Academic Honesty

Buena Vista University believes that personal integrity and academic honesty are fundamental to scholarship. We strive to create an environment where the dignity of each person is recognized and an atmosphere of mutual trust exists between instructors and students. Accordingly, honesty in all academic matters is expected from all students. Actions contrary to academic integrity will not be tolerated. Any attempt to cheat, misrepresent someone else’s work as one’s own, receive credit for work one did not do, obtain an unfair advantage over other students, or aid another student to do the above will be considered a breach of academic integrity. The faculty has confidence in the integrity of students and encourages students to exercise good judgment in fulfilling this responsibility.

Activities that have the effect or intention of interfering with learning or fair evaluation of a student’s work or performance are considered a breach of academic integrity.

Academic misconduct includes but is not limited to:

  • Cheating (intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized material, assistance, or study aids in any academic work). For example, using a cheat sheet for a test, looking at another student’s paper during an exam, stealing or buying all or parts of an exam or paper, altering and resubmitting work for a better grade without prior approval to do so, etc. Cheating includes but is not limited to: 
    • use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations; 
    • use of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems or carrying out other assignments;
    •  the acquisition, without permission, of test or other academic material belonging to a member of the University faculty or staff;
    •  engaging in behavior specifically prohibited by a faculty member in the course syllabus or class discussion.
  • Plagiarism: representing another’s ideas, words, expressions, or data in writing or presentation without properly acknowledging the source. This includes, but is not limited to, misrepresenting another’s work as one’s original work, using someone else’s idea without giving proper credit, failing to cite a reference or failing to use proper documentation, using works of another gained over the internet and submitted as one’s own work, etc. 
  • The term “plagiarism” includes but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without clear acknowledgement. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials.
  • Falsification and/or misrepresentation of data: submitting contrived or made up information in any academic exercise. This includes, but is not limited to making up data, citing non-existent sources, etc.
  • Facilitating academic dishonesty: knowingly helping or attempting to help another violate any provision of the academic honesty policy. This includes, but is not limited to, working together on a take home exam or other assignment when the option has not been made available, giving your paper/assignment to another student for his/her use, etc.
  • Computer crimes: damaging or modifying computer programs without permission. This includes, but is not limited to, software piracy, hacking, constructing viruses, knowingly introducing viruses into the system, copying programs and/or data belonging to others, etc. 
  • Multiple submission: submitting, without prior approval from the instructors involved, any work submitted to fulfill academic requirements in another class. This includes, but is not limited to, submitting the same paper for two different classes, etc.
  • Misrepresentation of academic records: knowingly misrepresenting or tampering with any portion of official records of the University or transcripts. This includes, but is not limited to, forging a change of grade slip or registration form, tampering with computer records, etc.
  • Unfair advantage: trying to gain unauthorized advantage over fellow students. This includes, but is not limited to, gaining or facilitating unauthorized access to exam materials (past or present); interfering with another student’s efforts in an academic exercise; lying about the need for an extension on a paper or assignment; destroying, hiding, removing or keeping, library materials, etc. 

Any violation of this policy will be treated as a serious matter. The instructor has primary responsibility over classroom behavior and maintaining academic integrity. Instructors are encouraged to specify clearly at the beginning of each course what constitutes violations of academic honesty and the consequences for academic dishonesty. In cases of repeated or flagrant violations, a student may be dismissed from the university. Students who earn an ‘F’ based on academic dishonesty or plagiarism may not withdraw (and receive a grade of W) from the class prior to the end of the Term/semester. Depending on the nature and severity of the offense, the university reserves the right to exact maximum penalty, even in the case of a first offense.

If an infraction is suspected, the following guidelines and procedures apply:

  • A faculty member who suspects a student of academic dishonesty shall inform the student of his/her suspicion and present him/her with the evidence, allowing the student an opportunity for rebuttal.
  • Faculty members, upon determination of an infraction based on the evidence, may determine the penalty for the infraction. This may involve failing a student for a particular assignment, test or course. The penalty must be communicated in writing to the student. In addition, the provost may impose academic warning, academic probation, academic suspension or expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense. 
  • Upon determination of an infraction, the faculty member should notify, in writing, the student’s advisor, the faculty member’s school dean, and the provost. This notification should include the student’s name, the type of infraction and the penalty (i.e., student failed the assignment, student failed the course, etc.). 
  • If a student is involved in academic dishonesty but is not enrolled in a particular instructor’s course, the instructor may recommend the student to the provost for disciplinary action (e.g. Student A who is enrolled in a course has Student B, who is not enrolled in a course, write a paper for him/her. Student B may be recommended to the provost for disciplinary action). 
  • All information related to any violation will be kept in a special file by provost during the time in which the student is enrolled at Buena Vista University, serving only as a statement of record if the student is charged with a subsequent act of academic dishonesty. In the case of appeal, the file will be destroyed if the student is found to not have violated academic integrity standards. If the student is found to have violated academic integrity, the file remains in the provost’s office until the student’s graduation or three years after the student’s last date of enrollment.

Appeals Process for Academic Honesty

  • Students may appeal a faculty member’s decision to the dean of the school who oversees that course. The decision from the dean is final. 
  • If an appeal is made to the dean, the following procedures are to be used:
  • A written request for hearing must be made with the dean within two weeks of the faculty member’s decision being communicated with the student. The written notification from the student should include his/her understanding of the events that occurred and his/her reasons for the appeal.
  • The dean will engage in fact-finding that he/she deems appropriate, after which the will meet with the student, his/her academic advisor, and the faculty member involved. In the event the faculty member involved is the student’s advisor, the student will select another faculty member to attend the meeting.
  • The dean dean’s decision will be communicated in writing to the student, the faculty member, the advisor, and the provost within one week of the meeting.