CATALOG: Academic Dishonesty

Academic Dishonesty Defined

Students are expected to conduct themselves in an honorable manner in all of their academic work. All forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited at Rappahannock Community College. Cheating on quizzes, tests, and examinations, unauthorized cooperation between students, substitution for another person during an examination, unauthorized help from others, plagiarism, and the unauthorized use of software, databases, or expert advice that is contrary to the instructions of the professor are acts of academic dishonesty.

It is vital that students understand what constitutes plagiarism so that they may avoid it in their academic work. Plagiarizing is using the work of another individual, either word for word or in substance, and representing i as one’s own work without proper citation. There are three types of plagiarism as listed in Donald A. Sears’ book Harbrace Guide to the Library and Research Paper, 3rd Edition (New York: Harcourt, 1972, p. 45). They are:

  • Word-for-word plagiarism: The submission of the work of another source without proper acknowledgment of that source by footnote, bibliography or reference in the paper.
  • Patchwork plagiarism: Submitting a work that is stitched together from a variety of sources that does not indicate direct quotes or acknowledgment of those sources.
  • Unacknowledged paraphrase: Restatement or rewording of another author’s original thought or idea must be acknowledged. Restatement by means of paraphrase does not remove the necessity of giving credit to original sources.
  • Collaboration with another person in the preparation or editing of assignments submitted for credit without approval from the instructor.
  • Furnishing false information to the College including, but not limited to, forgery, alteration or use of College documents, or instruments of identification with intent to defraud.
  • Knowingly witnessing any forms of cheating and not reporting it to a professor, school official, or testing center personnel.

Addressing Allegations of Academic Dishonesty

If a faculty member has reason to believe that a student has engaged in an act of academic dishonesty, the faculty member will:

  • make the student aware of his or her suspicion in a manner and place that ensures the confidentiality of their conversation, and
  • address the matter with the student in a timely manner, typically within 24 hours of either observing the offense, or observing/receiving evidence of the offense.

If the faculty member remain convinced of the student’s act of academic dishonesty, the faculty member shall inform the student in confidence, and in a timely manner, of the specific details of the dishonest action and specifics of the disciplinary action that will be administered as specified in the syllabus for the course. The faculty member will also inform both the academic dean and the Dean of Student Development of the details of the dishonest action and the specifics of the disciplinary action.

Disciplinary Actions

Having accused and found evidence of the student’s action of academic dishonesty, faculty members must administer one of the following disciplinary actions as specified in the course syllabus:

1. A formal warning: An oral or written statement to the student that he or she has committed an act of academic dishonesty that is prohibited at the institution and might result in more severe disciplinary action if the student be found guilty of engaging in any subsequent act of academic dishonesty.
2. A formal warning and the requirement that the student repeat or re-submit the quiz, test, examination, exercise or assignment in question.
3. A formal warning and the assignment of the grade of “F” (numeric grade of zero) on the quiz, test, examination, exercise, or assignment in question.
4. Removal of the student from the class and the assignment of the grade of “F” in the course.

Reporting Acts of Academic Dishonesty to the Dean of Student Development and the Academic Dean

A faculty member must provide the Dean of Student Development and the academic dean with a written report of any disciplinary action taken in response to an act of academic dishonesty. The report of the offense and action must be forwarded to both the Dean of Student Development and the academic dean on the same day as the meeting occurs to inform the student of the offense and consequence. In no instance shall this report be provided to the Dean of Student Development and the academic dean later than the same day as when the student is informed of the offense and the consequence, and in no instance shall the meeting with the student and the report to the deans occur more than 5 business days after the observed, or discovered, action of academic dishonesty. The report must include the name of the accused student, the course number and class section number, the student’s EMPLID, the nature of the action of academic dishonesty, and the specific disciplinary action taken.

Possible Disciplinary Actions

All formal reports of academic dishonesty will be reviewed by both the academic dean and the Dean of Student Development. If a student has been found responsible for any prior acts of academic dishonesty, and is now determined to be responsible for an additional act, either by the student’s acceptance of the instructor’s initial accusation, or by the final determination of any hearings or appeal, the Dean of Student Development will take immediate disciplinary action. The Dean of Student Development will act to either (1) suspend the student from the institution for a period of time not to exceed one year, or (2) dismiss the student from the College. The student will be notified by the Dean of Student Development in writing of such action within 10 business days. A statement of this action will be included in the student’s academic record. A student who is suspended or dismissed will be immediately withdrawn from all course work in which she or he is enrolled.

Appeals to the Committee on Academic Integrity

A student who has received disciplinary action as a result of dishonesty observed by a faculty or staff member and/or has been suspended or dismissed from the institution by the Dean of Student Development may appeal the sanction(s) to the Student Affairs Sub-Committee on Academic Integrity within five business days of the imposition of the sanction by the faculty or staff member, or within five business days of the receipt of the formal notification by the Dean of Student Development.

The Student Affairs Sub-Committee on Academic Integrity

The membership of the Academic Integrity Sub-Committee is appointed by the President of the College and consists of five teaching faculty with fair representation from all areas of instruction chosen from the Student Affairs Committee. In the event that multiple cases are being adjudicated, membership of the sub-committee may be chosen from faculty outside the Student Affairs Committee.

Appeals Hearings

A student who has made an appeal will receive written notification from the Chair of the Academic Integrity Sub-Committee of the time, place, and date of the hearing at least five business days before the hearing. The student may elect to not appear at a hearing, but the hearing will be held in his or her absence. If a student elects to not appear at the hearing, the student may submit a signed statement to the Chair of the Academic Integrity Sub-Committee at least 48 hours prior to the hearing. Hearings will be closed to the public. No tape recorder or other recording devices may be present or utilized by the student during the hearing unless the student has a documented disability necessitating the use of electronic devices. Prior authorization for the use of any recording device must be submitted and secured from the Chair of the Academic Integrity Sub-Committee at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing. The student will be given an opportunity to speak at the hearing and to present evidence and witnesses on his or her behalf. The student may be accompanied by one other individual at the hearing, but this person cannot participate in the hearing.

The faculty member/academic dean and/or Dean of Student Development will be permitted to speak at the hearing and to present evidence and witnesses. The Chair of the Academic Integrity Sub- Committee and student may request the appearance of and question witnesses. The Academic Integrity Sub-Committee and student may direct questions to such witnesses. A student has the right to decline the Chair of the Academic Integrity Sub-Committee’s request, or accused student’s request, to provide information and/or appear at the hearing.

The faculty member may direct questions to the student, witnesses and the dean through the Chair of the Academic Integrity Sub-Committee. The Academic Integrity Sub-Committee may affirm, reduce or dismiss the decision of the faculty member or the dean. The student will receive written notification of the decision from the Dean of Student Development within five business days of the conclusion of the hearing.

Appeals to the Vice President for Instruction and Student Development

A student may appeal the decision of the Academic Integrity Sub-Committee in writing to the Vice President for Instruction and Student Development within five business days of the receipt of the decision. The role of the Vice President in the appeal process will be to review the entire academic dishonesty proceeding to ensure that the process was conducted according to current College policies and procedures. The Vice President will provide the student with a written notification of findings and a decision within 10 business days of the receipt of the appeal. If the Vice President finds that College policies and procedures were followed, the decision rendered shall be considered final. If the Vice President finds that College policies and procedures were not followed, the Vice President will make a recommendation to the President to appoint and convene a new committee to re-hear the appeal. The decision of the committee in the second hearing will be the final decision for the matter. The student will receive written notification of the committee’s decision from the Dean of Student Development within five business days of the conclusion of the hearing.

Records of Academic Dishonesty Actions and Appeals

All records of academic dishonesty actions and appeals will remain confidential and will be maintained in the Office of the Dean of Student Development. Such information will not be available to unauthorized persons without the express written permission of the student, court subpoena or other exceptions made under the conditions specified in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended.


Last modified on 08-14-2017