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Academic Dishonesty Procedures

Academic integrity is critical to building trust in our University community. Faculty help uphold that integrity by establishing academic performance standards and the consequences of not meeting those standards.

This page provides the procedures for addressing instances of academic dishonesty, which can include:

  • cheating,
  • plagiarism
  • misrepresentation (knowingly providing false information)
  • collusion (helping another to cheat)

If there is a finding of academic dishonesty

The instructor will decide the academic consequence(s). The severity of the consequence should match the severity of the violation. Possible consequences may include giving the student: 

  • An alternative assignment
  • Additional assignment
  • A failing or lowered grade on the assignment
  • An F or a lowered grade in the class

Verify the act of dishonesty

The instructor must verify the act of dishonesty by personal observation and/or documentation; not just perception.

  • Compare to original text source 
  • Look for a marked difference in writing style from previous work 
  • Listen to the testimony of others 
  • Observe firsthand 
  • Receive an admission of responsibility by the student 
  • Observe a suspicious degree of similarity with other work 

Steps to ensure a fair process 

  1. Discuss the situation with your chair 
  2. Meet with the student 
    • Inform them of the allegation.  Allow them to review the evidence and provide an explanation during the meeting. 
    • Use a preponderance of evidence standard (is it more likely than not) to determine whether or not academic dishonesty occurred.  
    • Inform the student of the academic consequence(s), and the grade appeal process (give them a copy).  
    • Inform the student that you are required to refer the case to the Office of the Dean of Students and there may be additional administrative consequences imposed through the student conduct process. 
    • If the student disputes the charge, give them 10 days to respond to the allegation. 
    • Consider their response. 
    • If the preponderance of evidence still points to dishonesty, impose the consequence(s). 
    • If a face-to-face meeting is not possible, contact the student via phone and/or e-mail to discuss the situation. 
    • If more than one student is involved in the case, meet with each student individually. 
    • If, after a good faith effort to meet/communicate, the student fails to respond, the instructor shall submit the academic dishonesty report form without having communicated with the student. 
    • If the instructor cannot (for serious and compelling reasons) participate in the process, the chair can represent the instructor through the process.

If the student is found responsible

If the student is found responsible submit the online Academic Dishonesty report to the Office of the Dean of Students.

  • Attach supporting documentation such as the course syllabus, a copy of the exam/assignment with the areas of alleged academic dishonesty highlighted and the source of dishonesty (e.g., turnitin.com report) indicated, the student’s exam/assignment compared to another student’s exam/assignment, etc. 
  • If evidence points to the student’s use of an online resource such as Chegg or Course Hero, indicate that on the report form so that the Associate Dean of Students: Student Conduct can follow up with the online resource and potentially collect additional documentation. 

Associate Dean’s Role

Upon receipt of the report, the Associate Dean will: 

  • Review the report and supporting documentation.
  • Consult with the instructor if additional information is needed.
  • Look in the student conduct database to see if the student has any prior incidents of academic dishonesty.
  • Send a letter to the student confirming the instructor’s finding.  The instructor will be cc’d on the letter. 
  • Inform the Registrar that the student is not eligible for grade forgiveness due to the finding of academic dishonesty.
  • Consider if other violations of the Code of Conduct occurred during the incident. If the student has prior findings of academic dishonesty, or there may be additional violations, the Associate Dean of Students: Student Conduct will initiate a student conduct investigation.
    • If the investigation indicates responsibility for additional violations, administrative consequences (such as an educational sanction, disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion) may be imposed in addition to the academic consequences. 

Learn more by reading the Cal State LA Academic Honesty Policy.