Interim Academic Integrity Procedures
The intellectual vitality of Claremont McKenna College is a shared enterprise that relies on a culture of academic integrity, responsibility, and honesty. When these principles are violated, our work together as a community diminishes. In upholding the highest standards of academic integrity , the members of the Academic Standards Committee are deeply invested in the academic success and wellbeing of all students, while protecting the value of a CMC degree.
Faculty members have the responsibility to report suspected cases of academic dishonesty to the Academic Standards Committee (ASC) when they reasonably suspect that a student may have committed an academic integrity violation (discussed further below). The ASC has the duty of investigating, making findings of, and sanctioning academic integrity violations. Students and faculty are responsible for providing timely, thorough, and accurate responses to any requests or inquiries made by the Academic Standards Committee, its members, and its appointed investigators.
CMC students are presumed not to have committed an integrity violation unless the ASC has found them responsible for such.
The College commits to processing academic integrity allegations as expeditiously as possible. However, due to the complexity, variability, and timing of any referral, 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. The committee reviews allegations and communicates outcomes to students within the constraints of the academic calendar and its regular meeting schedule. When allegations brought by faculty cannot be completely addressed before the end of a semester, the ASC may postpone processing them until the following semester.
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.
Reporting Suspected Academic Integrity Violations to the ASC
Before referring a suspected violation to the ASC via the Registrar, faculty members or other College officials may, but are not required to, discuss suspected academic integrity violations with the students involved. Relevant information gathered through these discussions should be included in any referral to the to the ASC. The ASC encourages individuals referring allegations to the ASC do so in a timely manner, soon after they suspect a violation. Faculty members are not permitted to assign penalties to CMC 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. In all referrals, relevant records are retained in the student’s academic file.
Course Registration Rules
Students may not drop or withdraw from courses, or opt for Credit/No-Credit grading, 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, or opt for Credit/No-Credit grading, within one week of notification of the outcome or in accord with published deadlines, whichever is later.
Intake of the Referral, Initial Review, and Issuing Charges
The Registrar will collect any relevant information, correspondence, and documents related to an allegation, 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 determines whether there are sufficient grounds to proceed, and if so, whether the potential sanctions could include suspension or dismissal, if the student is found responsible for the violation (see Sanctions below).
The Registrar issues the charge to the student in writing, including the evidence supporting the charge, instructions and deadlines for responding, and information about potential sanctions if the student is found responsible. The Registrar will also inform the student of current ASC membership and assign at least one member of the ASC to be available, at the student’s election, to explain the charge and answer any questions about these procedures. This member of the ASC is available to offer support and counsel to students facing charges, but remains responsible for disclosing relevant information collected from correspondence or conversations with the student to the full committee. Before responding to charges, students may also contact the Senior Associate Dean of Students for Academic Success with any questions about the charge letter or these procedures.
The student will have the opportunity to submit a complete written response to the charge including supporting documentation and explanations of relevant circumstances. The student’s failure to submit a timely response, unless granted an extension by the Registrar, will result in the ASC moving forward with determining responsibility and sanctions (if found responsible) without the student’s input. Character references or letters of support are not relevant and will not be accepted or reviewed. Upon receipt of the student’s initial response, the Registrar, ASC Chair, and Associate Dean for Curriculum will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the referral, and whether further investigation is necessary before the ASC determines responsibility.
When Referrals Require Further Investigation
The ASC will conduct further investigation when facts as to the student’s responsibility are in dispute and potential sanctions include suspension or dismissal from the College. The ASC will appoint between one and three individuals with relevant expertise to conduct a neutral and reasonable investigation, depending on the nature of the referral. Investigations are typically conducted by ASC members, but may be conducted by non-committee members with relevant expertise, as appointed by the ASC Chair. For example, in referrals that involve suspected plagiarism in French, the Chair may call upon non-committee members with expertise in French. Similarly, investigators may obtain information from internal or external subject matter experts, as appropriate.
The Registrar will inform students of who will serve as investigator(s) and offer the opportunity to object to their participation prior to investigations beginning. Parties may object to the involvement of specific investigators or ASC members, only if they can provide credible information that an investigator or ASC member has a conflict of interest or is biased against them. If the ASC Chair determines that a student’s objections are credible, the Chair will appoint another individual to serve. If the challenge is to the ASC Chair, then the Dean of Faculty will assess the credibility of that challenge. Parties will have the same opportunity to voice any objections about replacements until all necessary investigators are identified.
Investigators will review all case materials and meet with the students involved, faculty members, witnesses, and/or other relevant individuals, as appropriate, to gather sufficient information and produce a report for the ASC.
Parties may request that relevant witnesses be interviewed. Parties must identify the witness’ name and the general nature of their contribution to the investigation. Investigators will determine which witnesses to include and the timeline for their participation. Meetings with investigators are typically conducted in person, but may involve video or audio conferencing if participants cannot attend in person. While neither investigators nor the ASC can compel individuals to participate in investigations, all individuals are expected to do so in compliance with the community expectations articulated in the Statement of Academic Integrity.
Investigators will compose a written report for the ASC, which will include a description of the undisputed and disputed facts, credibility assessments, and may include a recommendation as to whether a policy violation occurred. The parties will have the opportunity to review and respond to investigation reports before they are submitted to the ASC. When the investigation is complete, the Registrar will send the materials to the ASC for review at its next meeting.
The ASC will review and discuss the materials and vote on whether the student is responsible for an academic integrity violation based on a preponderance of the evidence. The preponderance of the evidence standard requires a finding of responsibility when the evidence indicates that the student is more likely than not to have committed the suspected violation. A simple majority vote of the ASC members in attendance at the meeting is required to render a finding. Any ASC member who served as an investigator will abstain from voting.
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 and any documented extenuating circumstances when determining appropriate sanctions.
Prior to the ASC meeting in which the committee determines whether students are responsible for a violation, the Registrar will present students with the following choices:
- Students may submit all documentation including any mitigating circumstances prior to the ASC’s determination of responsibility. If they are ultimately found responsible for a violation, students who elect this option will have sanctioning decisions made at the same meeting in which a finding of responsibility is rendered.
- Students may submit a separate statement describing any mitigating circumstances that could potentially influence sanctioning decisions after the ASC renders a decision on responsibility. If students are found responsible for a violation, the ASC will determine sanctions at its next regularly scheduled meeting subsequent to the finding decision.
The ASC determines an appropriate sanction for the violation based on the nature and extent of the violation, along with any documented extenuating circumstances presented by the student.
The Registrar will notify the student of the outcome of the case in writing within three business days of the ASC’s decision(s).
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, dismissal from the College, and revocation of degrees. 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, including a history of prior academic integrity violations
Typical sanctions for some types of academic integrity violations are described below:
|Type of Violation
||Probation, Suspension, or Dismissal
|Limited plagiarism (e.g., a homework assignment that includes some content from one or more sources without attribution)
|Minor violations of assignment rules (e.g., inappropriate collaboration on part of a homework assignment; use of unauthorized sources. Behavior is characterized as “minor” when it occurs in a limited way and/or in the context of a low-level assignment.)
|Limited cheating on assignments (e.g., copying another student’s homework assignment; submitting answers provided by another individual or a website)
|Cheating on tests or exams (e.g., copying another student’s exam answers or collaborating with others on an exam that is supposed to be completed alone)
|Violating testing environment rules (e.g., inappropriate use of a cell phone during an exam; consulting unauthorized sources during the exam)
|Deception (e.g. providing false information/excuses to an instructor, falsifying sources or documentation, covering up the truth)
|Extensive plagiarism (e.g. an assignment or exam that includes substantial content from one or more sources without attribution)
|Major violations of assignment rules (e.g. inappropriate collaboration throughout an assignment; considerable use of unauthorized sources. Behavior is characterized as “major” when it occurs in an extensive and/or pervasive way and/or in the context of a substantial assignment.)
|Extensive or systematic cheating on assignments (e.g. cheating occurs on multiple assignments; substantial and/or pervasive cheating or copying in a major assignment or exam)
|Copying or preparing another person’s work (e.g. writing an essay or completing an exam for another person or copying work from another person to submit as your own)
|Purchasing prepared papers (e.g. from another individual or from a website)
|Supplying false or forged documents to college officials
These sanctions represent guidelines and the ASC exercises appropriate judgment in making all sanctioning decisions. 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
An appeal consists of a written statement that clearly describes and documents the specific grounds for appealing the ASC’s finding of responsibility. The only acceptable grounds for appeal are new information or prejudicial procedural error. New information may only be introduced upon appeal if it has arisen or come to the student’s attention after the ASC reviewed the case and rendered a finding of responsibility, and only if the new information may substantially impact the ASC’s original finding of responsibility. 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 identify precisely which procedural steps were not followed and how the alleged error adversely affected the outcome of the case.
Students must submit their appeal and all supporting documents in writing to the Registrar within ten business days of receipt of the ASC’s original decision. The Registrar will forward the student’s appeal along with the original case materials to the Dean of the Faculty. The Dean will review the appeal and determine whether the student has presented sufficient documentation of new evidence or procedural error to warrant proceeding. The Dean typically will make this determination within three business days and communicate the decision in writing to the Registrar, who will then inform the student.
If the Dean determines that there are not sufficient grounds for an appeal to proceed, then the appeal will not be considered and the original ASC decision will stand. If the Dean determines that there is sufficient information presented to proceed with an appeal, the Registrar will convene an appeal committee to consider the appeal. In cases where the Dean has determined that an appeal may move forward, any sanctions originally imposed by the ASC will be stayed pending the outcome of the appeal.
The appeal committee consists of three individuals:
- The CMC Dean of the Faculty, who serves as chair;
- 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 Dean 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 Dean will appoint another tenured CMC faculty member with expertise in a related subject area or the chair of the cognate department at CMC.
- 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 may not include faculty members presently serving on the ASC, those who served as investigators, or the student’s academic advisor(s). The Registrar will inform students of who will serve on the appeal committee and offer the opportunity to object to their participation prior to review of the appeal. Parties may object to the involvement of specific appeal committee members only if they can provide credible information that a member has a conflict of interest or is biased against them. If the Dean of the Faculty determines that a student’s objections are credible, the Dean may appoint another individual to serve. Parties will have the same opportunity to voice any objections about replacements until all committee members are identified.
The appeal committee will schedule its review and deliberations within ten business days of being constituted and issue a written decision to the Registrar within seven business days of its review.
The appeal committee will consider the merits of an appeal based on the entire ASC case file and the information submitted in the appeal. Character references or letters of support are not relevant and will not be accepted or reviewed. The appeal committee will not meet with any of the parties involved and should not substitute its judgment for that of the ASC merely because it disagrees with the finding and/or sanction(s). Based on this information the appeal committee may:
- Uphold the original decision, if the basis for the appeal is insufficient or unsubstantiated; or
- Return the case to the ASC for further proceedings in light of the new information or documented prejudicial procedural errors presented in the appeal (with instructions for subsequent handling); or
- Overturn the original finding of an academic integrity violation on the basis of the new information presented in the appeal.
If the appeal committee upholds the original ASC decision, the original sanction will be immediately reinstated. Appeal committees may not alter sanctions. Only one appeal is permitted and the decision of the appeal committee is final.
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 decision 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.
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.