Student Academic Honesty Code
Like all universities, Binghamton University depends on the honesty and integrity of its faculty, staff and students to carry out its academic mission. To fulfill this mission, every member of the Binghamton University community is charged with upholding the Code of Academic Honesty. Actions that breach the Code erode the trust of those who look to universities for honest evaluations of academic work arrived at through honest processes. Violations also may cause individual harm, including under- and over-evaluations of performance as well as inaccurate reports of performance to post-graduate schools, professional societies and employers. With so much at stake, collectively and individually, Binghamton University views conduct in keeping with the traditions of academic honesty and integrity as the obligation of all members of the faculty, staff and student body.
Faculty and staff are governed by provisions of the Faculty-Staff Handbook regarding professional standards on issues related to academic honesty. Questions regarding academic honesty involving faculty generally are overseen by the Professional Standards Committee of the Faculty Senate. Questions regarding academic honesty involving professional staff generally are directed to the Professional Employees Council and/or the Vice President’s office appropriate to the staff member. Thus, this document refers primarily to students and the adjudication of issues of academic honesty for students.
Binghamton University strives to create a true academic community. Such a community values the worth of both individual and collaborative efforts that promote learning and discovery. Such a community also expects honesty and integrity in the work of all its members. The policy here speaks to the work of individual students within the community. It should not be construed as arguing against the important collaborations that also occur among students on the campus. At the same time, faculty need to be clear with students about exactly when collaboration is appropriate and what types of collaboration are being fostered within their classes.
Actions outside the Boundaries of Academic Honesty and Integrity
No set of written guidelines can anticipate all types and degrees of violations of academic honesty. To the extent that the examples below are not exhaustive, duly appointed representatives of the University will judge each case according to its merits. They will be guided by the principle that academic dishonesty involves misappropriation of academic or intellectual credit to oneself or to the discredit of others. Instances of such dishonesty include:
Presenting the work of another person as one's own work (including papers, words, ideas, information, computer code, data, evidence-organizing principles, or style of presentation of someone else taken from the Internet, books, periodicals or other sources). Plagiarism includes:
- quoting, paraphrasing or summarizing without acknowledgement, even a few phrases;
- failing to acknowledge the source of either a major idea or ordering principle central to one's own paper;
- relying on another person's data, evidence or critical method without credit or permission;
- submitting another person's work as one's own;using unacknowledged research sources gathered by someone else.
Cheating on Examinations
Giving or receiving unauthorized help before, during or after an examination. Examples include:
- unauthorized collaboration of any sort during an examination;
- reading of an examination before it has been given;
- unauthorized use of notes, books, tapes, computers or other aids during an examination;
- allowing another person to take an examination in one's place;
- looking at someone else's examination during the examination period;
- allowing another person to use one's own examination during the examination period;
- passing examination information to students who have not yet taken the examination.
Submitting substantial portions of the same work for credit more than once, unless there is prior explicit consent of the instructor(s) to whom the material is being or has been submitted. This is a Category I violation.
Collaboration on projects, papers, computer programs or other academic assignments that has been prohibited by the instructor. This is a Category I violation, unless it also involves Category II offenses.
Fabrication and Misrepresentation
Misrepresenting or fabricating material, including misleading citation of sources as well as falsified or fabricated data or results from experiments or other analyses. Misrepresenting facts related to academic performance, including the justification of absences, late assignments and other activities. This can be a Category I or II violation.
Imitating another person's signature on academic documents (for example, an academic advising form or one's own paper that is signed with respect to the time of submission) or other official documents that have an effect on academic credit (for example, a medical form submitted in support of taking a make-up examination). This is a Category II violation.
Deliberately impairing, destroying, damaging or stealing another's work or working material. Examples include destroying, stealing or damaging another's laboratory experiment, computer program, term paper, examination or project; removing uncharged library materials with the effect that others cannot use them; defacing or damaging library materials with the effect that others cannot use them; hoarding or displacing materials within the library with the effect that others have undue difficulty using them; interfering with the operation of a computer system so it has an adverse effect on the academic performance of others. This is a Category II violation.
Offering or receiving any service or article with the purpose or effect of receiving a grade or other academic benefit that was not earned on the merits of the academic work.This is a Category II violation.
Publication and Dissemination of the Code
Students will receive copies of the code during Orientation, when they will discuss its importance and its meaning. They will acknowledge the code and their intent to abide by its terms each semester when they log onto the registration system. Faculty will ensure enforcement of the code.
Interpretation of the Code
Violations of the code vary in severity, so that the appropriate punishments vary. Some violations (Category I) may be handled by the instructor and student(s) involved. However, violations requiring more severe penalties (Category II) are appropriately dealt with by the Academic Honesty Committee of the relevant school in accordance with procedures laid out in the Rules of Student Conduct. Category I violations are serious but may be dealt with by the instructor. Category II violations may result in letters of reprimand, probation, suspension or expulsion from the University, transcript notation, and/or revocation of degree or honors. Behavior explicitly permitted in a course syllabus or explicitly permitted by the instructor for a specific assignment is not a violation of the code.
This may be either a Category I or Category II violation, depending on the amount of material that is plagiarized and the degree of premeditation. A Category I violation involves small amounts of plagiarized material — for example, a single passage or a relatively minor idea. Category II violations occur when more material is plagiarized or where central ideas are plagiarized. Category II violations may involve more planning and premeditation.
Cheating on Examinations
This may be either a Category I or Category II violation, depending on the level or amount of unauthorized help given or received on the examination and the degree of premeditation. Category I includes looking at another's examination or collaborating on a small portion of the examination. Category II violations involve significant cheating on an examination and may involve more planning and premeditation.
Note that misconduct involving forgery, sabotage and bribery refers only to such offenses when committed for an academic purpose as defined in the Student Academic Honesty Code; any violations involving other aspects of student life or subject to federal, state and/or local law are dealt with through the University judicial system.
Category I Violations
If an instructor discovers one of these violations, the instructor should first communicate with the student regarding the nature of the charge and the evidence on which the instructor has relied in reaching the conclusion that a violation has occurred. The student should be given the opportunity to respond. If the instructor remains convinced by the preponderance of evidence that a violation has occurred, the instructor may check to see if there is a record of a previous violation by the student. Students who are accused of a second Category I offense will be treated as being charged with a Category II offense and referred to the committee of the school in which the offense occurred.
If there is no previous violation, the faculty member should impose the appropriate penalty. The instructor should then fill in a Report of Academic Dishonesty Form describing the violation that occurred and the evidence supporting that finding. The form will also explain to the student the procedures whereby the student may appeal the decision. The student will be asked to read and sign the form and will be provided with a copy. If the student chooses not to sign the form, the case goes to a hearing before the committee of the school in which the offense occurred. The instructor will then forward the Report of Academic Dishonesty Form along with the supporting evidence to the chair of the appropriate committee, who will send a copy to the Provost's Office, where it will be kept on file. Records of Report of Academic Dishonesty forms should be retained until the student's graduation, or for six years following the semester or term of the violation in the case of a student who departs from the University without graduating.
The Watson College form used to report Category I academic dishonesty.
Category II Violations
If an instructor discovers a Category II violation, the instructor should first communicate with the student regarding the nature of the charge and the evidence on which the instructor has relied in reaching the conclusion that a violation has occurred. If the instructor remains convinced that a Category II violation has occurred, he or she should submit a detailed written charge with supporting evidence to the honesty committee of the school in which the offense occurred. The student will be notified of the charge and the date of the hearing and will receive a copy of the committee procedures. The instructor should assign an Incomplete grade for the student's work, pending the outcome of the hearing. If, after the hearing, the committee concludes that the charges were unproven, the faculty member should re-evaluate the student's work in light of that finding. In determination of any penalty for Category II violations, committees will consider all relevant factors, including the nature of the violation and any previous violations that may have been committed by the student. The chair of the appropriate committee will report any guilty findings to the Provost's Office, where they will be kept on file. Records of hearing cases should be retained for six years following the semester or term in which the hearing is held. If a hearing case is appealed, the six years would begin after the semester or term in which the appeal decision is made.
Violations Concerning Honors Projects, Theses and Dissertations
In cases of alleged violations of the academic honesty code in honors projects, theses or dissertations, a faculty member who was not part of the original honors, thesis or dissertation committee may be appointed by the head of the academic unit to investigate. The investigation will be conducted in accordance with the policies stated above for Category II violations and under the guidance of the detailed procedures developed by each unit. In addition to possible sanctions mentioned above, there may be other sanctions as deemed appropriate, such as notation on the transcript; requiring students/graduates to revise and resubmit honors projects, theses or dissertations for approval; and/or revocation of the degree or honors.
Right to Appeal
A student or instructor may appeal the final decision of the Academic Honesty Committee after a Category 2 hearing has been concluded. Appeals must be submitted, in writing, to the Dean of the Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science within 14 days of the date of the hearing decision letter. Appeals will be considered only if one or more of the following applies:
- Procedural Error (if the error is substantive enough to alter the Committee’s decision)
- New information exists that is significant and/or was not available at the time of the hearing
- Sanction/Penalty is not commensurate with the violation
If an appeal is deemed sufficient enough for reconsideration of the case, a review will be conducted by the Watson Dean, or by his/her designee. A decision will be made and the appealing party will be notified within 10 days. All appeal decisions are final and no further appeals will be considered.