WVU Policy on Student Academic Integrity
Table of Contents
a. West Virginia University values honesty, fairness, and integrity in the pursuit of education. This policy sets forth the procedures by which the University receives, investigates, and adjudicates allegations of academic dishonesty by students. This policy also outlines the University’s response to instances of academic dishonesty and the Office of Academic Integrity’s goal of preparing students for future success.
b. This Policy applies to all incidents of Academic Dishonesty by all students, as defined in Section 2(i) of this policy, at West Virginia University. This includes West Virginia University Institute of Technology and West Virginia University Potomac State College (collectively the “University”), but excludes graduate students in the following programs:
- 1. School of Dentistry
- a. Doctor of Dental Surgery
- b. Master of Science in Endodontics
- c. Master of Science in Orthodontics
- d. Master of Science in Periodontics
- e. Master of Science in Prosthodontics
- 2. School of Medicine
a. Doctor of Medicine
- b. Doctor of Physical Therapy
- c. Master of Health Science in Pathologists’ Assistant
d. Master of Occupational Therapy
- e. Physician Assistant Studies
- 3. School of Pharmacy
- a. Doctor of Pharmacy
- 4. College of Law
- a. Doctor of Jurisprudence
- b. Master of Laws
c. This Policy does not address routine grade appeals not based on a specific instance of Academic Dishonesty. Those appeals are handled in accordance with the West Virginia University Academic Catalog.
a. "Accused Student” means a student who is alleged to have violated this policy.
b. "Academic Assignment” is defined as a quiz, test, examination, paper, report, problem set, project, or any other academic exercise submitted by a student for a grade or other credit.
c. "Director of Academic Integrity” means the Director of Academic Integrity or their designee.
d. "Authorized Reporter” means a member of the University faculty or staff who is in a position (e.g., Instructor of Record, Course Coordinator, Department Chair) to be aware of violations of Academic Dishonesty and to file a formal complaint. In cases where the Instructor of Record is no longer employed by WVU, another departmental representative will be identified as the Authorized Reporter and will serve as a proxy.
e. "Provost" means the Provost of West Virginia University or designee.
f. "Student" means all persons taking or auditing courses at the University, either full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or professional studies; persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the University or who have been notified of their acceptance for admission; or persons who are living in University supervised housing at any time, even if not enrolled at the University. A person will continue to be a “Student” until such status is terminated upon the occurrence of one or more of the following events:
- 1. Graduation (without any indication of intent to pursue post graduate activities at the University during the following semester);
- 2. Voluntary withdrawal of the student from West Virginia University; or
- 3. Involuntary dismissal (or other withdrawal of the student initiated by the University) from all programs and activities of the University, and the exhaustion of all internal grievance procedures to redress the dismissal or withdrawal (if applicable).
a. Academic Dishonesty means Plagiarism; Cheating; Fabrication or Falsification; Other Prohibited Academic Conduct; and Facilitation as it relates to academic or educational matters.
- 1. Plagiarism means the theft or unauthorized use of work, typically created by another. It includes but is not limited to:
- (a) The use of another’s words, ideas, or media – whether published or unpublished, partial or complete, by paraphrase or direct quotation – without complete and accurate acknowledgement;
- (b) The unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another individual, including an individual engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials; or
- (c) Repeated submission of one’s own work, specifically submission of the same material in multiple courses or iterations of a course, without the instructor’s express permission.
- 2. Cheating means reliance on unauthorized resources, in connection with examinations or Academic Assignments. It includes but is not limited to:
- (a) Collaboration with peers beyond that authorized by the instructor in the completion of an examination or Academic Assignment;
- (b) Cheating on an examination or Academic Assignment, by either
- (i) utilizing unauthorized physical or technological resources (e.g., cheat sheets, online resources); or
- (ii) receiving unauthorized personal assistance (e.g., copying from another student).
(c) The acquisition or use, without permission, of examinations or other academic material belonging to a member of the University faculty or staff.
- 3. Fabrication or Falsification means acts of misrepresentation, forgery, or fraud as they relate to academic or educational matters. It includes but is not limited to:
- (a) Fabricating or falsifying citations, data, or other records;
- (b) Wrongfully fabricating or falsifying attendance or participation records for a University course or in an experiential or clinical setting;
- (c) Wrongfully fabricating or altering an educational record (e.g., admission, grade, or attendance record) after it has been created;
- (d) Use of University documents or instruments of identification for fraudulent purposes (e.g., impersonation of another student); or
- (e) Knowingly furnishing false statements in any University academic proceeding.
- 4. Other Prohibited Academic Conduct means:
- (a) Engaging in behavior specifically prohibited by a faculty member in the course syllabus; or
- (b) Violating other departmental, college, or university academic standards, and/or legal or professional standards in relation to coursework or other program-related activities.
- 5. Facilitation means:
- (a) Providing unauthorized materials or personal assistance to another student when such assistance allows them to commit Academic Dishonesty; or
- (b) Compelling someone else to commit Academic Dishonesty on one’s behalf.
a. The Director of Academic Integrity, in conjunction with the Office of the Provost, shall serve as the Administrator of this Policy for the University and shall be available to assist any student, staff member, faculty member, or administrator in understanding and applying this Policy.
b. The Provost, as the University’s Chief Academic Officer and the President’s designee on academic matters, shall approve any amendments to this Policy.
a. Formal complaints of Academic Dishonesty shall be filed (via the Academic Dishonesty Form (ADF)) with the Office of Academic Integrity by any Authorized Reporter. Complaints should be submitted to the Office within fourteen (14) calendar days following discovery of the alleged incident of Academic Dishonesty.
- 1. Regardless of whether a formal complaint is ever filed, allegations of Academic Dishonesty, from any credible source (including both University employees and students, or others with direct knowledge), may be reviewed by the Office of Academic Integrity.
- 2. Allegations of Academic Dishonesty will not be investigated more than one (1) year after the alleged misconduct took place or after the alleged misconduct should have been discovered, unless good cause is shown for the delay and an extension is granted by the Director of Academic Integrity.
b. Upon receipt of the ADF from an Authorized Reporter, the Office of Academic Integrity shall review the ADF to determine if the matter should be handled through the Informal Resolution Process or the Formal Conduct Process.
- 1. If (i) the Accused Student has no prior instances of Academic Dishonesty on record, and/or (ii) there are no aggravating factors that potentially warrant more serious sanctions, the allegations of Academic Dishonesty will be resolved using the Informal Resolution Process.
- 2. If (i) the Accused Student has prior instances of Academic Dishonesty on record, and/or (ii) there are aggravating factors that potentially warrant more serious sanctions, the allegations of Academic Dishonesty will be resolved using the Formal Conduct Process.
- 3. Aggravating factors to consider in determining which process the Accused Student shall proceed through include, but are not limited to: the seriousness of the allegations; the potential scope; the student’s alleged intent, i.e., whether there was any planning or coordination; the potential impact on other students; whether there was any financial gain; and whether sophisticated methods were allegedly utilized.
c. After initial evaluation the Office of Academic Integrity will inform the Authorized Reporter of the appropriate process for the Accused Student. However, should certain aggravating factors be subsequently revealed during the Informal Resolution Process, the University reserves the right to resolve the matter through the Formal Conduct Process.
a. Purpose. The purpose of the Informal Resolution Process is to provide education and support to students without creating a disclosable academic discipline record that may impact a student’s future academic or professional progression.
b. Application. Use of the Informal Resolution Process is at the discretion of the Office of Academic Integrity.
c. Notice of Charge. If reasonable grounds exist to believe that a violation of this Policy has occurred, the Office of Academic Integrity shall prepare a written charge of the alleged conduct that the Office of Academic Integrity believes constitutes Academic Dishonesty. This Notice of Charge also acts as an offer from the University to the Accused Student to resolve the allegation informally.
- 1. The Charge shall be addressed to the student who allegedly violated this Policy and shall include a brief outline of the specific allegations upon which the Charge is based.
- 2. The Charge shall include a list of educational measures the student must complete if they agree to resolve the allegation informally.
- 3. The Charge shall be delivered electronically to the Accused Student through the University’s designated student e-mail system and, if necessary, by any other means reasonably designed to ensure the Accused Student receives it.
- 4. The Accused Student shall have five (5) calendar days from the date the Charge is sent to consider and accept the University’s offer for informal resolution. This period may be extended for good cause shown at the discretion of the Director of Academic Integrity.
- 5. If the Accused Student rejects the University’s offer for informal resolution, or if the Accused Student does not respond to the charge within five calendar days, the case will be moved to the Formal Conduct Process and a conduct conference shall be scheduled.
d. Acceptance of Informal Resolution. If the Accused Student accepts the University’s offer for informal resolution as outlined above, completes all educational measures, and does not violate any other term of the agreement, the Accused Student will be found not responsible for violating this Policy.
e. Failure to Comply. If an Accused Student fails to complete all educational measures by their assigned deadlines or violates any other condition of the informal resolution agreement, the University reserves the right to terminate the agreement and move the case to the Formal Conduct Process.
f. Withdrawal. A Student is not permitted to withdraw from the course where the alleged conduct occurred after a charge has been issued by the Office of Academic Integrity unless and until the student is found not responsible via the Formal Conduct Process.
g. Appeal. An Accused Student who enters an agreed resolution with the University, whether formal or informal, waives their right to appeal.
a. Application. The Formal Conduct Process will be used to address more serious allegations of academic dishonesty and/or allegations against students who have a history of academically dishonest behavior. Use of the Formal Conduct Process is at the discretion of the Director of Academic Integrity.
b. Records. Case resolutions resulting in any sanction other than suspension, program dismissal, or expulsion will be kept as part of the accused student’s academic disciplinary record for seven (7) years. Case Resolutions resulting in suspension, program dismissal, or expulsion are permanently recorded and noted on the student’s transcript. The sanction of an unforgivable F will remain on a student’s transcript permanently.
c. Procedure. The Formal Conduct Process will be conducted in accordance with the hearing provisions applicable to all student conduct violations and set forth in Section 9 of the Campus Student Code. In cases where unforgivable failure of the course, program dismissal, suspension, or expulsion are sought, a hearing will be required and will follow the procedures outlined in sections 9.6 through 9.15 of the Campus Student Code.
- d. Withdrawal. A Student is not permitted to withdraw from the course where the alleged conduct occurred after a charge has been issued by the Office of Academic Integrity unless and until the student is found not responsible via the Formal Conduct Process.
a. Students who have violated this Policy, as determined through the Formal Conduct Process, may appeal the decision and/or the imposed sanction within fourteen (14) calendar days from the date that the Outcome Letter is sent. If the student does not submit an appeal within the prescribed time, the sanction(s) will be applied, no appeal will be considered, and the matter will be concluded.
b. An Accused Student who enters an agreed resolution with the University, whether formal or informal, waives their right to appeal.
c. A written appeal and supporting documents, if any, shall be submitted (in accordance with the instructions in the Outcome Letter) to the Office of the Provost with a copy to the Office of Academic Integrity.
- 1. Sanctions received that consist of Expulsion, Suspension, Deferred Suspension, Dismissal from Academic Program, Probation, Failure of the Course with Exclusion from Further Participation, or Unforgiveable Failure in the Course are stayed pending the appeal. However, the specific grade on the assignment or in the course is not stayed pending appeal.
- 2. Grounds for appeal include claims that the decision
- (1) Was arbitrary, capricious, or prejudiced academic evaluation;
- (2) Was clearly unreasonable based on the information presented throughout the Formal Conduct Process;
- (3) Reflects discrimination based on any criteria prohibited by the University;
- (4) Shows an unreasonable severity of the penalty;
- (5) Contained demonstrable prejudice in the decision-making process; and/or
- (6) Failed to consider additional or new information that was not available throughout the Formal Conduct Process.
- 3. The Provost shall consider the appeal and deliver a decision within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of such appeal, except where adherence to such time period would be impracticable, in which case such time period shall be extended as warranted by the particular circumstances. Any such delays will be communicated via WVU email to the student and the Director of Academic Integrity within the initial thirty (30) day time period.
- 4. The Provost may decide to: (a) deny the appeal; (b) modify, reduce or otherwise limit the sanction(s) imposed (more severe sanctions may not be imposed on appeal by the Provost); (c) grant the appeal in its entirety; or (d) remand the matter to the Office of Academic Integrity to provide a new proceeding, or allow the student to have his or her case handled beginning at any specific stage of the Formal Conduct Process.
- 5. Once the Provost has issued a decision, the matter shall be considered final and binding upon all involved.
a. The University will impose a sanction or educational measure that is fair and proportional under the circumstances. To that end, sanctions and educational measures shall be commensurate with the offense with consideration given to any aggravating and mitigating circumstances, including past incidents of Academic Dishonesty.
b. Sanctions and educational measure available for violations of this Policy include any of the following:
- 1. Remedial Measures: Community service, educational classes, and other work or research projects may be imposed by the Director of Academic Integrity instead of or in addition to the specified sanctions.
- 2. Required Repetition of the Academic Assignment: Revision or repetition of the particular Academic Assignment at issue.
- 3. Reduced Grade on Academic Assignment or Course: A reduced grade for the particular Academic Assignment or course at issue.
- 4. Failure of Course: A grade of an “F” for the particular course at issue.
- 5. Unforgivable Failure of the Course: A final grade of an Unforgivable Failure designates that the failure occurred for academic dishonesty. When an Unforgivable Failure is assigned, a student may repeat the course, but the undergraduate (and where applicable the graduate or professional school) D/F repeat process will not be applied. A permanent record will appear on the student’s transcript, and the F will be permanently factored into the student’s GPA.
- 6. Failure of the Course with Exclusion from Further Participation: A final grade of an “F” for the course at issue and where the student is prohibited from continued enrollment or participation in the course for the duration of the semester.
- 7. Disciplinary Probation: A written reprimand for Academic Dishonesty that specifies a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe sanctions if, during the designated probationary period, the student violates or fails to comply with any rules or policies of the West Virginia University Board of Governors, with institutional or campus rules and regulations or with directives issued by any University official acting in the course of his or her authorized duties.
- 8. Deferred Suspension: The student will be given a certain set of expectations, but any suspension will be deferred and does not go into effect as long as the student complies with all requirements during the interim period. In those cases where the student completes all expectations during the interim period, the student’s record will show that the sanction was never imposed. In the event that a student fails to comply with a sanction and the Director of Academic Integrity has decided to seek the suspension, the student will be given written notice of the apparent failure to comply and of the intent to suspend, and provided an opportunity to be heard prior to a final decision, consistent with this Policy.
- 9. Disciplinary Suspension: Separation of the student from the University for a specified period of time. Permanent notification will appear on the student’s transcript. The student may be denied access to University premises and to all other University activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, provided that such restrictions are stipulated in the Outcome Letter and bear a reasonable relationship to the violation. Suspended time will not count against any time limits for completion of a degree. If a student is suspended, the student will not receive a refund of any tuition or fees that have been paid to the University. Any student who is serving a suspension may be subject to a review and evaluation meeting prior to re-enrolling to ensure that all conditions of the suspension have been satisfied and that the student is prepared for return. A student who receives a period of suspension as a disciplinary sanction is subject to further disciplinary action for prohibited conduct that takes place during the period of suspension. A permanent record of the suspension will appear on the student’s transcript.
- 10. Dismissal from an Academic Program: Termination of student status, including any right or privilege to receive some benefit or recognition or certification, from a specific academic program. A student may be academically dismissed from any program and remain eligible to enroll in courses in other programs at the institution. A permanent record of the dismissal will appear on the student’s transcript.
- 11. Deferred Expulsion: The student will be given a certain set of expectations, but any expulsion will be deferred and does not go into effect as long as the student complies with all requirements during the interim period. In those cases where the student completes all expectations during the interim period, the student’s record will show that the sanction was never imposed. In the event that a student fails to comply with a sanction and the Director of Academic Integrity has decided to seek the expulsion, the student will be given written notice of the apparent failure to comply and of the intent to suspend, and provided an opportunity to be heard prior to a final decision, consistent with this Policy.
- 12. Expulsion: Permanent separation of the student from the University. Permanent notification will appear on the student’s transcript. The student may be denied access to University premises, provided that such restrictions are stipulated in the Outcome Letter and bear a reasonable relationship to the violation. If a student is expelled, the student will not receive a refund of any tuition or fees that have been paid to the University. A permanent record of the expulsion will appear on the student’s transcript.
- 13. Other Sanctions and Educational Measures: Other sanctions or educational measures may be imposed instead of or in addition to those specified, where those sanctions bear a reasonable relationship to the nature and severity of the violation.
c. Interim Measures and Interim Suspension.
- 1. Interim Measures. When the alleged actions of a student threaten the operations or safety of the University, interim measures may be put into place by the Director of Academic Integrity. Interim measures are administrative directives that are intended to insure the safety of the University and prevent a situation from escalating; they are not disciplinary in nature.
- 2. Interim Suspension. If the Director of Academic Integrity has reasonable cause to believe that a student’s presence on University premises presents:
- (a) a significant risk of substantial harm to the student, other individuals, or property; or
(b) an ongoing threat of disrupting the normal operations of the University, then the matter should be referred to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
a. Interpretation. Responsibility for interpretation of this Policy rests with the Provost or designee.
- b. Application. The Director of Academic Integrity may implement additional procedures for further guidance and practical application of this Policy, which may include designated time frames and other procedural matters related to an Academic Dishonesty hearing, and the factors that should be considered in determining the appropriate sanctions.
a. West Virginia University Board of Governors Academics Rule 2.5, Student Rights and Responsibilities.
a. This Policy was revised on August 15, 2023, and supersedes all other policies, procedures or guidelines at the University to the extent those documents are inconsistent with and fall under the scope of this Policy.