Academic Dishonesty


St. Thomas Aquinas College strictly prohibits academic dishonesty. Any violation of academic integrity policies that constitutes academic dishonesty will be subject to harsh penalties, ranging up to and including dismissal from the College. Set forth below are a series of examples of academic dishonesty and the process utilized by the College in addressing cases of academic dishonesty, including the process to be followed by faculty members in filing an academic dishonesty allegation, and the process followed by students who might seek to challenge a determination by the College that he/she engaged in academic dishonesty.

Examples Of Academic Dishonesty

The following behaviors are examples of academic dishonesty.

Cheating: Giving unauthorized help on a test or other academic exercise. Accepting unauthorized help on a test or other academic exercise. Attempting to obtain unauthorized help from another student on a test or other academic exercise. Copying from another student’s work. Allowing another student to copy from your work. Using unauthorized materials during a test or other academic exercise, such as a textbook, notebook, calculator, or specifically prepared items such as notes written on paper, clothing, furniture or oneself. Fraudulently obtaining copies of tests, such as from offices, waste receptacles, or students who have previously taken the test. Giving test questions or test answers to other students who have not yet taken that test. Obtaining test questions or test answers from other students who have already taken that test.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is representing someone else’s work or ideas as one’s own, and occurs when appropriate credit is not given to the original source. Note that plagiarism can be intentional as well as unintentional behavior, and information sources refer to both print and electronic media. Furthermore, Section 213-b of the New York State Education Law prohibits the sale of term papers, essays, and research reports to students enrolled in a college. Examples of plagiarism include the following: Failing to indicate direct quotations; failing to indicate the source of direct quotations; failing to indicate the source of paraphrased material; copying another’s data files or computer programs and presenting them as one’s own; submitting work that was written or prepared in whole or in part by another person; purchasing or attempting to purchase work written or prepared by another; borrowing or attempting to borrow work written or prepared by another and presenting it as one’s own.

Deception: Signing a name other than one’s own on any document, such as a registration form or letter of recommendation. Intentionally presenting false information on any document, such as a registration form or letter of recommendation.  Taking or attempting to take a test for another person. Allowing another person to take a test in one’s place. Falsifying data for labs, experiments, and research projects. Listing reference sources that have not been used. Inventing reference sources. Unauthorized multiple submissions of papers and other academic exercises (e.g., submitting the same paper in two different classes without the permission of all instructors involved). Lying to an instructor or other College official (e.g., intentionally misrepresenting the reason why one has missed an examination). Aiding another student in academic misconduct.


Process For Handling Cases Of Academic Dishonesty

The individual faculty member has authority and jurisdiction within the faculty member’s class. When confronted by an instance of academic dishonesty, the faculty member may fail the student on the concerned question, testing instrument, or for the course as a whole, as seems appropriate to the offense in the judgement of the faculty member.  Other academic penalties may be imposed, such as repeating a test instrument, as the faculty member sees fit. Prior to imposing any penalty, the faculty member should consult with his or her Dean and the Office of the Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs to determine whether a previous case of academic dishonesty is relevant to the situation under consideration.

When an instance of academic dishonesty results in a penalty by the faculty member, the faculty member must inform his or her Dean and the Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) in writing of the student’s name, the date, a brief description of the offense (e.g., cheating on mid-term exam), and the penalty imposed. The faculty member shall provide a copy to the concerned student. Confidential records of such events will be maintained by the Dean and the VPAA.

If a second offense of academic dishonesty by the same student is encountered, the faculty member shall refer the case in writing, with copy to the concerned student, through the Dean and VPAA to the Academic Standards Committee of the Faculty (ASC) which will determine whether suspension or dismissal or other penalty is appropriate. Pending the resolution of the matter, should it be necessary to report a grade, the faculty member shall record “NGR”- “No Grade Reported” - for the student on the relevant instrument or in the relevant course; no final grade in the concerned course will be reported for the student until the ASC’s or the President’s decision has been rendered. The faculty member will be consulted regarding the appropriate grade to be granted.

If anyone encounters any case of academic dishonesty which is egregious, the procedure described, immediately above, may be directly implemented. Students who have been found guilty of academic dishonesty are not eligible to be inducted into honor societies.

Appeals From Determinations Of Academic Dishonesty

If the student wishes to appeal a determination of academic dishonesty by a faculty member, appeal may be made, in writing, first to the Dean of the School sponsoring the course and, second, to the Academic Standards Committee (ASC).

A student receiving a penalty by the decision of the ASC in a case of academic dishonesty may appeal the decision to the President of the College. Upon official notification of a decision by the ASC, the student shall have five class days to submit an appeal in writing to the President. Appeals must be based on one or more of the following grounds:

  • New evidence is available which was not reasonably available at or before the time of the student’s last presentation to the ASC.

  • A procedural error occurred which can be shown to have had a detrimental effect on the decision of the ASC.

  • The decision of the ASC is clearly in error when viewed in light of the information presented to the ASC or the decision imposes inappropriate sanction(s) having no reasonable relationship to the offense(s) committed.

The President of the College, having met with the appealing student, the Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Vice President for Student Development, shall notify the student of the President’s decision within five (5) class days, unless special circumstances  make that impracticable. The President of the College shall notify the VPAA of appeals that originate through the President’s office.