Why report every incident of cheating or plagiarism to the Office of Student Standards?
You protect yourself
Eastern's policy is that all cases of misconduct be reported. When this requirement is followed, it helps avoid any claim against you or Eastern arising from a subsequent dispute that any student's rights were violated because an instructor did not follow institutional procedures.
You keep the process educational
Insisting on honesty and holding students responsible when they are not is sound educational practice . Following Eastern's fair and legal procedures lessens the likelihood of outside challenge to the University and its faculty's judgment in dealing with what is an educational matter.
Your students benefit
Reporting academic misconduct emphasizes to the offender the seriousness of the incident, and the high value we place on learning. Their classmates, who often know that cheating has occurred, also learn that integrity is valued, and that they need not resort to cheating to compete with those who are known to be dishonest in their educational endeavors.
Accurate records document the extent of academic misconduct, and repeaters can be identified.
Why call us before you discuss this incident with the student?
It is not necessary to call us first (and sometimes you can't), but it is often helpful to do so. If you are unsure of your suspicions or how to resolve them, or if you anticipate a contentious meeting with the student, we can offer you suggestions, or we will be glad to meet with the student for you, or with you. You may also wish to compare your proposed response with what others have done in similar situations.
What sanction should you impose for an academic integrity violation?
The value that we place on education should be reflected in our response to academic misconduct. In the absence of mitigating factors we recommend that an F for the course should be the minimum appropriate response for deliberate violations. Giving a failing grade solely on the test or assignment may in actuality be no worse than the student might have gotten had there been no effort to raise the grade through dishonesty.
The University has a computer-based academic integrity tutorial mandated for academic misconduct violations. Its completion will be normally be required in addition to the academic penalty imposed by the instructor. If it is a repeat violation, if it involves theft, false identity, or is otherwise premeditated or blatant, other disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or expulsion, will be pursued by the Office of Student Standards through the University's disciplinary system. Your recommendations will be considered in responding to these situations.
What about confidentiality?
It does not violate laws on confidentiality to discuss this case with the student standards staff or with your department chair or dean. It would violate confidentiality, though, to reveal to other students the name of a violator and the sanction imposed, or to threaten to publicize the student's transgressions to the rest of the faculty. You may seek counsel from colleagues without revealing the name of the student involved in an incident, just as it would be acceptable (and very beneficial) to discuss cheating in general terms with the class, especially at the beginning of each term.
What happens to the Notice of Academic Misconduct on completion?
Once the form (see Forms for Faculty) is completed, it becomes part of the student's conduct record kept in the Office of Student Standards for six years and then destroyed (unless there is a suspension or expulsion). Subject to the same confidentiality laws as other student records, it may only be released within the University to those with a legitimate educational need to know, and cannot be released outside of EIU without the student's permission. Other than in the case of suspension or expulsion, no notation of student misconduct appears on the academic transcript. For students in programs leading to teacher certification, or in the case of intercollegiate athletes and ROTC, the appropriate person in that department is informed.
What if there is a dispute with the student over this allegation?
In resolving a disputed case of misconduct the instructor and the student must be treated fairly. This means that:
- The University's procedures must be used to resolve the allegation.
- The instructor who confronts misconduct is considered to be too close to the situation to resolve factual disputes arising from it. A student standards conduct board relieves you of that role.
- It must appear to the Board that it is "more likely than not" that the misconduct occurred in order to hold the student in violation and impose sanctions.
- The complaint and hearing notice must be in writing (we do that for you).
The Office of Student Standards is here to help resolve misconduct allegations. While we don't “take sides,” it may be readily evident to us that your suspicions are supported by a preponderance of the evidence (defined as “more likely than not.”) Meeting with us often clarifies for the student the likelihood that a board will draw the same conclusions that you did, and avoids the necessity of a hearing. Occasionally the student will decide otherwise, and a hearing is scheduled to resolve the issue. A hearing is not a trial; the format is informal.