The College considers an academic infraction a very serious matter. Procedures and standards exist for reporting, investigating, and adjudicating alleged instances of academic infraction.
These procedures and standards are maintained by the Academic Infractions Board (AIB), which consists of students and faculty members. The AIB is a subcommittee of the faculty Committee on Academic Standards.
Instructors should respond to inquiries concerning the forms that academic dishonesty may take in the particular kinds of work required in their courses. Also, instructors are responsible for detecting instances of academic dishonesty and dealing with suspected instances according to the procedures adopted by the faculty. Those procedures are designed to make the responsibility of judging and penalizing instances of suspected academic dishonesty a collegiate matter.
(approved April 1991, amended/edited March 2007, September 2010)
Regularized procedures and standards exist for reporting, investigating, and adjudicating alleged instances of academic dishonesty. These procedures and standards are maintained by the Academic Infractions Board (AIB).
The AIB consists of three faculty members (serving two-year terms) and two student members. The faculty members of the AIB are elected by the faculty during the elections for faculty committees in the spring. The chair is appointed by the Provost after elections are held. The student members are appointed, from among the members of the Student Council's Academic Affairs Committee, by September 1.
For a complete discussion of academic integrity, examples of types of violations, levels of offences, and sanctions, please see the Course of Study.
Alleged instances of academic infraction can be reported by any member of the campus community.
A student who suspects an academic infraction presents the evidence to the instructor, who will then act on the information as described below.
A staff member or an instructor who suspects a student of an academic infraction presents the evidence to the chair of the department or program. (If the instructor is the department chair, he or she shall select another member of the department-preferably a former chair-to act as chair for the purpose of these procedures.) If the chair concurs that suspicion of an academic infraction is warranted, he or she reports the alleged violation to the chair of the AIB and the Dean for Academic Advising and Support.
If an accusation is accepted for hearing by the AIB during a period in the academic calendar when the full board cannot be constituted, the accused student may choose (1) to have the case heard and decided by the available faculty members of the board, or (2) to have the case heard and decided by the full board when that body can be fully convened. If the accused student chooses this latter procedure, for the interim his or her transcript will show an "NG" for the course for which an academic infractions case is pending. In rare situations where a board member has a conflict of interest (e.g., a friend or an advisee is being accused of an infraction, the accusation is from the same department as a faculty member, etc.), the board member will recuse herself or himself and an alternate will be selected from the Conduct Review Board (faculty recusal) or the Student Academic Affairs Committee (student recusal.)
In exceedingly rare instances when a case could not ever be heard by the full board (when, for example, the student is on the verge of graduating) the Associate Provost in charge of supervising the work of the AIB, in consultation with available members thereof, may hear cases.
The student must decide whether or not to contest the accusation. If the student chooses not to contest the accusation, then the AIB will assume that the academic infraction was intentional and assess a penalty accordingly. In such cases, the AIB bases its judgment on only the material from which the charges arise and the collegiate records of the accused student. If the student wishes to present any other information to the AIB, then the student must contest the charges and go through the full hearing as outlined below. To contest the charges, then, is not necessarily to "plead innocent," but only to exercise the right to present information that may be relevant to either the question of guilt or the question of appropriate punishment.
At the outset of all courses of study under their instruction, Kenyon faculty and staff should always clearly specify the forms that academic infractions may take in the particular kinds of work required in their courses, and should always respond to student inquiries about these matters. Faculty members who assign work to be done collaboratively or otherwise encourage collaboration among students should be clear about their expectations for collaborative efforts, especially group writing assignments, presentations, and homework. Detailed information regarding these expectations should be provided by faculty members on course syllabi, and students should refer to course syllabi for particular policies in each course. Instructors are responsible for detecting instances of academic infractions, and for dealing with suspected instances according to the procedures adopted by the faculty and described below. These procedures are designed to make the responsibility of judging and penalizing those who commit academic infractions a collegiate matter.
Within two weeks of notification from the department chair, the Dean for Academic Advising and Support will hold a meeting with the Chair of AIB and the accused student(s). The primary purpose of this meeting is to make the student aware of the potential academic infraction and to thoroughly review each step (pre-hearing, hearing, and post-hearing) in the entire process. All questions about the process for dealing with a potential academic infraction should be directed to the Dean for Academic Advising and Support, not the faculty member. The next correspondence about the alleged academic infraction will come from the Chair of AIB, typically within one week of the pre-hearing meeting.
If the AIB determines that there is sufficient cause for the charge(s) to be brought to hearing, the accused student will be informed in writing of the alleged infraction and of the place and time of the hearing. Prior to the hearing, the accused student has the right to inspect any statements and documents provided to the board by the instructor and charging department. Reasonable efforts will be made to avoid conflicts with collegiate events. However, the AIB has the authority to schedule the hearing at any convenient time.
Members of the AIB will meet with the student, the department chair, the instructor, and the student's faculty advisor or another faculty or staff member of the student's choice. The AIB hearing (but not deliberations) will be recorded with an audio recording device by the chair and the media (tape or CD) will be sent to the Office of the Provost. The primary purpose of this audio recording is to maintain a complete and accurate record of the hearing, especially for clarifying details in the event of an appeal. If an appeal is filed, the audio recording will be destroyed after the final decision by the Provost. When no appeal is filed, the audio recording will be destroyed one week after notification of the AIB decision. The department chair and the instructor will answer questions asked by members of the AIB; they are not to conduct an examination of the student. The role of the advisor is to ask clarifying questions and to advise the student, not to present a defense. It is the student's obligation to present his or her own response. Although the conduct of the hearing will not be controlled by a set of formal rules of evidence or procedure, a finding of guilt must be established by a preponderance of the evidence. The hearing will be closed to anyone not listed above, and neither the student nor the College may be represented by legal counsel at the proceedings.
In the first phase of the hearing, the board, using only the evidence of the student's work and available documentation supporting a conclusion of an infraction will decide whether or not there is reasonable cause to believe an academic infraction has occurred.
If, based on the evidence at hand, the board finds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that an academic infraction has occurred, the case is dismissed and both the student and the department or program involved will be informed of the outcome in writing. This written response will be sent within two weeks of the hearing date. Records of the proceedings along with a report of the conclusions reached will be sent to the Associate Provost charged with overseeing the work of the AIB.
If the board finds that there is reasonable cause to believe that an academic infraction has occurred, the case will continue on to a second phase of the hearing. The purpose of this phase of the hearing will be to make a definitive determination as to whether an academic infraction has occurred based on further consideration of the evidence from the first phase of the hearing, the testimony of the involved parties, and any other evidence or testimony the board deems relevant. If an infraction has in fact occurred, the board will determine whether the infraction was deliberate or not. The board will decide what, if any, penalties should be imposed, based on the type of offence and the guidelines for penalties. At this point, the issue of intent will be on the table. The AIB will be empowered to ask for any other evidence or testimony it deems relevant to its decision.
Once all of the evidence is presented to the AIB, the board will deliberate in private and decide (1) whether the student is guilty of an academic infraction; and (2) the degree of culpability. For each hearing of the AIB, the Associate Provost will prepare a sealed letter containing the student's academic transcript and stating the student's previous violations of academic honesty, if any, and whether the student is on conditional enrollment. The AIB may consider this information in assessing penalties. The board may, in assessing a penalty, consider whether such penalty will have any practical effect upon the student's academic record and recommend such action that it deems just and appropriate. The recommended penalties, if any, will be sent to the Associate Provost charged with overseeing the work of the AIB. (If the Associate Provost charged with overseeing the work of the AIB is involved in the case itself, an Associate Provost who is not otherwise a participant in the case will assume responsibility in his or her stead.)
The Associate Provost will then review the case to assure that appropriate procedure and precedent were followed in the case. If the Associate Provost determines that appropriate procedures were followed, he or she will inform the student in writing of the results of the hearing by way of issuing a formal decision letter announcing the outcome of the case. If not, the Associate Provost will consult with the board about his or her objections to the recommendation and will seek to reach a new consensus prior to issuing the decision letter. The formal decision letter will be sent to the student within two weeks of the hearing date. It is the responsibility of the Associate Provost to see that the final decision of the AIB, or Department Chair in the case of Tier 1 offences, is carried out.
A student who believes that the verdict or the penalty is unfair has the right to appeal to the Provost within three days of receipt of the letter from the Associate Provost. The scope of the appeal ordinarily shall be limited to whether the decision of the board is supported by the manifest weight of the evidence contained in the record of the charges and subsequent hearing. The student carries the burden of establishing, whether by information previously made known to the board at the hearing or through newly discovered evidence, that the decision is patently unfair or unjust. The Provost may decline to hear an appeal that fails to state specific grounds for review of the board's decision. When an appeal occurs, the Chair of AIB should be informed of the appeal and the results of that appeal.
In addition to the written notice to the student concerning results of any hearing, copies of the decision letter conveying such notice will be sent to AIB members, the student's hearing advisor, the student's academic advisor, the instructor(s) of the pertinent course, the pertinent department or program chair(s), and the Coordinator of Administrative Services, Office of the Provost. Copies of the decision letter will also be sent to the Dean of Students, the Dean for Academic Advising and Support, and the Registrar. For students in F-1 and J-1 status, the Director of the Center for Global Engagement will be notified immediately after a hearing date has been set. The primary reason for this notification is to enable a college representative to work with the students to understand the possible immigration consequences of being found guilty of an academic infraction.
Materials collected for an academic hearing will be delivered to the Provost's office, where they will remain at least until all students charged have graduated or withdrawn from the College.
A student against whom charges have been brought for an academic infraction may not, while such charges are pending nor after being found guilty of an infraction, seek to drop, withdraw from, or change the grading status to a pass/D/fail basis in any course for which charges were brought. A student's withdrawal from the College while charges are pending, or any time after the rendering of a decision in an academic infractions case, will not preclude the addition of such information to the student's records maintained by the College.
The Office of the Provost will summarize infractions and actions recommended, and that information can be used, without reference to specific students, for reporting to the Committee on Academic Standards, in training sessions for new members of AIB, and for annual release to campus media. Notifications to students of results will be kept permanently; however, a winnowing of all other materials will generally occur after four years.
All faculty and administrative persons involved in a case of suspected academic dishonesty are required to maintain strict confidentiality.