Frequently Asked Questions
The purpose of Policy 60: Academic Integrity is to guide the Ryerson community in understanding i) what academic integrity and misconduct are for students; ii) the processes the University will follow when there is a suspicion of student academic misconduct; and iii) the academic penalties and other consequences that may be imposed if students are found to have engaged in academic misconduct.
The mandate of the Academic Integrity Office (AIO) is to ensure that Ryerson Policy 60 and the accompanying Procedures are carried out in a fair and transparent way, and to provide educational resources to the Ryerson community regarding academic integrity and misconduct. The AIO provides guidance and support to students and decision makers and ensures that both parties are aware of their rights and responsibilities. The AIO is neutral with respect to all cases and is neither an advocate for students or faculty nor a decision maker in the process of deciding whether misconduct occurred. The Director of the Academic Integrity Office participates in procedural determinations in certain circumstances (see PDF filePolicy 60 Procedures, opens in new window 2.4.4)
(Retrieved from Ryerson PDF fileSenate Policy 60, opens in new window - Section 5.1.)
Policy 60: Academic Integrity is premised on the commitment of Ryerson University to foster and uphold the highest standards of academic integrity, the fundamental values of which are honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, courage, as well as trustworthiness. These values are central to the development and sharing of knowledge.
According to Policy 60: Academic Integrity, academic misconduct is
"Any behaviour that undermines the University’s ability to evaluate fairly students’ academic achievements, or any behaviour that a student knew, or reasonably ought to have known, could gain them or others unearned academic advantage or benefit.” (Section 3.1)
The policy lists the most common instances of academic misconduct; however it is not intended to be exhaustive.
According to Policy 60: Academic Integrity, all faculty/instructors of Ryerson University are required to have a conversation through the Academic Integrity Office with a student if something occurs in work for credit that may be of concern. You will receive an email letter from the Academic Integrity Office (AIO) or the decision maker (Faculty/Instructor) 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.
If you have any questions, please contact the Academic Integrity Office.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 / email@example.com. Refer to Ryerson Policy 60: Academic Integrity and Ryerson Policy 60: Academic Integrity Procedures and get as informed as possible.
A facilitated discussion is a discussion between the decision maker, student, and a facilitator from the Academic Integrity Office (AIO). The meeting is to be an open, informal and non-confrontational conversation between the decision maker and the student facilitated by a Academic Integrity Office Facilitator. Details of the meeting will be documented by the Academic Integrity Office Facilitator and then emailed to the decision maker and student to review after the meeting. The decision maker then has three (3) business days from the day of the discussion to make a decision whether or not academic misconduct, according to Policy 60: Academic Integrity has occurred.
The non-facilitated Discussion is between the instructor or professor and student, and is meant to be an open, informal and non-confrontational dialogue. No decision is to be made in the meeting. The goal of the meeting is to get the necessary information or explanation needed to make a fair and appropriate decision.
The student may be asked to bring notes, drafts or other relevant documentation to the meeting.
If you would be more comfortable having this meeting with a neutral AIO facilitator present, please contact the Academic Integrity Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements for this.
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 finding 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.
A contract faculty/instructor may refer the basis of the suspicion of misconduct (i.e. all the relevant information known) to the Academic Integrity Office (AIO) and request that another decision maker be appointed. A Designated Decision Maker (DDM) will then be assigned, by the Chair of the Designated Decision Makers’ Council (DDMC) in conjunction with the AIO, to pursue the matter and be the decision maker with respect to any finding regarding academic misconduct.
Students found to have engaged in academic misconduct will have a Disciplinary Notation (DN) placed on their academic record. The DN will not appear on the official transcript. The assignment of a DN may not be appealed as it is a consequence of a finding of misconduct whose principal purpose is to track findings of misconduct and implement the Principle of Progressive Discipline.
For undergraduate and Chang School students, a DN notation shall remain until a student graduates, at which time it shall be removed. If a student does not graduate in the normal maximum time (8 years for full-time undergraduate programs, 14 years for part-time programs) they may request, via their Chair/Director to have the DN removed from their academic record. For graduate students, the DN will normally remain on their academic record.
When an undergraduate or Chang student has 2 Disciplinary Notations (DNs) on their internal record a Progressive Discipline Meeting will be held to determine whether there will be a penalty hearing or whether the student will be given a warning. The AIO will schedule a meeting of the:
• Director of AIO (or designate)
• Chair of DDMC (or designate)
• Program Director (or designate)
A penalty hearing of the Academic Integrity Council (AIC) regarding a DW will be convened where a graduate student has been assigned a first DN on the basis of misconduct in supervised research activities (see Section 3.4.2), or a second DN related to academic misconduct in course-related work (see Section 3.4.1)
An official transcript is a complete and detailed representation of a student’s academic record that includes program history, courses taken, grades earned, academic progress, honours and graduation information from the first day of school to the current date. An official transcript is issued and certified by the University Registrar’s Office and it has security features that verify its authenticity.
The academic record is a student’s internal record retained by the university that includes the information on the official transcript and additional information concerning a student’s academic performance such as Disciplinary Notations (DNs) for academic misconduct. The academic record is also used for advising and tracking purposes.
A Disciplinary Suspension is an academic standing wherein a student is removed from a program for a specified period, normally for one term to two years, after which the student will be automatically reinstated. For undergraduate or continuing education students a penalty hearing may arise due to Progressive Discipline or due to a recommended penalty of suspension by an initial decision maker or Program Director (or designate).
Contact the advocate from Ryerson Students' Union (RSU), external link, opens in new window /Continuing Education Students' Association of Ryerson(CESAR), external link, opens in new window if you want support in this process. 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.
Please see Policy 60: Academic Integrity Sections 3.6; 3.7; 3.11; 4.6; 7.1; 7.2; 9 and Policy 60: Academic Integrity Procedures, Sections 1.5; 7.4 for differences for graduate students or the Graduate Student section of the AIO website.
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 may be made without the benefit of your input.
A decision letter will be sent to your Ryerson email, within 5 days.
Please refer to Policy 60, Section 7 and Penalty Guidelines.
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.
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, including a "zero" (0) on the work, cannot be appealed).
See “Appeals Process” below.
Contact the Ryerson Students Union (RSU) or the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR) (see contact information above).
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 you 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.
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 including a “zero” (0) on the work, cannot be appealed).
Contact the Ryerson Students Union or the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (see contact information above).
Plagiarism – includes but is not limited to:
- Claiming, submitting or presenting the words, ideas, artistry, drawings, images or data of another person, including information found on the Internet and unpublished materials, as if they are one’s own, without appropriate referencing;
- Claiming, submitting or presenting someone else’s work, ideas, opinions or theories as if they are one's own, without proper referencing;
- Claiming, submitting or presenting another person’s substantial compositional contributions, assistance, edits or changes to an assignment as one’s own;
- Claiming, submitting or presenting collaborative work as if it were created solely by oneself or one’s group;
- Submitting the same work, in whole or in part, for credit in two or more courses, or in the same course more than once, without the prior written permission of the instructor;
- Minimally paraphrasing someone else’s work by changing only a few words and not citing the original source.
Cheating - includes but is not limited to:
- having ready access to and/or using aids or devices (including wireless communication devices) not expressly allowed by the instructor during an examination, test, quiz, or other evaluation;
- copying another person’s answer(s) on a test, exam, quiz, lab report, or other work to be evaluated;
- copying another person’s answers, with or without their permission, to individually assigned projects;
- consulting with another person or with unauthorized materials outside of an examination room during the examination period (e.g. discussing an exam or consulting materials during an emergency evacuation or when permitted to use a washroom);
- improperly submitting an answer to a test or examination question completed, in whole or part, outside the examination room unless expressly permitted by the instructor;
- resubmitting altered test or examination work after it has already been evaluated;
- presenting falsified or fabricated material, including research results (see Section 2.8);
- improperly obtaining, through deceit, theft, bribery, collusion or otherwise, access to examination paper(s) or set of questions, or other confidential information;
- collaborating on work to be evaluated where such collaboration has been expressly forbidden by the instructor.
You are allowed to share your notes should it be completely in your own words. If you are unsure, it is best practice to always ask your professor or the Academic Integrity Office (AIO) for permission.
You are not allowed to share your professor’s notes, without their permission. This is Unauthorized Use of Intellectual Property, which is a form of academic misconduct. If you are unsure, it is best practice to always ask your professor for permission.
For more information on this topic, check out Course Sharing Websites & File Sharing, opens in new window.
To learn about citations, use the resources available to you in Student Learning Support (SLS). They offer free workshops, have a Writing Centre to support you in person, and have ample online resources on their website. This can be located at ryerson.ca/sls. There are also citation guides on the RULA website.
No, you are not allowed to hire someone to write your essay for you. This is academic misconduct in the form of Misrepresentation of Personal Identity or Performance. Misrepresentation of Personal Identity or Performance - includes but is not limited to:
- submitting stolen or purchased assignments or research;
- impersonating someone or having someone impersonate you in person, in writing, or electronically (both the impersonator and the individual impersonated, if aware of the impersonation, may be subject to a penalty);
- falsely identifying oneself or misrepresenting one’s personal performance outside of a particular course, in a course in which one is not officially enrolled, or in the admissions process (e.g. submission of portfolios, essays, transcripts or documents);
- withholding or altering academic information, portfolios, essays, transcripts or documents, including during the admissions process.
If you are a student and know that someone is cheating, there are a few steps you can take. It is important to know that you are under no obligation to report someone engaging in academic misconduct. Should you like to share, though, you may bring it to the attention of the Professor, Instructor, or Invigilator in a discrete manner. They will decide how to proceed depending on the case.
Contract Cheating occurs when a third party completes work, with or without payment, for a student, who then submits the work as their own, where such input is not permitted. This includes
- Getting or giving "help" on file sharing websites
- Purchasing and/or using other people's work
- Having an unauthorized person/service edit work without permission
The Fundamentals of Academic Integrity quiz can be assigned to you as a consequence of a suspicion of academic misconduct. It is an educational quiz to inform the individual of academic integrity basics.
A main highlight of Policy 60 is its educational focus, therefore education is imperative to ensuring the policy effectiveness. If you have been assigned a SLS workshop, this means that it has been assigned for educational purposes, even if you were found to not have engaged in academic misconduct. It is important to complete all workshops assigned, otherwise graduation may be affected.
Check out the short, engaging, and informative academic integrity videos on the AIO website. These videos present some of the values and behaviours expected of Ryerson University students and some of the most common misconceptions about academic integrity. Following the videos, there are quizzes that Ryerson students can complete. To complete these quizzes, please visit Tutorial Episodes, opens in new window.
An Academic Integrity Ambassador is a current Ryerson student that works with the Academic Integrity Office to promote a culture of academic integrity at Ryerson through engaging students in peer-to-peer educational initiatives. To apply to be an Academic Integrity Ambassador, email email@example.com
Effective September 1, 2009, the Ryerson Senate approved the establishment of an Academic Integrity Council (AIC) consisting of both faculty and students and is administered through the Academic Integrity Office (AIO). The AIC's mandate is to promote and uphold academic integrity at Ryerson through both participating in educational activities and by holding hearings when it has been determined by faculty that students have engaged in academic misconduct. Members of the AIC are committed to upholding the integrity of the learning process and of a Ryerson degree.
If you wish to become a member of the Academic Integrity Council, please contact the Academic Integrity Office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on this process.