Academic Honesty Policy

No aspect of the College is of greater importance than the maintenance of the highest level of academic honesty and integrity. Faculty members, by the character of their private and professional lives, help to set standards which students will emulate. Most specifically, the tone which they set in their individual courses can help to establish an atmosphere in which probity and honesty are taken for granted. Such an atmosphere is a pre-condition for generating, evaluating and discussing ideas, activities which guarantee the pursuit of truth and which are at the very heart of academic life.

Definitions of Academic Dishonesty
Claiming others' ideas as one's own, failing to acknowledge their ideas or language, and engaging in other unethical practices that seriously disrupt the pursuit of truth constitute academic dishonesty, which has no place in the academy and will not be tolerated at Hartwick College. Nearly every form of academic dishonesty is a species of plagiarism, which Alexander Lindey has defined as "the false assumption of authorship: the wrongful act of taking the product of another person's mind, and presenting it as one's own" (Plagiarism and Originality [New York: Harper, 1952], 2). Plagiarism, cheating and other dishonest behaviors directly related to academic performance are subject to penalty at Hartwick College. The College defines these three forms of academic dishonesty as follows.

1. Cheating includes but is not limited to such in-class behaviors as copying from other students, use of books, notes or other devices not explicitly permitted, and communication of answers or parts of answers during an examination.

2. Plagiarism usually occurs in the case of reports or papers prepared outside the classroom. Plagiarism has been committed whenever a student submits as his or her own work any material taken from others -- whether printed, electronic or oral; whether quoted directly or paraphrased -- without proper acknowledgment and documentation. Copying the work of other students, whether in hard copy or electronic form, is included in this definition. Faculty members should indicate clearly to their classes which style of documentation is to be used for citing printed, oral, and electronic sources. The seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (2009) is one source of instruction on how to cite both traditional documents and material taken from such electronic sources as the World Wide.

While most college students understand what plagiarism is and have learned how to document properly in high school, plagiarism is sometimes unconscious or unintended. Students who feel that they do not possess good bibliographic and citation skills should speak with their professors prior to submitting written work. Ignorance may not be an excuse for violating the College rules banning plagiarism.

When instructors permit collaboration between students in the preparation of reports, papers or other assignments, they should make clear to students just how much collaboration is permitted and whether or how credit is to be given for each person contributing to the project.

Students who knowingly allow others to copy their work, either in or outside of class, will be subject to the same penalties for plagiarism and cheating as those defined above.

3. Other kinds of dishonest academic behavior include but are not limited to the following: falsifying or forging excuses for absence from class or for failures to complete assignments; forging the signature of an academic advisor; mutilating library materials; and submitting a paper (or two papers that are substantially the same) for credit in two different courses without prior agreement of the instructors involved. Faculty members who become aware of other forms of dishonesty that they deem directly related to academic performance should consult about whether to press charges with the person designated by the Office of Academic Affairs to serve as the academic honesty officer.

Procedure for Handling Cases of Academic Dishonesty
When a faculty member has evidence of dishonest academic behavior, he or she shall immediately speak with the student regarding the evidence. If after this conversation the faculty member has found evidence that the student has knowingly or with culpable negligence committed an act of academic dishonesty, he or she shall first so inform the student and then file a formal charge with the Office of Academic Affairs. In addition to a written explanation of the charge, the faculty member will provide the evidence that substantiates it to the academic honesty officer. Other members of the college community -- staff or students -- who become aware of dishonest behavior as defined above should consult with the academic honesty officer about whether and/or how to press charges.

When the Office of Academic Affairs has received the formal charge from the faculty member, the academic honesty officer will schedule a meeting with the student and discuss both the charge and the evidence. If the academic honesty officer concurs that the student has committed the offense, he or she shall inform the student of the penalty in writing.

When the first offense is related to an academic assignment -- as in the cases of plagiarism, cheating and submitting the same paper twice without permission -- the minimum penalty for the first offense shall be a zero for the work in question. The maximum penalty shall be failure in the course or courses concerned.

When the first offense is directly related to academic conduct but not to a specific assignment -- as in the case of forging a signature -- an appropriate penalty will be determined by the academic honesty officer.

In either case, any additional offenses which have not yet been reported and evaluated may be brought up at that time by the student for simultaneous evaluation. Penalties for these additional violations will not be more severe than those for a first offense.

If a student has been previously found guilty of academic dishonesty, any subsequent finding of academic dishonesty shall result in failure for any course directly concerned and also in suspension from the College for a term determined by the academic honesty officer.

The student charged may ask for a review of the academic honesty officer's decision, the evidence upon which it was based, or the penalty within two weeks after the student has been notified of the decision and penalty. The Chief Academic Officer, the chair of the division concerned, and a faculty member nominated by the student shall constitute the Review Board. The board's decision is final.

Academic Honesty Agreement
Download a copy of the Hartwick College Academic Honesty Agreement (pdf document).