Academic Dishonesty Defined

Falsification, misrepresentation of another’s work as one’s own (such as cheating on examinations, reports, or quizzes), plagiarism from the work of others, or the presentation of substantially similar work for different courses (unless authorized to do so), is academic dishonesty and is a serious offense. Knowingly helping other students cheat or plagiarize is also considered academic dishonesty.

Plagiarism Defined

Plagiarism occurs when you, intentionally, or due to your own negligence, use someone else’s words, ideas, or data without proper acknowledgment. To avoid plagiarism, whenever you use exact wording of another author in your written text, you must enclose the words in quotation marks, whether it be a paragraph, a sentence, or merely an aptly expressed phrase. You must then acknowledge the source in a precise and complete citation. It is not enough to cite the source without indicating by quotation marks that the words are someone else’s. It is also not enough to change one or two words in a sentence; that does not make it your own sentence. Another common error is to use another person’s ideas or data without indicating the source. Even if you paraphrase the ideas, you must give credit in a citation to their originators. In oral presentations, the original source also should be given proper credit in the form of internal source references and in bibliographic entries. While all of the above applies primarily to plagiarism from texts, scholarly articles, review, handbooks, encyclopedias, etc., it also applies to the use, either wholly or in part, of another student’s paper. The use of another student’s ideas or words on an examination or report obviously constitutes plagiarism and is taken seriously by the faculty. Similarly, giving your ideas or words to another student to represent as their own also constitutes plagiarism. It is a form of cheating; indeed, it is a form of theft. It indicates dishonesty and a lack of personal integrity, which may affect not only your grade, but also how your professors perceive your academic commitment.

Penalties for academic dishonesty are as follows:

  1. In a case where academic dishonesty has been committed by a student concerning their own coursework, and where a hearing by the Council on Student Affairs is deemed unnecessary, the faculty member teaching the course in question shall have the discretion to decide what punitive measures to take with a maximum penalty of a grade “F” in the course.
  2. For a first offense, in a case where academic dishonesty not concerning the student’s own coursework has been committed by the student, the Council on Student Affairs shall determine the penalty.
  3. A second offense of any sort of academic dishonesty may result in expulsion from the College.
  4. A student who is found to have committed academic dishonesty in a course from which he or she has withdrawn shall have this provisional withdrawal cancelled, and shall be penalized in accordance with the above guidelines.

Confidentiality

A report on each case of demonstrable academic dishonesty will be kept in the Dean of Students Office while the student is in attendance at Whitman College. Upon graduation, the report will be destroyed, except for those cases in which academic dishonesty constitutes part of the case for dismissal of a particular student. The purpose of reporting cases of demonstrable academic dishonesty is to provide a temporary record in order to discourage repeat offenses, and to facilitate identification of repeat offenders. All meetings and deliberations pursuant to the judicial procedures and appeals in this policy shall be otherwise kept strictly confidential.

Procedures

  1. When a faculty member judges that an instance of academic dishonesty has occurred, the faculty member shall notify the Dean of Students promptly.
  2. The Dean of Students and the faculty member will decide if the student’s actions warrant a hearing before the Council on Student Affairs or if the faculty member will decide the penalty on their own. When a student is accused of academic dishonesty, not concerning their own coursework, the Council on Student Affairs will convene to assess the validity of the charge and the penalty to be assessed.
  3. If the faculty member handles the accusation of academic dishonesty, they will contact the student promptly to notify the student of the accusation and arrange a meeting in which the nature of the violation and the penalty will be explained. The Dean of Students will maintain a record of the outcome, which could be a factor in any future accusations.
  4. If the Dean of Students and faculty member decide to refer the case to the Council on Student Affairs, the faculty member shall meet with the student promptly and explain the accusation of academic dishonesty and notify the student that the Dean of Students, who is the Chair of the Council on Student Affairs, will convene the Council for a formal hearing. The Council will determine the validity of the charge and the penalty to be assessed.
  5. Withdrawing from a class does not preclude academic dishonesty proceedings from going forward. At the time of the student’s notification that a faculty member has concluded that academic dishonesty has taken place in a course for which the student is currently registered, the student shall also receive notification that withdrawing from that course cannot be finalized unless and until the student is shown not to have committed academic dishonesty. A student who is shown to have committed academic dishonesty but whose penalty is less severe than an “F” grade in the course may still withdraw from the course.
  6. The student shall have the right to challenge an initial decision rendered by the faculty member regarding the charge of academic dishonesty by appealing to the Council on Student Affairs. The Council shall then provide a determination of the validity of the charge and the penalty to be assessed, which shall be the final determination unless it is, in turn, appealed.
  7. Near the end of the semester and other cases where there may be extenuating circumstances, the Dean of Students as Chair of the Council on Student Affairs, may adjust the time provisions in these procedures. Care will be taken to ensure that the accused maintains the basic rights of these procedures.

Appeal Process

The student shall have the right to challenge a decision rendered by the Council on Student Affairs; however, appeals are not to be considered as “seeking a second opinion,” rather, they are intended to allow the College to reconsider elements that may have impacted the original decision sufficient to impact the outcome of that decision.

  • The appeal, accompanied by a detailed description of the information supporting the specific appeal category, must be submitted in writing to the Chair of the Faculty within five (5) working days after being informed of the outcome.
  • The appeal must be based on the following, and only the following criteria:
  • 1.  New evidence unknown or unknowable at the time of the investigation that may substantially alter the outcome, and/or
  • 2.  Substantial procedural error(s) that may alter the outcome. 
  • Appeal requests based solely on a person’s disagreement with the outcome of the investigation, a sanction-decision, or the outcome of the hearing does not meet the criteria for an appeal.
  • All sanctions imposed will be in effect during the appeal process including, but not limited to, suspension, removal from campus, or continued no-contact directives.                                                                                                                           
  • The Chair of the Faculty, to whom the appeal is made, will act on the petition in one of three ways:
    1. May decide to consider the appeal and then rule,
    2. May form a panel to review the appeal,
    3. May reject the appeal request.                                          
  • The Chair of the Faculty is the appellate officer for the College. If the Chair of the Faculty feels they cannot be impartial or if the Chair of the Faculty has an immediate interest in a particular case, they will recuse themselves from the appeal and the most recent (and available) past-Chair will serve as the appellate officer.
  • Once an appeal request is considered appropriate for consideration, all other involved parties will be provided with a copy of that request and may submit information or a rebuttal (or, in the case of the other party – their own appeal) to the appeal request to be considered by the appellate officer.