Effective learning, teaching and research all depend upon the ability of members of the academic community to trust one another and to trust the integrity of work that is submitted for academic credit or conducted in the wider arena of scholarly research.
Such an atmosphere of mutual trust fosters the free exchange of ideas and enables all members of the community to achieve their highest potential.
In all academic work, the ideas and contributions of others must be appropriately acknowledged and work that is presented as original must be, in fact, original. Faculty, students and administrative staff all share the responsibility of ensuring the honesty and fairness of the intellectual environment at Washington University in St. Louis.
Scope and Purpose
This statement on academic integrity applies to all undergraduate students at Washington University. Graduate students are governed by policies in each graduate school or division. All students are expected to adhere to the highest standards of behavior.
The purpose of the statement is twofold:
- To clarify the university’s expectations with regard to undergraduate students’ academic behavior, and
- To provide specific examples of dishonest conduct. The examples are only illustrative, NOT exhaustive.
Violations of This Policy Include, But Are Not Limited To:
Plagiarism consists of taking someone else’s ideas, words or other types of work product and presenting them as one’s own. To avoid plagiarism, students are expected to be attentive to proper methods of documentation and acknowledgement. To avoid even the suspicion of plagiarism, a student must always:
- Enclose every quotation in quotation marks and acknowledge its source.
- Cite the source of every summary, paraphrase, abstraction or adaptation of material originally prepared by another person and any factual data that is not considered common knowledge. Include the name of author, title of work, publication information and page reference.
- Acknowledge material obtained from lectures, interviews or other oral communication by citing the source (name of the speaker, the occasion, the place and the date).
- Cite material from the internet as if it were from a traditionally published source. Follow the citation style or requirements of the instructor for whom the work is produced.
2. Cheating on an Examination
A student must not receive or provide any unauthorized assistance on an examination. During an examination a student may use only materials authorized by the faculty.
3. Copying or Collaborating on Assignments without Permission
When a student submits work with his/her name on it, this is a written statement that credit for the work belongs to that student alone. If the work was a product of collaboration, each student is expected to clearly acknowledge in writing all persons who contributed to its completion.
Unless the instructor explicitly states otherwise, it is dishonest to collaborate with others when completing any assignment or test, performing laboratory experiments, writing and/or documenting computer programs, writing papers or reports and completing problem sets.
If the instructor allows group work in some circumstances but not others, it is the student’s responsibility to understand the degree of acceptable collaboration for each assignment and to ask for clarification if necessary.
To avoid cheating or unauthorized collaboration, a student should never:
- Use, copy or paraphrase the results of another person’s work and represent that work as his/her own, regardless of the circumstances.
- Refer to, study from or copy archival files (e.g., old tests, homework, solutions manuals or backfiles) that were not approved by the instructor.
- Copy another’s work or to permit another student to copy his/her work.
- Submit work as a collaborative effort if he/she did not contribute a fair share of the effort.
4. Fabrication or Falsification of Data or Records
It is dishonest to fabricate or falsify data in laboratory experiments, research papers, reports or in any other circumstances; to fabricate source material in a bibliography or “works cited” list; or to provide false information on a résumé or other document in connection with academic efforts. It is also dishonest to take data developed by someone else and present them as one’s own.
Examples of falsification include:
- Altering information on any exam, problem set or class assignment being submitted for a re-grade.
- Altering, omitting or inventing laboratory data to submit as one’s own findings. This includes copying laboratory data from another student to present as one’s own; modifying data in a write-up; and providing data to another student to submit as his/her own.
5. Other Forms of Deceit, Dishonesty or Inappropriate Conduct
Under no circumstances is it acceptable for a student to:
- Submit the same work, or essentially the same work, for more than one course without explicitly obtaining permission from all instructors. A student must disclose when a paper or project builds on work completed earlier in his/her academic career.
- Request an academic benefit based on false information or deception. This includes requesting an extension of time, a better grade or a recommendation from an instructor.
- Make any changes (including adding material or erasing material) on any test paper, problem set or class assignment being submitted for a re-grade.
- Willfully damage the efforts or work of other students.
- Steal, deface or damage academic facilities or materials.
- Collaborate with other students planning or engaging in any form of academic misconduct.
- Submit any academic work under someone else’s name other than his/her own. This includes but is not limited to sitting for another person’s exam; both parties will be held responsible.
- Engage in any other form of academic misconduct not covered here.
This list is not intended to be exhaustive. To seek clarification, students should ask the professor or teaching assistant for guidance.
Faculty and instructors are strongly encouraged to report incidents of student academic misconduct to the academic integrity officer in their school or college in a timely manner so that the incident may be handled fairly and consistently across schools and departments. Teaching assistants are expected to report instances of student misconduct to their supervising instructors. Faculty members are expected to respond to student concerns about academic dishonesty in their courses.
If a student observes others violating this policy, he/she is strongly encouraged to report the misconduct to the instructor, to seek advice from the academic integrity officer of the school or college that offers the course in question, or to address the student(s) directly.
Exam Proctor Responsibility
Exam proctors are expected to report incidents of suspected student misconduct to the course instructor and/or the Disability Resource Center, if applicable.
This policy covers all undergraduate students, regardless of their college of enrollment. Cases will be heard by school-specific committees according to the school in which the class is listed, not the school in which the student is enrolled. All violations and sanctions will be reported to the student’s college of enrollment.
Individual undergraduate colleges and schools may design specific procedures to resolve allegations of academic misconduct by students in courses offered by that school, so long as the procedures are consistent with this policy and with the university Student Judicial Code.
Student Rights and Responsibilities in a Hearing
A student accused of an academic integrity violation, whether by a professor, teaching/graduate assistant, academic integrity officer or student is entitled to:
- Review the written evidence in support of the charge.
- Ask any questions.
- Offer an explanation as to what occurred.
- Present any material that would cast doubt on the correctness of the charge.
- Determination of the validity of the charge without reference to any past record of misconduct.
When responding to a charge of academic misconduct, a student may:
- Deny the charges and request a hearing in front of the appropriate academic integrity officer or committee.
- Admit the charges and request a hearing to determine sanction(s).
- Admit the charges and accept the imposition of sanctions by the academic integrity officer without a committee hearing.
- Request a leave of absence from the university. The academic integrity matter must be resolved prior to re-enrollment.
- Request to withdraw permanently from the university with a transcript notation that there is an unresolved academic integrity matter pending.
A student has the following responsibilities in resolving the charge of academic misconduct:
- Admit or deny the charge. This will determine the course of action to be pursued.
- Provide truthful information regarding the charges. It is a student judicial code violation to provide false information to the university or anyone acting on its behalf.
If Found Not in Violation of the Academic Integrity Policy
If the charges of academic misconduct are not proven, no record of the allegation will appear on the transcript.
If Found in Violation of the Academic Integrity Policy
If, after a hearing, a student is found to have acted dishonestly or if a student has admitted to the charges prior to a hearing, the school’s academic integrity officer or committee may impose sanctions, including but not limited to the following:
- Issue a formal written reprimand.
- Impose educational sanctions, such as completing a workshop on plagiarism or academic ethics.
- Recommend to the instructor that the student fail the assignment. (A grade is ultimately the prerogative of the instructor.)
- Recommend to the instructor that the student fail the course.
- Recommend to the instructor that the student receive a course grade penalty less severe than failure of the course.
- Place the student on disciplinary probation for a specified period of time or until defined conditions are met. The probation will be noted on the student’s transcript and internal record while it is in force.
- In cases serious enough to warrant suspension or expulsion from the university, refer the matter to the university judicial board for consideration.
Additional educational sanctions may be imposed. This list is not intended to be exhaustive.
Withdrawing from the course will not prevent the academic integrity officer or hearing panel from adjudicating the case, imposing sanctions, or recommending grade penalties, including a failing grade in the course.
A copy of the sanction letter will be placed in the student’s academic file.
If a student believes the academic integrity officer or the committee did not conduct a fair hearing, or if a student believes the sanction imposed for misconduct is excessive, he/she may appeal to the university judicial board within 14 days of the original decision. Appeals are governed by Section VII. C. of the university Student Judicial Code.
Administrative Records-Keeping Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of the academic integrity officer in each school to keep accurate, confidential records concerning academic integrity violations. When a student has been found to have acted dishonestly, a letter summarizing the allegation, the outcome, and the sanction shall be placed in the student’s official file in the office of the school or college in which the student is enrolled.
Additionally, each school’s academic integrity officer shall make a report of the outcome of every formal accusation of student academic misconduct to the director of university judicial programs, who shall maintain a record of each incident.
When a student is formally accused of academic misconduct and a hearing is to be held by an academic integrity officer, a committee or the university judicial board, the person in charge of administering the hearing shall query the director of judicial programs about the student(s) accused of misconduct. The director shall provide any information in his/her records concerning that student to the integrity officer. Such information will be used in determining sanctions only if the student is found to have acted dishonestly in the present case. Evidence of past misconduct may not be used to resolve the issue of whether a student has acted dishonestly in a subsequent case.
Reports to Faculty and Student Body
School and college academic integrity officers are encouraged to make periodic (at least annual) reports to the students and faculty of their school concerning accusations of academic misconduct and the outcomes, without disclosing specific information that would allow identification of the student(s) involved.
Endorsed by the Faculty Senate Council on March 16, 2010
Effective July 1, 2010
Updated December 4, 2014