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Office of the Ombudsperson - Confidential, Impartial and Independent

2. Academic Misconduct

What is Academic Misconduct?

The University puts very high value on academic integrity. Ryerson's Senate Policy 60 : Academic Integrity provides detailed information about what is academic misconduct and what penalties are to be expected. These are some examples of types of Academic Misconduct:

  • Citing resources without proper and/or incomplete referencing
  • Working collaboratively with others without explicit consent of the instructor
  • Having access to or using materials or aids during exams that were not explicitly allowed by the instructor
  • Improperly obtaining access to examination questions or materials
  • Submitting stolen or purchased assignments
  • Submitting altered, falsified, or forged medical or other documentation for academic consideration, or making false claims for this consideration
  • Offering or giving assignments, essays, test questions to others
  • Using your own work more than once for an assignment or essay without the permission of the instructor

The Process for Handling Suspicions of Academic Misconduct

You must be notified that there is a suspicion of academic misconduct as soon as possible and in a confidential manner.A detailed summary of the basis for the suspicion must be included.

Once you are notified about the suspicion, a meeting will be arranged with your instructor to discuss the suspicion of academic misconduct. This meeting can be organized in one of three ways:

(1) You and your instructor, this is called a Non Facilitated Discussion (NFD); or

(2) You, your instructor, and a mutually agreed upon third party; or

(3) A Facilitated Discussion (FD) with you, your instructor or a Designated Decision Maker (DDM), and a Facilitator from the Academic Integrity Office.

Note : A Facilitated Discussion must be organized for Graduate Students.

The specifics of a Facilitated Discussion are:

The Facilitated Discussion can be requested by either you, if you are asked to attend a Non-Facilitated Discussion, or your instructor. The Facilitated Discussion should normally be held within five working days after you were notified of the suspicion. If you are unable to attend the Facilitated Discussion, you must inform the Academic Integrity Officer right away in order to be able to reschedule the meeting.

You may consult the RSU Student Advocate, the CESAR Student Advocate, the Academic Integrity Office or your Program Director or Chair if you want more information about next steps. If you believe you are being treated unfairly, you can contact the Ombuds Office.

The Facilitator from the Academic Integrity Office will host the meeting and assist everyone present to have a constructive discussion. During the meeting, the instructor or the DDM, will explain why they suspect you may have engaged in academic misconduct. They are required to provide evidence to substantiate the suspicion. It is important to listen carefully to what the instructor or DDM explains, even if you might be upset by what is being said.

After your instructor presents the reason for their suspicion,you have the opportunity to respond. You can explain what happened and if they are relevant, present documents or notes to clarify why you took a particular approach. You may be asked to submit rough notes or drafts of the academic work in question (if applicable). If you realize later that there is an important document relevant for the discussion that you did not provide, inform the AIO as soon as possible so that the document can be made available to the instructor before they make a decision.

Each Facilitated Discussion will be summarized and notes will be prepared by the Facilitator that will then be reviewed by you and the instructor. This is done at the end of the Facilitated Discussion.  If you do not agree with the summary, note your disagreement and what you disagree with on the Summary of Discussion form. The Summary notes will be emailed to you one or two business days after the meeting. If you have any concerns about the information on the Summary of Discussion Form, please notify the Academic Integrity Office immediately.

After the Facilitated Discussion is held, your instructor or DDM will decide whether you engaged in Academic Misconduct or not. If they decide that you have not behaved with academic integrity the instructor will also tell you what penalty is being applied. You should receive the decision within five working days after the Facilitated Discussion. If you do not agree with the decision, you have the opportunity to appeal it. This must be done within ten working days of when you received the decision.

If you are found to have engaged in Academic Misconduct your Chair/Program Director and the Registrar will be informed. A Disciplinary Notation (DN) will be automatically placed on the University’s internal academic record. If you are an undergraduate or Chang School student the DN will be removed from your internal record when you graduate. For graduate students the DN will normally remain on the internal record. The DN will NOT be placed on your transcript.

Appealing a Finding of Academic Misconduct

You may appeal a finding of Academic Misconduct to the Academic Integrity Council, if you believe the instructor’s decision is incorrect and/or unfair. In most cases you can also Appeal the severity of the penalty if you accept the finding of academic misconduct. The only exception is that you cannot appeal the severity of the penalty, if you received the minimum penalty. An appeal must be submitted within ten working days of when you receive the decision. The burden of proof is with the University. This means that the instructor has to convince the Academic Integrity Council Panel that it is more likely than not that you committed academic misconduct.

To appeal to the Academic Integrity Council, you need to submit the Academic Integrity Appeal Form. If your appeal is denied by the Academic Integrity Council and the instructor’s decision is accepted as being reasonable, you may be able to appeal to the Senate Appeals Committee using the Senate Appeals Committee Student Code of Conduct Form. However, please note that if you appeal to the Senate Appeals Committee, you have to show why the Academic Integrity Council’s decision was not fair rather than simply disagreeing with the decision.You can approach the Senate Appeals Committee on the basis of four grounds: New Evidence; Substantial Procedural error; Evidence not previously considered; if the AIC assigns a higher penalty.

Automatic Hearings at Academic Integrity Council and the Senate Appeals Committee

If your instructor or DDM recommends a Disciplinary Suspension, Disciplinary Withdrawal, or Expulsion from the University as a penalty, a hearing will be automatically scheduled at the Academic Integrity Council. A penalty hearing can also be scheduled if you have two findings of Academic Misconduct.You are then required to submit a  Response to Notice of Penalty Hearing Academic Integrity Council form. If the Academic Integrity Council supports the recommendation for Disciplinary Suspension, it will decide on the length of the suspension. However, for Disciplinary Withdrawal or Expulsion, the Senate Appeals Committee is the decision-maker. It is only the Senate Appeals Committee that can decide if a student will be expelled or withdrawn from the University for academic misconduct.  

When you are told that an Automatic Hearing is being scheduled by the Senate Appeal Committee, you will be asked to submit the Response to Notice of Penalty Hearing Senate Appeals Committee form. This gives you an opportunity to provide your perspective on the recommended penalty.

Remember to check the RU SIGNIFICANT DATES for Appeal, Transfer credit and other deadlines!

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