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Impact x2 Qais

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How can we work together to promote better cultural understanding worldwide?

Qais Akbar Omar (GRS’16), a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program, has published a much-praised memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. He recalls how the violence and tumult of civil war jolted his family, who, despite losing relatives, their home, and possessions, continued to nurture his wish to attend a university.

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GRS Academic Conduct Code

I. Rationale for Academic Discipline

In order to ensure that the academic competence of students be judged fairly, and to promote the integrity of graduate education, the Graduate School embraces two broad principles: (1) No honest student should be put to a disadvantage because of the dishonesty of another student; (2) Penalties should be commensurate with the misdemeanors.

II. Definition of Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct is a student’s own conduct which intentionally misrepresents his or her own academic accomplishments, or which jeopardizes the fair judging of another student’s academic work.

III. Violations

Any attempt to be dishonest or deceptive in the performance of academic work, in or out of the classroom, or any attempt to alter academic records or any collaboration with another student or students in an act of academic misconduct, constitutes an offense. Although not necessarily exhaustive, the following define such violations:

A. Cheating on Examinations: Any attempt by a student to alter his or her performance on an examination in violation of that examination’s stated or commonly understood ground rules.

B. Plagiarism: Any attempt by a student to represent the work of another as his or her own. This includes copying answers of another student on an oral or written examination or copying or substantially restating the work of another person or persons in any oral or written work without citing the appropriate source, or collaborating with someone else in an academic endeavor without acknowledging that person’s contribution.

C. Misrepresentation or Falsification of Data presented for surveys, experiments, etc.

D. Theft of an Examination: Stealing or otherwise discovering and/or making known to others the contents of an examination that has not yet been administered.

E. Forgery, Alteration or Knowing Misuse of graded examination, grade lists, or official records or documents such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc., alterations of examinations or other work after submission.

F. Theft or Destruction of Examinations after submission for the purpose of covering up possible poor performance.

G. Failure to Comply with the Sanctions imposed under the authority of the Committee on Academic Standards.

IV. Administrative Actions

A. Departmental Level

Departmental action is required under any circumstances involving a suspected or known violation by a current or former student, whether that student was enrolled in a GRS course or in a course outside of GRS. The Department Chairperson must be notified in writing of these circumstances, and he or she will constitute an Academic Discipline Committee which shall consist of two graduate students and two faculty members. The Department Chairperson will notify the student(s), in writing, of the nature of the charge(s); the right to legal counsel, if desired; and the date of the hearing.

This Committee shall hold a meeting to hear all parties involved; a decision shall be made with the Chairperson voting in case of a tie.

Actions which a Departmental Committee may take are:

  • no penalty
  • recommend to faculty to change grade or give “F” grade
  • reprimand (nature of which may be determined by the department)
  • refer to Graduate School

The Department Chairperson will notify the student in writing of the Departmental Academic Discipline Committee’s decision.

B. Graduate School Level

When a current or former student wishes to appeal the decision made by a Departmental Academic Discipline Committee, or if a Departmental Committee cannot reach a resolution, or if a Department wishes to recommend a penalty other than the one allowed, the case is referred to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School.

The Associate Dean may initiate action by appointing a Sub-committee of three regular members of the Committee on Academic Standards (one will act as Chair and vote only in a tie), and two graduate students from the GRS student body.

The CAS Sub-Committee will hold a hearing with all parties involved. The Subcommittee may take the following actions:

  • reprimand (nature of which may be determined by Subcommittee)
  • disciplinary probation
  • expulsion
  • recommend revocation of degree (see Section V for detailed information)

The penalty will have a final review by the Associate Dean of GRS before written notice of the decision is sent to the student.

C. Non-GRS Student Violations

The Departmental level procedures are to be followed:

  • If the student charged with academic misconduct is in the BA/MA program, registered in CAS, and the offense occurs in a GRS course;
  • or if the student is registered in another School or College within Boston University;
  • or if the student is cross-registered from an outside university.

In each instance the Department may refer the case immediately to the GRS Associate Dean, who will consult with the student’s home department or school to determine if the issue is to be handled by the Graduate School.

D. Appeals

A student may appeal the judgment or penalty to the Associate Dean and/or the Dean of CAS/GRS, who shall review the documentation and may refer the appeal to the Subcommittee for clarification and comments. A re-hearing, normally, will be ordered only if new evidence is presented. After the rehearing, a recommendation to the Associate Dean is to be made, but penalties may not be more severe than originally proposed. Appeals which have been denied by the Associate Dean and/or the Dean of CAS/GRS may be addressed to the Provost and ultimately the President.

V. Documentation of Disciplinary Action

A. Where “no penalty” is given, no record of the charge shall remain in the student’s departmental file, in the student’s GRS file or on his/her Permanent Record Card.

B. A change of grade or an “F” grade will be made on the student’s Permanent Record Card.

C. A copy of a reprimand shall be placed in the student’s departmental file and in the student’s GRS file. It shall not be recorded on the Permanent Record Card. Past reprimands may be considered in imposing sanctions for further offenses. A reprimand is not made public when records, transcripts, etc., are sent out.

D. Disciplinary probation is established for a specified period of time. It is recorded on the student’s Permanent Record Card for the period of probation. Following the period of probation, it is recorded on the back of the card and is not made public when records, transcripts, etc., are sent out.

E. Expulsion is recorded on the Permanent Record Card and in all student files. Expulsion is permanent.

F. Revocation of degree (procedures which shall be followed after appeals by student have been denied):

  • CAS makes recommendation to GRS Faculty and CAS/GRS Dean
  • GRS Faculty makes recommendation to Trustees; CAS/GRS Dean writes to President requesting Trustee action
  • Board of Trustees conducts an independent review
  • If the degree is rescinded, the President sends a certified letter to Boston University library asking that thesis/dissertation be removed from files
  • University Counsel sends certified letter to student informing him/her of revocation of degree.
*These procedures were unanimously approved by the Graduate School Committee on Academic Standards at its meeting 4 February 1982, Professor Frances K. Grossman, Chair. Revised by the Committee at its meeting December 10, 1986, Professor Marvin Freedman, Chair.


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