Undergraduate Policy on Academic Integrity

A university, by its nature, strives to foster and recognize originality of thought, which can be recognized only when people produce work that is theirs alone, properly acknowledging information and ideas that are obtained from the work of others. It is therefore important that students must maintain the highest standards with regard to honesty, effort, and performance.

As a Jesuit, Catholic university, Fordham is committed to ensuring that all members of the academic community strive not only for excellence in scholarship but also for integrity of character. In the pursuit of knowledge and personal development, it is imperative that students present their own ideas and insights for evaluation, critique, and eventual reformulation. As part of this process, each student must acknowledge the intellectual contribution of others.

I. The Academic Integrity Statement

The following statement will be read at the academic orientation by all incoming freshmen and external transfer students to increase their awareness of the importance Fordham attaches to integrity within the academic community

As a student of Fordham University, I recognize that I am part of a community dedicated to the disciplined and rigorous pursuit of knowledge and communication of truth. I therefore commit myself to the University Code of Conduct and upholding the highest standards of academic integrity. Any work that I claim to be my own will be my own; I will give appropriate credit where credit is due; I will be fair and honest in all of my interactions with members of the Fordham community.

By being enrolled at Fordham University, students are bound to comply with the University Code of Conduct, which includes, but is not limited to the following Standards of Academic Integrity:

II. Standards of Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an honest, truthful and responsible manner. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, cheating on exams, falsification, unapproved collaboration, and destruction of library materials. Below are instances of violations with which all members of the academic community should be familiar.

A. Plagiarism

Plagiarism occurs when individuals attempt to present as their own work what has come from another source. Plagiarism takes place whether such theft is accidental or deliberate. It is no defense to claim that one has “forgotten” to document ideas or material taken from another source.

Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to

  1. Using the ideas of another person, whether or not such ideas are paraphrased, from whatever source, including oral, print, broadcast, or computer-mediated communication;
  2. Rewriting borrowed material by simply dropping a word here and there, substituting a few words for others, or moving around words or sentences;
  3. Presenting borrowed material, whether a phrase, a sentence, or whole paragraphs without placing quotation marks around the borrowed material in the approved style;
  4. Presenting as one’s own an assignment, paper, or computer program partially or wholly prepared by another person, whether by another student, a friend, or by a business or online service that sells or distributes such papers and programs;
  5. Failing to use proper citation for information obtained from print sources or the Internet, according to citation criteria specified by the instructor or, in cases where instructor guidance is not given, by standard manuals of style (e.g., The Chicago Manual of Style).

B. Cheating

Cheating occurs when individuals use course materials, information or devices (e.g., programmable calculator, cell phone) when such use is unauthorized or prohibited.

Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to

  1. Having or using unauthorized materials, information, or an unauthorized device at an examination, test, or quiz;
  2. Copying from another student at an examination, test, or quiz, or copying another student’s assignment, data, or laboratory report;
  3. Permitting another student to copy from an assignment, paper, computer program, project, examination, test, or quiz;
  4. Obtaining and/or using an unauthorized examination, test, or quiz prior to its administration;
  5. Having another person act as proxy to take an examination, test, or quiz or to complete an assignment, paper, computer program, or project.

C. Falsification

Falsification occurs when individuals make false statements that mislead others.

Examples of falsification include, but are not limited to

  1. The submission or presentation of a falsified excuse for an absence from a course requirement, examination, test, or quiz;
  2. The presentation of false identification or credentials in order to gain admission to a course, examination, test, quiz, or degree program;
  3. The creation of a false or misleading citation;
  4. The manipulation or falsification of data for an academic assignment.

D. Unapproved Collaboration

Certain coursework and assignments such as team projects, papers, and laboratory work may involve collaboration. Unless expressly permitted or prescribed by the faculty member, students shall not engage in collaboration on graded assignments. It is the student’s responsibility to ask for clarification from a faculty member as to what extent, if at all, collaboration with others is allowed.

E. Other Violations of Academic Integrity

Additional violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to

  1. Theft, destruction, or tampering with library materials, audio- and videotapes, and computer hardware or software;
  2. Submission of a paper or project to more than one course during the time in which a student is attending Fordham University, without the explicit permission from all the instructors involved;
  3. Submission of work previously done in high school or at another institution, whether modified or not, without permission of the instructor.

III. The Academic Integrity Committee

To foster a trusting environment that is essential for learning, it is the responsibility of both students and faculty to maintain and to promote the intellectual community. To ensure that all members of that community are represented in the process, a committee comprised of three faculty members, three students, and one academic administrator will be established for each college/school. This committee will oversee the procedures and appeals associated with courses taught in that college/school.

Responsibilities

The responsibilities of the Academic Integrity Committee (AIC) are as follows:

  1. to record and verify receipt of Academic Violation Reports signed by the instructor and student;
  2. to further investigate the incident if the student challenges the decision of the instructor, and schedule a case review;
  3. to report the violation to the appropriate dean(s);
  4. to provide annual reports of the academic integrity violations and final sanctions to the dean of the college/school;
  5. to review periodically the functioning of the committee, including Standards of Academic Integrity and Procedures and Appeals to determine if changes are needed. This oversight review shall be communicated to the dean of the college/school;
  6. to work with relevant student groups to develop workshops to promote and maintain academic integrity.

Membership

The dean of the college/school will solicit nominations for membership, including substitute faculty and students. The dean will forward a list of recommendations to the Office of the Provost, who will then appoint three faculty, three students, and one administrator from the college/school to serve on the committee, and the provost’s office will identify substitute faculty and students who are willing to serve, if needed. The committee will be chaired by one member selected by the dean of the college/school from among the faculty and administrator members. Agreement to serve on the committee is a serious commitment. Faculty members will serve a term of three years, and student members will serve a term of two years with an initial staggering of terms to ensure continuity. The chair of the committee will serve in that capacity for a one-year period with the possibility of yearly renewal.

Case Reviews

Case reviews are to be conducted by a quorum comprised of the AIC chair, two (additional) members of the faculty/administrator group, and two student members. The chair will verify members’ attendance. A member of the AIC may be excused from a particular case review when a conflict of interest is disclosed to the chair. In the event that an academic integrity violation is filed against a senior just prior to graduation and the student challenges the instructor’s claim, the chair of the AIC is empowered to convene an emergency ad hoc committee during senior week. This ad hoc committee will consist of two faculty and two students. Initially, the AIC membership will be contacted, but if they are not available, any faculty member and any student in the college/school may be asked to participate to ensure that two faculty and two students are present. The ad hoc members will be asked to sign the confidentiality statement.

Confidentiality

Faculty, administrators, and students engaged in academic integrity procedures involving academic integrity violations shall treat as confidential all information disclosed during such procedures, as well as the fact of occurrence of the case review. Persons nominated to the AIC as members will only be permitted to serve only after they sign a nondisclosure agreement that limits the discussion of cases to committee members and the college/school deans on a need-to-know basis only.

Procedures and Timeline for Academic Integrity Violation Reporting

Instructors are required to report any academic integrity violations they detect in their classes. This information is kept on file until students graduate in order to determine if multiple infractions have occurred.

  • A. As soon as an academic integrity violation is identified, the instructor shall contact the student to schedule an in-person meeting to discuss the basis for the suspected violation and the sanction(s) to be imposed according to the Academic Integrity Policy Statement (Section VI). For charges at the end of the spring semester, when there may not be an opportunity to meet with the student, this process may be completed by teleconference. However, discussions over electronic mail may be disadvantageous to students in regards to comprehension and educational value. Therefore, in the event that an in-person meeting or teleconference is not immediately feasible, the process can be put on hold until classes resume. If a meeting with the student will be held in the fall instead, this should be determined by the instructor, with consultation from the respective Chair of the AIC, before the June deadline for finalizing NGRs; at that point the Chair can ask that this period be extended if given sufficient details from the faculty member.
  • B. Prior to meeting with the student, the instructor shall fill out an Academic Integrity Violation Report and attach the appropriate documentation, including the syllabus.
  • C. During the in-person meeting, both the instructor and student will sign the report. When signing the report, the student will be asked to either
    1. acknowledge that they have committed a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy and accept the instructor’s sanctions, or
    2. indicate that they intend to challenge the instructor’s claim that they have committed an academic integrity violation. The student cannot challenge the instructor’s sanction for the offense (see section below: The Student Challenge and Case Review).
    Failure of the student to sign the report without an expressed challenge made to the instructor’s claim shall be deemed an acknowledgement of the violation and an acceptance of the sanction.
  • D. Immediately following the meeting, the Academic Integrity Violation Report and documentation will be sent directly to the chair of the AIC. The chair of the AIC will then notify the committee members that an Academic Integrity Report has been filed and apprise the members of the student’s signed statement.
  • E. If the student has signed an affirmative statement of violation and acceptance of the instructor’s sanctions in accordance with this Policy Statement, the dean’s office of the student’s home college/school will be notified as such. Under this circumstance, no case review by the AIC will be held and the case report is sent directly to the dean/associate dean of the student’s home college/school.
  • F. When a charge is challenged, the instructor will file a grade of “NGR” pending the actions of the AIC and notification from the AIC chair of any relevant sanction (i.e., an F for the course; Section VI) that is imposed by the dean/associate dean of the home college/school.

The Student Challenge and Case Review

  • G. If the student intends to challenge the instructor’s claim, he or she must declare that intent to the AIC chair in writing within two weeks of the initial conference between the instructor and the student. This challenge declaration must include a descriptive statement that explains his or her reasons for the challenge.
  • H. Upon receipt of the student’s declaration to challenge, the AIC chair in consultation with the department/area chair or program director will seek a second reviewer in order to conduct a blind review of the Academic Integrity Report and the student’s letter. The reviewer should be a member of the department or interdisciplinary program from which the report originated. The second reviewer will submit his or her evaluation to the chair of the AIC. A second reviewer from outside the university will be utilized only when circumstances warrant.
  • I. Upon receipt of the second reviewer’s evaluation, the chair shall schedule a case review (Section 3.C) with the AIC members.
  • J. The AIC will review the case materials and the written statement (Section 4.F) of the student. After reviewing these, the committee will deliberate and vote on whether a violation has occurred. The AIC chair will notify the student, the instructor, and, in cases of the affirmative, the dean of the student’s home college of the committee’s evaluation.

    Administration of Sanctions

  • K. Upon receipt of the AIC case report, the assistant or associate dean of the student’s home college will meet with the student to discuss the evaluation of the AIC case review and impose the sanctions described in Section 6 according to the level of offense. The dean will also warn the student of sanctions for any future offenses. A report of the imposed sanctions will be made to the AIC for its records.

    Record Keeping

  • L. The AIC will keep for its records and analysis all reports and actions taken by the committee. These records are education records and subject to federal rules and regulations outlined in FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). Records kept for the purpose of analysis and program evaluation by the AIC will have all personal identifying information removed.

V. Procedure for a Student to Report on an Academic Violation

If a student witnesses a violation of academic integrity or otherwise has reason to believe that a violation has occurred, he or she may choose among several possible courses of action.

  1. Talk with the student urging him or her to report himself or herself to the instructor of the course or to the chair of the AIC.
  2. Discuss the observed action with the instructor, not naming those involved, to obtain guidance and determine if an observed act merits action under the Academic Integrity Policy.
  3. Submit a written report to the chair of the AIC. If the student wishes to remain anonymous, the AIC will honor that request during the initial inquiry prior to a case review.

VI. Sanctions for Violations of Academic Integrity

If a student is found in violation of academic integrity standards while an undergraduate at Fordham University, the following sanctions shall be imposed:

A. First Offense

  1. The student shall receive an F on the assignment/examination, unless otherwise specified by the instructor. The student may in addition receive an F in the course at the discretion of the instructor. 
  2. The case shall be documented in the student’s file, where it will remain until the time of the student’s graduation from the college/school, at which time the material will be removed from his or her file. Any records kept for the purpose of analysis and program evaluation by the AIC and not destroyed will have all personal identifying information removed.

B. Second Offense

  1. The student shall receive an F for the course and shall be subject to suspension or expulsion from the college/school, at the discretion of the dean. If the student is expelled, the notation—Withdrawn by the University—will appear on their transcript.
  2. The case shall be documented in the student’s file, where it will remain until the time of the student’s graduation from the college/school, at which time the material will be removed from their file. Any records kept for the purpose of analysis and program evaluation by the AIC and not destroyed will have all personal identifying information removed.

C. Third Offense

If a student is found guilty of a third violation of academic integrity, the student will receive an F for the course and will be expelled from the University, at the discretion of the dean. If the student is expelled, the notation—Withdrawn by the University—will appear on their transcript.

For any offense, in the event that the student receives an F in the course as the penalty and elects to withdraw from the course prior to the withdrawal deadline, the student shall receive the grade of WF, a grade that is equivalent to an earned F in the cumulative quality point index, if the penalty is accepted or upheld after a challenge.

VII. The Right to Grieve Grades in Relationship to Violations of Academic Integrity

Any other grades given for work in the same course, unless the grade itself is the sanction, can be grieved in accordance with the established college/school policy only after any and all questions of violations of academic integrity have been resolved through the processes stated above.

The complete policy and the Academic Integrity Violation Report is available on the University website at https://www.fordham.edu/info/25380/undergraduate_academic_integrity_policy.