Academic Honesty Policy

A. The LMU Academic Honesty Policy

Loyola Marymount University is a community dedicated to academic excellence. Academic honesty in scholarship and creative work stands at the center of LMU’s academic life, and is essential for true learning and creation of knowledge to take place. As a university in the Jesuit and Marymount traditions, this community expects its members to act in accordance with the highest standards of honesty and ethics at all times. Violations of academic honesty undermine the fundamental educational mission of the University and cannot be tolerated. Students are responsible for understanding the standards of academic honesty and determining how they apply to their academic work and behavior. Students are responsible for contacting their instructor(s) before assignments are due to proactively resolve any questions they may have.

B. Definitions of Academic Honesty and Dishonesty

Academic honesty requires that all members of the LMU community act with integrity, respect their own intellectual and creative work as well as that of others, acknowledge sources consistently and completely, act honestly during exams and on assignments, and report results accurately.

Academic dishonesty is any violation of the standards of academic honesty. Examples of academic dishonesty are defined below. These examples are intended to provide guidance but not to constitute an exhaustive list of the forms that academic dishonesty might take.

1. Plagiarism

  1. Presentation or appropriation of another’s ideas, words, images, work, materials, results, etc. as one’s own, including but not limited to: omission or improper use of citations; copying another’s work without attribution.
  2. Inappropriate use of an Internet or digital source, including but not limited to: inappropriate copying in whole or part; submission of a paper or other work, or any part thereof, obtained via the Internet or a digital source, as one’s own work; inappropriate sampling of images or sound; the use of online solutions typically made available as instructor resources for a course.
  3. Unauthorized presentation or partial or complete resubmission of one’s own previous academic work for additional academic credit.

2. Fraud

  1. Representing oneself as another person in relation to an academic assignment or course, or allowing another to represent oneself in relation to an academic assignment or course. For example, signing an attendance sheet in class or at an extracurricular event on behalf of an absent student, representing oneself as someone else in the context of an online course, or permitting another person to complete an assignment or take an examination on one’s behalf in the context of an online course.
  2. Presenting forged signatures or documents as authentic.
  3. Altering or fabricating data.
  4. Submitting false or fabricated citations.

3. Cheating and Facilitating Cheating

  1. Possession, distribution, and/or use of materials or technology for the purpose of cheating or facilitating cheating.
  2. Coercing or attempting to coerce a classmate to facilitate cheating.
  3. Using resources and materials prohibited by the Instructor.
  4. Collaboration on coursework that violates an Instructor’s stated policies or instruction.
  5. Misrepresenting contributions to group projects.

4. Unauthorized Access to or Alteration of Privileged and Proprietary Information

  1. Unauthorized access to and/or use of privileged University documents, files, or information and/or alteration thereof by electronic or any other means.
  2. Unauthorized access to and/or use of proprietary information. For example, the unauthorized dissemination of research prior to publication.
  3. Unauthorized access to and/or use of University course resources and materials. For example, distributing any course materials (syllabus, assignments, exams, etc.) without explicit permission from the instructor.

5. Other Academic Dishonesty

  1. Acts of academic sabotage. For example, the purposeful theft, vandalism, or unauthorized access of library books, academic records, equipment, or materials, or the theft or destruction of other Students’ work.
  2. Any other means of violating the standards of academic honesty set out above, existing or yet to be invented.

C. Student Protections

  1. The burden shall be upon the Instructor to provide evidence that it is more probable than not that the Student has committed the alleged academic honesty violation.
  2. A Student has the right to appeal the Instructor’s decision concerning an allegation of academic dishonesty.
  3. Access to materials, files and records alleging and documenting a Student’s violation of the Academic Honesty Policy will only be authorized for disclosure to individuals necessary for the processing of the Academic Honesty Policy violation (such as the Student, Instructor, Chair, Dean, Provost, Academic Honesty Review Committee [AHRC]).
  4. A Student has the right to petition the AHRC to have records of his/her violation of the Policy expunged. The AHRC shall review the petition and make its recommendation to the Provost. Factors to be considered include: (1) severity of the violation; (2) time that has elapsed since the violation; (3) present demeanor and contrition of the Student; (4) demonstrated conduct since the violation; and (5) the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from the violation. Decisions on such petitions are at the discretion of the Provost, whose decision is final.

D. Instructor Protections

  1. Instructors are expected to apply academic integrity standards consistently across all of their students in all of their classes and pursue all cases of academic dishonesty.
  2. Instructors may attempt to stop suspected cheating in progress when appropriate (for example, during and examination). Instructors must then follow the procedure outlined in this policy prior to imposition of any academic dishonesty sanction.
  3. For each incident of academic dishonesty, a record identifier that does not identify the student is generated that the Instructor may make reference to or include in retention, merit, rank, and promotion decisions (if applicable).
  4. Should an instructor require legal assistance during any proceedings related to the charge of academic dishonesty, having followed the procedures outlined in the Policy, LMU will provide the faculty member with the assistance of University counsel. In addition, it is recognized that faculty have the right to be indemnified for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred in direct consequence of the discharge of their duties under California Labor Code section 2802.

E. Sanctions

Factors to be considered in applying sanctions for determinations of academic dishonesty under this policy shall include the nature and severity of the violation and whether there is a pattern of violations. Sanctions for violations of the Academic Honesty Policy may include the following:

  1. Instructor-Imposed Sanction. Imposed at the sole discretion of the Instructor of record and may include (but is not limited to): a requirement to re-do the assignment; a reduced or failing grade on an assignment, or part of an assignment; a reduced or failing grade in the course. If the Instructor imposes a failing grade sanction in the course, a failing grade will appear on the transcript even in the case of subsequent withdrawal.
  2. Suspension from the University. The sanction of suspension requires recommendation by the AHRC and approval of the Provost.
  3. Dismissal from the University. The sanction of dismissal requires recommendation by the AHRC and approval of the Provost.

II. Definitions

  1. Academic Honesty Violation Form: the official form on which the Instructor reports a violation of academic honesty.
  2. AHRC: the Academic Honesty Review Committee, the body that provides a ruling the Provost concerning appeals and other matters related to violations of the Academic Honesty Policy.
  3. Day: a regular University business day. It shall not include Saturdays, Sundays, or administrative holidays.
  4. Dismissal: the permanent separation of the Student from the University. Permanent notification may appear on the Student’s transcript. The Student will also not be permitted on campus or University premises. Any alteration, deferral or suspension of this sanction may be subject to conditions.
  5. Institution/University: Loyola Marymount University.
  6. Instructor: any LMU faculty member, librarian, or other individual authorized to evaluate students’ academic work.
  7. NR: Not Reported. NR will be used as a placeholder at the time of a final grade submission or recordation while an academic honesty violation appeal is in process.
  8. Policy: the Academic Honesty Policy.
  9. Provost: the Provost or the Provost’s designee for managing the day-to-day operations of the Academic Honesty Policy.
  10. Record/Student Record: the permanent documentation kept by the University concerning the student’s matriculation and performance. Files are all relevant physical or digital documentation of a case.
  11. Student: a person enrolled in any University program or class.
  12. Supervisor: the person to whom an Instructor reports directly in teaching-related matters. In most cases, the “Supervisor” is the Instructor’s Department Chair or Program Director; for most Department Chairs and Program Directors it is the Dean or Associate Dean.
  13. Suspension: the separation of the Student from the University for a stated period with an opportunity for reinstatement consideration. Permanent notification of suspension may appear on the Student’s transcript. While suspended, the Student is ineligible for and shall not participate in any University sponsored activities and may be prohibited from a presence on campus and University premises. Suspended time will not count against any time limits of graduate schools or programs for completion of a graduate degree. Any alteration, deferral or suspension of this sanction may be subject to conditions.
  14. Violation: a determined violation of the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.
  15. The terms “will” and “shall” are used in the imperative sense. The term “may” is used in the permissive sense.

III. Procedures

A. Process

  1. An Instructor who has reason to believe that a student has violated the Academic Honesty Policy will inform the Student of the suspected academic dishonesty in an email sent to the Student’s LMU email address (with a copy to the Instructor’s Supervisor) within five days of discovering evidence of the academic dishonesty. This message should include a statement of the nature of the suspected violation, the evidence supporting the suspected violation and a deadline of five days for the Student to respond by email. Because at this point in the process there is only a suspicion or allegation of a policy violation, no determination has been made and there should not be any mention of a prospective sanction in the message. The communication should also include a request to meet (or confer) with the Student within five days after the student’s response to the email.
  2. The Instructor’s meeting with the Student shall take place after receipt of the Student’s email reply and provides an opportunity for the Instructor and the Student to discuss the suspected academic honesty violation, the evidence, and the prospective sanction (e.g., a failing grade on an assignment or a failing grade in a course), and any concerns the Student may have.
    1. If the Instructor determines that no violation of the Academic Honesty Policy has occurred, no further action or steps will be taken. The Instructor will notify the Supervisor of the determination.
    2. If the Instructor determines that a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy has occurred, a sanction within the purview of the Instructor will be imposed. A completed Academic Honesty Violation Form (with supporting evidence) will be forwarded to the Provost (with a copy to the Instructor’s Supervisor and to the Student).
  3. If the Student does not respond to the initial email from the Instructor within five days, a determination shall be made by the Instructor and if a determination of an Academic Honesty Policy violation is made, a sanction within the purview of the Instructor will be imposed. A completed Academic Honesty Violation Form with the supporting evidence will be forwarded to the Provost (with a copy to the Instructor’s Supervisor and to the Student).
  4. The Student may submit an appeal of the Academic Honesty Policy violation determination and/or sanction within five days of the Instructor’s emailing of the Academic Honesty Violation Form.
    1. If no appeal is filed, then the Academic Honesty Policy violation determination becomes final. The Provost will file the paperwork, with a copy to the Student’s Dean’s Office, and apply the sanction determined by the Instructor. This terminates the process.
    2. If the Student files an appeal, then the grade on the relevant assignment, or in the course, will be converted to “NR” within five days of receipt of the appeal, and remain as such until the final resolution of the appeal process.
    3. In the case of a Student appeal, the Provost will submit the case to the AHRC for reconsideration and will notify the Student and Instructor thereof.
  5. When a determination becomes final, the Provost shall review the Student’s record to determine if there is a prior history or pattern of academic dishonesty. For cases in which the Provost determines that such a history or pattern exists and therefore the Student’s record and pattern of behavior warrants further review, the Provost will submit the Student’s record of proceedings under the Academic Honesty Policy to the Academic Honesty Review Committee (AHRC) for consideration of additional action and will so notify the Student thereof.
  6. If the AHRC determines that a violation merits a different result or sanction (in cases of appeal) or that the Student’s pattern of behavior warrants an additional sanction, up to and including the Student’s suspension or dismissal (in cases where the Provost requests further review), it shall communicate its decision to the Student and to the Provost within 15 days of the Provost’s request for consideration.
    1. In cases of a ruling for additional sanction based on a pattern of behavior, the Student has 10 days to respond to the AHRC ruling; the response shall be submitted directly to the Provost.
    2. The Provost shall make the final decision within 5 days after the window for the Student’s response to the AHRC ruling closes. Upon making the final decision, Provost shall add appropriate documentation to the Student’s record, with a copy to the Student’s Dean’s Office, and apply the sanction. The Provost’s decision is final and terminates the process.
  7. All deadlines apply during the semester - that is, from the first day of classes to five days after final grades are due. Attempts will be made to conclude pending cases in May before the end of the academic year. All unresolved cases will be considered and determined in the next regular semester.
  8. A Student charged with an Academic Honesty Policy violation prior to graduation may not receive a diploma/degree until any pertinent proceedings regarding that Student have been completed. A student who has been suspended cannot graduate unless and until he/she is reinstated.
  9. The Provost’s office will provide an annual report, without identifying Students, detailing the number and type of violations reported in different areas of the LMU community, as well as the number and type of AHRC rulings and Provost decisions, if applicable.

B. Appeals

  1. A Student has the right to appeal the Instructor’s decision concerning an allegation of academic dishonesty.
  2. A Student may appeal on one or more of the following grounds:
    1. The violation determination is not supported by substantial evidence.
    2. New relevant evidence is available.
    3. The sanction is substantially disproportionate to the offense.
    4. The procedures detailed in this document were not materially followed, resulting in significant disadvantage or prejudice to the Student.
  3. The Student must make his or her appeal in writing no later than five days following the Instructor’s emailing of the Academic Honesty Violation Form to the Student.
  4. All appeals must be submitted by email to the Provost (with a copy to the Instructor and the Instructor’s Supervisor).
  5. The Provost will inform the Instructor of the receipt of an appeal request within five days, and will submit the appeal request to the AHRC. At the request of the AHRC, the Instructor will be given the opportunity to provide additional evidence or argument should the Student present new arguments or evidence. The Student shall have a right to know of and respond to the AHRC respecting any new or additional evidence or argument provided by the Instructor to the AHRC.
  6. The AHRC shall determine whether or not the evidence supports the allegation, if so, whether the sanction is appropriate taking into account all available evidence related to the academic dishonesty as well as, during the sanctions deliberations, any evidence provided by the Provost regarding any prior offenses, and whether the correct procedures were followed.
  7. The AHRC will communicate its findings and ruling to the Provost.
  8. In cases of an AHRC ruling for suspension or dismissal, the Student has 10 days to respond to the AHRC ruling about the propriety of the sanction; the response shall be submitted directly to the Provost.
  9. The Provost shall make the final decision, in light of the recommendation of the AHRC and after consideration of any submission from the Student, and will communicate this decision to the Student and Instructor, with a copy to the Student’s Dean’s Office. The Provost’s decision is final and terminates the process.

C. Documentation: Files and Records

  1. A digital copy of the Academic Honesty Violation Form, with supporting evidence, will remain on file in the Provost’s Office.
  2. Records will have a protected status, with access only as authorized by law and permitted by the Provost.