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Academic Honesty FAQ

Where can I find Kutztown University's Academic Honesty Policy?   

What is academic dishonesty?

According to the Academic Honesty Policy, academic dishonesty is defined as, "any attempt to obtain academic credit receive or influence the grading processes by means unauthorized by the course instructor".  The Kutztown University Academic Honesty Policy specifically highlights situations and examples of academic dishonesty that students must be familiar with and avoid. Students are strongly encouraged to take a few minutes to read these examples to know what is expected of them inside the classroom.

Generally speaking, what are some of the most common types of academic dishonesty?

  • Plagiarism - close imitation of the language and ideas of another individual or group and passing them off as your own
  • Cheating - to take an exam deceitfully, i.e. having an answer key on hand during test-taking
  • Multiple Submissions - using the same assignment for more than one course or using the assignment more than once in a given semester/year
  • Fabrication/Falsification - To make something true by adding to or changing its makeup
  • Fraud - breach of confidence or deceptiveness used to gain advantage
  • Misrepresentation - to turn in an assignment or complete work in class for another student; taking on the identity of another student and completing his/her assignment
  • Complicity - being involved in an academically dishonest act, such as allowing someone to copy your work
  • Tampering - to alter or misuse an assignment - for example, changing the makeup of someone's assignment without he/she knowing about it
  • Possession - occupancy of work that isn't yours. This can pertain to selling copies of exams or possessing assignments that aren't yours

How are copyright laws and academic honesty related?

If you plagiarize on a class assignment, you are using copyrighted material that isn't your original work. If you neglect to abide by the educational fair use policy (discussed below) in completing a classroom assignment, then you are in violation of copyright laws. Although plagiarism and copyright laws go hand-in-hand, you can commit plagiarism without violating laws and vice-versa 

What is educational fair use of copyrighted material?

Contained in copyright laws are rules set forth that limit how copyrighted works can be used in assignments, papers and projects. This is known as educational fair use . The U.S. Copyright Office details the guidelines for educational fair use on the following website: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html. According to this website, one needs to consider the following when using copyrighted materials to complete a classroom assignment:

  • Purpose/character of the usage
  • Nature of the work in question
  • Amount and importance of the portion of work in question
  • Effect upon the potential marker for the work

How can I avoid being accused of academic dishonesty?

Students can avoid being accused of academic dishonesty by engaging in academically honest practices both in the classroom and beyond the classroom. Avoiding the aforementioned practices of academic dishonesty helps to ensure that a student will maintain a record of academic honesty at Kutztown University. If you are unsure of the proper practices to follow in the classroom, consult with your instructor(s) about his/her expectations and familiarize yourself with the Academic Honesty policy, which can be found in The Key.

What if I accidentally or unintentionally fail to give credit to a source in a class assignment?

All students are expected to educate themselves on the academic honesty policy by reading The Key, available online. Violations that aren't intentional are still considered violations. However, if you unintentionally engage in an academically dishonest action, contact your instructor and set up a meeting with him/her to discuss the matter as soon as possible. 

What happens if I am accused of academic dishonesty?

If you are accused of academic dishonesty, your professor will present an allegation to you and give you an opportunity to respond to the allegation. Students may opt to resolve the matter through an Informal Resolution Process or opt for a hearing through a Formal Resolution Process. 

How does the Informal Resolution Process work? What happens if I am found responsible?

  • A meeting will be scheduled between the student and the instructor of the class in which the alleged policy violation took place.
  • The student will meet with the instructor and complete the Academic Dishonesty Report Form
  • Student may choose to waive his/her right to a hearing and accept responsibility for the violation, allowing the instructor to impose a sanction.
  • Student may choose to have a formal hearing to prove that he/she is not responsible for the violation.
  • Instructor makes copies of the form to give to the student, the Dean of Students/Student Conduct Office and the Dean of the College the department belongs to and for her/himself.
  • In the Informal Resolution Process, the most severe sanction given is a failure in the course where the policy violation took place.

How does the Formal Resolution Process work? What happens if I am found responsible?

  • This process can be initiated by the Dean of Students, the instructor of the course or the Respondent (accused student).
  • The Formal Resolution Process is used when the instructor or Department Chair is looking for a sanction greater than failure of the assignment or course where the policy violation occurred.
  • This process can also be used when the Respondent is not enrolled in the course or was previously enrolled/complicit with a student that's enrolled in the course.
  • The Respondent can initiate this process if he/she requests a formal hearing on the Academic Dishonesty Report Form.
  • The Dean of Students may initiate a separate process under the Persistent Infractions standard of the Student Code of Conduct if a student is involved in more than one violation of the Academic Honesty Policy.

What happens if I am found responsible/not responsible? Will this go on my permanent record?

If you are found to be not responsible for an Academic Honesty Policy violation, nothing will go on your student conduct record or your KU transcripts. If you are found responsible for a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy, the incident will go on your student conduct record and will remain there for two years after graduation/separation from KU. Policy violations will not appear on academic transcripts.

What should I do if I know my classmates are participating in academically dishonest behavior?

If you know a classmate or friend that is participating in, or has already participated in, a violation of academic dishonesty, it is important that you meet with the instructor of the course in which the act is taking/took place. Avoid any collaboration with the student.