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Suspected of Academic Misconduct?

This does not mean you have been found "guilty" or to have committed academic misconduct. At this point, there is just a suspicion. It is the responsibility of the Ryerson community to take action if they have reasonable grounds for thinking that academic misconduct has occurred.

However, it would be a mistake to think that because you don’t know what academic misconduct is, this will exempt you from the consequences and penalties. If you play a sport you know the rules before you get in the game. If you drive a car, you learn the rules of the road before you get your license. As a Ryerson student, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with Ryerson University's Policy 60: Academic Integrity and to abide
by it.

What Happens? FAQs

Frequently asked questions that will assist you to understand the suspicion you may have received, what happens next and where to get support.

How Do I Know I Have Been Suspected of Academic Misconduct?
  • You will receive an email letter from the Academic Integrity Office (AIO) or the decision maker (Faculty/Instructor/Designated Decision Maker) to your Ryerson email. This is a confidential email.
  • Read the letter very carefully. It has a lot of useful information.
  • The email letter should state what the suspicion is and provide a summary of the basis for the suspicion. For example, if “plagiarism” is the suspected misconduct, the nature and extent of the plagiarism should be identified.
What is My Next Step Once I Have Been Informed of a Suspicion of Academic Misconduct?
  • Remember, this is only a suspicion. No decisions have been made yet. The purpose of the discussion is for the decision maker to understand, from you, what may have happened.
  • Note the date, time and place of the proposed meeting. If you are unable to make the proposed date/time, you can call into the meeting or contact whoever sent you the email to reschedule. Do this ASAP!
  • If this is confusing or you want support, contact an independent person whose role is to support Ryerson students. For full-time undergraduate or graduate students, contact the Ryerson Student Union — 416-979-5000 ext. 2322 OR advocacy@rsuonline.ca. If you are a part-time program, certificate, or Chang School student, contact the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson 416-979-5000 ext. 7056 / studentrights@mycesar.ca.
  • Refer to Ryerson Policy 60: Academic Integrity and get as informed as possible.
  • Refer to the Academic Integrity Process Flowchart.
I Have Been Requested to Attend a Discussion With My Professor/Instructor/Designated Decision Maker. How Do I Prepare for This Discussion and What Services/Support are Available to Me?
  • Contact the advocate from RSU/CESAR if you want support in this process (see contact information above).
  • If you have been asked to attend a Non-Facilitated Discussion you can always contact the Academic Integrity Officer and ask for the discussion to be changed to a Facilitated Discussion (an AIO neutral staff member will facilitate).
  • Bring with you rough notes, drafts or other relevant documents related to the suspicion.
What Should I Expect at the Facilitated/Non-Facilitated Discussion (FD/NFD)?
  • You will be part of a non-adversarial, respectful conversation about the suspicion of misconduct that you have been notified of.
  • The discussion is normally scheduled for 30 minutes.
  • The facilitator (in the case of an FD) or the decision maker (in an NFD) will introduce the discussion, its guiding principles, and the possible outcomes. The facilitator or decision maker will make a neutral, fair and accurate record of the discussion (usually on a computer).
  • The decision maker will explain the basis of their suspicion.  They may refer to specific documentation or evidence, as appropriate, and ask questions of you, relevant to the suspicion.
  • You will have a chance to respond to the decision maker’s concerns and questions, and ask questions of your own.
  • The facilitator or decision maker will explain the next steps, including the timeline for a decision letter to be sent (to your Ryerson email), and potential outcomes of the discussion (e.g. no finding of misconduct; a finding of misconduct, which the student may choose to accept; a funding of misconduct, which the student does not accept and may wish to appeal; placement of a DN on the academic record; an assigned quiz and/or academic integrity workshop, etc.).
    • You will not discuss the potential decision at this meeting.
    • The facilitator (in an FD) or decision maker (in an NFD) will complete a Summary of Discussion Form. You will be asked to read the summary and to sign this form if you believe it accurately reflects the discussion. Any disagreement will be noted on the form. Everyone will be provided with a copy of this form.
Is This Process Different if I am a Graduate Student?

It might be. Please see Policy 60: Academic Integrity, Sections 1.7; 2.7; 3.4.2 and 5.3.1

What if I Don't Go to the Facilitated/Non-Facilitated Discussion?

If you do not contact the Academic Integrity Office or your decision maker to change the date/time or you do not attend the meeting, a decision will likely be made without the benefit of your input.

What Are the Possible Penalties and Consequences of a Finding of Academic Misconduct?

Please refer to Policy 60, Section 5 and Penalty Guidelines.

What Can I Expect After a Discussion with my Professor/Instructor/Designated Decision Maker?

A decision letter will be sent to your Ryerson email, within 5 days.

How Does the Designated Decision Maker Make Their Decision?

Based on the information available (including your FD/NFD) they will apply what is called a “balance of probabilities” standard of proof as to whether academic misconduct occurred.  This means that weighing all the information, it is determined that more likely than not misconduct occurred.

What if I Want to Drop the Course Which I am Suspected of Academic Misconduct?
  • You may not drop a course once a suspicion of academic misconduct has been registered with the AIO until the matter is resolved. The Registrar at the start of this process will place a “DEF” on your academic record.
  • If you drop the course before the matter is resolved, the Registrar’s Office will re-enroll you in that course.
  • If there is no finding of academic misconduct, and the decision is received on or prior to the published drop deadline, you may then drop the course if they wish to do so.
  • If there is no finding of academic misconduct and the decision is received after the published drop date has passed, but (normally) prior to the official last day of the term, you have up to two business days from the date/time of the decision being sent to request to drop the course.
  • If there is a finding of misconduct prior to the published deadline to drop a course, and any penalty assigned is less than an “F” in the course,you may drop the course in accordance with the published deadline dates.  In such a case, a Disciplinary Notation (DN) will still be placed on your academic record.
  • If there is a finding of misconduct and a grade of “F” is assigned for the course, whether before or after the published drop deadline, you may not drop the course. That grade of “F” shall remain on your  transcript and a DN will be placed on your academic record.
  • If there is a finding of misconduct after the published deadline to drop a course, and a penalty of less than an “F” is assigned, you may normally not request a late course drop.

Important: when the decision is sent less than 3 days before the drop date - additional procedures may have to be taken to drop the course - see Policy 60: Academic Integrity Procedures.

Where Can I Locate More Educational Resources to Help Me Understand My Academic Integrity Responsibilities?
How Do I Appeal the Decision Made After My Facilitated/Non-Facilitated Discussion
  • You can appeal the finding that academic misconduct occurred
  • You can appeal the penalty assigned, if the penalty is an “F” in the course (a grade reduction cannot be appealed).
  • See “Appeals Process” in the “For Students” section of the AIO website:http://www.ryerson.ca/academicintegrity/Students/index.html
  • Contact the Ryerson Students Union or the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (see contact information above).
What if I Believe That I Have Experienced Prejudice, Discrimination, or Harassment Related to the Suspicion of Misconduct?

You should contact the Human Rights Office as soon as possible and before a FD/NFD occurs.

Glossary of Terms:

AIC - Academic Integrity Council
AIO - Academic Integrity Office
CESAR - Continuing Education Students' Association of Ryerson
DDM - Designated Decision Maker
FD - Facilitated Discussion
NFD - Non-Facilitated Discussion
RSU - Ryerson Students' Union

Appeals Process

The Academic Integrity Council Appeal Form and other useful information for your appeal can be found on the Ryerson Senate website.

By handing in your appeal form and supporting documents to the Academic Integrity Office, you have initiated an appeal, which will be heard by members of the Academic Integrity Council.  Any evidence that you wish to submit should be included in this appeal.  If you find that new evidence becomes available that you wish to include, please send it to the Academic Integrity Office as soon as possible.  If you do not submit it in advance, bring it to the hearing. You must supply 5 copies.  However, the panel will decide whether this new evidence will be considered.

  • Your instructor/decision maker will be forwarded a copy of your appeal package. They will be asked to respond to the contents of the package and to supply any evidence they used to determine the finding of academic misconduct.
  • Their response will be in the form of a letter addressed to the Academic Integrity Council and will be accompanied by any documents they feel are relevant.
  • All this information will then be organized into a package and supplied to all relevant parties, including you, the respondent (who is usually the decision maker) and the panel members of the Academic Integrity Council.  The hearing has a very set process which must be adhered to. This process is outlined below.

Order within a hearing:

  1. The Hearing Panel Chair opens the proceedings and all of the persons at the table introduce themselves. These will normally be: the Panel members; the person who assigned the original penalty (Respondent); the student (Appellant); the student’s advocate (if any); the student’s or respondent’s support persons (who remain silent during the hearing and who do not sit at the table nor take notes); representative from the Academic Integrity Office; resource people, if any; and any witnesses who are declared in advance. Witnesses must then remain outside the Hearing room until they are called upon to make their statements.

  2. The Chair outlines the hearing procedures, explaining to the Appellant and the Respondent that the documents have been read and that the presentation should be brief, outlining the highlights of the case.  The Panel Chair will explain that this is a non-adversarial process, and all parties will have a chance to speak.  

  3. The Respondent is asked to present briefly the evidence that was the basis for the finding of misconduct.  

  4. Any witnesses for the Respondent are called in turn and are asked to make a statement as to what they know of the matters in question.  Witnesses are to be called one by one and are not to be in a position of hearing each other’s remarks.

  5. The student and/or advocate are given the opportunity to ask relevant or clarifying questions of the Respondent and their witnesses in turn (witnesses questioned first). The Chair may limit such questioning on the basis of relevance, if need be.  

  6. Once witnesses for the Respondent are questioned by the Panel, they are asked to leave the room but may be asked to remain outside the room if further questions are anticipated.

  7. The student is asked to briefly present a summary of their case. You should come prepared to make a short oral presentation highlighting the reasons for your appeal and what information you have to support your appeal.

  8. Any witnesses for the student are called in turn and are asked to make a statement as to what they know of the matters in question. Witnesses are to be called one by one and are not to be in a position of hearing each other’s remarks.

  9. The Respondent is given the opportunity to ask relevant or clarifying questions of the statements presented by the student and the witnesses (witnesses questioned first). The Chair may limit such questioning on the basis of relevance, if need be.  

  10. Once witnesses for the student are questioned by the Panel, they are asked to leave the room but may be asked to remain outside the room if further questions are anticipated.

  11. Members of the Hearing Panel may ask questions of all parties.

  12. The student (Appellant) is asked to present a final summary of their case (the advocate may speak on the Appellant’s behalf). This is also your opportunity to address any statements that the Respondent has made that you disagree with or that you would like to state your opinion about. You can jot these thoughts down during the hearing so that you are reminded to say them in your closing statement.

  13. The Respondent is asked to present a final summary of their case.

  14. Anyone who is not a member of the Hearing Panel is asked to leave before the Panel begins to deliberate. The deliberations are done in private, and the Chair of the panel only votes in cases where there is a tie.  

  15. The decision(s)/finding(s) of a Panel will be communicated to all relevant parties via a Decision Letter sent by the AIO within ten (10) business days of the Hearing.

Links to Helpful Resources

Academic Integrity Office

Policy 60: Academic Integrity

Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU)

Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator
advocacy@rsuonline.ca
416-979-5255 ext. 2322

This is the students’ union for full-time graduate and undergraduate students that advocates for student rights and aims to build community on campus.

Continuing Education Students' Association of Ryerson (CESAR)

CESAR Student Rights Coordinator
studentrights@mycesar.ca
416-979-5000 ext. 7056

This is the students’ union for continuing education, distance education, and part-time undergraduate students, CESAR works to serve and improve student experience while providing cost-saving services, advocacy and events.

Office of the Ombudsperson

416-979-5000 ext. 7450

The Office of the Ombudsperson is primarily concerned with ensuring that everyone involved in a dispute is treated fairly and that decisions affecting students are made promptly and fairly. As a beginning point for the effective resolution of concerns and complaints it is very important that those involved understand the issues that are in dispute and the policies, and procedures that are applicable to the particular circumstances.

Human Rights Services

humanrights@ryerson.ca
416-979-5349

Human Rights Services advocates for a community where the dignity of all members are respected and upheld. This office administers the Discrimination and Harassment Policy.

Centre for Student Development and Counseling (CSDC)

Contact: 416- 979-5195

The general mission is to promote the emotional and social well-being, academic success and career development of Ryerson students.

If you want immediate support, please visit the Health and Wellness website Crisis page.