New Brunswick Faculty Council
Response to the Proposed Policy
on Academic Integrity
As Amended and Adopted March 31, 2006
Academic Regulations and Standards
The New Brunswick Faculty Council, on March 31, 2006,
passed the resolutions below relating to the proposed university
academic integrity policy. It is our understanding that this proposed
policy has now been sent back to the University committee for possible
revision, and that it may eventually be resubmitted to the University
Senate for consideration. Even so,
here we offer resolutions supporting a few selected elements of the
policy and suggest a few
revisions in the expectation that these will be helpful to the
committee and the Senate as they
consider possible revisions. These resolutions address only a few
aspects of the present
proposal on academic integrity but do not address other aspects of the
University Code of Student Conduct and judicial system as they may
The proposed policy would replace the existing
Academic Integrity summarized on pp. 561-2 of the current catalog. The present policy defines four levels of
violation and appropriate penalties, including suspension at the third
and expulsion at the fourth level. The
new policy defines only “non-separable” and “separable” offenses,
clear whether “separation” includes suspension or only permanent
general, “separable” offenses, including repeated a group of offenses
be non-separable if taken individually, would be handled under the Code
Student Conduct as judicial offenses.
The new policy focuses mainly on “non-separable” academic
which would be recorded and acted upon, but without establishing a
the whole this policy is a good step forward but could be improved at
points as discussed below. The new policy would give the faculty
in charging and resolving suspected cases of academic dishonesty, while
providing the student a right of appeal, and would establish a record
OCSPJA in case of subsequent allegations in other courses.
It describes different types of academic
dishonesty, and presents a list of non-separable and separable offenses. It is stated (p. 4, 2nd par.) that
graduate and professional school students may be held to a higher
undergraduates and subject to separation for offenses that otherwise
considered non-separable. But they would
still be protected by the same judicial procedure as undergraduates.
Faculty Council agrees with the position that academic
offenses have varying degrees of severity that may be adequately
two tiers, separable or non-separable.
Before proceeding to implement any new Integrity Policy based on these
distinctions, however, we recommend that the specific categorization of
offenses be revised with additional consideration given to the
severity of each offense and with specific attention paid to
expectations for undergraduate and for graduate students.
In our view, several offenses listed as
rise to the level of separable under some circumstances.
The current document appears to preempt the
more serious response that some of these offenses may warrant. Multiple violations occurring more or less
contemporaneously should be clearly distinguished from sequential
after a student has been sanctioned for a previous offense.
list of offenses can be exhaustive and the authors of the
proposed Integrity Policy make no such claim for the one given in their
document. Still, some important offenses
appear not to be adequately discussed and we therefore recommend
consideration and extension of the list of offenses, especially to ensure coverage of offenses
specific to the various disciplines.
For example, in the discussion of denying others access to information
there should be specific reference to such things as deliberately
contaminating, harming, or destroying experimental materials, resource
computer programs or data of another student, or equipment, software,
of a class or class laboratory.
Faculty Council supports greater autonomy for instructors
in deciding on the penalties for lesser (non-separable) academic
offenses. Those penalties may include failing the
student in the course.
present faculty members are directed to contact a dean for all levels
suspected academic dishonesty. They
often prefer to handle lesser offenses themselves, avoiding
entanglement in a
prolonged disciplinary process. The new
policy places a greater but acceptable burden on the faculty member to
the student who is suspected of academic dishonesty, allowing the
respond. The faculty member can then
assign academic punishment, up to a failing grade in the course, for
student has the right to appeal to the Academic Integrity Committee
which includes a faculty member, a student and a “trained Academic
Investigator”. The AIC usually passes
only on the sanction imposed by the faculty member. It “may recommend
change of a determination that the student violated the Policy
only when it finds that the faculty member’s judgment was
clearly erroneous” or new evidence appears.
The proposed policy gives faculty more room to act on, for
statistical evidence that deans have not always accepted in the past.
Faculty Council supports the idea that faculty should
report actions taken in response to non-separable offenses to a central
the faculty member and student resolve a matter directly (i.e., the
admits that he/she violated the Policy
and accepts the sanction), the faculty member informs the Office of
Student Policy and Judicial Affairs (OCSPJA), which maintains a record
offenses. If the student has prior
offenses the OCSPJA may refer the matter to the AIC or to Judicial
adjudication under the Code of Student
Conduct. Non-separable offenses are
considered to be academic matters, not student discipline that warrants
creating a disciplinary record. The Policy is to be reviewed regularly by
Faculty Council urges that the following procedural matters
faculty member may want the option of forwarding to AIC for
responsibility an alleged violation where responsibility is not easily
established, a “he said, she said” situation, such as identical reports
submitted by two or more students – who copied from whom, and did the
know that his/her report was being copied? In such cases an experienced
Administrative Investigator might better determine who did what (and
faculty member would be spared spending extensive time on the
investigation. Also, an AI may more
easily demand the student’s cooperation in the investigation.)
Procedures must be
developed that reconcile the need for thoroughness in any OCSJPA review
time-sensitive need to record grades for students.
believe that it would be desirable to have a single campus-wide AIC and
common standards of investigation, proof, and sanction for
The Faculty Council urges that any new
policy on academic integrity take specific account of differences
undergraduate and graduate students with respect to a) the likely
offenses, b) the seriousness with which those offenses are regarded,
and c) the
appropriate administrative structures for responding to them.
While the general principles
concerning academic integrity apply equally to all of us in the
experience shows that significant differences exist between the likely
of offenses that undergraduate students and graduate students,
may commit. For example, problems
arising in connection with intellectual property and research conduct
serious at any level, but much more problematic among graduate students. Also, it would seem appropriate that members
of the faculty and administrators of the graduate school or of the
professional schools, rather than of the undergraduate units consider
upon offenses that graduate students commit.
The Faculty Council requests that two representatives of the
New Brunswick Faculty Council be made members of the committee that
deliberate on the final academic integrity policy.
should be noted that neither the New Brunswick Faculty Council nor its
committees have considered every possible element of the proposed
may require revision, but has, in the above, made a good-faith effort
present suggestions for revision, amendment or further discussion. The above resolutions and comments address
only the present proposal on academic integrity. They do not address
aspects of the University Code of Student Conduct and judicial system
may involve faculty.