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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. The Student Code of Academic Conduct 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
  • 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 knowing that they will be submitted/ used for academic assessment
  • Using your own work a second time 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.

You will then have a meeting with your instructor to discuss the suspicion.

Therefore, 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; or (2) you, your instructor, and a mutually agreed upon third party; or (3) a Facilitated Discussion with you, your instructor, and a Facilitator from the Academic Integrity Office.

The specifics of a Facilitated Discussion are:

The Facilitated Discussion can be requested by either you 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 of 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 will explain why s/he thinks you committed academic misconduct. S/he is required to provide evidence to substantiate the suspicion. It is important to listen carefully to what the instructor explains, even if you might be upset by what is being said.

After your instructor presented his/ her opinion, 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). Inform the Academic Integrity Officer immediately, if you realize that there is a document relevant for the discussion missing, so that the document can be made available to the instructor before s/he makes 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 usually done at the end of the Facilitated Discussion. Or, in some instances the summary notes will be emailed to you. If you do not agree with the summary, note your disagreement and what you disagree with on the Summary of Discussion form or in response to the email you received and send it back to the Academic Integrity Office.

After the Facilitated Discussion was held, your instructor will decide whether you engaged in Academic Misconduct or not. If s/he decides 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 Program Director and the Registrar will be informed. A Disciplinary Note (DN) will be automatically placed on the University’s internal academic 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. This must be done within ten working days of when you received 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 appeal to the Senate Appeals Committee using the Senate Appeals Committee Student Code of Conduct Form. However, 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.

Automatic Hearings at Academic Integrity Council and the Senate Appeals Committee

If your instructor 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. You are then required to submit a  Response to Notice of Penalty Hearing Academic Integrity Council. 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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