Mount Vernon Nazarene University encourages personal integrity and maturity in its students. To that end the University adheres to the principle of unquestioned honesty in its expectations of students, faculty and staff. This standard should govern relationships and behavior in the residence halls, classroom, chapel, and other campus entities. As a Christian community, faculty, staff and students have a moral and ethical responsibility to uphold the principle of unquestioned honesty, and refrain from any activity or behavior that would suggest academic dishonesty and lack of personal integrity. Academic dishonesty may involve attendance fraud, cheating, plagiarism, laboratory fraud, fabrication or electronic media fraud.
The University strives to provide curricular and spiritual opportunities for students to develop and mature. In this process it is essential for the student to be in attendance and to report that attendance honestly. Attendance fraud is misrepresentation of one’s attendance at a required campus event. Specifically, attendance fraud includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Writing another student’s name on an attendance sheet;
- Asking or permitting another student to write one’s own name on an attendance sheet;
- Writing one’s own name on an attendance sheet and leaving the activity before it is formally dismissed;
- Making a false or misleading statement to an instructor as an excuse for missing class;
- Altering or forging a document submitted to an instructor from a physician, nurse, or university official as an excuse for missing class; or
- Providing false information about the amount of time worked on a time record.
Cheating is the representation of someone else’s work as one’s own. In each course, the student is responsible for asking the faculty member which activities are authorized and permitted. Policies must be stated in the course syllabi. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Unauthorized entry to a faculty or secretarial office in search for examination-related material;
- Unauthorized use of materials from a faculty or secretarial office to prepare for an examination;
- Unauthorized use of a previously given examination to prepare for a present exam;
- Discussing any part of an exam that has not yet been completed with any person who has already completed the exam;
- Presenting a fraudulent excuse to seek permission to take an exam at a different time than the scheduled time, or submit work at a different time than due;
- Unauthorized possession of a copy of an exam;
- Giving assistance to or receiving assistance from another student during an exam;
- Looking at or attempting to look at another student’s paper during an exam;
- Unauthorized use of published materials, notes, or "cheat sheets" during an exam;
- Unauthorized use of computing devices during an exam;
- Unauthorized use of tape recorders or other electronic devices during an exam;
- Unauthorized storage of information on an electronic calculator, computer or other media for use during an exam;
- Unauthorized use of pre-programmed computers or calculators during an exam; or
- Unauthorized collaborating with or consulting another person to complete a project or homework assignment;
- Accessing an instructor's edition of a textbook or a test bank;
- The use of any electronic communication during an examination.
In the academic community, there is variation in how often and to what degree the sources of ideas need to be cited. Faculty members can provide guidelines within academic disciplines. When the work depends upon the contributions of others, students are expected to acknowledge their indebtedness to them.
Plagiarism is a special form of academic dishonesty that involves the failure to acknowledge the source of ideas or portray someone else's work as one's own. Academic integrity requires that a student acknowledge ideas and expressions borrowed from others. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Looking at or copying another student’s work on an assignment (e.g., written work, term paper, workbook, etc.);
- Unauthorized accessing and/or copying another person’s computer file(s);
- Submitting written work obtained from commercial sources (e.g., on-line or Internet term papers) or submitting work based upon information from such sources;
- Submitting work prepared by another person whether for money or favor; or
- Unacknowledged quotation of a published work.
Students who misrepresent their own work on laboratory projects commit laboratory fraud. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Submitting one’s laboratory project to an outside laboratory for analysis;
- Submitting one’s laboratory project to another student for analysis;
- Submitting a laboratory report of an experiment performed by other persons;
- Misrepresenting the date or amount of time spent on an experiment or other laboratory activities;
- Submitting a copy of another person’s computer program or project as one’s own work; or
- Submitting a copy of a commercially available computer program as one’s own work.
Students who commit academic fraud fabricate fictitious data for experiments and report them as real. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Submitting a report on an experiment or project that was not actually performed;
- Listing works that were not actually consulted in a bibliography; or
- Listing fictitious works in a bibliography.
Electronic Media Fraud
Computers and other electronic information technologies function as instruments to facilitate student learning. They can also be employed as means to bypass the discipline of personal learning and mastery, as well as other non-academic improprieties. Examples of electronic media fraud include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Use of digital cameras, cell phones or similar devices to capture, store and transmit part or whole examinations;
- Capturing another person's login and password information to gain unauthorized access;
- Unauthorized access to and altering of student grade information stored on the University's learning management systems (e.g., Blackboard, Moodle, etc.), servers and/or computers;
- Unauthorized capture and distribution (e.g., peer-to-peer file sharing) of copyrighted materials, including music, videos, publishers text banks, and/or electronic textbooks, without permission of the publisher.
- Sending and/or accessing electronic messages or digital images of course-related materials during examinations.
- Malicious attacks on the University's computer system and/or network;
- Unauthorized or illegal data mining of University-owned records.
- Using electronic technology to misrepresent one's identity to others (i.e., electronic aliases); or
- Circumventing University network security systems to gain unauthorized access (e.g. hacking) to information records and/or websites.
The University endeavors to communicate clearly its positive expectations about the principle of academic integrity and to educate its members, and handle academic integrity violations in a fair and consistent manner.
- The penalty for the first offense shall be a zero (0) on that assignment. No makeup examination or extra credit project will be permitted. If a faculty member uses a lowest grade dropped policy, then the zero may not count as the lowest grade to be dropped.
- The penalty for the second offense shall be failure for the course.
- The penalty for the third offense shall be dismissal from the University.
- More severe penalties may be levied (a) when the integrity offense is an organized group action, (b) when criminal actions result (e.g., unauthorized use of a master key or breaking and entering), or (c) when the action involves more than one (1) course. The University reserves the right to prosecute alleged criminal offenses as well as involve its Human Resources and/or Student Life personnel in the investigation and discipline. In egregious cases, the action may be initiated by the Academic Affairs Office, Provost, or Provost's designee.
- The rights of students, as outlined in the Student Life Handbook, will be upheld, except that the procedures in this section shall apply in academic integrity matters.
- In cases of dismissal, the "dismissal" designation shall be entered on the student’s transcript.
- Schools and/or faculty may stipulate more stringent policies in the school policy and/or syllabi. The academic integrity decision (including any appeals) will be made on the basis of the more stringent policy.
- In the case of dismissal, the dismissal will be no less than one (1) full semester. A student may petition for readmission after the dismissal period. When re-admission is granted, the enrollment status for the first semester shall be academic probation. If no further incidences occur during the probationary semester, then the status will be changed to that of good standing at the beginning of the next semester.
- The Assistant to the Provost for Administration is responsible for maintaining all records of academic integrity decisions.
- The maximum penalty that a school dean or faculty member can determine is failure for the course. Dismissal from the University is a decision that only the Academic Affairs Office is authorized to make.
- In alleged instances of academic dishonesty, the faculty member shall address the issue with the student, and if necessary, investigate the incident. The faculty member will determine the appropriate action to take report the matter to the school dean and the Academic Affairs Office. The faculty member may consult the department chair, school dean and/or the Academic Affairs Office during the investigation and decision process. If the matter is resolved at this level, the process will end when the Academic Integrity Incident Report is filed in the Academic Affairs Office. (The school dean will also be given a copy of the report.)
- The student has the right to appeal the matter to the school dean. The appeal must be made within 10 working days of the time the student has been notified in writing of the decision. The appeal must include all correspondence and evidence related to all previous actions and appeals. The school dean will respond in writing to the appeal within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal.
- If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the school dean, then s/he may appeal the decision in writing to the Assistant to the Provost for Administration within 10 working days of the time the student has been notified in writing of the decision. The appeal must include all correspondence and evidence related to all previous actions and appeals.
- The Assistant to the Provost of Administration will convene the Academic Integrity Review Board to discuss the matter. The Academic Integrity Review Board is comprised of five (5) members, all of whom are appointed by the Provost (in consultation with the Academic Leadership Team). Three (3) members will be full-time faculty and two (2) members will be junior or senior students. The Assistant to the Provost for Administration will chair the board but will only vote in the case of a tie. The assistant to the Provost for Administration is responsible for insuring that the matter has been handled fairly and that a written report of the Board's decision is sent to the faculty member, department chair, school dean, student, and the Academic Affairs Office. The Board's decision is final and cannot be appealed.