Guidebook

Academic conduct policies and procedures for dealing with cases of academic misconduct

A. Academic conduct policy

Reed College is a community of scholars. The fundamental ethical principle governing scholarship is that one should never claim or represent as one’s own work that which is not one’s own. Proper academic conduct requires that all work submitted for academic purposes – including, but not limited to examinations, laboratory reports, essays, term papers, homework exercises, translations, and creative work—be entirely the work of the person or persons who submit it, and that, in the case of work based upon experiment and observation, the experimental results and observations be reported faithfully. The principle thus requires that no one claim authorship to the work of another and that no one falsify or misrepresent empirical data. This principle should be clear to every scholar, although determining its application in particular circumstances may require careful thought and guidance.

The principle of proper academic conduct also forbids such acts as giving or receiving aid during examinations, copying someone else’s laboratory report or homework exercise, providing unpermitted aid on a written assignment, and misrepresenting the words or ideas of another as one’s own. Cooperative inquiry and investigation is a respected form of scholarship; but even where such cooperation is encouraged or required, students must understand and follow the guidelines set down for such assignments by their instructors. Similarly, students must be sure that they understand the rules under which open book examinations are to be taken. If a paper is to be submitted for credit in more than one course, students must obtain the permission of each instructor concerned in advance. It is the responsibility of each student to adhere to the expectations for citing the work of another in his or her own written work. These examples are not meant to exhaust the scope of the principle of proper academic conduct, but to illustrate its extent and spirit.

If Reed is to be a serious and productive community of scholars, every student as well as every member of the Faculty must understand Reed's policy on proper academic conduct, abide by it, and support it. Under its charge in the Community Constitution, Article IV, Section 2, the Honor Council shall educate all members of the community about the Honor Principle, the importance of proper academic conduct, and the college’s policy and procedures for handling cases of academic misconduct. It is, however, ultimately the responsibility of each individual member of the community to be informed about the standards of proper academic conduct.

Academic misconduct includes both intentional acts of misrepresenting another’s work as one’s own as well as negligent acts that result in misrepresentation or that fail to conform to the norms of appropriate attribution and credit. Academic misconduct is a violation of Reed’s Honor Principle in its most fundamental form and is contrary to the idea of scholarship.

Procedures for investigating and adjudicating incidents of academic misconduct are set forth in the Procedures for Dealing with Academic Misconduct.

B. Procedures for dealing with academic misconduct

Any member of the Reed community who observes or has knowledge of a violation of the Academic Conduct Policy may seek advice about the appropriate options from the Chair of the Honor Council, report the violation to the appropriate instructor, or initiate an honor case with the Student Judicial Board.

In all cases, it is the responsibility of the faculty member to determine the grade for the assignment and/or course in which the alleged violation of the Academic Conduct Policy took place. In the interests of equity, the instructor is encouraged to consult with the Chair of the Administration Committee and seek information about the academic penalties imposed by instructors in the past in similar situations.

If a faculty member believes that academic misconduct has occurred, equity requires that in all cases the faculty member pursue the procedures described below for possible disciplinary action.

These procedures are for dealing with academic misconduct by students only. The procedures for dealing with academic misconduct by faculty members are to be found in sections F, G, and H of the Rules of Procedure of the Constitution of the Faculty of Reed College.

1. Determination of facts

The facts of a case can be determined in one of two ways. The instructor will communicate with the student(s) directly about the alleged misconduct or the instructor will file an honor case with the Student Judicial Board.

a. Communication with the student(s)

The instructor who chooses to determine the facts of the case through communication will contact the student(s) and present the evidence for academic misconduct. If the instructor and student(s) agree that academic misconduct has occurred, the instructor fills out an Academic Misconduct Report describing the incident. Both the instructor and the student(s) sign the report and the instructor forwards it to the Office of Student Services (see 2. Disposition of Cases).

If the instructor and students cannot agree on the facts, they may (provided both parties are willing) seek formal mediation through the Honor Council. If mediation is rejected by either party or mediation fails to achieve agreement on the facts, the case is referred to the Student Judicial Board (see 2. Disposition of Cases).

b. Referral to the Student Judicial Board

The instructor who chooses Judicial Board determination of the facts fills out an Academic Misconduct Report describing the incident and forwards it to the Student Judicial Board.

2. Disposition of cases

a. Agreement on Facts: Minor Misconduct

If the instructor and student agree that academic misconduct has occurred and the instructor believes that the misconduct is minor and a first-time offense, he/she fills out an Academic Misconduct Report, which is signed by both the instructor and the student(s) and is forwarded to the Office of Student Services (see 1. Determination of Facts). The instructor indicates on the form that he or she believes the case to be minor and that disciplinary action by the Student Judicial Board is not recommended.

The Dean of Student Services examines the files to determine whether this student has any previous record of academic misconduct. If it is a first offense, the report is reviewed by a panel of three individuals: the Dean of Student Services, a faculty member of the Administration Committee and a member of the Student Judicial Board.

In order to preserve the anonymity of the student(s) during this stage of the process, the Dean of Student Services is generally the only member of the panel with access to the name of the student(s).

If the panel agrees by majority vote that the misconduct represents a first offense and is comparatively minor in nature, the Dean of Student Services retains a confidential record of the decision and no further action is taken. Generally, no parties outside the Dean’s office will have access to this record. The record is consulted only if another accusation of academic misconduct is brought against the same student(s).

If the panel determines by majority vote that the action is comparatively serious in nature, the matter is referred to the Student Judicial Board who recommends the appropriate disciplinary action to the President. This recommendation is based on the Academic Misconduct Report unless the student(s) request a hearing (see 3. Determination of Disciplinary Action).

The Dean will communicate the outcome of the panel’s deliberations to the instructor and student(s).

b. Agreement on Facts: Serious Misconduct or Repeat Offense

If the instructor and student agree to the facts relevant to the conclusion that academic misconduct has occurred and the instructor believes that the misconduct is not a first offense or is not minor, the instructor fills out an Academic Misconduct Report (signed by both instructor and student(s)) and forwards it to the Student Judicial Board. The Student Judicial Board will recommend disciplinary sanctions to the President (Judicial Board Code, Section 5, A ii). This recommendation is based on the Academic Misconduct Report unless the student(s) request a hearing or unless the Judicial Board solicits additional information from the parties.

c. No Agreement on Facts

If the facts for an alleged violation of the Academic Conduct Policy cannot be determined by agreement, the instructor fills out an Academic Misconduct Report. The student(s) may choose to sign the report and may include a separate statement about the relevant facts. This case is heard by the Student Judicial Board to determine the facts and recommend disciplinary action to the President (see 3.a below). The Student Judicial Board may request testimony from faculty witnesses from the relevant field(s) in which the incident occurred about what constitutes academic misconduct in that discipline. A summary report of the Judicial Board’s determinations is filed with the Office of Student Services and provided to the faculty member(s) and accused student(s) involved in the case.

3. Determination of Disciplinary Action

a.  Disciplinary Action Recommendation by Student Judicial Board

In cases referred to the Student Judicial Board, if it is determined that a violation of the Academic Conduct Policy has occurred, the Student Judicial Board recommends an appropriate disciplinary action, if any.

In recommending a suitable sanction, the Student Judicial Board considers both the severity of the offense and any information in the student’s disciplinary file that pertains to academic misconduct. If the Student Judicial Board determines that the misconduct is a first offense and is minor in nature, it forwards a recommendation to the President that no further action be taken. If this recommendation is accepted, the Dean of Student Services maintains the confidential record of the case for use only if another accusation of academic misconduct is brought against the same students(s). If the Student Judicial Board determines that the misconduct is a repeat offense or is not minor in nature, it recommends disciplinary action to the President of the College subject to appeal to the Administration Committee (Judicial Board Code, Section 7, B ii).

b.  Appeal and Review Process

1) Any person(s) lodging a complaint, or against whom a complaint has been made, has the right to appeal any finding or sanction under these procedures to the Administration Committee of the Faculty in accordance with the Faculty Code and the Reed College Community Constitution. Any appeal must be made in writing no later than ten working days after the decision is reported to the parties, and shall contain a statement of the grounds of appeal. The Committee has the discretion to decide the appeal on the record, after requesting further evidence or testimony, or based on a new hearing.

2) After the appeal period has expired, all non-appealed recommendations of disciplinary action proposed by the Student Judicial Board in cases involving violations of the Academic Conduct Policy are reviewed by the faculty members of the Administration Committee who, after consultation with the Chair of the Student Judicial Board, may amend the judgments and recommended disciplinary action (Community Constitution, Article IV, Section 6).

3) One final appeal may be made to the President of the College in writing no later than ten working days after the decision on the appeal is reported to the parties of the original complaint.

4. When the College is not in Session

When a case of academic misconduct requires adjudication or a recommendation of sanctions when the college is not in session and no member of the Student Judicial Board is available, the panel described in IV.B.2 will be comprised of the Dean of Student Services and two faculty members of the Administration Committee. If the case would normally proceed to the Student Judicial Board but a Judicial Board cannot be formed, the faculty members of the Administration Committee hear the case, determine the facts, and if it is determined that a violation of the Academic Conduct Policy has occurred, recommend disciplinary action to the President.The parties to the complaint may appeal the recommendation of the Administration to the President by submitting a written appeal no later than ten working days after the findings are reported to the parties.

5. Recordkeeping

The Office of Student Services shall keep records of academic misconduct cases in a confidential disciplinary file separate from all other student records. The Dean of Student Services shall keep, maintain and protect such records.

In cases where the review panel or the Student Judicial Board and the President believe that the appropriate remedy for the misconduct is education, and that the misconduct does not warrant disciplinary action, the record will not be released externally.

Records of academic misconduct shall be maintained for the duration of the student’s enrollment at the College, or longer if legally required, and shall be destroyed at the end of that period.

(last modified: September 23, 2013)