Academic integrity is vital to an institution of higher education. The integrity of your work ‒ that it represents your independent thought and effort and that it properly acknowledges the work of others ‒ is essential to the awarding of credit and to the development of your academic potential. As such, instances of academic dishonesty ‒ cheating, plagiarism, etc., ‒ are extremely serious academic offenses that should not be overlooked. Students should be aware and regularly cautioned that violations of academic integrity may result in suspension or expulsion from the college.
Acts of academic dishonesty are serious offenses that should not be overlooked. Students should be regularly reminded that violations of academic integrity may result in suspension or expulsion from the college. Examples of academic dishonesty include:
- Cheating – intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information or study aids in an academic exercise.
- Fabrication – intentional and unauthorized falsification, misrepresentation or invention of any data or citation in an academic exercise.
- Plagiarism – intentionally representing the words, ideas or data of another as one’s own in any academic exercise without providing proper citation.
- Unauthorized collaboration – instances when students submit individual academic works that are substantially similar to one another; while several students may have the same source material, the analysis, interpretation and reporting of the data must be each individual’s independent work.
- Participation in academically dishonest activities – any action taken by a student with the intent of gaining an unfair advantage. This includes submitting previously graded work as new.
- Facilitating academic dishonesty – intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to violate any provision of this policy.
If an instructor can demonstrate that cheating or plagiarism has taken place, he or she will notify the student in question, present the evidence and apply an academic penalty depending on the severity of the offense. The instructor will bear in mind that there are different degrees of academic dishonesty and assign the academic penalty he or she considers most appropriate from the options listed below:
- Require that a makeup test is taken or a makeup paper is written.
- Reduce the grade on the paper or exam.
- Reduce the final grade in the course by one or more levels.
- Assign a grade of “F” to the exam or paper.
- Assign a grade of “F” for the course.
The instructor must present the student with the Academic Grievance Policy at the time of notification so that the student will know his or her rights of appeal. The student may appeal the appropriateness of the particular academic penalty chosen by the instructor, as well as the finding of fact, through the academic grievance process. The instructor also will notify the dean of students so that a record may be maintained. If the faculty member wishes to pursue the matter as a disciplinary issue, he or she must refer the matter to the dean of students, where a conduct hearing officer may choose to impose disciplinary sanctions following procedures outlined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities section.
The purpose of this grievance procedure is to provide students who believe they have been denied fair and equitable treatment in academic affairs an organized method to resolve their problems. Faculty and students shall be kept informed of the grievance procedure by the appropriate academic dean and all parties shall be encouraged to resolve problems at the first level.
The word “recommendation” in this procedure shall not be constructed to mean a directive. The word “days” shall mean the academic days Monday through Friday.
In May of each year the vice president for Academic Affairs shall establish a student grievance committee for the ensuing 12 months. The committee’s members shall be one administrator selected by the vice president for Academic Affairs, two faculty members selected by the Faculty Association and two students (having a GPA not less than 2.5) selected by Student Government. As soon as possible after establishment, the committee shall meet to elect a chairperson and to formulate rules of hearing procedure for its 12-month incumbency. The administrative member shall be responsible for scheduling meetings and providing secretarial assistance. If any decision or recommendation from the first three (3) levels is not completed within the time limits specified, the grievance shall automatically move to the next higher level.
- Student and instructor must meet within five (5) days after the grievance arises,
attempting to settle the grievance at that meeting. The instructor shall give his
or her decision to the student in writing within three (3) days after the meeting.
If the grievance is not resolved at the first level, or if the instructor’s decision
is not received within three (3) days, the student must contact the department chairperson
- The student may request a meeting with the department chairperson if the grievance
is not resolved with the instructor. The request shall be written, stating the nature
of the grievance and the desired resolution within six (6) days after the meeting
with the instructor. The chairperson shall confer with the instructor, getting his
or her decision in writing, and meet with the student within three (3) days of receipt
of the request. The chairperson shall attempt to resolve the problem and must render
his or her recommendation in writing to all parties within the next three (3) days.
If the chairperson is the instructor being grieved, the third level shall replace
the second level of this procedure.
- If either the student or the instructor is dissatisfied with the chairperson’s recommendation,
he or she may request inquiry by either the dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences;
dean of Business, Science, Technology and Math; or dean of Health and Rehabilitative
Sciences, as appropriate. This request must be made in writing to the academic dean
within three (3) days of receipt of the chairperson’s recommendation. A copy of the
request shall be sent to the chairperson, who shall immediately send all documentation
and his or her recommendation to the dean. The dean shall meet with the instructor,
the chairperson, the student and a Student Services advocate appointed by the dean
of student development within five (5) days of receipt of the request, attempt to
resolve the problem, and make recommendations in writing to all parties within three
(3) days of the inquiry’s completion.
- If either the student or the instructor is dissatisfied with the dean’s recommendation, he or she may request a hearing before the Student Grievance Committee. This request must be made to the appropriate dean in writing within three (3) days of receipt of the dean’s recommendation. The dean shall immediately notify the dean of student development of the request, and shall forward all documentation and his or her written recommendation to the administrative member of the Student Grievance Committee. The administrative member shall call a meeting of the Student Grievance Committee to be held within five (5) days of receipt of request. Before the hearing convenes, the student has the right to challenge one faculty member of the Student Grievance Committee, and the instructor has the right to challenge one student member of the Student Grievance Committee.
In the case of a challenge, that board member shall be immediately replaced by an alternate selected in the same manner as the original member. If a faculty member of the Student Grievance Committee belongs to the same department as the instructor being grieved, he or she shall be automatically replaced by an alternate before the hearing convenes. The Student Grievance Committee shall review the documentation, hear all parties concerned, use any or all means to ascertain the facts and make a final recommendation concerning the grievance. Within five (5) days of the hearing’s adjournment, the chairperson of the Student Grievance Committee shall send written recommendations to all parties present at the hearing. The Student Grievance Committee shall be the last appeal at the Community College of Rhode Island.
- Time. The number of days indicated at each level is considered a maximum. All efforts should be made to expedite the process. The time limits may only be extended in extenuating circumstances by mutual agreement between the grievant and the person against whom the grievance is directed.
- Grade appeals. A student who alleges an error of injustice in the grading process may present a formal grievance in writing to the instructor. Grading reflects careful and deliberate assessment of a student’s performance by the instructor. No complaint challenging a grade may be initiated later than 25 calendar days following the day grades were posted to the Banner system. If the faculty member who assigned the challenged grade is no longer employed at the institution or is not contacted within the 25-day timespan, the student may present the complaint to the department chairperson. Please note: During the summer, faculty members are unavailable after commencement and grievances might not be addressed until the faculty member returns from summer break. This still obligates the students to register their grievance within the 25-day window.
- Withdrawal. Students may withdraw their informal or formal complaints in writing before a hearing.