Academic Integrity Policy for Students

Faculty and Professional Staff Handbook »

I. Standards of academic conduct

As an academic institution committed to the discovery and dissemination of truth, William Paterson University expects that all members of the University community shall conduct themselves honestly and with a professional demeanor in all academic activities.

William Paterson University has established standards of academic conduct because of its belief that academic honesty is a matter of individual and University responsibility and that, standards of honesty, when violated, harm each member of the community.

Members of the University community are expected to acknowledge their individual responsibility to be familiar with, and adhere to, the Academic Integrity Policy.

II. Violations of academic integrity

Violations of the Academic Integrity Policy will include, but not be limited to the following examples:

  1. Cheating during examinations includes any attempt to (1) look at another student’s examination with the intention of using another’s answers for attempted personal benefit; (2) communicate in any manner, information concerning the content of the examination during the testing period or after the examination to someone who has not yet taken the examination; (3) use any materials, such as notebooks, notes, textbooks or other sources, not specifically designated by the professor of the course for student use during the examination period or (4) engage in any other activity for the purpose of seeking aid not authorized by the professor.

  2. Plagiarism is the copying from a book, article, notebook, video or other source, material whether published or unpublished, without proper credit through the use of quotation marks, footnotes and other customary means of identifying sources, or passing off as one’s own, the ideas, words, writings, programs and experiments of another, whether or not such actions are intentional or unintentional. Plagiarism also includes submitting, without the consent of the professor, an assignment already tendered for academic credit in another course. 

  3. Collusion is working together in preparing separate course assignments in ways not authorized by the instructor. Academic work produced through a cooperative (collaborative effort) of two or more students is permissible only upon the explicit consent of the professor. The collaboration must also be acknowledged in stating the authorship of the report.

  4. Lying is knowingly furnishing false information, distorting data or omitting to provide all necessary, required information to the University’s advisor, registrar, admissions counselor, professor, etc. for any academically related purpose.

Other concerns which relate to the Academic Integrity Policy include such issues as computer security, stolen tests, falsified records as well as vandalism of library materials. No list could possibly include all the possible violations of academic integrity. These examples should, however, give a clearer idea of the intent and extent of application of this policy.

III. Faculty responsibilities for upholding the Academic Integrity Policy

A. Faculty are expected to be familiar with the academic integrity policy. Each faculty member will inform students of the applicable procedures and conditions early in each semester before the first examination or assignment is due.

B. Ordinarily, class tests and final exams should be proctored. Proctoring is defined as having a faculty member present in the room. Proctoring is the responsibility of the faculty member teaching the course. However, when necessary, that responsibility may be shared with, or delegated to, faculty colleagues or graduate assistants assigned to the course.

IV. Resolution of Academic Integrity Policy violations

A. If a faculty member has sufficient reason to believe that a violation may have occurred on any work submitted for a grade, she/he must attempt to discuss this matter with the student within ten (10) working days of the incident.

B. After discussing this matter with the student, and if the the student accepts the proposed penalty, the student waives his/her right to a hearing.

Depending on circumstances, as assessed by the faculty member who has discussed the matter with the student, the penalty imposed could be:

  1. Resubmission of the assignment.

  2. Failure of the assignment.
  3. Failure of the course.
  4. Forced withdrawal from the course with no credit received.
  5. Impose other appropriate penalties with the consent of the student.
  6. Recommendation to the President of suspension or expulsion from the University.
  7. With any of the above, the faculty member can have a written record of the sequence of events placed in the student’s permanent record with a copy to the student.

C. If the student does not admit to a violation or disagrees with the proposed penalty he/she must:

  • Speak directly to the faculty member within ten (10) working days of being informed of a violation or of the proposed penalty. If, after repeated attempts, the student is unable to reach the faculty member within ten (10) working days, the student must notify the department chairperson, in writing, within that ten (10) day period.
  • If, after discussion with the faculty member, the student is dissatisfied with the outcome, the student must contact the department chairperson presenting a dated, written and signed statement describing the specific basis of the complaint. At this time, the student will also provide the faculty member with a copy of these written materials.
  • The department chairperson will try to resolve the issue by reaching a settlement which is agreed upon by both the student and the faculty member. If the issue is not resolved at the chairperson’s level, the student will request that the chairperson convene the department Executive Council (or other appropriate department committee) – excluding the faculty member involved – to hear the appeal. The faculty member will submit a written, dated and signed statement of the alleged violation to the council/committee. The student will submit a written, dated and signed statement describing the basis of the complaint. The accuser will assume the burden of proof. When the faculty member involved is the chairperson, then the student will request that the dean of the College convene the department Executive Council (or other appropriate department committee). The department Executive Council/Committee will submit its decision to the chairperson (or College dean, if the faculty member involved is the chairperson).
  • If not satisfied with the department Executive Council’s (or other appropriate department committee’s) decision, the student may ask the dean of that College to bring the matter to the College Council. The faculty member will submit a written, dated and signed statement of the alleged violation. The student will submit a written, dated and signed statement describing the basis for the complaint. The accuser will assume the burden of proof. The chairperson of the department concerned will not take part in the final vote (though the written decision from the Department Chairperson will be part of the record). The College Council's decision will constitute the University's final decision regarding the substantive nature of the case. Future appeals, based on violations of due process, are permitted to the limit of the law.
  • Each step in the procedure must be initiated within ten (10) working days of the faculty, chairperson, department, or college response. Dated, written and signed statements are required at each step. Likewise, at each level, the faculty member(s) chairperson, department Executive Council (or other appropriate department committee) or College Council must complete a review of all pertinent, written materials prior to rendering a decision, in writing, within ten (10) working days of receipt of the complaint materials. In case the faculty member has verifiably been unable to be contacted, or in other instances of extenuating circumstances affecting students or faculty, it is understood that the student’s right to appeal will not be jeopardized and the time constraints will be extended. Due process must be followed at every step of this procedure. No penalty will be changed by anyone other than the faculty member who assigned it, unless there is convincing evidence that the penalty was inconsistent with professional standards of discipline.
  • Each student who registers a complaint with a department chairperson must be given a copy of this policy. A copy must be attached to the appeal and signed by the student to indicate that he/she has been given a copy of the procedure, reads it, and understands it before the appeal can proceed.