Student Academic Integrity
Policies and Procedures
Declaration of University Community Principles
Missouri State University-West Plains
Community, civility, expression of freedom of thoughts, personal and academic integrity, tolerance and the search for knowledge and truth are the essence of University life. A University is a community whose common purpose is the creation, preservation and sharing of knowledge and understanding. The search for knowledge and truth requires a rational discourse. Discourse, in turn, requires honesty, civility, a commitment to personal and academic integrity, freedom of expression, freedom of thought and tolerance towards others' views. The community helps to protect the rights of the individual and promote self-actualization. Thus, the community promotes the ideals necessary to engage in the pursuit of knowledge and truth.
The primary participants of this community are administrators, students, faculty and staff who themselves come from a variety of external communities and varied backgrounds. Before becoming a member of the community of scholars that is Missouri State University-West Plains, one should fully understand the nature of that choice. The community derives its strength from each individual participant in it. Each individual derives strength from his/her association with and participation in the community. The individual must sustain the community in order for the community to function, protect, and sustain the individual. In order for this interaction to take place, the principles stated in this document must be the foundation for and common goal of the community. Behaving civilly implies acting in a manner consistent with these principles, and encouraging these behaviors in others. Adherence to the principles is voluntary and cannot be compelled. Discovering the natural benefit of these principles is a virtue. These principles are of little use in themselves; they must be practiced effectively.
The community of scholars that is Missouri State University-West Plains is committed to developing educated, independent thinking persons. It is believed that educated, independent thinking persons will accept responsibility to act in accordance with the following principles:
- Practicing personal and academic integrity.
- Being a full participant in the educational process and respecting the right of all to contribute to the "Marketplace of Ideas."
- Treating all persons with civility, while understanding that tolerating an idea is not the same as supporting it.
- Being a steward of the resources of the community.
- Promoting the unity of the community while still striving to enhance self-actualization.
- Seeking to create, preserve, and share knowledge and truth in understanding.
Choosing to accept these principles suggests that each participant of the community refrains from and discourages behavior that threatens the freedom and respect each member deserves.
The community of scholars that is Missouri State University-West Plains is committed to developing educated persons. Educated persons accept the responsibility to practice personal and academic integrity. Each participant of the University community refrains from and discourages behavior that threatens the freedom and respect each member deserves. The following policies and procedures specifically address student academic integrity, but recognize that student academic integrity is only part of the entirety of academic integrity in a community of scholars, and that all members of the community share the responsibility for fostering academic integrity.
The Missouri State University-West Plains Faculty Handbook states that course policy statements must include a statement of the instructor’s policies concerning cheating and plagiarism, including consequences. An instructor’s policies on academic integrity issues, while they may reflect the instructor’s personal views, should also be consistent with this University policy on student academic integrity.
Definition: Academic Dishonesty: Any one of the following acts constitutes academic dishonesty:
- Cheating: The term cheating refers to using or attempting to use unauthorized technology, materials, information or study aids in any academic exercise.
- Fabrication or other misconduct in research: The term fabrication refers to unauthorized falsification or invention of any information (including research data) or any citation in any academic exercise; misconduct in research refers to any violation of ethical guidelines for attributing credit and authorship in research endeavors, non-compliance with established research policies, or other violations of ethical research practice.
- Plagiarism: The term plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work or sections of a work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement, (whether intentional or not.) This includes any material copied directly or paraphrased from the Internet. The unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials, including material taken from or ordered through the Internet, also constitutes plagiarism.
- Facilitating academic dishonesty: Assisting or attempting to assist another to violate any provision of this Academic Integrity Policy, whether or not that action is associated with any particular course, is considered academic dishonesty.
Definition: Academic Integrity Council (AIC):
The Academic Integrity Council is charged by the academic dean to:
(1) enforce the Missouri State University West Plains academic integrity policy, following the procedures stated herein;
(2) periodically review and amend these policies and procedures, subject to approval of substantive changes by the academic dean, Faculty Senate, Student Government Association and/or Board of Governors;
(3) organize/conduct campus activities designed to educate members of the campus community on matters of academic integrity and the academic integrity policy, and promote a campus-wide climate of academic integrity.
The 16-member Academic Integrity Council (AIC) consists of:
- seven voting student members;
- seven voting ranked faculty members;
- the academic dean (or designee), who is the non-voting chair of the Council;
- the coordinator of student life and development, ex officio (without voting privileges);
Faculty members must not hold administrative appointments during the time of service on the Council. The Council is charged with overseeing Academic Integrity Proceedings, and the Council may convene an Academic Integrity Proceeding at its discretion. The Council may also undertake other activities intended to foster academic integrity.
Voting members of the Academic Integrity Council are selected by appointment from the Faculty Senate chair and the SGA president.
Terms: Student members of the council are appointed for one-year terms, and may be reappointed a subsequent one-year term. Faculty members are appointed for staggered two-year terms and may be reappointed for subsequent terms.
Definition: Academic Integrity Proceeding: An Academic Integrity Proceeding is conducted by a five-member panel drawn from the voting AIC membership. The purpose of a proceeding is to explore and investigate allegations of student academic dishonesty and to reach informed conclusions as to whether or not academic dishonesty is likely to have occurred. An Academic Integrity Proceeding is not in the character of a criminal or civil legal proceeding. It is not modeled on these adversarial systems, nor does it serve the same functions. A proceeding is not a court or tribunal. Rather, it is an academic process unique to a community of scholars.
Definition: Academic Integrity Council Panel (AIP): An Academic Integrity Panel consists of five-members: five voting panelists drawn from the membership of the AIC, plus the chair of the AIC, who is a non-voting member of the panel and responsible for assembling the panel and conducting the proceeding. Five voting panelists constitute a quorum for a proceeding, and at least two but no more than three panelists must be students.
Reporting Academic Dishonesty
All members of the University community share the responsibility and authority to challenge and make known acts of apparent academic dishonesty. Any student, faculty member, or staff person who has witnessed an apparent act of student academic dishonesty, or has information that reasonably leads to the conclusion that such an act has occurred or has been attempted, is strongly encouraged to report said act. Confronting and reporting academic dishonesty can be done in a variety of ways, and people should choose the manner most appropriate for the circumstances. Acts of apparent academic dishonesty that occur in the classroom may be reported directly to the course instructor, and/or the course instructor’s department head, and/or the instructor’s college dean. Incidences of apparent academic dishonesty whether associated with a particular course or not, may also be reported directly to the Academic Integrity Council by contacting the chair of the Council (the assistant dean for academic affairs or designee) in the office of academic affairs. The Academic Integrity Council will not accept or act upon anonymous reports but will hold in strict confidence the identity of any person reporting a suspected instance of academic dishonesty, unless that person consents to having his/her identity revealed. If the act of academic dishonesty that is reported to the AIC is alleged to have occurred in a particular course, the AIC chair will notify the course instructor of the allegation. If the instructor elects not to pursue sanctions or if the reported allegation is not associated with any particular course, the AIC chair will convene an Academic Integrity Panel to conduct an Academic Integrity Proceeding to explore the allegation, provided that at least one person making an allegation is willing to be identified and to participate in the proceeding.
Academic Dishonesty Not Associated
With Enrollment in a Course
Any incident of alleged academic dishonesty by a student not enrolled in a particular course but sitting in the course for a student duly enrolled (For example, taking a test for a duly-enrolled student) should be reported directly to the AIC, which will convene a panel to address the alleged incident. Similarly, any incident of alleged academic dishonesty committed by any student at Missouri State University-West Plains outside the context of enrollment in any particular course should be reported directly to the AIC, which will convene a panel to address the alleged incident.
Addressing Alleged Academic Dishonesty
And Notifying the AIC of an Alleged Incident
Ideally, an allegation of cheating, plagiarism or other form of academic dishonesty committed within the context of a particular course is first addressed in a personal meeting between the instructor of the course in which the alleged violation occurred and the student involved in the alleged act. The student is allowed to present relevant evidence at this meeting, and the matter may be resolved by either the instructor dropping the allegation or the student accepting the instructor’s sanction(s). If the allegation is dropped, no further actions are taken. If the allegation is not dropped and the student accepts the instructor’s sanction(s), with or without admitting guilt, the instructor may impose the sanction(s) directly (refer to section on Instructor Sanctions) and will provide a written description of the incident and the sanction(s) imposed to the student, the department head and the chair of the AIC to be maintained as part of AIC records, so that repeat offenders may be more easily detected. When a report of academic dishonesty is received by the AIC, the AIC chair sends the student a letter informing the student that the AIC has received notice from the instructor of the alleged incident. The student is informed that the notice will be kept on file in the office of academic affairs, and, by itself, will have no impact on the student’s academic standing and progress at Missouri State University-West Plains. The student is also informed that should he or she ever be charged with another act of academic dishonesty, the previous notice may be taken into consideration.
If the matter cannot be resolved in the meeting between the instructor and the student (i.e.. e., the student does not accept the sanction(s) and the instructor wishes to pursue the allegation), the instructor must provide to the student a written summary of the alleged incident and intended sanction, with a copy of this written summary to the instructor's department head. The instructor’s written summary must include:
- the student’s full name and student identification number, the semester and year, the course and section number of the course in which the alleged violation occurred;
- the nature of the alleged violation, the intended sanction and what, if any, effect the sanction will have on the student’s grade in the class;
- a statement informing the student of the right of appeal to the department head, and also informing the student that the deadline for appealing to the department head is one calendar week from date of receipt of the written summary of the incident;
- the reason for choosing the assignment of 'XF'.
Within one week of receipt of the instructor’s written summary of the allegation, the student who wishes to appeal must submit to the department head his/her own written summary of the grounds for appeal or review. Before rendering a decision, the department head will review the documentation and meet separately with the instructor and the student who initiated the appeal. The department head must advise the instructor and the student in writing of his/her decision, and must also inform the instructor and the student that either has the right to appeal the department head’s decision to the AIC. The department head must also send a detailed report of his/her decision along with pertinent documents to the Academic Integrity Council, in care of the office of academic affairs, so that multiple acts of academic dishonesty by the same student in different courses may be more easily detected. The Academic Integrity Council will maintain confidential files related to student academic dishonesty, and the chair of the AIC can convene a panel to address repeated allegations of academic dishonesty that may accumulate against a particular student.
A faculty member must allow a student who is appealing an allegation of academic dishonesty to continue attending the class in which dishonesty has been alleged until the right of appeal has been exhausted. If the student drops the class in which academic dishonesty is alleged to have occurred, sanctions for academic dishonesty may still be imposed, including those that involve a revision of the student’s transcript (For example, an N grade recorded when the student dropped the course may be revised to 'XF' if that sanction has been upheld).
The instructor can impose the following sanctions only if those sanctions are specified in the instructor’s course policy statement, either by explicitly listing the sanctions or by a direct reference to the academic integrity policy, including directions for obtaining the policy on the web or at the library. The maximum penalty an instructor can impose is a failing grade in the class. The failing grade can, at the instructor’s option, indicate failure due to academic dishonesty, as described below. Instructor sanctions that may be specified in course policy statements include:
- denying credit on an assignment and/or examination;
- requiring additional assignments and/or examinations;
- lowering the student’s course grade;
- issuing a failing course grade ('F');
- issuing a failing course grade of 'XF', which indicates that this failing grade was due to academic dishonesty. The grade 'XF' shall be treated as an 'F' grade for the purposes of grade point average, course repeatability, and determination of academic standing.
- To issue a course grade of 'XF' the instructor must notify the office of academic affairs in writing that he/she intends to impose this sanction. The office of academic affairs will then notify the office of registration and records. The instructor will indicate a grade of 'F' on the grade roster.
No grade-related sanction may be imposed until a student admits misconduct and/or forgoes appeal rights, or is found in violation after an AIC proceeding. If misconduct is found the faculty member and the student will jointly fill out an Academic Integrity Sanctioning agreement. If an academic integrity matter is pending at the end of a semester, the faculty member must assign an Incomplete (I) for the course until the matter is resolved.
If a student accepts the sanction of 'XF' and chooses not to appeal it, the instructor will be asked by the AIC chair to submit a recommendation on when the “X” part of the grade might be removed (see “Appeal for Removal of 'XF' Grade”).
Student Request for an Academic Integrity Proceeding
If the dispute is not resolved at the departmental level to the satisfaction of the student, the student may submit a written request for an Academic Integrity Proceeding to the Academic Integrity Council, in care of the office of academic affairs. Requests must be presented to the AIC within fifteen (15) academic days (days when classes are in session) from the date of the department head’s decision. The AIC chair or designee will select the date, time and place for the Academic Integrity Proceeding, and will make a reasonable attempt to accommodate the student’s schedule. The student, the instructor, the instructor’s department head and assistant dean will be notified in writing a minimum of fifteen (15) academic days (days when classes are in session) prior to the proceeding, and will be provided with information about the proceeding. In addition, anyone lodging a confidential allegation with the AIC will be notified of the date, time and place of a proceeding to address that allegation.
Instructor Request for an Academic Integrity Proceeding
If a dispute is not resolved at the departmental level to the satisfaction of the instructor, or if the instructor believes a more severe sanction than those that can be imposed by instructors is warranted, (For example, suspension or expulsion) then the instructor may submit a written request to the Academic Integrity Council, in care of the office of academic affairs, for an Academic Integrity Proceeding. Requests must be presented to the AIC within fifteen (15) academic days (days when classes are in session) from the date of the instructor’s imposition of sanction (if the instructor seeks additional sanctions), or from the date of the department head’s decision (if the instructor is appealing that decision). The Chair of the AIC will notify the student in writing of the instructor's request for a proceeding. An Academic Integrity Proceeding initiated by instructor request will take place in the same manner as one initiated by a student appeal.
Academic Integrity Proceeding
An Academic Integrity Proceeding is conducted by a five-member Academic Integrity Panel assembled by the Chair of the AIC for that purpose. In keeping with the ultimate premise and justification of academic life, the duty of all persons at an Academic Integrity Proceeding is to assist in a thorough and honest exposition of related facts. The role of the Chair is to exercise impartial control over the Academic Integrity Proceeding in order to achieve an equitable, orderly, timely and efficient process. The chair is authorized to make decisions and rulings as are necessary and proper to achieve that end, including such decisions and rulings as pertain to scheduling and to the admissibility of documentation.
Fostering academic integrity is best achieved when people confront academic dishonesty openly; however, it is also recognized that doing so can create personal risk in some situations. Therefore, people alleging academic dishonesty against a particular student will be allowed to participate in the proceeding by submitting written statements rather than appearing before the panel, under the condition that at least one person who has alleged academic dishonesty against a particular student is willing to reveal his/her identity to the student. When requested, the written statements may be confidential, and the identity of the person submitting a written statement known only to the AIC chair. In order for any proceeding to occur, at least one person (usually the course instructor) who has lodged an allegation of academic dishonesty against a student must be willing to participate in the proceeding. Witnesses who have been requested to appear but cannot be present at a proceeding because of scheduling problems may submit written statements. Statements must be signed, dated, and received by the office of academic affairs at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the time the proceeding is to commence. The contents of submitted written statements will be disclosed during the proceeding and will enter into the deliberations of the panel. The AIP may at its discretion interview a person submitting a confidential written statement in a closed session, but will not be required to do so. A confidential written statement can be used to support other evidence of academic dishonesty, but cannot be used as the sole basis for a finding of dishonesty. A person wishing to maintain confidentiality should recognize that confronting dishonesty openly and directly may have greater impact than a confidential written statement.
The sequence of an Academic Integrity Proceeding is necessarily controlled by the nature of the incident to be investigated and the character of the information to be examined. It thus lies within the judgment of the chair to fashion the most reasonable approach. The following steps, however, have been found to be efficient, and are generally recommended:
- Prior to the proceeding, members of the AIP will review all materials submitted by both the instructor and the student, as well as documents presented by other interested parties. The panel may request additional material or the appearance of other persons at the proceeding.
- At the discretion of the chair, the materials to be reviewed by the AIP may also include information about prior incident(s) of academic dishonesty in which the student has been involved and which have been reported to the Academic Integrity Council if, in the judgment of the chair, that information is relevant to the current allegation.
- Alternatively, the Chair may withhold from the AIP information about prior incidents until after the panel has reached a decision on the current allegation if, in the judgment of the chair, the prior incident(s) are not directly relevant to the allegation at hand; however, if the current allegation is upheld and there are prior incidents of academic dishonesty that have been reported to the AIC, the details of the prior incident(s) will be revealed to the AIP at the conclusion of their deliberation. The panel will then determine if it wishes to impose additional sanctions because of the repeated offenses.
- The student against whom an allegation has been lodged may present relevant information or arguments before the panel. If a documented disability prevents the student from speaking, a non-attorney advisor may speak on behalf of the student. This does not preclude the student from being directed to testify and to reply to questions directed to him/her.
- The student against whom an allegation has been lodged may be accompanied by an interpreter. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange to have an interpreter present at the proceeding.
- The student against whom an allegation has been lodged may also be accompanied by an advisor, who may be an attorney. The role of the advisor during an Academic Integrity Proceeding will be limited to providing confidential advice to the responding student, provided such advice does not interfere with or disrupt the Academic Integrity Proceeding.
- Even if accompanied by an advisor, the student must take an active and constructive role in the Academic Integrity Proceeding. Specifically, the student must fully cooperate with the AIP and respond to its inquiries without intrusion by an advisor.
- In consideration of the limited role of advisors, and of the compelling interest of the University to expeditiously conclude the matter, the work of an AIP will not, as a general practice, be delayed due to the unavailability of an advisor, except in the case of a documented disability requiring a non-attorney advisor be present.
- If the student against whom an allegation has been lodged has been properly notified of the proceeding, but fails to appear, the proceeding may take place in his/her absence and the panel’s decision will be binding. Only under exceptional circumstances (to be determined by the Chair of the Academic Integrity Council) will a new proceeding be granted on the basis of absence. A student who is unable to attend because he or she is no longer residing in the area may arrange to participate in the proceeding via videoconferencing or other long-distance communication techniques.
- The instructor, the student, and all members of the AIP may question any person giving testimony.
- The instructor, and then the student, may make summary statements of up to five minutes to close the proceeding.
- The presence of others at an Academic Integrity Proceeding lies within the judgment of the chair. An Academic Integrity Proceeding is a confidential investigation. It requires a deliberative and candid atmosphere, free from distraction. Accordingly, it is not open to the public or other interested persons; however, at the student’s request, the chair will permit a student’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and/or spouse to observe and may permit a limited number of additional observers. The chair may cause to be removed from the Academic Integrity Proceeding any person who disrupts or impedes the investigation, or who fails to adhere to the rulings of the chair. The chair may direct that persons, other than the responding student or the instructor, who are to be called upon to provide information be excluded from the Academic Integrity Proceeding except for that purpose.
- Witnesses who have direct knowledge related to the allegation (and who have been approved by the Academic Integrity Council chair 48 hours prior to the proceeding) may be requested by either the student or instructor. Generally, no more than two witnesses will be approved for either side, and they must be able to provide relevant information/viewpoints. Each witness will be given a few minutes to provide testimony, and then must be willing to answer questions from the panel and others participating in the academic integrity proceeding.
- It is the responsibility of the person desiring the presence of a witness before an AIP to ensure that the witness appears. Because experience has demonstrated that the actual appearance of an individual is of greater value than a written statement, the latter is discouraged and should not be used unless the individual cannot or reasonably should not be expected to appear. The work of an AIP will not, as a general practice, be delayed due to the unavailability of a witness.
- At the discretion of the AIC chair, the proceeding may be extended to an additional meeting.
- After the proceeding, the AIP may meet privately to discuss the case. The panel will reach a finding by a simple majority vote conducted by secret ballot. The chair is a non-voting member of the panel.
- The AIP will determine a student has engaged in academic dishonesty only when such a conclusion is warranted by compelling, convincing evidence presented at the proceeding. If this is not the case, the AIP will dismiss the charge of academic dishonesty.
- If the charge is dismissed, the student will suffer no penalties for the alleged infraction, including any prior penalties imposed by the instructor or anyone else in regard to that infraction.
- The AIP chair shall provide the student, the instructor, the department head, and the assistant dean, if the student’s record is affected, the office of registration and records, a written report of the AIP’s determination. A copy of the panel’s report will be maintained in the office of academic affairs.
- If an allegation is upheld by an AIP, the chair shall advise the student of his/her right to request a review of the panel’s findings of responsibility and/or the sanction(s). (See Review and Appeal Process)
- If an allegation is upheld and the sanction is a grade of 'XF' the AIP (Academic Integrity Panel) will make a recommendation on when the “X” part of the grade might be removed, if appealed by the student. The student will be notified of this recommendation.
- If the allegation is upheld and the sanction is a grade of 'XF' the instructor will also be asked by the AIC chair to submit a recommendation on when the “X” part of the grade might be removed, if appealed by the student (see “Appeal for Removal of 'XF' Grades).
- An Academic Integrity Proceeding is not a trial. Formal rules of evidence commonly associated with a civil or criminal trial may be counterproductive in an academic investigation and proceeding and shall not be applied. The chair will accept for consideration all matters that reasonable persons would accept as having probable value in the conduct of their affairs. Unduly repetitious, irrelevant, or personally abusive material will be excluded.
Academic Integrity Council Sanctions/Recommendations
If the AIP finds convincing evidence of an attempted or actual act of academic dishonesty by a student, the panel may impose one or more of the following sanctions. They may also impose any lesser sanction, but should follow the recommended sanctions in situations of multiple offenses.
- Failing grade on initial assignment
- Failing grade in course
- Requiring redoing of assignment
- Additional assignments regarding Academic Integrity
- Required service to the University and/or required service to the community
- Conference with assistant dean and Instructor
- Required service to the University and/or required service to the community
- Discretionary assignments such as educational programming
- Conference with assistant dean and coordinator of student life and development
- Denial of privilege to hold office in any student organization
- Denial of privilege to represent the University in any intercollegiate activity
- 'XF' grade
- Suspension or expulsion recommendation to the office of student life and development
- Recommendation to the dean for academic affairs that a degree already granted be revoked, even if all degree requirements are met.
These sanctions may be in addition to sanctions imposed by the instructor. An 'XF' grade imposed by the panel will supersede any grade sanction imposed by the instructor.
In addition, the panel may require a student to complete the eight-hour Multimedia Integrity Teaching Tool (MITT), administered by the office of academic affairs.
Generally, subsequent findings of academic dishonesty or dishonest acts of premeditation, falsification of papers or conspiring with others will merit more severe sanctions, including the possibility of suspension or expulsion.
Review and Appeal Processes
Request for Immediate Review: In cases where an AIC proceeding has determined the appropriate sanction to be less than suspension or expulsion, both the finding of responsibility and the sanction(s) will be final, unless, within 15 academic days (days when classes are in session) after the AIC’s written decision is sent to the student, the student notifies the AIC in writing of a request for review of the panel’s deliberations. The student may request review of the panel’s decision that academic dishonesty was likely to have occurred and/or the sanction(s) the panel imposed. The AIC will notify the instructor (or other person lodging an allegation), department head and assistant dean of the request for review and will provide the instructor a reasonable opportunity to make a written response to be considered in the review process. Three voting members of the AIC who did not take part in the original proceeding will review the records of the panel’s deliberations. Review decisions will be by simple majority vote, based upon the record of the original proceeding and upon the written information submitted by the student and other parties having relevant information. Sanctions imposed by the instructor may not be reduced. No proceedings will be conducted. Sanctions may be reduced only if found to be grossly disproportionate to the offense. Cases may be referred to a new proceeding if procedural errors were so substantial as to effectively deny the accused student a fair proceeding or if new and significant documentation has become available that could not have been discovered by a diligent respondent before or during the original proceeding. If a new proceeding is initiated, no indication or record of the previous proceeding will be introduced or provided to the members of the new Academic Integrity Panel, except at the discretion of the chair of the AIC. The new AIP will consist of five voting members of the AIC who did not participate in either the original proceeding or the review.
If the imposed sanction is to suspend or expel a student, a notation will be made on the student’s transcript that the suspension or expulsion was for reasons of academic dishonesty. The student may submit a written appeal of a suspension or expulsion sanction to the academic dean within ten (10) academic days (days when classes are in session) of notification of the sanction. Regardless of whether an appeal is filed, suspension requires approval by the dean of student services and may be altered, deferred or withheld. Expulsion requires approval by the dean of student services and may be altered, deferred or withheld. Expulsions may be appealed by the student to the chancellor of the University. Expulsions may be appealed by the student to the Board of Governors, which may, at its discretion hear the appeal.
Appeals After One Year for Removal of 'XF' Grade: After a time period of at least twelve months has elapsed since the grade of 'XF' was imposed, a person who has received a grade of 'XF' (whether or not currently enrolled as a student at Missouri State University-West Plains) may file a written petition to the AIC to have the grade of 'XF' removed from the transcript and permanently replaced with the grade of 'F'. Three letters of reference deemed relevant by the AIC chair must be submitted along with the petition. These letters of reference should be from unrelated individuals who are in a position to evaluate the character of the student, any changes in the student’s attitude about academic integrity, and/or the level of remorse. The decision to remove the grade of 'XF' and replace it with an 'F' shall rest in the discretion and judgment of a majority of the entire Academic Integrity Council, which will undertake a review of the record of the case. The AIC will attempt to certify that to the best of its knowledge the student has not been found responsible for any other act of academic dishonesty or similar disciplinary offense at Missouri State University or another institution. Generally, the grade of 'XF' ought not to be removed for acts of academic dishonesty requiring significant premeditation, or involving repeated offenses, or accompanied by illegal, threatening or disruptive behavior. The decision of the AIC at initial review shall not be subject to subsequent AIC review for four years, unless the AIC specifies an earlier date on which the petition may be reconsidered. AIC determinations pertaining to the removal of the 'XF' grade penalty may be appealed to the academic dean.
Academic Integrity Records
Academic integrity records are subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Missouri State University West Plains Policy Regarding Personally Identifiable Student Records. Academic integrity records are maintained in the office of academic affairs. Academic integrity records are records related to a particular student, including but not limited to: allegations and findings of academic integrity violations; appeals by the student or an instructor, and the outcomes of those appeals; confidential statements; reports of Academic Integrity Panel determinations; and notifications of outcomes as described in the Student Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures. Academic integrity records that include the sanctions of an 'XF' grade, suspension, or expulsion shall be permanently maintained in the office of academic affairs. Academic integrity records that include lesser sanctions shall be maintained for seven years from the date of sanction imposition or from graduation/separation from the University, whichever is greater.
Revoking a Grade/Degree
If an instructor discovers academic dishonesty after final grades have been assigned and wishes to retroactively impose an F or 'XF' grade for the course as a sanction for the academic dishonesty, the instructor must send written notification to the chair of the Academic Integrity Council, with copy to the instructor’s department head and the assistant dean. In order for an instructor to be able to impose a sanction, the written notice must be received by the Academic Integrity Council within five (5) calendar years of the last class meeting day of the class in which the alleged academic dishonesty took place. In the case of an act of alleged academic dishonesty not associated with enrollment in a class, written notification must be received by the Academic Integrity Council within five (5) years of the date of the alleged act. After five (5) years, an instructor can no longer impose any direct sanction for an alleged infraction; however, alleged academic dishonesty may be reported to the AIC regardless of how much time has passed since the alleged act.
The written notification from the instructor shall include a detailed description of the alleged academic dishonesty and the intended sanction. The chair of the Academic Integrity Council will notify the student of the allegation by certified letter with return receipt. The student will be allowed full appeal rights as outlined in the following sections of this policy: Addressing Alleged Academic Dishonesty and Notifying the AIC of an Alleged Incident and Student Request for an Academic Integrity Proceeding. When the appeal process has been concluded, if the allegation is upheld and if it was brought forward within the five-year time limit, the instructor’s recommended sanction ('F' or 'XF') will replace the original grade. If the revocation of a course grade affects the student’s graduation status because the course was necessary for graduation, a degree that has been granted will be revoked.
The Academic Integrity Council can at any time and at its discretion recommend to the academic dean that a degree be revoked even if all degree requirements are met, in cases where the academic dishonesty, including misconduct in research, is egregious and/or occurred multiple times. A recommendation to revoke a degree even if all degree requirements are met requires an affirmative vote of at least 12 of the 16 voting members of the Council. The dean of academic affairs’ decision to revoke a degree requires the concurrence of the chancellor of the University. The decision to revoke a degree may be appealed by the student to the Board of Governors, which may, at its discretion, hear the appeal.
Summary and Credits
Consistent with the public affairs mission of Missouri State University-West Plains, these student academic integrity policies and procedures are intended to foster academic integrity at this University. The Academic Integrity Council includes both student and faculty representation, and is responsible for addressing allegations of student academic dishonesty that are not resolved informally between the instructor and the student, and those allegations not resolved upon appeal to the department head, or that involve dishonesty occurring outside the context of enrollment in a particular course. The Council may also undertake other activities to promote a climate of academic integrity at Missouri State University-West Plains.
The introduction to this document is based on Missouri State University-West Plains Declaration of University Community Principles, and on the Missouri State University Faculty Handbook. The document also includes selected material from the University of Maryland Code of Academic Integrity, used with permission from the office of academic affairs, University of Maryland. Also included are concepts fromSynthesis: Law and Policy in Higher Education, Vol. 9, Number 1, Summer 1997. The document is based on Missouri State University-Springfield Student Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures revised policy of May 2004.
Approved by Faculty Senate 2010-12-03.