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6,502: Academic Standards

Revised: August 2016

Introduction:

Specific to the academic pursuits of students, the University of Nevada, Reno, believes the maintenance of academic standards is a joint responsibility of the students and faculty of the University. Freedom to teach and to learn is dependent upon individual and collective conduct to permit the pursuit and exchange of knowledge and opinion. Faculty have the responsibility to create an atmosphere in which students may display their knowledge. This atmosphere includes an orderly testing room and sufficient safeguards to inhibit dishonesty. Students have the responsibility to rely on their knowledge and resources in the evaluation process. The trust developed in the maintenance of academic standards is necessary to the fair evaluation of all students.

Academic Standards:

Class Conduct: A student may be dropped from class at any time for misconduct, disruptive behavior in the classroom, or non-attendance, upon recommendation of the instructor and with approval of the college dean.  A student may also receive disciplinary sanctions for misconduct or disruptive behavior in the classroom.

Academic Dishonesty:  A student may receive academic and disciplinary sanctions for cheating, plagiarism or other attempts to obtain or earn grades under false pretenses.

Subsection A: Definitions

  1. Disruptive Behavior:  For purposes of this policy, "disruptive behavior" is defined as behavior, including but not limited to the disruption, obstruction or unauthorized interruption of teaching or the learning environment (e.g. repeated outbursts from a student which disrupt the flow of instruction or prevent concentration on the subject taught, failure to cooperate in maintaining classroom decorum, failure to follow course, laboratory or safety rules), unauthorized text messaging, and the continued unauthorized use of any electronic or noise or light emitting device which disturbs others.
  2. Plagiarism: defined as (1) the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit; (2) the submission of ideas, processes, results or words not originating with the author and developed specifically for the work at hand without the appropriate credit being given; or (3) assisting in the act of plagiarism by allowing one's work to be used as described above. Any ideas, processes, results, or words not originating with the author and developed specifically for the work at hand should be credited appropriately.
  3. Cheating: For purposes of this policy, cheating is defined as:  (1) obtaining or providing unauthorized information while executing, completing or in relation to coursework, through verbal, visual or unauthorized use of books, notes, text and other materials; (2) turning in the same work in more than one class (or when repeating a class), unless permission is received in advance from the instructor; (3) taking an examination for another student, or arranging for another person to take an exam in one's place; (4) altering or changing test answers after submittal for grading; (5) altering or changing grades after grades have been awarded; (6) altering or changing other academic records once these are official; and/or (7) facilitating or permitting any of the above-listed items.

For purposes of this definition of cheating, the term "unauthorized" is defined as not obtaining direct or explicit approval of the course instructor. For purposes of this definition of cheating, the term "coursework" is defined as an examination, laboratory experience or report, papers, homework or quizzes or any other class assignment or class activity.

  1. Working Days:  For the purpose of this policy, "working days" are defined as working days, excluding University holidays for allegations during the fall and spring semesters.  In the event allegations of academic dishonesty occur in wintermester or summer courses or in a program requiring year-round enrollment, working days are defined as calendar days, excluding University holidays and weekends.
  1. Department Chair:  For the purposes of this policy, "department chair" is defined as chair or director of the department or program that is offering the course.

Subsection B: Sanctions for Violation of Academic Standards

  1. An undergraduate or graduate student found responsible for violating this policy may not withdraw from the course in question and may not utilize the "grade replacement or grade appeals policies" for that course.
  2. Sanctions for violations of University academic standards for academic dishonesty may include academic and/or disciplinary sanctions. Academic sanctions for both undergraduate and graduate students may include: filing a final grade of "F"; reducing the student's final course grade one or two full grade points; awarding a failing mark on the coursework in question; or requiring the student to retake or resubmit the coursework.
  3. Sanctions for violations of University academic standards for class misconduct may include disciplinary sanctions. Academic sanctions may include temporary removal from the classroom by the faculty member or being dropped from the class. Dropping a student from a class must be approved by the Dean.
  4. An undergraduate or graduate student may also be subject to discipline for academic dishonesty pursuant to the provisions of the University's Student Code of Conduct. Disciplinary sanctions for both undergraduate and graduate students may include the following: warning, reprimand, restitution, probation, suspension, expulsion, or revocation of degree. 

Subsection C: Academic Dishonesty Procedures for Undergraduate Students

1.  Charging Letter.

a.  If an undergraduate student is suspected of academic dishonesty, the instructor of record for the course ("faculty member") must notify the student of the academic dishonesty charge by written letter, no later than ten (10) working days after knowledge of the alleged action. This notification letter is hereafter referred to as the "Charging Letter." The faculty member should use the Template Charging Letter provided here. The charging letter must inform the student of all of the following:

i.  The specific charge(s), the documents in support of the charge(s) and the proposed sanction(s);

ii.  The Academic Standards Policy to be followed and where it is located;

iii.  That the student has the right to appeal the charge of academic dishonesty and if the student decides to appeal, he or she must notify the Department Chair in writing within ten (10) working days from the date of the Charging Letter;

iv.  That if the student decides not to appeal the charge, but believes the academic sanction is not in alignment with the sanctions for academic dishonesty described in the course syllabus, he or she must notify the Department Chair in writing within ten (10) working days from the date of the Charging Letter; and

v. That if the student appeals the academic dishonesty charge or sanction, the student should stay in the class pending the outcome of the appeal.

b.  The Charging Letter must be either hand delivered or sent by certified mail and emailed to the student's address of record in MyNevada. If the Charging Letter is delivered in the prescribed manner, then the Charging Letter is deemed received. A copy of the Charging Letter also must be sent to the Office of Student Conduct ("OSC"). The student has ten (10) working days from the date of the Charging Letter to appeal to the chair of the department that offered the course.

2.  Student's Response to Charging Letter

a.  Decision to Appeal:  If the student disputes the charge presented in the Charging Letter, the student must appeal in writing to the Department Chair within the ten (10) working days noted above. The student's appeal must be received by the Department Chair on the tenth day.  Within the next five (5) working days, the Department Chair must inform the faculty member, then refer the matter to the OSC for a hearing by the Undergraduate Academic Integrity Board ("AIB"). The student should be allowed at least ten (10) working days to prepare for a hearing, but this period may be waived by the student in writing.

b.  Decision Not to Appeal:  If the student does not appeal, the charge of academic dishonesty stands and the faculty member may impose the academic sanction specified in the Charging Letter.

i.  The student may request the academic sanction be reviewed by the Department Chair if the sanction is not in alignment with the sanctions for academic dishonesty described in the course syllabus. The student must make the request in writing to the Department Chair within ten (10) working days from the date of the Charging Letter.  The student's request must be received by the Department Chair by the tenth day.  The Department Chair has five (5) working days to make the decision of whether the academic sanction will stand and if not, impose an academic sanction consistent with the course syllabus and/or the University policy and inform the student in writing.  The Department Chair's decision is final. The student does not have access to the grade appeal process for a grade received as a sanction for academic dishonesty.

ii.  If the student accepts the academic sanctions or does not appeal within the applicable time period, there can be no further appeal and the academic sanction shall be applied.

c.  Disciplinary Sanction:  In addition to an academic sanction, the OSC may impose a disciplinary sanction. Students who wish to appeal a disciplinary sanction may do so through the OSC, in accordance with the procedures stated in Section IV of the Student Code, Student Disciplinary Procedures.

3.  Undergraduate Academic Integrity Board

a.  AIB Members:  The AIB shall consist of the following members with due consideration being given to possible conflict of interest:

i. Two undergraduate students appointed from the Student Conduct Hearing Board;
ii. Two academic faculty members selected by the executive board of the Faculty Senate; and
iii. A third academic faculty member who will serve as chair of the board selected by the Executive Vice President & Provost (the "Provost").

To ensure the impartiality of the AIB, members must be appointed from departments other than those in which the case originated and in which the accused student is majoring.

b.  Hearing Deadline - The AIB shall be empaneled by the OSC.  The OSC shall set a hearing date within fifteen (15) working days after the matter has been referred to the OSC. The student and the faculty member are each allowed one (1) continuance. Thereafter, the student or faculty member may be granted one (1) additional continuance upon a showing of good cause by the requesting party. The Provost or the Provost's designee shall make the determination as to whether the additional continuance will be granted.

4.  AIB Hearing Procedure

The hearing procedure is as follows:

a. The accused student will be contacted by the OSC to appear before the AIB for a hearing on the academic dishonesty charge.  The hearing shall be closed.

b.  The accused student has the right to be assisted by one (1) advisor, if desired. The advisor serves as a supporter and advisor during the conduct hearing. The accused student, and not the advisor, is responsible for presenting his or her own information, introducing witnesses, and answering questions throughout the hearing. When a student selects an advisor, the advisor has no right to speak during the hearing. The advisor may be an attorney. If the student wishes to be accompanied by an advisor or an attorney, the Assistant Dean, Student Conduct must be notified at least five (5) working days before the hearing. If the accused student chooses to have an advisor, the faculty member may be accompanied by an advisor or by an attorney if the student chooses an attorney as his or her advisor.

c. The student, the faculty member and any advisors shall be allowed to attend all portions of the hearing at which information is received, but may not be present during the AIB's closed sessions to deliberate and render a decision on the charge.

d.  The AIB may have an advisor or attorney at all hearings, regardless of whether the student requests an advisor or attorney.

e.  The accused student and faculty member must provide written notification of witnesses to the Assistant Dean, Student Conduct no later than five (5) working days before the hearing. The accused student and faculty member may present relevant written documents, records, or other information for the hearing. These documents must be provided to the OSC five (5) working days before the hearing.

f.  The accused student and the faculty member have the right to review the witness names identified by each party and the documents provided by each party to the OSC two working days prior to the hearing. This review will take place within the OSC during normal working hours under the supervision of the Assistant Dean, Student Conduct or designee. All documents are considered confidential and will not be reproduced or released for review by the student or faculty member outside of the OSC.

g. If the student, after receiving the notice, does not appear at the hearing, the information in support of the Charging Letter shall be presented, considered and acted upon regardless of the student's absence. If the faculty member does not appear at the hearing, the charge(s) of academic dishonesty will be dismissed and the student's academic record expunged.

h.  During the hearing, the chair of the AIB will state the content of the report of alleged academic dishonesty and the specific charges made in the Charging Letter. Charges may not be added for determination at the hearing if they were not stated in the Charging Letter.

i.  The faculty member will appear before the board to present information that supports the charge.

j. The student will appear before the AIB to present information that supports his or her dispute of the charge.

k. The chair of the board may call other witnesses who were disclosed by the parties to the OSC within the applicable time period.

l.  Information and testimony presented by the faculty member and the student must be relevant to the specific charge(s) of academic dishonesty. The AIB is allowed to strike or exclude any information or testimony that is not relevant to the specific charge(s) of academic dishonesty.

m. The AIB will then meet in closed session to deliberate and render a final decision on the charge.  The AIB's sole responsibility during the deliberations on the charge is to determine whether the student is responsible as charged for academic dishonesty. The AIB's decision shall be made on the basis of the preponderance of the evidence:  whether it is more likely than not that the student committed the academic dishonesty. This decision is made through consensus when possible, and if not possible, then by simple majority vote of the AIB members.

n.  The hearing proceedings and the evidence and testimony presented at the hearing are confidential.

o.  The chair of the AIB has five (5) working days to inform the OSC of the AIB's decision, in writing. The OSC must inform all concerned parties (the student, faculty member, Department Chair) of the AIB's decision within five (5) working days.

p. If the student is found to be responsible as charged:

i. The faculty member may impose the proposed academic sanction. If the sanction is not in alignment with the sanctions for academic honesty described in the course syllabus, the student may request the academic sanction be reviewed by the Department Chair. The student has ten (10) working days from the receipt of the notification to request this review in writing. The Department Chair has five (5) working days to make the decision and if not, impose an academic sanction consistent with the course syllabus and/or University policy and inform the student in writing. The Department Chair's decision is final.
ii. After determining that the student is responsible as charged, the AIB shall then consult with the OSC about any past record of academic misconduct for purposes of determining whether to recommend disciplinary sanctions. The OSC implements disciplinary sanctions.

q. If the AIB finds the student not responsible, no sanctions are imposed, and the academic dishonesty charge is expunged from the student's record.

i. The faculty member must change the grade assigned so that the charged academic dishonesty does not factor into the coursework or course grade in any manner.

ii. The faculty member has no right to appeal the decision of the AIB.

Subsection D:  Academic Dishonesty Procedures for Graduate Students

1.  Charging Letter

a.  If a graduate student is suspected of academic dishonesty, the instructor of record for that course must notify the student by written letter of the academic dishonesty charge within the following time frames:

i. For theses, dissertations, or professional papers, no later than twenty (20) working days after knowledge of the alleged action.

ii. For all other coursework, no later than fifteen (15) working days after knowledge of the alleged action or submission/presentation of the assignment.

b.  This notification letter is hereafter referred to as the "Charging Letter." The faculty member should use the Template Charging Letter provided here. The charging letter must inform the student of all of the following:

i.  The specific charge(s), the documents in support of the charge(s) and the proposed sanction(s);

ii. The Academic Standards Policy to be followed and where it is located;

iii. That the student has the right to appeal the charge of academic dishonesty and if the student decides to appeal the charge,  he or she must notify the Department Chair in writing within ten (10) working days from the date of the Charging Letter;

iv.  That if the student decides not to appeal the charge, but believes the academic sanction is not in alignment with the sanctions for academic dishonesty described in the course syllabus or Graduate Student Handbook, he or she must notify the Department Chair in writing within ten (10) working days from the date of the Charging Letter; and

v.  That if the student appeals the academic dishonesty charge or sanction, the student should stay in the class pending the outcome of the appeal.

c.  The Charging Letter must be either hand delivered or sent by certified mail and emailed to the student's address of record in MyNevada. If the Charging Letter is delivered in the prescribed manner, then the Charging Letter is deemed received. A copy of the Charging Letter also must be sent to the OSC, the director of the student's graduate program, the Department Chair, and the Graduate School.

2.  Student's Response to Charging Letter.

a.  Decision Not to Request Department Review:  If the student does not request a Department Review (by the Department Chair or Program Director) of the charge of academic dishonesty within the applicable time period, the faculty member may impose the academic sanction.

i.  The student may request the academic sanction be reviewed by the Department Chair if the sanction is not in alignment with the sanctions for the academic dishonesty described in the course syllabus or Graduate Student Handbook.  The student has ten (10) working days from the receipt of the notification to request this review in writing. The Department Chair has five (5) working days to make the decision and inform the student in writing. The Department Chair's decision is final.

b.  Request for Department Review:  Within ten (10) working days of receipt of the Charging Letter, the student may file a request for Department Review of the charge of academic dishonesty with the Department Chair.

i. If the student is found not responsible for academic dishonesty in the Department Review, any academic sanctions previously imposed are removed, the OSC and Graduate School are notified of the outcome, and the matter is ended.


ii. If the student is found responsible for an academic dishonesty in the Department Review, the OSC may impose disciplinary sanctions.

iii.  As stated above, if the student does not appeal the outcome of the Department Review, the academic sanctions shall be implemented.

iv. The student may appeal the Department Review and the academic sanction to the Dean of the Graduate School within ten (10) working days of the receipt of notification regarding the outcome of the Department Review.  The appeal must be in writing.

c.  Disciplinary Sanction:  In addition to an academic sanction, the OSC may impose a disciplinary sanction. Students who wish to appeal a disciplinary sanction may do so through the OSC, in accordance with the procedures stated in Section IV of the Student Code, Student Disciplinary Procedures.

3.  Dean's Review

a.  If the student appeals the Department Chair's decision from the Department Review, the appeal goes to the Dean of the Graduate School. The Dean of the Graduate School may take any of the following actions: 

i.  Resolve the conflict through mediation;
ii.  Dismiss the charge;
iii.  Uphold the faculty member's or Department Chair's decision in its entirety;
iv.  Impose a lesser sanction; or
v.  Impose a greater sanction.

If the Dean of the Graduate School finds the student responsible for academic dishonesty, the Dean must inform the OSC. The OSC may impose disciplinary sanctions.

b. The Dean must notify the student in writing of the Dean's decision, within ten (10) working days of receipt of the appeal. The Dean's notification to the student must be either hand delivered or sent via certified mail and emailed to the student's address of record in MyNevada. If the notification is delivered in the proscribed manner, then the notification is deemed received.

4. Appeal of the Dean's Decision.

a.  A student may appeal the Dean's decision to the Provost. This appeal must be made in writing within ten (10) working days after the student received the written decision from the Dean. This appeal shall be referred by the Provost to the OSC for a hearing in front of the Graduate Academic Integrity Board ("Graduate AIB").

b.  If the student accepts the Dean's decision or does not appeal within the applicable time period, there can be no further appeal and the academic sanction shall be applied. 

5. The Graduate AIB

a.  The Graduate AIB shall consist of the following members with due consideration being given to possible conflict of interest:

i. Two graduate students appointed by the Graduate Student Association;
ii. Two faculty members selected by the executive board of the Faculty Senate; and
iii. A third faculty member who will serve as the chair of the board, selected by the Provost.

To ensure impartiality of the Graduate AIB, members must be appointed from departments other than those in which the case originated and in which the accused student is majoring.

b.  Hearing Deadline:  The Graduate AIB shall be empaneled by the OSC.  The OSC shall set a hearing date within fifteen (15) working days after the appeal is referred to the OSC.

6.  Graduate AIB Hearings Procedure

a.  The hearing procedures for graduate students are the same as for undergraduate students, as stated above.

b.  The Graduate AIB must forward its findings and recommendations to the OSC within five (5) working days of the hearing's conclusion. The OSC forwards the Graduate AIB's recommendations and any record of the student's previous academic misconduct to the Provost within two (2) working days of receiving notification from the Graduate AIB. The Provost will review the case including any records of previous academic misconduct provided by the OSC and inform the student and all other concerned parties of the final action taken within ten (10) calendar days of the hearing's conclusion.  The Provost's decision is final.

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