Common Faculty Questions
It is expected that faculty refer students suspected of violating the Honor Code to the Office of Academic Integrity. The process is designed to protect the faculty member from false accusations of bias and to protect the student's due process rights. Keep in mind that this requirement should not be confused with the professor's autonomy to determine what situations are simple grading issues, and which are actual attempts at academic dishonesty. If you are not sure, please feel free to contact our office to consult with a staff member. Additionally, refrain from submitting a grade for the assignment in question or the course until after the conclusion of the case.
If a student is referred and the outcome is grade related, the professor should not grade the assignment in question until a determination is made with regard to the alleged integrity violation. If a decision has not been rendered prior to the point in the semester where grades are due, the professor should submit a grade notation of HC in Patriot web. This will generate an NR designation on the student's transcript until the case has concluded. The NR designation does not impact the student's G.P.A. It is merely an indicator that the professor has not yet recorded a grade for the course. Unlike an incomplete, an NR is not time sensitive and does not expire and automatically convert to a grade of F on the transcript. The NR designation can remain indefinitely.
Faculty members should submit an Academic Integrity Referral Form, a Professor Sanction Recommendation form, the syllabus for the course, and all materials relevant to the case that they deem necessary to show that an alleged violation took place. These materials can include Safe Assign reports, copies of documents the student is alleged to have used in their materials, photos, witness statements, or other information they deem relevant. If it appears a document referenced in your referral form is missing, our staff will contact you to ask if you plan to include it, but will not ask with regard to information you fail to reference or provide. Keep in mind the student is allowed access to all the material you submit in a referral in order to prepare a response to your referral. Please note a failure to do so may result in your case being dismissed against the student.
Sanctions vary due to the manner in which the violations occur. Some recommendations are department specific. You will need to consult your department to determine if there is a departmental matrix around academic integrity cases. Typical sanctions for a first time offense include a zero on the assignment, a reduced grade on the assignment and/or in the class, an option to rewrite/redo the assignment, an F in the course, referral to the online Academic Integrity Seminar (values and ethics driven), and/or a referral to the writing center. Suspension or permanent dismissal from Mason may be warranted in first violations depending on the circumstances and nature of the violation.
Typical sanctions for a second offense usually include an F in the course and suspension from the institution. A third offense usually results in permanent dismissal from Mason.
No. All matters involving academic integrity and violations of the University Honor Code must be submitted to the Office of Academic Integrity. Handling such matters without allowing the student's right to due process is against university policy. If legal action were to be taken, you would not be protected by the Office of University Counsel.
Every student has the right to have the their case heard through the Academic Integrity process. If the student disputes the charge(s), their case will be heard in accordance with the Office of Academic Integrity policies as spelled out in the Honor Code. If the case requires an in-person panel, it is scheduled around the student's class schedule. In order to observe a timely process, referring parties are asked to make arrangements to be present at the hearing. If you are unable to appear in person, we can arrange for you to phone in or participate via Skype. If you are unable to appear at all, please note that we may have to proceed with the supporting information you have provided, especially in cases where the process is preventing a student from graduating or proceeding forward in their course of study. The hearing panel will consider all written documentation and all oral presentations from both parties. They will then deliberate in private and make a decision based on the facts of the case.
No. Upon resolution of the case, faculty are responsible for updating grades with the registrar. To do so, access a grade change form and obtain the required signatures and submit it to the Registrar. The Office of Academic Integrity processes educational sanction materials as well as suspension and permanent dismissal paper work with the Registrar.