What is Academic Misconduct?
From WLU Academic Policy 12.2,
Academic misconduct is an act by a student, or by students working on a team project, which may result in a false evaluation of the student(s), or which represents an attempt to unfairly gain an academic advantage, where the student either knew or ought reasonably to have known that it was misconduct. Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct
is not relevant for a finding of academic misconduct. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it.
Student Code of Conduct and Discipline
Types of Academic Misconduct
- Presenting the work or ideas of others as one’s own
- Copying answers from classmates during exams
- Misrepresenting the reasons for deferring an exam or assignment
- Turning in papers that were wholly or partly authored by others
- Self-plagiarism e.g., submitting the same piece of work for credit in more than one course without permission
- Helping others engage in academic misconduct
- Unauthorized collaboration e.g., working together without permission
- Using unauthorized aids during exams
I Think My Student(s) Engaged in Academic Misconduct. What Do I Do Now?
Document your suspicions. This could include, for example, the Turnitin report or statements from witnesses.
- Discuss your suspicions with your Chair or Program Coordinator and come to a consensus on whether an investigation should proceed. If you decide to proceed, download and enter as much information as you have into Form 1: Allegation of Academic Misconduct. This form is available to download from the Academic Integrity Website (www.wlu.ca/academicintegrity). It is an electronic form, so be sure to save it to your hard drive once you have entered the information.
- Invite the student to meet with you within a week, using their official WLU email address. Be brief in your e-mail; do not go into specifics. Keep a record of all correspondence.
- Meet with the student to discuss your suspicions. Do not meet with the student alone; invite a faculty or administrative staff member to join you. It is best to meet in your office, as you will need access to a computer and printer to complete Form 1.
- Decide whether to proceed. If you decide not to report, keep your Form 1 on file and destroy it at the end of the course. If you decide to proceed, complete the rest of Form 1 and recommend an appropriate penalty (see “Penalty Guidelines for Findings of Academic Misconduct” on the www.wlu.ca/academicintegrity website). Suggested language for the section on Form 1 “Student responded as follows”: “Denied the allegation (entirely or partially)” “Admitted the allegation” “Admitted the allegation with the following explanation”.
- Print the form and give a copy to the student, along with a copy of your documented evidence. Advise the student what the next steps will be: The case will be sent to the appropriate Associate Dean for further processing, and the student has one week to make a written submission to and/or meet with the Associate Dean to discuss the allegations.
Send the completed Form 1, along with evidence supporting your suspicions (e.g., a copy of the Turnitin report) to the relevant Associate Dean. Inform the Chair or Program Coordinator of the outcome of your meeting.
The Associate Dean will determine whether or not it is a first offence (using the Central Registry). If it is a first offence, the Associate Dean will confirm the penalty with the instructor and inform the student with the Form 3: Official Penalty Letter. If it is not the first offence, the Associate Dean will meet with the student.
The student has the right to appeal, so keep all of your documentation. Once the appeal period has ended, the Associate Dean will file Form 2: Academic Misconduct Incident Report with the Registrar, with a copy to the student.
What are the Potential Penalties for Students?
There are many different outcomes in cases of academic misconduct. Depending on the severity of the misconduct and whether it is the student’s first offence, sanctions for the student range from having to attend a workshop on academic integrity, receiving a grade of zero on the assignment (which may result in having to repeat the course), having an official record of the misconduct on their academic transcript, or being suspended.
All students who have engaged in academic misconduct will have
their name added to the Central Registry. This is not, in itself, a
punishment, and does not show up automatically on their transcripts, but
it enables the Associate Deans to determine whether students have
engaged in academic misconduct in other courses, and is a safeguard to
ensure that students do not get away with continually engaging in
academic misconduct throughout their University career.
Academic Integrity Workshops for Students
Although they have likely been taught about academic integrity before, sometimes students plagiarize because they do not understand how to properly cite their sources. Workshops on avoiding plagiarism and academic misconduct will soon be offered through Learning Services. These workshops may serve as a sanction in situations where it is clear that a student’s plagiarism is due to lack of awareness of how to cite sources. Look for more information about these workshops this Fall on the Academic Integrity website.
Where to Find More Information
Wilfrid Laurier Academic Integrity website
Academic Policy 12.2, Student code of conduct and discipline
Who to Contact
For general information on Academic Integrity and the procedures for reporting suspected cases of academic misconduct:
Academic Integrity Advisor, Brantford Campus
(519) 756-8228, ext. 5757
To discuss or report suspected cases of academic misconduct:
Interfaculty Associate Dean of Academic Coordination
(519) 756-8228, ext. 5890
Associate Dean, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences
(519) 756-8228, ext. 5847
Associate Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts
(519) 756-8228, ext. 5773