Standards of Academic Honesty and Disciplinary Procedures
School of Public Health Policy
Students in the School of Public Health are expected to adhere to the highest standards of academic honesty. Academic honesty is essential for students to attain the competencies the School expects of its graduates and to enable the faculty to adequately assess student performance. Any action by a student that subverts these goals seriously undermines the integrity of the educational programs of the School.
This document deals with actions that may be taken by the School against students who commit academic misconduct.
2. Definition of Academic Misconduct
Academic misconduct is any intentional act or omission by a student which misrepresents his or her academic achievements, or any attempt to misrepresent his or her academic achievements. The following acts constitute academic misconduct. This is not an exhaustive list.
Cheating on examinations: The use or attempted use of any unauthorized books, notes or other materials in order to enhance the student’s performance in the examination, copying or attempting to copy from another student’s examination, permitting another student to copy from an examination or otherwise assisting another student during an examination, or any other violation of the examination’s stated or commonly understood ground rules.
Plagiarism: Any representation of the work of another as his or her own constitutes plagiarism. This includes copying or substantially restating the work of another person without the use of quotation marks or other indication that the words of another have been copied, the use of any written or oral work from which the student has obtained ideas or data without citing the source, or collaborating with another person in an academic endeavor without acknowledging that person’s contribution.
- Submitting the same work in more than one course without the consent of all the instructors
- Misrepresentation or falsification of data
- Allowing another student to represent your work as his or her own
- Violating the rules of an examination or assignment
If a faculty member suspects that a student has committed an act of academic misconduct, the faculty member will offer the student an opportunity to meet with him or her to inform the student of the concern and to obtain the student’s response. If the faculty member believes that a charge of academic misconduct is warranted he or she will notify the associate dean for education and provide any relevant evidence or information.
Other Individuals Initiating Charges
Any student, staff or faculty member who has reason to believe that a student has committed an act of academic misconduct may bring this matter to the attention of the associate dean for education. The associate dean for education will review the allegation and the information on which it is based, and will determine whether to proceed with an investigation of the charge.
Associate Dean for Education
The associate dean for education will review the information related to the charge and may interview witnesses. If the associate dean for education concludes that there is evidence of academic misconduct, he or she will provide the student with written notice stating the nature of the conduct, offering the student an opportunity for a meeting with the associate dean for education, and advising the student that he or she may be accompanied to the meeting by a faculty advisor. At this meeting the student will be informed of the evidence that appears to support the charge of misconduct. The student will be given an opportunity to rebut the charges and to provide evidence in his or her defense. The associate dean for education will normally make a determination of whether or not academic misconduct occurred and determine a sanction as specified in Section 4. If the associate dean for education does not wish to make a determination of guilt or innocence, he or she may request that the charges be reviewed by a Faculty/Student Committee.
If the associate dean for education imposes a sanction, such sanction will be stayed pending the result of a hearing before a Faculty/Student Committee or an appeal to the dean unless, in the judgment of the associate dean for education, the health, safety or welfare of the School or the preservation of academic integrity requires the immediate imposition of sanctions.
Both the student and the faculty member or other person who initiated the charge of academic misconduct shall be notified of the decision of the associate dean for education in writing. If the associate dean for education determines that the student has committed academic misconduct, the student may request a hearing by a Faculty/Student Committee. Such request must be submitted in writing to the associate dean for education within 10 days after notification of the associate dean for education’s decision. Failure to submit a request for a Committee hearing or appeal to the dean will constitute a waiver of such rights. The associate dean for education will forward the request to the dean. The student may waive his or her right to appear before a Faculty/Student Committee and may appeal the decision of the associate dean for education directly to the dean in accordance with Section 5.
The student’s written request, whether for a Faculty/Student Committee hearing or appeal to the dean, must specify the grounds for the appeal and whether s/he is appealing the finding of academic misconduct, the sanction, or both.
If a student or the associate dean for education requests a hearing, a Faculty/Student Committee composed of two faculty members and one student shall be appointed by the dean to hear the matter. The dean shall appoint one of the faculty members as the chair of the Faculty/Student Committee. The associate dean for education will provide the student with written notice of the time and place of the hearing and of the student’s right to be accompanied to the hearing by an advisor of his or her choice. The Committee shall hold a hearing at which it will hear evidence regarding the charge of academic misconduct. The associate dean for education will present the charges and the evidence to the Committee. The course instructor or instructors will be present at the hearing if the associate dean for education, the student, or the Committee requests such presence. The hearing will be recorded; however, the proceedings will not be invalidated by reason of a defective recording. The accused student may provide evidence on his or her behalf. The Committee may ask questions of any person and request additional information or witnesses. The student shall normally be allowed, as deemed appropriate in the discretion of the chair, to ask questions of a witness present at the hearing. The chair may limit or exclude testimony that is repetitive or irrelevant to determining the accused student’s guilt or innocence. Inclusion or exclusion of evidence or testimony will not be determined by rules of evidence as used in courts. A student will be found guilty of academic misconduct if a majority of the Committee determines that the preponderance of the evidence supports a finding that the student has committed acts which constitute academic misconduct.
The student may be accompanied at the hearing by an advisor of his or her choice; however, except to the extent permitted by the chair, the advisor may not participate directly in the hearing.
The Committee will deliberate and will normally make its findings within five working days. If the Committee finds the student is not guilty of academic misconduct the case shall be dismissed. If a student is found guilty of academic misconduct the Committee shall determine a sanction. The sanction imposed by the Committee may be more lenient or more severe than the sanction imposed by the associate dean for education. The decision and findings will be sent in writing to the associate dean for education, who will provide the student with a copy of the Committee’s findings.
Except for good cause shown, failure of the student to appear at the Committee’s hearing shall be deemed a withdrawal of a request for a hearing, and a waiver of any right to be heard by a Faculty/Student Committee.
A student who is found guilty of academic misconduct is subject to the following sanctions.
- Expulsion from the School.
- Suspension from the School for a specified period of time.
- Denial of credit, or grade or honors, or denial of a degree; imposition of a failing grade in a course; revocation and withdrawal of credit, grade, honors, or a degree previously credited, awarded, or conferred.
- Disciplinary probation. Disciplinary probation may involve counseling with faculty or staff; restrictions of student privileges; prohibition in participation in School or University activities or events; prohibitions against holding office in or participation in student or School organizations and activities.
- Disciplinary reprimand or warning.
5. Appeal to the Dean of the School of Public Health
A student who is found guilty of academic misconduct may appeal the finding and/or the sanction to the dean. The appeal must be in writing, set forth the grounds upon which the student believes the findings or sanctions should be reversed or modified, and be delivered to the dean not more than ten business days after receiving notice of findings and sanctions. The student must deliver a copy of the appeal to the associate dean for education. The filing of an appeal with the dean will not operate to stay the effect of the sanctions imposed. The appeal may request that sanctions be stayed or modified pending determination of the appeal, and the dean may act on such request at his or her discretion.
The dean, or his or her designee, will review the record of the prior proceedings. The dean’s decision will be in writing and copies will be provided to the student, the associate dean for education, and the members of the Faculty/Student Committee.
The dean, or his or her designee, may:
- Affirm, modify, or reverse the findings of guilt.
- Affirm or modify the sanctions imposed. The severity of the sanctions may be increased or decreased.
- Remand the matter to the associate dean for education or the Faculty/Student Committee for additional investigation or a new hearing; if the case is remanded, the dean must specify whether the sanctions will be maintained or modified pending the completion of the matter on remand.
- Take such other action as the dean deems appropriate.
6. Appeal to the Medical Campus Provost
A student who is found guilty of academic misconduct may appeal the finding and/or the sanctions imposed by the dean to the Medical Campus provost. The appeal must be in writing, set forth the grounds upon which the student believes the findings or sanctions should be reversed or modified, and be delivered to the provost not more than ten business days after receiving of notice of findings and sanctions from the dean. The student must deliver a copy of the appeal to the dean.
The filing of an appeal with the provost will not operate to stay the effect of the sanctions imposed. The appeal may request that sanctions be stayed or modified pending determination of the appeal, and the provost may act on such request at his or her discretion.
A sanction imposed as a result of a finding of academic misconduct will be entered on the student’s permanent record unless this provision is waived by the associate dean for education or dean. If a student is found not guilty of academic misconduct, no record will be made of the charge in the student’s permanent record.
If a student withdraws from School while charges against him or her are pending, or as part of a negotiated settlement of such charges, this fact will be communicated to the registrar and the student will not be allowed to re-enroll unless he or she presents evidence that permission for re-enrollment has been granted by the associate dean for education. If the student withdrew while charges were pending, permission for re-enrollment will be granted only after the charges have been resolved. The School may continue the process of investigating and resolving charges of academic misconduct made against a student even if a student withdraws from the School while the charges of academic misconduct are pending.
8. Violations by Students Who Are Not Enrolled in a School of Public Health Degree Program
These policies apply to students who are enrolled in another school or college within Boston University, who are enrolled at another school or college outside the University, or who are non-degree students charged with academic misconduct in regard to academic work performed in the School of Public Health.
If such a student is found guilty of academic misconduct, in addition to the sanctions that may be imposed as specified in Section 4, such a student may be prohibited from taking additional courses at the School of Public Health, and the finding of academic misconduct will be reported to the school in which the student is enrolled.
9. Applicability of Other Codes of Conduct
Students at the School are also subject to the University’s Code of Student Responsibilities, which is administered by the University’s dean of students. This document does not in any way limit or supersede that Code, or the jurisdiction of the University’s dean of students, nor does it limit the ability of any other school or college in which a student of the School of Public Health may be enrolled, to institute proceedings pursuant to its own disciplinary code.
Approved by SPH Governing Council
July 17, 2008