Standards of Conduct - Academic Behaviors

Policy on Academic Integrity

As affirmed in the Mission Statement of St. Francis College, "Both the Franciscan heritage and the Catholic tradition establish a cornerstone of academic excellence, social responsibility, and mutual respect throughout the entire College community.” Academic integrity (honesty) entails being truthful to oneself and to the larger College community, being original in thought and expression, and attributing honestly ideas and words taken from other sources. Originality of thought and expression is fundamental to academic discourse, as is honesty in giving credit to other thinkers when using their ideas and words. Academic integrity embodies the values of sound moral character and of excellence, social responsibility, and mutual respect which are upheld, in the College Mission Statement, as cornerstones of the College Community.

The academic integrity principle, broadly stated, means students have done or have prepared the work or research in or out of class that bears their names and that they have given proper acknowledgement for the use of materials and sources.

The Policy on Academic Integrity has been developed to provide students and faculty with guidelines to determine what conduct violates the academic integrity principle and procedures for dealing with conduct alleged to be in violation of the academic integrity principle. These procedures guarantee due process to all members involved in cases of alleged violation of academic integrity and protect the rights of faculty and students involved in such cases.

A matter concerning violation of academic integrity is to be considered separate and apart from the existing rubrics of student misbehavior. The following are given as examples of violations of academic integrity. Since a violation of academic integrity takes place whenever anyone undermines the academic integrity of the College or attempts to take unfair advantage of others, this list is not and cannot be exhaustive. Academic integrity is not simply a matter of conforming to certain rules; it must be understood in terms of broader academic purposes of a St. Francis College education.

Cheating – Attempting to use or using unauthorized material or information as study aids in any academic exercise. Visually or verbally receiving or giving information during tests,

Counterfeit work – Includes work submitted as one’s own that was created, researched, or produced, in whole or in part, by someone else. Turning in a report of another’s research, submitting a paper researched or written by someone else, having someone else take a test, and submitting joint projects as solely one’s own, are all forms of counterfeit work and are unacceptable.

Falsification of academic records - Knowingly and improperly changing grades on transcripts, grade sheets, electronic data sheets, related documents, academic reports, tests and projects is an act violating academic integrity. experimental procedures is considered an act of violation of academic integrity.

Falsification of data or creation of false data - Falsification or fabrication of data in research or experimental procedures is considered an act of violation of academic integrity.

Plagiarism – Includes presenting as one’s work the work of someone else without properly acknowledging the source (in work, for example, for specific class assignments or for submissions to campus publications). Plagiarism is theft: using the words and ideas of another person as if they were one’s own. Exact copying should be enclosed in quotation marks and be appropriately documented in footnotes or endnotes that indicate the source of the quotation. Paraphrasing, when the basic sentence structure, phraseology, and unique language remain the same, is also plagiarism. When in doubt about these matters, it is the student’s responsibility to seek guidance from the instructor of the course prior to submitting material for course credit.                               

Theft – Communicating all or any part of tests or answer sheets, specifically prepared for a given course and as yet not used or publicly released by the instructor of a course, and theft of completed tests constitute violations of academic integrity.

Unauthorized reuse of work – Submitting the same work to more than one class without consent of the instructors involved constitutes a violation of academic integrity.


The procedural policy on academic integrity distinguishes between an informal and formal inquiry into incidents concerning violations of academic integrity. Each stage of the academic integrity process, informal and formal, is to be conducted in strict confidentiality.

A member of the faculty who discovers in a student’s work or conduct what he or she judges to be an act of academic dishonesty will deal with the matter as follows:

Informal Inquiry: A faculty member suspecting a student of a violation of academic integrity may attempt to deal with the situation in an informal manner. This informal manner would involve discussing the situation with the student suspected of the violation and informing the student of the penalty sought to be imposed by the faculty member.

If the student does not challenge the penalty, the matter is resolved. Otherwise, the Department Chair may be called in to assist the faculty member and student in resolving the matter. If this is not successful, the matter will proceed to a formal inquiry. A faculty member may also decide that the matter is serious enough to bypass the informal inquiry and to proceed directly to a formal inquiry.

Formal Inquiry: If resolution is not achievable through the informal means, a formal inquiry is  to be pursued. The faculty member and/or the student reports the matter to the Committee on Academic Integrity. The Chair of the Committee will invite the faculty member and student concerned to submit a statement in writing detailing the incident and any evidence pertinent to the matter. The Committee may or may not interview the involved student and/or faculty member; the Committee reserves the right to seek additional information from other pertinent sources. The Committee will consider the statement and the evidence submitted by both the faculty member and the student and will base its decision and any possible penalty on that evidence. The decision of the Committee on Academic Integrity shall be final and binding on both the faculty member and the student. Records of student violations of academic integrity confirmed by the Committee will be maintained by the Academic Dean.

Classification of Penalties

The Committee may select from among the penalties described in 1, 2, or 3 below. In the case of more serious or repeated offenses, the Committee on Academic Integrity may impose additional and increasingly severe penalties described in 4, 5, and 6 below.

  1. A grade of F on the paper, examination, or assignment.
  2. Reduction of final course grade.
  3. A grade of F for the course.
  4. Disciplinary dismissal from the College for at least one semester following the semester in which the offense has occurred.
  5. Immediate disciplinary dismissal from the College for not longer than the remainder of the current and the following semester.
  6. Permanent disciplinary dismissal from the College.

Students may not withdraw their registration from the course involved once a report has been made to the Committee on Academic Integrity. A formal inquiry must be initiated by the end of the semester following the semester in which the incident occurs.

Committee on Academic Integrity

  1. Organization: The Committee shall be composed of five faculty members, elected from each of the four divisional groups and one at-large, two students (one from senior and one from junior year) appointed by the Student Government. The Dean of Student and the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Academic Dean or his/her deputy shall be ex officio members of the Committee.
  2. Duties:
    1. To foster the values of academic integrity among students, faculty, administrators and staff.
    2. To act as a board of review in all cases concerned with violations of academic integrity in accord with the established policy and procedures on academic integrity.