Academic Integrity at Kenyon College

Honesty in Academic Work

Kenyon College is, at the core, an intellectual community of scholars – students and faculty – engaged in the free and open exchange of ideas. Simultaneously, we are part of a larger world of writers and artists, scientists, innovators, and researchers, all participating in wide-ranging conversations that sustain us intellectually and develop new knowledge. Critical to this lively exchange and deep engagement with ideas is the academic integrity of our work, both inside and outside the classroom.

As students in this community, all your work – tests, papers, artistic projects, experiments, etc. – is part of this common intellectual pursuit. Therefore, every piece of work you produce is your own contribution to our collective scholarly conversation. It must represent your own research, ideas, data, words, and analysis. For all of us, learning from other scholars, artists, scientists, or fellow students is essential to the process of education. While engaged in that process, it is critical to recognize the sources and bases from which you have derived your work and ideas. It is therefore an obligation to take personal responsibility for all of your work and give appropriate acknowledgement and credit to all those on whose ideas you have relied. These are sentiments common across academic communities and, indeed, these paragraphs are inspired by statements of academic integrity made by many of peer institutions such as Grinnell College, Denison University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Williams, Davidson, and the College of Wooster.

At Kenyon, we expect all students, at all times, to submit work that represents these standards of academic integrity.  It is the responsibility of each student to learn and practice the proper ways of documenting and acknowledging those whose ideas and words you have drawn upon.  Ignorance and carelessness are not excuses for academic dishonesty. Maintaining a climate of academic integrity requires all members of our intellectual community to abide by these principles and to hold one another accountable by reporting those who violate our standards of conduct.

At the outset of all courses, Kenyon faculty and staff should clearly specify some of the more common 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 expectation for collaborative efforts, especially group writing assignments, presentations, and homework. Detailed information regarding these expectations should be provided by faculty members , and students should take note of 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.

Alleged instances of academic infractions can be reported by any member of the community. A student who suspects an academic infraction presents the evidence to the instructor or department chair 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, they shall select another member of the department —preferably a former chair — to act as chair for the purpose of these procedures.) In the case of Tier 2 and Tier 3 offenses, if the chair concurs that suspicion of an academic infraction is warranted, they report the alleged violation to the chair of the Academic Infractions Board (AIB) and the dean for academic advising and support. Tier 1 offenses may be handled within the department unless the student prefers an AIB hearing instead. Defined below are the kinds of work that violate our principles.

Jump to:


Cheating:

Cheating is the use of unauthorized, prohibited or unacknowledged material in an academic exercise. It includes obtaining copies of a test, quiz, etc. in advance, copying someone else’s paper, having someone else do your assignment, using notes, calculators, books, or other resources to complete an assignment without permission of the instructor, changing an assignment after it is marked and then misrepresenting that fact to an instructor.

Fabricating:

Fabricating is making up data, results, information, or numbers and recording and reporting them (Tricia Bertram Gallant, Academic Integrity in the 21st Century, Jossey-Bass, 2008, p. 10. ). It also includes changing data to meet your hypothesis, faking sources, claiming to have consulted sources you did not consult, manipulating illustrations or dates on sources, or using standard results found on line.

Plagiarizing:

Plagiarizing is the representation of words, ideas, figures, or material from other sources (print, audio, visual or digital, including the internet) as one’s own.

Plagiarism may be as small as five words or as much as the entirety of an assignment.  It includes the cutting and pasting of language from the internet, or any other source, into a paper without proper acknowledgement.  Material inadvertently used without citation is still plagiarized, even if accidentally plagiarized.   Preventing plagiarism requires correctly citing all direct quotes, paraphrases, and ideas taken from other sources. 

(See also http://www.plagiarism.org/plagiarism-101/what-is-plagiarism)

Facilitating Academic Dishonesty:  

Allowing one’s own work to be used by others or aiding others, in any manner, in the commission of an academically dishonest act is also a violation of academic integrity. This includes any act that helps someone else “cheat,” “fabricate,” or “plagiarize.”  It also includes selling your work to anonymous users or letting others you know use your work.  Examples are sharing test questions or answers (without faculty permission), completing an assignment for someone else, providing written papers for others, and allowing or assisting others to copy answers. 

Unauthorized Collaboration:

Unauthorized collaboration results from working with others without the specific permission of the instructor on assignments that will be submitted for a grade.  This includes sharing the task of writing up a lab without the explicit permission of the instructor.  It also includes collaboration on take-home tests and assignments without the knowledge of the instructor.  Unauthorized collaboration can be a form of cheating or plagiarizing.

Multiple Submissions: 

This refers to submitting the same work to two instructors without their permission. This can include the submission of your own work written in a previous semester without the professor’s knowledge  or  submitting the same work to two different professors for similar assignments (“self plagiarism”).

Back to Top

The goal of this policy is to provide a clear and just process for upholding the academic integrity standards of Kenyon College.  It is designed to be both fair and formative, balancing education with appropriate sanctions. The process starts when a faculty member, staff, or student believes that a violation may have occurred. All members of the community have a responsibility for maintaining the high academic standards of our institution.

Outlined below are the guidelines for handling violations of the Academic Integrity policy. 

Tier 1 Cases

Tier 1 cases result from a student’s misinterpretation or misunderstanding of instructions or citation procedures, minor lapse in judgment, and/or lack of knowledge of proper academic procedures.

Examples include but are not limited to:
• Inappropriate collaboration on minor assignments (as defined by the instructor and chair)
• Inadequate or careless citations of a quotation or an idea taken from another source
• Close paraphrasing or verbatim use of a brief passage without citation

An instructor who discovers a possible Tier 1 case should bring it to the attention of the department chair as soon as possible, typically within 24 hours. The instructor and chair should together determine whether the case meets the Tier 1 criteria. If the chair and instructor decide that the case meets the Tier 2 or 3 criteria, then the case must be immediately advanced to the Academic Infractions Board (AIB).

First-time Tier 1 cases are handled by the department and the Associate Provost. The chair should notify the student as quickly as possible (typically within 48 hours after conferring with the faculty member) about the concerns raised over the assignment(s), and schedule a meeting as expeditiously as possible with the faculty member and the student to discuss the case. In Tier 1 cases, the student has the right to request a hearing before the AIB rather than the recommended meeting with the instructor and the department chair. If a student fails to attend a scheduled meeting with the department chair and instructor or otherwise fails to participate in the Tier 1 process, the case will go immediately to the AIB. Students may consult with their faculty advisor or another faculty or staff member of their choice about their options, and/or request their attendance at the meeting. Until the case is resolved, the student may not seek to drop, withdraw from, or change the grading status of the course in which the actions occurred.

At the meeting, all evidence should be shared with the student, and the student should be given an opportunity to respond. Because the purpose of the meeting is to educate the student about academic procedures and integrity, the chair and instructor should discuss importance of academic integrity and explain how the student can avoid making similar mistakes in future assignments. At the end of the meeting, the chair will provide the student with the Tier-1 Warning Form, explain to them the consequences of a Tier-1 Warning, and inform them of their right to request a hearing before AIB instead of signing the Tier-1 Warning Form. If the student opts for an AIB hearing, the case goes to AIB. Otherwise, the student, instructor, and chair should all sign the Tier 1 Warning form as a record that the meeting has been held. Within three (3) days of the meeting, the online Tier 1 Warning form must be filed by the instructor and chair with the Office of the Provost, indicating when the meeting took place, who attended, and the sanction assessed.

All evidence must also be submitted to the Office of the Provost. Following the meeting, if the chair and instructor decide that a warning is not warranted, the chair should notify both the student and the Associate Provost.

The Associate Provost will review the form, evidence, and sanction for procedure and consistency among other cases of this type. If the nature of the offense makes its assignment to Tier 1 unclear, then the case should be referred to the AIB. If the Associate Provost determines that the case meets Tier 1 criteria, the Associate Provost will confirm the department’s decision in an email to the student, the department chair, and the instructor. Within three days of notification of the decision by the Associate Provost, the student must either reply to the email to indicate that they accept the sanction or appeal to the Provost. In the case of an appeal, the student carries the burden of establishing 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 department’s decision. The purpose of Tier 1 cases is to educate the student about academic integrity and proper citations or procedures. Thus, a Tier 1 Warning is not treated as a formal violation of academic honesty policies but functions instead as a cautionary warning to the student about the importance of academic integrity. If a student commits any further Tier 1 offenses, the Associate Provost overseeing AIB, in consultation with the instructor and chair, may decide to refer the case to the AIB directly. Given its educational purpose, the appropriate sanction for a Tier 1 case will be up to a score of zero for the assignment in question. In addition to the sanction, the student may be required to attend/complete an educational activity. Because Tier 1 cases result in warnings rather than formal findings of an academic integrity violation, they remain confidential in the absence of a subsequent academic integrity infraction. A Tier 1 Warning will not appear on the student’s transcript unless the student is found guilty of a subsequent violation. In the absence of a subsequent violation, records of the Tier 1 offense will be expunged when a student graduates or transfers. The college does not report Tier 1 Warnings to outside parties nor does it expect students to report such warnings.

Tier 2 Offenses

Tier 2 offenses are those that indicate a more significant breach of trust.  Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Copying work of others on an exam or allowing others students to copy your work
  • Using unauthorized resources for an exam, paper, or project (or providing such resources to another student).
  • Reproducing large portions of text without proper citation
  • Fabrication of source material or data
  • Multiple submissions of the same work for two courses without explicit approval from both instructors (“self-plagiarism”)
  • Multiple or repeated offenses that would ordinarily be classified under Tier I

Suspected Tier 2 offenses will be presented to the AIB. The typical penalties for a Tier 2 offense will be more severe than a zero on the assignment up to failure of the course and placement on conditional enrollment. Because students who participate in collegiate activities are representatives of the College, penalties for Tier 2 offenses may include: prohibition from student leadership positions, Greek affiliation, varsity athletics, off-campus study, and/or nominations for fellowships.

Tier 3 Offenses

Tier 3 offenses reflect egregious or repeated acts of dishonesty.  Examples include but are not limited to:

  • False appropriation of major work (e.g., extensive plagiarism, purchasing a paper from another source, presenting another student’s previously submitted work as your own, or providing your own work for another student to submit)
  • Unauthorized acquisition of current exam material
  • Multiple Tier 2 offenses in a single course or repeated academic infractions

Suspected Tier 3 offenses will be presented to the AIB. The typical penalty for such blatantly unethical acts will be suspension or dismissal from the college.

Appeals

A student who believes the verdict or the penalty is unfair has the right to appeal to the Provost within three days of receipt of the letter notifying them of their penalty. The scope of the appeal ordinarily shall be limited to whether the decision supported by the manifest weight of the evidence contained in the record of the charges and subsequent hearing or departmental discussion.

Back to Top

Procedures for Handling Academic Infractions

Multiple Tier 1 offenses, Tier 1 offenses that the student prefers to have heard by the AIB rather than the department, and all Tier 2 and Tier 3 offenses will go before the AIB.  The procedures below apply for all AIB cases.

If the infraction accusation is accepted for a 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 their transcript with show an "NG" for the course for which an academic infraction 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 themself and an alternate will be selected from among other AIB members or, when not possible, from the Conduct Review Board.

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 address the alleged infraction. The student has the right to appear before the Board to provide a rebuttal to the charges or offer an explanation regarding the alleged infraction. If the student chooses not to address the accusation, then the AIB will base its judgement 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 answer the allegation and go through the full hearing as outlined, below. Answering the allegation, 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.

  1. Initial consideration of an allegation by the AIB

When making a formal allegation of a Tier 2 or 3 infraction, the department chair will submit to the Provost’s office all evidence that bears on the infraction: the student's work and available documentation supporting the allegation. The Board, using only the evidence submitted, will decide whether or not there is reasonable cause to believe an academic infraction has occurred. This process should be completed within one week of receiving the allegation and documentation.

The Board may decide that there is reasonable cause to proceed with a formal hearing. In this case, the AIB chair will notify the student, the department chair, the instructor, the Dean of Academic Advising, and the Associate Provost of the conclusion. The notification letter will ordinarily include the formal charge and a description of the student’s responsibilities going forward. It will also specify the date, time, and location of the hearing and of the pre-hearing meeting (see below).

Alternatively, the Board may find that the evidence does not provide reasonable cause to believe that a Tier 2 or 3 infraction has occurred.  In this eventuality, the case can be either returned to the department for consideration under Tier 1 guidelines or dismissed outright. In either case, the department or program involved will be informed of the outcome in writing. A report of the deliberations and the conclusions reached will be sent to the Associate Provost charged with overseeing the work of the AIB.

1.1 The Hearing Process

1.1.1 The pre-hearing meeting. 

Following notification of the allegation, the Dean for Academic Advising and Support will hold a meeting with the accused student(s) and the AIB chair. The purpose of this meeting is to thoroughly review each step of the entire process, from allegation through the hearing, and to address potential consequences and the right to appeal the Associate Provost’s decision. The student should have ample opportunity to ask procedural questions of either the Dean or the AIB chair.

1.1.2 The hearing

1.1.2.1 Phase I of the hearing

In the first phase of the formal hearing, members of the AIB will meet together with the student, the department chair, the instructor, and the student's advisor (either the faculty advisor or another faculty of the student's choice). Other participants may also be called by the AIB to provide information bearing on the case. All participants will answer questions asked by members of the AIB. It is the student's obligation to present a response. The role of the advisor is to ask clarifying questions and to advise the student, not to present a defense. Similarly, the instructor and department chair respond to the queries of the AIB; they are not to conduct an examination of the student.  The hearing will be closed to anyone not listed above, and neither the student nor the College may be represented by legal counsel at AIB proceedings.

Phase I of a hearing will be recorded with an audio recording device by the AIB chair, and the recording 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. The recording is not maintained as part of the record of proceedings.  If an appeal is filed, the audio recording will be destroyed after the final decisions by the Provost. When no appeal is filed, the audio recording will be destroyed one week after notification of the Associate Provost’s decision.

1.1.2.2 Phase II of the hearing

In the second phase of a hearing, the AIB must determine whether an academic infraction has occurred. The Board will deliberate in private and decide (1) whether the student is guilty of an academic infraction and (2) the degree of culpability. A finding of guilt must be established by a preponderance of the evidence, which can include the testimony of the involved parties and any other information or testimony the Board deems relevant.

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 integrity, 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 a penalty will have any practical effect upon the student's academic record and recommend such action that it deems just and appropriate, consistent with guidelines specified above. A report of the hearing, including any recommended penalties, will be sent to the Associate Provost charged with overseeing the work of the AIB as soon as possible after the hearing. (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 their stead.)

1.1.3 Events following the hearing

That Associate Provost will review the Board’s report to ensure that appropriate procedure and precedent were followed in the case. If all is in order, the Associate Provost will issue a formal decision letter announcing the outcome of the case. If not, the Associate Provost will consult with the Board about their 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 as soon as possible, typically within one week of the hearing date.

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 the AIB members, the student's hearing advisor, the student's faculty advisor, the instructor(s) of the pertinent course, the pertinent department or program chair(s), and the administrative assistant to the Associate Provosts. Copies of the decision letter will 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.

It is the responsibility of the Associate Provost to see that the final decision of the AIB 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 business days of the receipt of the letter from the Associate Provost. The scope of the appeal to the Provost 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 the appeal.

Materials collected for an academic hearing will be delivered to the Office of the Provost, where they will remain at least until all students charged have graduated or withdrawn from the college.

A student accused of a Tier-1 case may not drop the course in question while the charges are pending. The student may elect to drop the course after the conclusion of the Tier-1 case as long as the student receives permission from all of the following individuals: the course instructor, the department or program chair, the Dean of Academic Advising and the Associate Provost overseeing the AIB.

However, in Tier 2/3 cases, a student against whom charges have been brought for an academic infraction may not, while such charges are pending nor after being found responsible for 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. If a student withdraws from the College before the rendering of a final decision in an academic infraction case, the academic infractions process will be suspended, and the academic transcript entry for the current semester will include the notation “Institutional Action Pending” when the Registrar posts the semester grades. At that point, the student will receive “NG” (No Grade) for the course in which the infraction was alleged. The academic infractions process will resume if and when the student returns to the College. A student's withdrawal from the College while charges are pending, or any time after the rendering of a decision in an academic infraction 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, in reports to the Committee on Academic Standards, in training sessions for new members of AIB, and in annual releases 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.