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This online version is for convenience; the official version of this policy is housed in the University Secretariat. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the official version held by the Secretariat, the official version shall prevail.

Approved By: Senate

Original Approval Date: individually approved

Date of Most Recent Review/Revision: individually approved

Office of Accountability: Vice-President: Academic

Administrative Responsibility: Office of the Vice-President: Academic

I. Introduction

Members of the Laurier community enjoy the freedom to pursue their intellectual and personal interests without interference, provided that their actions do not limit the rights of other members of the university or the community in which it is situated. The objects of the university are the pursuit of learning through scholarship, teaching, and research within a spirit of free enquiry and expression. The university recognizes academic freedom and the right to peaceful protest, acknowledging that the common good of society depends upon the search for knowledge, and its free expression. To this end, Wilfrid Laurier University requires that students conduct themselves in accordance with the laws of the country, province, region, and municipality as well as the policies of the university. Academic dishonesty, fraud, misconduct and failure to respect the rights of others are all offences under this code.

In the case of allegations of either academic or non-academic offences, the president has delegated to the deans and to the vice-presidents of the university the authority to impose interim or permanent discipline. The deans and vice-presidents will establish committees to hear such allegations, unless the situation requires immediate response. These committees will have appropriate student representation. Nevertheless, any student has the right to be heard by a dean or vice-president alone.

If the impugned conduct is, in the recommendation of the dean or vice-president, deserving of suspension or expulsion, the president shall make the decision. Disciplinary decisions of the deans (including those of the Judicial Affairs Council) and the vice-presidents may be appealed to the president, whose decision shall be final.

Students should refer to disciplinary procedures available from deans' offices and the University Secretariat.

Approved by the Board of Governors on January 30, 1996; revised as per board by-law amendments approved December 2, 2003; revised as per Senate approval March 6, 2007 and Board of Governors' Executive and Governance Committee approval March 20, 2007.

II. Academic and Research Misconduct

A. Statement on Academic and Research Misconduct for the Undergraduate and Graduate Calendar

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.

Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following acts which are presented as examples or a guide since not every possible circumstance can be anticipated:

  1. plagiarism, which is the unacknowledged presentation, in whole or in part, of the work of others as one's own, whether in written, oral or other form, in an examination, report, assignment, thesis or dissertation;
  2. cheating, which involves the using, giving, receiving, or the attempt to use, give or receive unauthorized information during an examination in oral, written or other form; or, copying an essay, examination or report, or allowing someone else to copy one's essay, examination or report;
  3. submitting the same piece of work, or a significant part thereof, for the same course or for more than one course without the permission of the instructors involved in each course; or, submitting an essay or other work which has been submitted elsewhere, previously or at the same time, without the written permission of all academic units or institutions involved in the submissions;
  4. impersonating another person in an examination or test;
  5. buying or otherwise obtaining term papers or assignments for submission of another person's work as one's own for evaluation;
  6. falsifying, misrepresenting or forging an academic record or supporting document.

Research misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following types of behaviour:

  1. the failure to recognize by due acknowledgement the substantive contributions of others, or the use of unpublished work of other researchers without permission, or the use of archival material in violation of the rules of the archival source;
  2. the fabrication or falsification of research data material, or making a purported statement of fact or reference to a source which has been concocted;
  3. the violation of Senate policies, or material failure to comply with Senate policies, as they apply to research ethics, or to the use of computers, human subjects or animals.


  1. Research misconduct does not include those factors intrinsic to the process of academic research, such as honest error, conflicting data, adherence to scholarly or research advice given by faculty, or a difference in interpretation or judgment of data or of experimental design.
  2. Students who are uncertain whether a course of action might constitute academic or research misconduct should consult, in advance, the instructors or supervisors who might be involved, or their faculty dean.


Penalties are levied by the university and their severity is determined in relation to the degree of academic or research dishonesty committed or attempted, to the intention to commit dishonest acts, or to the degree to which an individual has been a party to attempted or committed acts of dishonesty. Penalties may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. a requirement to repeat the assignment, examination or course
  2. failure on the assignment, course, examination, thesis or dissertation
  3. suspension from the program or from the university for a designated period of time
  4. expulsion from the program or from the university
  5. cancellation or revocation of the degree or diploma, where the offence pertains to the eligibility to receive such a degree or diploma, whether discovered before or after the degree or diploma is awarded
  6. inclusion of a statement in the student's transcript pertaining to the suspension or expulsion or to the cancellation or revocation of the degree

Approved by Senate on November 16, 1995; revised March 3, 2005; revised March 6, 2007.

B. Procedures for Investigation and Discipline in Cases of Allegations of Academic or Research Misconduct by Undergraduate and Graduate Students

The president has delegated to the deans and to the vice-president: academic the authority to impose discipline in cases of academic or research misconduct, hereafter referred to as academic misconduct. Penalties up to and including failure in a course may be imposed at the departmental level, except at the Brantford Campus and in the Faculty of Education, Faculty of Music, and Faculty of Social Work where such penalties may be imposed by the dean (in the School of Business and Economics the associate dean (or designate) will serve as the chair of the Department of Business). Any penalty that is imposed must be such that participation in academic misconduct is a high risk activity. At any point in the procedures outlined below the student being accused of academic misconduct may choose to be accompanied by a member of the university community to any disciplinary proceeding.

(See Exhibit 1 for a flow chart of the process and Exhibit 2 for Penalty Guidelines)

Action by the Instructor

1.a) It is the responsibility of instructors and supervisors to investigate incidents of suspected academic misconduct in their courses, or course sections (including incidents brought to their attention by teaching assistants, proctors and instructional assistants). If an instructor or supervisor believes an incident of academic misconduct has occurred, the instructor or supervisor should consult with the relevant administrator. Thereafter the instructor should meet with the student as soon as possible. The student is to be informed of the allegation and the facts that bear on the suspicion of misconduct. The student must be given a full opportunity to provide an explanation of the incident. If the instructor decides there was no misconduct, or the student could not reasonably have known that there was academic misconduct, the matter will be closed and no further action will be taken.

1.b) If more than one student is involved in the misconduct the instructor must meet with either each student separately or, if appropriate, students as a group. Penalties imposed on students may vary, depending on their degree of involvement in the incident.

2.a) If, following this meeting, the instructor believes academic misconduct has occurred, the instructor must report the matter (using form: Allegation of Academic Misconduct) to the relevant administrator, who will determine, by consulting the Central Registry, if the student has a prior record of academic misconduct. If the student has a prior record, the student must be notified that the case will be referred to the dean for further investigation.

2.b) If the relevant administrator is the instructor, the Department-in-Council will select another member of the department to serve as relevant administrator for this case. If the dean is the instructor, the department chair will serve in the manner prescribed in this document. If, subsequently, the case is referred to the faculty dean an associate/assistant dean will be appointed to take the place of the dean in the proceedings outlined below.

3. If there is no prior record the relevant administrator, after consulting with the instructor, will determine the penalty. The penalty may be the allocation of a zero for an assignment, project, test, exam, or other activity which counts toward the final grade in the course. The student may be given the opportunity to repeat the assignment, project, test, exam or other activity. The most severe penalty that may be assigned at the departmental level will be a failure in the course. Any additional penalty must be recommended to the dean.

4. Any penalty which does not go beyond failure in the course in question must be communicated to the student in writing (using letter: Final Notice of Penalty) by the dean of the faculty in which the incident took place, with a copy to the dean of the faculty in which the student is registered (if different), the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (for graduate students) and, as appropriate, the registrar. The letter to the student will identify the incident, summarize the facts that bear on the case, and inform the student of the penalty being imposed.

5. The student shall have a right to appeal the finding of academic misconduct or penalty to the faculty petitions committee. The decision of the faculty petitions committee is final and binding.

6. Disciplinary procedures may also be initiated against a student who, while not registered in the course where the alleged academic misconduct took place, is alleged to have assisted in the misconduct.

Action by the Faculty Dean or Named Designate

7. If the student has a prior record of academic misconduct, or if the recommended penalty is more severe than a failure in the course, the instructor and the relevant administrator will together notify, in writing, the dean of the faculty in which the incident has taken place, the dean of the faculty in which the student is registered (this dean will now handle the case for undergraduate students) and for graduate students, the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (this dean will now handle the case for graduate students). The dean(s) may also be informed of an incident of academic misconduct by another source, such as the registrar, with respect to misconduct in final examinations.

8.a) The dean assigned to the case must meet with the student, must inform the student of the allegation, must provide the student with a summary of the prior record of academic misconduct as appropriate, and must provide the student with a copy of all relevant documentation and a copy of these procedures. The dean must offer the student an opportunity to respond in writing to the complaint and allow the student at least three days to prepare the written statement. Where warranted by the circumstances the dean has authority to extend the period for a written response.

8.b) If the student refuses or declines to meet with the dean it will be assumed that the student does not dispute the charge and will accept the penalty deemed appropriate by the dean.

9. Following receipt of the written statement the dean will, within one week, inform the student of the finding of academic misconduct (using letter: Final Notice of Penalty) and any penalty to be imposed. If the student admits the allegation and does not dispute the recommended penalty, the dean will notify the vice-president: academic. The dean may impose penalties up to but not including suspension from the university. If the student at this stage denies the allegation and/or disputes the recommended penalty, the dean will inform the student that a committee-of-inquiry will be established.

10. The Committee of Inquiry will be established by the vice-president: academic and will consist of two faculty members and one student who have not been directly involved in the case. The Committee of Inquiry will:

a) solicit any other relevant information and invite other parties to present relevant information which is needed to make a decision, and provide the student with full details of that relevant information;

b) invite the student to present, in writing, within two weeks of receipt of the invitation, all documents which he or she considers relevant to the case. The student will also be requested to indicate whether he or she contests the allegation and/or the recommended sanction, and whether he or she wishes to appear before the committee;

c) report to the vice-president: academic within two weeks following the response from the student that:

i. there is no substance to the allegation and the file should be closed and destroyed; or

ii. there is evidence that the act constitutes academic misconduct, including the degree of severity of the act, and that a specific penalty should be imposed.

Action by the Vice-President: Academic

11. The vice-president: academic will, following receipt of the report from a dean or from the Committee of Inquiry, notify the student that the recommendation has been received, and will provide the student with an opportunity to meet before accepting or rejecting the recommendation. Following the meeting with the student, the vice-president: academic will make a decision and will notify the student in writing.

12. The student may appeal the decision, in writing, to the president who may arrange to meet with the student.

13. If the conduct is, on the recommendation of the vice-president: academic, deserving of suspension or expulsion, the president will make the final decision.

14. All discipline matters will be investigated and decided fully and fairly and in a timely manner.

In all cases where the student's credibility is in issue, it is essential that the student be given an opportunity to be heard and to call evidence if he or she wishes, on the issue of credibility.

Cases involving allegations of research misconduct by students involved in research not related to courses for which the student is registered will also follow the above procedures.

Central Registry

15. As per exhibit one, when there is a finding of academic misconduct, the Final Incident Report is completed and filed with the Central Registry.

Note: this document will be noted as approved by Senate and distributed to all faculty. Copies will be available in each dean's office, the Registrar's Office, and the University Secretariat.

Revisions to the Academic Code were approved by the Academic Integrity Committee. The Academic Integrity Committee was established established as an ad hoc subcommittee reporting to Senate Academic Planning and Senate Student Life Committees. Revisions to the Academic Code were approved by Senate March 6, 2007 and the Board of Governors' Executive and Governance Committee on March 20, 2007. Revisions to the foregoing section of the policy were approved by Senate on January 18, 2011.

Section III. Non-Academic Misconduct as been replaced by policy 12.3 Non-Academic Student Code of Conduct.

Relevant Administrators by Faculty

  • Faculty of Arts: Dr. Mercedes Rowinsky-Geurts, Associate Dean
  • Faculty of Liberal Arts: Dr. Kofi Campbell
  • Faculty of Human and Social Sciences: Dr. Andrew Welsh
  • School of Business and Economics, BU courses: Dr. Kim Morouney, Associate Dean
  • School of Business and Economics, EC courses: Dr. Steffen Ziss, Chair
  • Faculty of Education: Dr. Dawn Buzza, Associate Dean
  • Faculty of Music: Dr. Kevin Swinden, Associate Dean
  • Faculty of Science: Department Chair
  • Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies: Graduate Coordinator

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