Procedures to be Followed In Filing an Academic Integrity Complaint
The Academic Standing Committee recommends that all faculty take steps to inform students about the Policy on Academic Integrity and about sanctions for violations of that policy. The Committee further recommends that Academic Departments discuss measures to be taken to discourage cheating, including plagiarism, as well as appropriate sanctions.
Course syllabi should include the following sentence: “This class will be conducted in compliance with LaGuardia Community College’s academic integrity policy.”
When Cheating is Discovered
First, it is important to identify and save evidence (if available) which documents cheating, such as unauthorized notes and evidence found through use of www.google.com and other internet sources.
When evidence of cheating is found:
1. The faculty member fills out the Academic Integrity Complaint Form, available in all academic departments.
2. The faculty member meets with the student charged with the violation; shows him/her the completed Complaint Form, which indicates the faculty member’s sanction; and asks the student to check one of the three options printed on the form. The form, with documentation attached, is then signed by the student and by the faculty member and sent to the Chairperson of the department. A copy of the form is given to the student and the faculty member retains a copy for his/her files.
3. The Chairperson determines whether the matter has been resolved or not; checks the appropriate line on the complaint form; signs the form; files a copy, together with copies of the supporting evidence, in the department’s files; and sends a copy with the supporting evidence to the Academic Integrity Officer (AIO) in C-317.
4. If the alleged violation is discovered after the class has met for the final time in the semester, the instructor notifies the student by e-mail and certified postal mail, requesting a meeting. If the student does not respond, that is so noted on the complaint form and the form with supporting documentation is sent to the department chairperson, who also attempts to contact the student. If the student does not respond, the form and documents, including documentation of the attempts to contact the student are sent to the AIO.
What Happens Next?
If the student checks, “I do not challenge the accusation and accept the sanction,” the matter has been resolved. The sanction is applied. Copies of the complaint form and documentation are filed as described above, and the student’s name and outcome are entered into a data base maintained by the AIO.
If the student checks, “I challenge the accusation and request a hearing,” the matter is sent to the department chairperson. The student or chair may request a meeting to try to resolve the issue. If the meeting is refused or the issue is unresolved, the chairperson refers the matter for further action, with copies retained in the department files and sent to the AIO in C-317. The AIO then determines whether the violation is one of plagiarism, which is then sent to the Academic Standing Committee for review, or whether the violation is of another nature, in which case it is forwarded to the Student-Faculty Disciplinary Committee.
In each case, the appropriate body determines the guilt or innocence of the accused student and forwards its decision to the AIO, to the appropriate Chairperson, and to the faculty member. The AIO informs the student.
If the student checks, “I do not wish to make any statement at this time,” or if the student refuses to sign the form at all, or if the student refuses to meet with the professor, the complaint form and attached documents are filed in the department and are sent to the AIO, who calls the student to a meeting and then determines an appropriate course of action, as described above. In cases in which the student fails to appear at the required meeting within one week of notification, the faculty sanction shall apply without benefit of student appeal.
The AIO functions in these processes as the representative of the Vice President of the Division of Student Affairs. The AIO promptly notifies the Chairperson of receipt of the complaint form, of the determination made by either the Academic Standing Committee or the Student-Faculty Disciplinary Committee, and of the inclusion of the student’s name in the division’s data base of students who admit violations or who are determined to be guilty of violations. The AIO will review the data base to identify repeat offenders and to impose appropriate disciplinary sanctions.
Finally, when the faculty sanction allows the student to complete work necessary for passing the course, the student is allowed to do so. When the faculty sanction is failure for the course, and the student requests a hearing or chooses not to make a statement, the student remains in the course until the matter is resolved. If the matter is not resolved by the end of the term, the professor gives the student a grade that incorporates the proposed sanction, with the possibility of revision when the matter is resolved.