2019-2020 Catalog 
    
    Aug 11, 2020  
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Integrity Procedures


The faculty of Claremont McKenna College is firmly committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity . Faculty members have the responsibility to report suspected cases of academic dishonesty to the Academic Standards Committee (ASC) when they have a reasonable suspicion that a student has committed an academic integrity violation. The ASC has the duty of investigating, making findings of, and sanctioning academic integrity violations. The text below describes the procedures CMC follows to review such cases.

The College commits to processing academic integrity cases as expeditiously as possible. However, due to the complexity, variability, and timing of each case, the College cannot commit to specific time frames for each step of the process. The Academic Standards Committee generally meets twice per month during the academic year and once during the break between fall and spring semesters. Hearing and appeal committees are ad hoc and will be scheduled at the earliest convenience of the participants. Correspondence about these procedures will include specific dates and deadlines relevant to each step, as appropriate. Students normally will have three business days to issue replies and submit documents. The College reserves the right to make reasonable adjustments to these procedures when necessary (such as to accommodate holidays, College breaks, the availability of specific individuals, or other extenuating circumstances), and will notify the parties involved if any such adjustments occur. The College will maintain the confidentiality of this process to the extent permitted by law.

Faculty members or other College officials may, but are not required to, discuss suspected violations with the students involved. When they reasonably suspect an academic integrity violation has occurred, they must refer cases to the ASC through the Registrar. The ASC strongly encourages individuals referring cases to the ASC do so in a timely manner, soon after their reasonable suspicion arises. As described in CMC’s Registration Policies, students may not drop or withdraw from courses while cases are under review. This prohibition remains in effect if the student is found responsible for a violation. If a student is not found responsible, the student will have the opportunity to drop or withdraw from the course within one week of notification of the outcome or in accord with published deadlines, whichever is later. Faculty members are not permitted to assign penalties to students for suspected violations that have not been assessed through the ASC process. There is no statute of limitation on a faculty member’s ability to bring an academic integrity charge to the ASC for review.

The Registrar will collect any information, correspondence, or documents relevant to the case and prepare the charge materials for an initial review with the Associate Dean of Faculty for Curriculum and the Chair of the ASC. This group will determine whether the potential sanctions if found responsible for the violation in question could include suspension or dismissal (see Sanctions below). The Registrar will issue the charge to the student in writing, including information about potential sanctions, all evidence supporting the charge, and instructions for responding. Students may contact the Senior Associate Dean of Students for Academic Success with any questions about the charge letter or for clarification of these procedures. 

The student will have the opportunity to submit a complete written response to the charge, including any supporting documentation or evidence. The student’s failure to submit a timely response will not delay or impair these procedures. Character references or letters of support are not relevant and will not be accepted or reviewed. If the student accepts responsibility for the charge, the student’s response may include any information that would help the ASC determine an appropriate sanction for the violation. The student’s response must be submitted to the Registrar as required in the notification of the charge.

Upon receipt of the student’s initial response, the Registrar, ASC Chair, and Associate Dean for Curriculum, and if necessary College Counsel, will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the case, and whether a hearing is necessary to determine the facts of the case and render a finding of whether the student is responsible for an academic integrity violation. Hearings are required when facts of the case are disputed and potential sanctions could include suspension or dismissal from CMC, if a student is found responsible. In cases where facts are not disputed, where potential sanctions do not include suspension or dismissal, or where a student who is entitled to a hearing waives the right to that hearing, no hearing will take place.

The Registrar, Associate Dean, and Chair will also determine if further investigation of facts is necessary, even if facts of the case are not disputed. If needed, the Registrar will appoint an individual to investigate the case and solicit input from others with appropriate expertise. Investigators are typically members of the CMC administration. Students will have the opportunity to review and respond to any reports or evidence that result from investigations. If a member of the ASC conducts an investigation, that individual will be excluded from voting on findings of and sanctions for violations, as are ASC members who themselves have referred a case to the committee for review. If an investigation reveals new information that could change potential sanctioning decisions if a student is found responsible, the ASC reserves the right to refer the case to a hearing, as appropriate. Cases that go to a hearing will always include an investigation to identify precisely which facts are in dispute.

In all cases, relevant records of the case will be retained in the student’s academic file.

For Non-Hearing Cases

In cases that do not require a hearing, the Registrar will submit the case, including the student’s response, to the ASC. The ASC will produce a written decision for each case it reviews. The decision will include a description of the facts found by a preponderance of the evidence and indicate whether those facts support a finding of an academic integrity violation based on a preponderance of the evidence. If a student is found responsible for a violation, the ASC determines an appropriate sanction for the violation based on the nature and extent of the violation, along with any information presented in the student’s response. The ASC does not take evidence of intent into account when determining whether a student is responsible for a violation, but it may consider evidence of intent when determining appropriate sanctions. The Registrar will notify the student of the ASC decision and any consequent sanctions.

For Hearing Cases

The ASC will convene a hearing committee to make findings in cases where facts are in dispute and potential sanctions include suspension or dismissal from the College. Hearing committees include the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Curriculum, who serves as chair, and two current ASC members. If the hearing committee cannot be constituted with current ASC members for any reason, the Dean of Faculty may appoint other CMC faculty members. Students may object to the appointed hearing committee members, if they can provide credible information that a committee member is biased against them. If the Dean of Faculty determines that a student’s objections are credible based on compelling evidence of bias, the Dean will appoint another individual to serve in place of the original appointee. The Senior Associate Dean of Students for Academic Success will contact the student before the hearing takes place and answer any procedural questions.

CMC will designate a hearing officer to assist with administration of hearings. It will also appoint a note-taker to assist with record keeping. Since this is not a criminal process, the student may not have legal counsel attend or participate in any aspect of the hearing process. Only the hearing officer, committee members, the parties involved in the case and witnesses may participate in hearings. The student may elect to have a support person in attendance at a hearing. A support person must be a current CMC faculty member, CMC staff member, or CMC student. A support person may not be a witness, a current member of the ASC, legal counsel, or a relative of the student. A support person may not address the committee or participate in the hearing, but may have brief, quiet interactions with the student. Students must speak for themselves during hearings.

While the ASC does not have the power to compel individuals to participate in hearings, all individuals are expected to do so in compliance with the community expectations articulated in the Statement of Academic Integrity. Students may request that the College call relevant witnesses to provide information to a hearing committee. Students requesting witnesses must identify the witness’ name and the general nature of their proposed testimony to the hearing officer at least three business days before the hearing. The hearing officer will determine which witnesses to include. Hearings are typically conducted in person, but may involve video or audio conferencing, if participants cannot attend in person. 

Hearings proceed as follows:

  • The hearing officer will make opening introductions and explain the scope, purpose, and rules of the hearing. The hearing officer also makes decisions on the relevancy of information presented and questions posed.
  • Generally, the hearing committee will first question the individual who brought the case to the ASC, then it will question the student, followed by any witnesses, including those requested by the student. The hearing committee chair will determine the order of participants.
  • After the committee has posed its initial questions, the student may pose questions to the individual who brought the case to the ASC and to witnesses. The committee and the student may ask follow-up questions, as appropriate, and as permitted by the hearing officer.
  • The hearing officer will adjourn the hearing and excuse the parties involved when concluded.
  • The committee will deliberate in confidence. The note-taker will be present during deliberations to takes notes and answer questions that may arise regarding those notes, but does not vote on findings. Hearing committees do not take evidence of intent into account when determining whether a student is responsible for a violation, but they may consider evidence of intent when determining whether to recommend specific sanctions to the full ASC. The vote is by majority.

Within seven business days, the hearing committee chair will send the Registrar the hearing committee’s written decision. The decision will include a description of the facts found by a preponderance of the evidence and indicate whether those facts support a finding of an academic integrity violation based on a preponderance of the evidence.

If the student is found responsible for an academic integrity violation, the decision may include a recommendation on appropriate sanctions. The Registrar will send the decision to the student, who within three business days may submit a statement to accompany the report to the ASC regarding any considerations that the student wants the ASC to weigh during sanctioning. 

The Registrar will send the entire case to the ASC for sanctioning at its next regularly scheduled meeting. If a student is found responsible for a violation, the ASC determines an appropriate sanction for the violation based on the nature and extent of the violation, along with any information presented in the student’s statement on sanctioning considerations and any recommendation from the hearing committee. The ASC may consider evidence of intent when determining appropriate sanctions. The Registrar will notify the student of the ASC’s decision on sanctioning within three business days of the ASC’s decision. 

Sanctions

Sanctions for academic integrity violations include, but are not limited to, academic probation, deferment of graduation, application of NC grades (to include the change of grading type from letter-grading to Credit/No-Credit grading), suspension, ineligibility to register, and dismissal from the College. The ASC may also recommend specific grading penalties to the instructor(s) involved. The Committee determines the appropriate sanction based on the extent of the violation, after due consideration of all circumstances.

Typical sanctions for some types of academic integrity violations are described below:

Typical Violation Probation, Suspension, or Dismissal
Limited plagiarism Probation
Minor violations of assignment rules Probation
Limited cheating on assignments Probation
Cheating on tests or exams Suspension
Violating testing environment rules Suspension
Deception Suspension
Extensive plagiarism Suspension
Major violations of assignment rules Suspension
Extensive or systematic cheating on assignments Suspension
Copying or preparing another person’s work Suspension
Purchasing prepared papers Suspension
Supplying false or forged documents Suspension
Second violations Dismissal

These sanctions represent guidelines and the committee exercises appropriate judgment in making all sanctioning decisions. The ASC routinely also recommends specific grading penalties to the instructor(s) involved.

Suspension for Academic Integrity Violations

Suspensions for academic integrity violations are for a specific period of time and suspended students are not eligible to register for classes at CMC or participate in any College-sponsored programs or activities during the suspension period. In addition, academic course work taken at another academic institution during the suspension period is not transferable to CMC unless otherwise specified in the sanctioning letter. A notation that the student is ineligible to register at CMC will appear on the student’s official transcript for the duration of the suspension. This notation will be removed from the official transcript when the suspension expires. A student suspended for a violation may return to the College after the suspension period has expired through the standard re-enrollment process. Students returning to CMC from a suspension are placed on academic probation for at least one semester, after which they may be returned to good academic standing by the ASC. 

Dismissal for Academic Integrity Violations

Students may be dismissed from the College for academic integrity violations. Dismissal is a permanent separation from the College. Dismissed students may not participate in any College-sponsored programs or activities, and may not return to CMC in a future semester to enroll in courses or complete degrees. This action is recorded permanently on the student’s transcript. Generally, students found to have committed academic integrity violations twice will be subject to dismissal from the College. Students may be dismissed on a first offense in particularly egregious cases.

Academic Integrity Appeal Procedures

A student who has been found responsible for an academic integrity violation may appeal the finding of responsibility by submitting a request for an appeal to the Registrar within ten business days of receipt of the sanctioning decision. An appeal consists of a written statement clearly describing and documenting the specific grounds for appealing the outcome. The only acceptable grounds for appeal are new information or prejudicial procedural error (including the improper denial of a hearing). New information may only be introduced upon appeal if it has arisen or come to the student’s attention after the original review and only if it may substantially impact the original decision. Information that was known to the student at the time the case was originally reviewed but which the student chose not to share in the original response to the charge is not considered new information. Prejudicial procedural error may only serve as grounds for an appeal if the student can document precisely which procedural steps were not followed and how the alleged error adversely affected the outcome of the case.

The Registrar will convene an appeal committee to review the appeal. The appeal committee consists of three individuals:

  1. The CMC Dean of the Faculty, who serves as chair;
  2. The department or program chair of the CMC faculty member who brought the original case. In the event that the faculty member who brought the original case is the department or program chair, the Registrar will appoint another CMC department chair in a relevant subject area. In the event that there is no department or program chair, or the case involves a non-CMC faculty member, the Registrar will appoint another tenured CMC faculty member with expertise in a related subject area or the chair of the cognate department at CMC.
  3. A tenured CMC faculty member selected by the Dean of the Faculty who has expertise in a subject area relevant to the case.

The appeal committee will schedule its review and deliberations within one month of being constituted and issue a written decision to the Registrar within seven business days of its review. The appeal committee may not include faculty members presently serving on the ASC, those who served on a hearing committee for the case, or the student’s academic advisor(s). The appeal committee will consider the merits of an appeal based on documents and records including the information provided in the student’s appeal statement, the materials reviewed by the ASC and any relevant hearing committee, the student’s academic records, and the original decision. Character references or letters of support are not relevant and will not be accepted or reviewed. An appeal is not a new review and the appeal committee will not meet with any of the parties involved. An appeal is not an opportunity for the appeal committee to substitute its judgment for that of the ASC and/or the hearing committee merely because it disagrees with the finding and/or sanction(s). Based on this information the appeal committee may:

  1. Uphold the original decision, if the basis for the appeal is unsubstantiated; or
  2. Return the case to the ASC for reconsideration in light of the new information or documented prejudicial procedural errors presented in the appeal; or
  3. Overturn the original finding of academic integrity violation on the basis of clear and compelling new information presented in the appeal.

While appeals are pending, the student remains subject to the original decision and sanctions imposed by the ASC.Only one appeal is permitted and the decision of the appeal committee is final. Appeal committees may not alter sanctions.

 

Procedure approved 3/6/2020.