic Workmeans any act performed in connection with work required to be submitted, being prepared to be submitted, or actually submitted for academic advancement in connection with courses and programs offered by the College. Academic work includes, but is not limited to, examinations, exercises, quizzes, term papers, reports, performances, presentations, artwork, laboratory work, and scientific experiments. Academic work can take any form including, but not limited to, written, oral, magnetic or electronic form. Academic work includes, but is not limited to, work in connection with regular College courses (whether conducted at the on campus or other College location), independent study courses at any location, courses offered through the College's Continuing Education and Distance Learning Program at any location.

Advisor” means an individual who assists a faculty member or student in preparing for a Grievance Panel meeting. The Office of the Chief Instructional Officer in unison with the Academic Senate will provide a list of individuals available to serve as advisors by request.

"Facilitatormeans a student, faculty member, or staff member certified by the Office of Instruction to assist a faculty member and student in a fair and focused Discussion or to moderate Grievance Panel meetings. In the case of panel meetings, the Facilitator is not a member of the Grievance Panel, does not vote to determine whether a violation occurred and does not participate in the private deliberations of the Panel. The Facilitator is authorized to determine all procedural questions prior to and during Discussions or meetings with Grievance Panels.

"Panelist" means any student and faculty member appointed by the Academic Senate President to serve on a Grievance Panel. All panelists must be acknowledged by the Office of  Instruction as qualified and willing to serve. All panelists must have completed a complete copy of this policy. Faculty panelists must be tenured or tenure-track. Student panelists must be currently enrolled at the College.

"Grievance Panel" means any group of panelists designated by the Office of Instruction and the Academic Senate to review a particular accusation of dishonesty. There shall be three faculty (Academic Senate President or designee, one faculty member from discipline or closely aligned discipline in which the alleged infraction occurred, and one faculty member as determined by the Academic Senate President and the Office of Instruction), one Dean over the discipline or closely aligned discipline in which the alleged infraction occurred and one student panelists, (as determined by the Academic Senate President or designee and the Office of Instruction), on each panel.

"Chair" means a student member of each Grievance Panel selected by the panel as the presiding officer for that panel's private deliberations.

"Daymeans any calendar day in which the College operates, excluding Saturday, Sunday, and College holidays. When a certain act must be completed within a certain number of days following a specified beginning date, the beginning date shall be excluded in computing the due date.

"Faculty member" means any member of the College community approved to instruct or monitor instruction of students.

"Suspension" means a defined term in which a student is not allowed to be enrolled at the College. A condition of the suspension is that any classes taken by the suspended student at another school during the period of suspension will not be credited toward a West Hills College degree or calculated in the student's overall GPA.

"Expulsion" means permanent separation of the student from the College.

Prohibited Conduct

General standard of conduct. No student shall knowingly perform, attempt to perform, or assist another in performing any act of dishonesty on academic work to be submitted for academic credit or advancement. The term "knowingly," as used in the preceding sentence, means that the student knows that the academic work involved will be submitted for academic advancement. "Knowingly" does not mean that the student must have known that the particular act was a violation of the College's academic honesty policy. A student does not have to intend to violate the honesty policy to be found in violation. For example, plagiarism, intended or unintended, is a violation of this policy.

Examples of Academic Dishonesty. The following acts by a student are examples of academically dishonest behavior:

Plagiarism - Submission for academic advancement the words, ideas, opinions or theories of another that are not common knowledge, without appropriate attribution to that other person. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following acts when performed without appropriate attribution:

  • Directly quoting all or part of another person's written or spoken words without quotation marks, as appropriate to the discipline;
  • Paraphrasing all or part of another person's written or spoken words without notes or documentation within the body of the work;
  • Presenting an idea, theory or formula originated by another person as the original work of the person submitting that work;
  • Repeating information, such as statistics or demographics, which is not common knowledge and which was originally compiled by another person;
  • Purchasing (or receiving in any other manner) a term paper or other assignment that is the work of another person and submitting that term paper or other assignment as the student's own work. 

Unauthorized assistance - Giving or receiving assistance in connection with any examination or other academic work that has not been authorized by a faculty member. During examinations, quizzes, lab work, and similar activity, students are to assume that any assistance (such as books, notes, calculators, and conversations with others) is unauthorized unless it has been specifically authorized by a faculty member. Examples of prohibited behavior include, but are not limited to, the following when not authorized:

  • Copying, or allowing another to copy, answers to an examination;
  • Transmitting or receiving, during an examination, information that is within the scope of the material to be covered by that examination (including transmission orally, in writing, by sign, electronic signal, or other manner);
  • Giving or receiving answers to an examination scheduled for a later time;
  • Completing for another, or allowing another to complete for you, all or part of an assignment (such as a paper, exercise, homework assignment, presentation, report, computer application, laboratory experiment, or computation);
  • Submitting a group assignment, or allowing that assignment to be submitted, representing that the project is the work of all of the members of the group when less than all of the group members assisted substantially in its preparation;
  • Unauthorized use of a programmable calculator or other electronic device.

Lying/Tampering/Bribery - Bribery or giving any false information in connection with the performance of any academic work or in connection with any proceeding under this policy. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Giving false reasons (in advance or after the fact) for failure to complete academic work. This includes, for example, giving false excuses to the Faculty Member or to any College official for failure to attend an exam or to complete academic work;
  • Falsifying the results of any laboratory or experimental work or fabricating any data or information;
  • Altering any academic work after it has been submitted, unless such alterations are part of an assignment (such as a request of an instructor to revise the academic work);
  • Altering grade, lab, or attendance records. This includes, for example, the forgery of University forms for registration in or withdrawal from a course; 
    Damaging computer equipment (including disks) or laboratory equipment in order to alter or prevent the evaluation of academic work, unauthorized use of another's computer password, disrupting the content or accessibility of an Internet site, or impersonating another to obtain computer resources;
  • Giving false information or testimony in connection with any investigation or hearing under this policy;
  • Submitting for academic advancement an item of academic work that has previously been submitted (even when submitted previously by that student) for academic advancement, unless done pursuant to authorization from the Faculty Member supervising the work or containing fair attribution to the original work.

Theft - Stealing, taking or procuring in any other unauthorized manner (such as by physical removal from a professor's office or unauthorized inspection of computerized material) information related to any academic work (such as exams, grade records, forms used in grading, books, papers, computer equipment and data, and laboratory materials and data).

Other - Failure by a student to comply with a duty imposed under this policy. However, no penalty is imposed under this policy for failure to report an act of academic dishonesty by another or failure to testify in an academic honesty proceeding concerning another. 

Any behavior that constitutes academic dishonesty is prohibited even if it is not specifically listed in the above list of examples.

Required Conduct Members of the College Community. Any member of the College community who has personal knowledge of facts relating to an alleged violation of this policy has a responsibility to report that alleged violation to the Office of Instruction as provided in this policy.

Required conduct includes, but is not limited to, participating in a discussion with the student believed to have violated the policy and truthfully answering questions and providing documentation of the matter to the Academic Senate President and Chief Instructional Officer of the College. This policy provides the exclusive procedure for handling matters related to academic dishonesty at West Hills College Lemoore. Faculty have a responsibility to report alleged violations to the Office of Instruction as provided in this policy. Faculty shall have the responsibility to take reasonable steps to inform students of the academic honesty rules that apply to particular academic work and the specific types of academic assistance that are permissible in connection with that academic work. Additionally, each faculty member shall take reasonable steps to foster a climate of academic honesty. The failure of a faculty member to meet these responsibilities shall not be a defense to an accusation of academic dishonesty against a student.

Students. The enrollment of a student at the College constitutes the student's agreement to be bound by this policy. Every student has an obligation to be informed concerning the terms of this policy. Lack of knowledge of the provisions of this policy is not an acceptable response to an accusation of violating this policy. Any discipline of a member of the College community, other than a student, for violation of this policy shall proceed under policies of the College applicable to faculty and staff conduct

Student Honor Code:

"I will be academically honest in all of my academic work and will not tolerate academic dishonesty of others." All students agree to abide by this code by signing the West Hills College lemoore Admissions Application

Procedures for Resolving Matters of Alleged Academic Dishonesty

Opening DiscussionPrior to a Facilitated Discussion the faculty member and student may reach an agreement about the matter and, if dishonesty is involved, may determine the appropriate consequence(s). If no resolution is agreed upon, the matter will be forwarded to a Grievance Panel which will determine the outcome of the allegation. A plea of no-contest (i.e., a plea which does not admit guilt but which accepts a particular consequence) is not permitted under this policy.

Facilitated Discussion. When a faculty member believes that an incident of academic dishonesty occurred, s/he should contact the Office of Instruction. The faculty member will be asked to contact the student to arrange a date and time to discuss the matter. The Office of Instruction will arrange for a Facilitator to be present at the meeting to assist in a fair and focused discussion about what may have occurred. The faculty member who reported the matter, the student(s) believed to have violated the policy, and the Facilitator are the only participants in a Facilitated Discussion. These Discussions may not be recorded.

The faculty member and student may reach an agreement about the matter and, if dishonesty is involved, may determine the appropriate consequence(s). If no resolution is agreed upon, the matter will be forwarded to a Grievance Panel which will determine the outcome of the allegation. A plea of no-contest (i.e., a plea which does not admit guilt but which accepts a particular consequence) is not permitted under this policy.

Grievance Panel. The meeting with the Grievance Panel is a continuation of an educational Discussion about the matter conducted by a Facilitator. The resolution, including consequences when appropriate, is determined by the Panel. The composition of the Panel shall be, three faculty members (Academic Senate President or designee, one faculty member from discipline or closely aligned discipline in which the alleged infraction occurred, and one faculty member as determined by the Academic Senate President and the Office of Instruction), the Dean over the discipline or closely aligned discipline in which the alleged infraction occurred and one student panelists, (as determined by the Academic Senate President or designee and the Office of Instruction), on each panel.

Action Prior to Any Finding. Should a student request a Facilitated Discussion the faculty member shall permit the student to complete all required academic work and shall evaluate and grade all work except the assignment(s) involved in the accusation of dishonesty. That faculty member may, however, take any action reasonably necessary to collect and preserve evidence of the alleged violation and to maintain or restore the integrity of exam or laboratory conditions. Requests for a course withdrawal will not be approved unless it is determined that no violation occurred.

Action on Determination of Innocence. If it is determined that no violation occurred, the faculty member shall enter a final grade for that student determined without consideration of the alleged violation. That grade shall be entered on or before the later of: (a) the date on which grades for that class are required by College policy to be submitted to the Registrar; or (b) 10 days following delivery to that faculty member of a notice of that student's final determination of innocence. For this purpose, “final determination” means that agreement is reached between the faculty member and student during a Facilitated Discussion that dishonesty did not occur; or that a Grievance Panel concludes that the student did not violate this policy. On final determination, the Office of  Instruction shall notify the faculty member as provided below in order that the appropriate grade made be entered.

Consequence(s) for a First Honesty Violation

Facilitated Discussion. The faculty member and student may reach an agreement about the appropriate consequence(s) for a dishonesty violation keeping in mind that the process should be educational for the student who violated the policy yet fair to other students who have honestly completed the academic work.

Grievance Panel. A student found in violation by the Grievance Panel must receive either a "F" or the lowest possible grade on the academic work under the grading system for that course. In addition, when the violation is a first offense, one or more of the following consequences must be assigned:

  • Final course grade of "F."
  • Suspension for a period of one semester other than summer.
  • Expulsion.

On determination of a first violation, the Grievance Panel may impose additional consequences in addition to the minimums above. If the Grievance Panel finds that extraordinary circumstances warrant the imposition of a consequence less than the minimums described above, the Grievance Panel shall state in writing the reasons for the extraordinary circumstances and why the assigned consequence is considered appropriate.

Subsequent Dishonesty Violations

If the student acknowledges a second violation in a Facilitated Discussion, or a Grievance Panel finds a second violation of this policy, the consequence shall be permanent expulsion.

Failure to Comply with Consequences

If a student fails or refuses to comply with the requirements or consequences for a dishonesty violation, the Office of  Instruction may convene a Grievance Panel whose sole purpose shall be to determine if the student failed or refused to comply with the requirements or consequences assigned. If it is determined that the student did fail or refuse to comply, the panel may impose additional consequences deemed appropriate for the violation.

(This policy is not approved by the Academic Senate. The Senate is currently reviewing the above policies and procedures for adoption.)