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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 2 - Faculty and Academics
Publication Date: March 29, 2004
Responsible Executive: VP for Academic Affairs

2.37 Scholastic Dishonesty

Part I, Chapter VI, section 3.22 of the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System (UT System) provides the following: Any student who commits an act of scholastic dishonesty is subject to discipline. Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts.

  1. The Responsibility of the Faculty

    In accordance with the provisions of Part I, Chapter VI, Section 3.4, Regents' Rules, the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) delegates to the Office of Student Life, the Department Chair and to the individual members of the faculty the authority and responsibility to confront students for the purpose of investigating suspected dishonesty in academic assignments and to recommend appropriate penalties to the VPSA. The time required of the instructor or faculty member varies with the details of the case, but every effort will be made to minimize the time commitment.

  2. Guidelines for Faculty Members
    1. Accusations that a student has cheated should be made in private and the investigation of a cheating incident should be handled as a confidential matter.
    2. When there is reason to believe that scholastic dishonesty has occurred, the faculty member should gather all pertinent evidence (such as tests, reports, computer programs, and other academic assignments) and identify any possible witnesses. During an exam the faculty member may ask a student suspected of cheating to move to another desk, but the student should be allowed to complete the exam in question. After the exam (or other situation of suspected scholastic dishonesty), the faculty member will arrange to meet with the student(s) involved and discuss the alleged violation and the evidence that supports the charge.
    3. In this meeting every effort should be made to preserve the basic teacher/student relationship. The student(s) should be given the opportunity to respond to the allegations but may not be forced to comment. Accusations that a student has cheated should be made in private and the investigation of a cheating incident should be handled as a confidential matter.
    4. The instructor must inform the student of her or his right to have the allegations reviewed by the Department Chair. Since an accused student may appeal a penalty decision, the student must be allowed to attend all classes and complete all assignments until the due process procedures are complete. This is an essential step.
    5. Unless the faculty member dismisses the allegation, the student has two (2) options:

      1. If the student admits the facts upon which the charges are based and elects to waive his/her option to proceed to a student disciplinary hearing in accordance with the procedures provided for in the Student Code of Conduct, the instructor shall complete the Faculty Disposition of a Scholastic Dishonesty Case form as a written waiver of the hearing procedures. The instructor may assess one of the following penalties:

        (1) written warning that further scholastic dishonesty may result in a more severe penalty;

        (2) no credit, or reduced credit for the paper, assignment, or test in question;

        (3) retake of exam or resubmission of assignment; or

        (4) failing grade or reduced final grade for the course.

        These are the only penalties that an instructor may assess.

        All penalties assessed by an instructor must be reported on a Faculty Disposition of a Scholastic Dishonesty Case form provided by the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards (458-4720) and available on their Judicial Affairs Web site (www.utsa.edu/OSJA/) and in academic departments. The student must sign the form. If the student does not agree, the student signature will not be present. The faculty member may provide a copy of the completed form to the student. The form must be signed by the faculty member as well as have been reviewed and signed by the Department Chair/Dean before it is forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards. The Chair is to review all facts before him/her and determine that (1) there appears to be scholastic dishonesty and (2) the proposed sanction is fair and consistent within the college. The referral should include a written summary of the charge, the evidence supporting the charge, the reason for the referral, and recommendations, if any, concerning penalties. Relevant documents (or copies) such as crib notes, copies of exams, material plagiarized, and the syllabus should also be forwarded to the Department Chair/Dean. If the student is in possession of any relevant documents or materials, the faculty member may request these documents. If the student refuses to relinquish these documents or materials, note the request including the specific documents or materials requested, and the student's refusal on the referral form. The Department Chair/Dean may review all written information including meeting with the faculty member and/or the student to review the incident. The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards will review each form and, if circumstances warrant, may impose additional penalties. Certain types of misconduct, such as substituting for someone on an exam or having someone substitute for the student, or altering academic records, have typically involved a penalty of suspension. In cases such as these, or if the instructor wishes to recommend a penalty other than those penalties outlined in 5. a.1-4 above, the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards must be contacted immediately.

        Upon receipt of the report of scholastic dishonesty, the Judicial Affairs Director or Coordinator will place the report in a confidential discipline file. If the student has been involved in other violations, or if the instructor has recommended penalties other than those outlined in 5.a.1-4 above, the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards will investigate. All information concerning scholastic dishonesty accusations and dispositions is strictly confidential.

      2. If a student denies the facts or declines to waive the hearing, a faculty member must complete the Faculty Disposition of a Scholastic Dishonesty Case form and submit all documentation to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards as mentioned above in 5.a. Note on the form the date of the student meeting.
      3. The Student Judicial Affairs Director or Coordinator is responsible for contacting the student, investigating the charge and determining (1) that the charge should be dismissed as unfounded or (2) summon the student for a preliminary meeting. A preliminary meeting provides an opportunity for the Judicial Affairs Director or Coordinator and student to discuss the issues. The student may then waive a hearing and accept disposition by the Director or Coordinator or may request a hearing.
      4. If a hearing is conducted, the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards prepares for the hearing. The student must represent himself or herself and may be assisted by an advisor of choice. If the student's advisor is an attorney, the Director's or Coordinator's advisor may be an attorney from the Office of General Counsel of the UT System. An advisor may confer with and advise the Director or Coordinator or accused student, but shall not be permitted to question witnesses, introduce evidence, make objections, or present argument to the hearing officer. Hearing procedures can be found at: http://www.utsa.edu/OSJAa/conductoutline.htm#sec501.
    6. Because an accused student has the option to choose a hearing and may appeal a penalty that may be assessed as a result of a disciplinary hearing, the student must be allowed to attend all classes and complete all assignments until the process is complete unless interim discipline has been imposed as authorized by the Regents' Rules and Regulations (Part I, Chapter VI, Section 3.42).
    7. Posting of Grades
      1. Grades, including the grade for the assignment/examination being questioned, should not be posted until the judicial affairs process is complete. If a scholastic dishonesty case is filed near grade time, the faculty member is responsible for notifying the Dean's office when turning in their grades. The faculty member must note that pending the outcome of a scholastic dishonesty case, an "NR" (No Report) should be posted for the student's grade. The Dean's office will prepare a memo and forward it with the grades to the Registrar's office, where the NR will be recorded.
      2. If the student does not appeal, their grade can be posted on the fifteenth (15th) day after they signed the scholastic dishonesty form. Judicial Affairs will send a follow-up memo to the Department noting the disposition of the case and the date the faculty member or the college office may post the grade. It is the responsibility of the Department to ensure the grade is posted in a timely manner.
  3. The Student's Discipline Record

    Records of scholastic dishonesty are retained in the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards and are kept separate from the student's academic record (transcript). The primary purpose of maintaining the records is to alert the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards of students who may be involved in repeated violations of scholastic dishonesty. Disciplinary records, including scholastic dishonesty, may be released to persons outside the university only with the consent of the student or in response to a court order. In the latter case, the institution must attempt to notify the student of the court order prior to release of the information. Each component institution shall maintain a permanent written disciplinary record for every student assessed a penalty of suspension, expulsion, denial or revocation of degree, and/or withdrawal of diploma. A record of scholastic dishonesty shall be maintained for at least five (5) years unless the record is permanent in conjunction with the above stated penalties.

  4. The Rights of the Student
    1. Due process for students in scholastic dishonesty cases can also be found above in 2.37 B., Guidelines for Faculty Members. Administrative due process rights provide that a student who disputes an allegation has the right to know what evidence supports the charge and the right to a hearing. If the student admits the facts and signs a waiver, a formal hearing is not required. Under any circumstance, however, a student has the right to appeal a decision. A decision by the faculty member or the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards, or the hearing officer, may be appealed if the student gives written notice to the VPSA within fourteen (14) days after the date of the decision. The action of the Vice President shall be communicated in writing to the accused student and the Director or Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs within thirty (30) days after the appeal and related documents have been received.
    2. Students may appeal the decision of the VPSA to the President within fourteen (14) days after the date of the decision. The action of the President shall be communicated in writing to the accused student and the Director or Coordinator of Student Affairs within thirty (30) days after the appeal and related documents have been received.
    3. Students are responsible for and encouraged to review the UTSA Student Code of Conduct. It can be found on the Judicial Affairs Web site (www.utsa.edu/osja/), in the UTSA Information Bulletin and is also available in the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards and the Admissions/Registrar areas at the Downtown Campus and the 1604 campus.