Academic Conduct Code

Boston University’s Academic Conduct Code is designed to assist in the development of a supportive and productive learning environment. It is both a description of the University’s ethical expectations of students as well as a guarantee of students’ rights and responsibilities as members of a learning community. The Code provides clarity related to policy and procedure regarding academic conduct.

Effective Fall 2020. All courses offered in the 2020–2021 academic year will be subject to this policy.

This policy applies to all students except the following, which should refer to their academic conduct codes: School of Law students and MD students in the School of Medicine.

For students, the Code establishes an environment of integrity and professionalism that helps to assure each individual of receiving appropriate recognition for their work. The ethical decisions that students face in an academic environment are similar to those they will encounter routinely in the professional world they will enter upon graduation or where they are currently employed. The Code allows faculty to conduct a fair and accurate evaluation of student performance and to maintain a supportive and just learning environment. Academic integrity is a critical component of such an environment, giving faculty the freedom to extend their role as educators to include serving as mentors and colleagues as well as instructors. For administrative staff, the Code gives them the ability to deal more effectively with students, and to work on a student’s behalf both within the University and outside it.

This respect for the University’s recognized ethical values affects the University’s reputation in both the academic and professional communities of which it is a part. This reputation is essential to the success of not only the current generation of students, but previous and future generations as well.

I. Community of Learning and Academic Integrity

Boston University is a community of learning grounded in shared values, rights, and responsibilities. One critical component of our learning community is academic integrity, that is a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to the fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage in representing truthfully one’s knowledge and ideas as one’s own. Our community can only be maintained if all students represent honestly their own knowledge and ideas, believe that their academic competence is being judged fairly on the basis of their knowledge and ideas, and have confidence that they will not be put at a disadvantage because of someone else’s dishonesty. Promoting and protecting academic integrity is the responsibility of every member of the campus community because our goals of teaching, learning, and research can only be accomplished in environments in which ethical standards are upheld.

Academic dishonesty undermines the bonds of trust and honesty between members of the community and defrauds those who depend upon our knowledge and integrity. Students, faculty, and staff of Boston University support this Academic Conduct Code for the purposes of providing an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect, fostering ethical behavior, and cultivating lifelong professional conduct.

II. Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct is conduct by which a student misrepresents their academic accomplishments, or impedes other students’ opportunities of being judged fairly for their academic work. Knowingly allowing others to represent your work as their own is as serious an offense as submitting another’s work as your own.

All students entering Boston University are expected to maintain high standards of academic honesty and integrity. It is the responsibility of every student to be aware of the Academic Conduct Code’s contents and to abide by its provisions. The Academic Conduct Committee of the individual school or college, which is composed of students, faculty, and staff, has jurisdiction over all charges of academic misconduct brought against students in its courses.

In all charges of academic misconduct against a student, the student is entitled to procedural fairness in any disciplinary proceedings. The Academic Conduct Code details the guidelines governing disciplinary proceedings. It also defines violations of the Code and enumerates penalties applicable under the Code.

III. Violations of this Code

Violations of this Code involve attempts to be dishonest or deceptive in the performance of academic work in or out of the classroom, alterations of academic records, alterations of official data on paper or electronic resumes, or unauthorized collaboration with another student or students. Violations include, but are not limited to:

A. Cheating on an examination or assignment. Any attempt by students to alter their performance on an examination or assignment in violation of the stated or commonly understood ground rules.

B. Plagiarism. Representing the work or ideas of another as one’s own; and/or using another’s work or ideas without crediting the source. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following: copying the answers of another student on an examination; copying or restating the work or ideas of another person or persons in any oral or written work (printed or electronic) without citing the appropriate source; using audio or video footage that comes from another source (including work done by another student) without permission and/or acknowledgement of that source; and collaborating with someone else in an academic endeavor without acknowledging their contribution. Plagiarism can consist of acts of commission (appropriating the words or ideas of another as one’s own), or omission (failing to acknowledge/document/credit the source or creator of words or ideas).

C. Misrepresentation, falsification, or fabrication of data presented for surveys, experiments, reports, etc., which includes but is not limited to: citing authors who do not exist; citing interviews that never took place; citing field work that was not completed; and falsely claiming attendance at mandatory class events.

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. Unauthorized communication during examinations. Any unauthorized communication may be considered automatic evidence of cheating.

F. Knowingly allowing another student to represent your work as their own. This includes actions such as: providing a copy of your work to another student, and/or providing (including selling) class materials to third parties that sell or otherwise share such materials–including, but not limited to, homework, exams and exam solutions, submitted papers, or projects. Students with material in an ePortfolio should consider adding a Creative Commons License to their work to remind readers that the work may not be shared without properly attributing it to the creator as the author. For more information on how this policy applies to materials in a student’s ePortfolio and adding a Creative Commons License to your portfolio, see Guidelines on Privacy and Integrity on the Boston University ePortfolio site.

G. Forgery, alteration, or knowing misuse of graded examinations, quizzes, grade lists, or official records or documents, including but not limited to transcripts from any institution, letters of recommendation, degree certificates, examinations, quizzes, or other work after submission.

H. Misrepresentation of identity in any interaction with a member of the Boston University community or on any academic work.

I. Theft or destruction of examinations or papers after submission.

J. Submitting substantially the same work in more than one course without the consent of instructors.

K. Altering or destroying another student’s work or records, altering records of any kind, removing materials from libraries or offices without consent, or in any way interfering with the work of others so as to impede their academic performance.

L. Violation of the rules governing teamwork. Unless the instructor of a course otherwise specifically provides instructions to the contrary, the following rules apply to teamwork: 1. No team member shall intentionally infringe upon the learning of another team member in the course of any team project or other teamwork. 2. No team member shall intentionally restrict or inhibit another team member’s access to team meetings, team work-in-progress, or other team activities. 3. All team members shall be held responsible for the content of all teamwork submitted for evaluation as if each team member had individually submitted the entire work product of their team as their own work.

M. Failure to sit in a specifically assigned seat during examinations.

N. Unauthorized downloading, uploading, sharing, and/or duplicating course materials including, but not limited to, assignments, exams, quizzes, slides, videos, and any other material created and/or provided by the instructor without the instructor’s express permission. This includes, but is not limited to, downloading/uploading/viewing/sharing/selling copyrighted material found on commercial notes-sharing websites such as Course Hero and GitHub.

O. Conduct in a professional field assignment that violates the policies and regulations of the host school or agency.

P. Conduct in violation of public law occurring outside the University that directly affects the academic and professional status of the student, after civil authorities have imposed sanctions.

Q. Attempting improperly to influence the award of any credit, grade, or honor.

R. Intentionally making false statements to the Academic Conduct Committee or intentionally presenting false information to the Committee.

S. Unprofessional treatment of patients and clients including, but not limited to: Treating patients/clients without authorization or supervision by faculty; treating patients/clients in unauthorized clinical settings; Accepting personal monetary payment from patients/clients for services; waiving patient payment responsibilities without authorization, or otherwise acting in disregard of patient-related contracting and financial policies; failing to comply with policies and procedures related to patient/client care; failing to maintain accepted protocols regarding infection control and OSHA standards; treating a patient/client while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; refusal to properly treat any patient/client for reasons of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, financial status, or disability; patient/client abandonment; violating patient/client rights to confidentiality or improperly disclosing confidential patient information; falsifying patient/client records in any manner, e.g., by changing previous entries, making false entries, or by forging signatures, with or without intent to defraud, injure or deceive; failure to maintain demonstrable and timely progression towards achievement of clinical competencies.

T. Failure to comply with the sanctions imposed under the authority of this Code.

IV. Procedure for Suspected Violations

Every school or college shall designate an Assistant or Associate Dean with responsibility for administering the procedures set forth in this Code. Every school or college shall also designate one (1) or more faculty or staff persons as a Designated Academic Integrity Representative (DAIR). The DAIR shall not be a member of the school or college’s academic conduct committee. The role of the DAIR is to ensure fairness and to act as a resource for faculty and/or students. By way of example only, a DAIR might clarify the process for a student, or advise a faculty member on what material they need to bring to a hearing. The DAIR does not represent any party, nor is the DAIR an arbitrator or mediator between faculty/staff and student. The DAIR and the faculty member(s) involved in a case of alleged misconduct shall discuss the student’s privacy rights in terms of FERPA and GDPR (if applicable) and seek counsel from OGC and the University Registrar as necessary. Students may opt to restrict release of their data as governed under these regulations.

When an alleged infraction occurs in a school/college other than the one in which the student is enrolled, the initial determination of misconduct will be made by the Academic Conduct Committee of the school/college where the alleged infraction occurred. For all University courses and cocurricular experiences with a HUB prefix, the College of Arts & Sciences shall be considered the school/college where the infraction occurred. Assessment of any penalty will come from the student’s school/college of enrollment based upon the recommendation of the Dean and Committee from the school/college where the infraction took place.

A. Faculty or Staff who have reason to believe that a student has violated this Code shall:

  1. Meet with the student and inform the student of the suspected violation, and document the student’s response. The faculty member or student may request that a DAIR be present.
  2. The Faculty will report suspected violations of the Code to the Assistant or Associate Dean using the “Instructor Report of Student Academic Misconduct.” This form will be accompanied by a statement indicating the supporting evidence upon which the faculty member has relied as well as the faculty/staff’s documentation of the student’s response to the charges.
  3. The designated Dean will ascertain whether the student has previously signed an Agreement for Resolution (formerly called Admission of Academic Misconduct Form) or has any prior record of academic misconduct in any college or school in the University, and will notify the faculty member and student of the resources of the DAIR.

B. Cases of Undisputed Academic Misconduct by First-Time Offenders

  1. If the student has admitted to the academic misconduct and has never signed an Agreement for Resolution or been found guilty of an academic conduct violation at Boston University, the faculty member may request the designated Dean’s authorization to sanction the student by means of grading penalty up to and including a failing grade in the course. The faculty member will propose a grading penalty to the designated Dean.
  2. The designated Dean, at their discretion, and taking into account the nature of the infraction, may grant written permission to the faculty member to enter into an agreement with the student for a grading penalty in lieu of proceedings before the Academic Conduct Committee.
  3. If such permission is received, the faculty member will inform the student of the option to agree to a grading penalty. If the student chooses this option, the agreement between the faculty member and student must be formalized by both the student and faculty member meeting and signing the University’s Agreement for Resolution Form. Before signing the Agreement for Resolution Form, the student must be advised that by signing the form they are taking responsibility for an act of academic misconduct and that they may have to report this fact on graduate school applications, applications to the Bar, or in other such circumstances. Students and/or faculty can request that a DAIR be present to advise and/or serve as a resource for faculty and students during the signing of the Agreement for Resolution Form.
  4. An accused student is not compelled to sign such an agreement and may choose to exercise the right to have their case heard by the Academic Conduct Committee.

C. Cases of Disputed Academic Misconduct, Repeat Offenders, or Serious Offenses

If the student disputes the charge of Academic Misconduct, or if the designated Dean denies permission for a grading penalty because the student is a repeat offender as evidenced by an existing signed Agreement for Resolution Form or prior record of academic misconduct in any school or college in the University, or because of the serious nature of the offense, the designated Dean shall then refer the charges and supporting evidence to the Academic Conduct Committee, which shall then proceed with a hearing.

D. Reporting and Documenting Procedures: All evidence should be carefully documented using the guidelines set forth below:

  1. The person originating the charges shall present them in writing, accompanied by suitable evidence, to the Office of the Dean. That person shall make themselves available to the designated Dean for pre-hearing conferences if necessary, and shall appear at or be available for the student academic conduct hearing whenever possible. However, the Chair shall have the discretion to excuse the complainant’s attendance if the absence will not prejudice the student.
  2. Witnesses to the alleged infraction of the Student Academic Conduct Code may be requested to file a report on the incident and shall make themselves available for pre-hearing conferences and student academic conduct hearings.
  3. The following are the guidelines for obtaining evidence of violations of the Student Academic Conduct Code in connection with:
    1. Conduct During Examinations. If an irregularity occurs during an examination, the person who originally notes the irregularity should attempt to have their observations corroborated by others who are also in the room (e.g., proctors). The person(s) making the report shall provide specific information such as the time of the observation, type or irregularity observed, number of times it took place, exactly which sections of the examination were affected by the infraction, the name of each individual participating in the irregularity, and the extent of participation by each individual.
    2. Papers, Reports, and Examinations. If the misconduct is inferred from the appearance and/or content of a paper, examination, or other assignment where the professor or proctor has had no chance to observe the actual process, specific reference should be made to each section of the paper, examination, or other assignment that gives evidence of misconduct. Where possible, copies of pertinent sections or answers and copies of any other pertinent material (original sources from which section or sections were allegedly plagiarized, and so on) should be submitted with the report to the Dean.
    3. Other types of academic misconduct. Reports should be prepared using the same rules of careful observation and accurate documentation as outlined above.

V. Procedure

A. Academic Conduct Committee: The designated Dean will institute proceedings before the committee by forwarding the case to the Chair of the Academic Conduct Committee (committee). The committee shall consist of faculty and staff members appointed by the Dean, and graduate students or advanced undergraduate students of junior-year standing or higher appointed by the Assistant or Associate Dean of the college. The committee has jurisdiction over: (a)every alleged act of academic misconduct on the part of any student enrolled in a course taught in the school/college, whether that student is enrolled in that school/college or some other academic unit at the University or any other college or university; and (b) any act of academic misconduct not related to a course by any student enrolled in the school/college. The committee will also have jurisdiction over every alleged act of misconduct pertaining to course credits earned in the school/college by any person. This shall include any person who has received a baccalaureate degree from the University.

B. When students are called before Academic Conduct Committees of another school/college in the University, the designated Dean of the school or college holding the hearing shall inform the designated Dean of the school/college of enrollment of the nature of the charge and the time of the hearing. Whenever possible, a representative from the school/college of enrollment should be present at the hearing and deliberations.

C. If the designated Dean refers the case to the Academic Conduct Committee, the Dean’s office shall inform the student by email at least twelve days prior to the hearing. The email shall be sent (read receipt/delivery notification enabled) to the student’s official university email account. It shall include the following:

  1. The charges and copies of all documents that will be used as evidence in the hearing.
  2. The date, time, and location of the hearing.
  3. The fact that the student may request to reschedule the hearing, within a limited time period, for a valid reason.
  4. The fact that the student may be accompanied by an advisor of their choice. At the discretion of the committee chair, the advisor may be allowed to make a brief statement on behalf of the student. The advisor may not otherwise participate directly in the hearing.
  5. The fact that the student may also bring witnesses to provide additional information related to the alleged offense. The chair may limit or exclude the matters presented by any individual to the extent that such information is repetitive or is not pertinent to the guilt or innocence of the student.
  6. The fact that the student shall have the right to examine the person bringing the charges, and at the discretion of the chair and in a manner to be prescribed by the chair, to examine all witnesses.
  7. The fact that the student may, but is not required, to submit a written statement and/or other documents for review by the Academic Conduct Committee, provided that any such written statement is prepared by the student (and not by their advisor), and provided that any statement or documents that the student wishes the Academic Conduct Committee to review are received by the Dean’s Office at least seven (7) days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing. The Academic Conduct Committee reserves the right not to accept or review any materials that are submitted after this deadline.

D. Waiver of Twelve-Day Notice. A student may waive the twelve-day (12) notice requirement. The committee may hold an expedited hearing when the Chair and student both believe that doing so is in the interest of fairness.

E. Hearings

  1. Members of the committee may be excused if the case might involve a conflict of interest (e.g., kinship, teacher-student relationship, etc.).
  2. The Dean may appoint pro tempore members to replace regular faculty members who are unable to attend, or who have been excused.
  3. When students are called before Academic Conduct Committees of another school/college in the University, a representative from the home school/college of the student shall be invited to attend, but will not vote.
  4. No student shall be found guilty except on the vote of a majority of the voting members present at a hearing.
  5. The quorum for hearings shall be five voting members of the committee, at least three of whom shall be faculty members. Once the meeting is called to order, the departure of one or more committee members shall not defeat the quorum and the meeting may continue to conclusion. If committee members do depart before deliberations occur, final decisions about the case should be suspended until the departing member(s) has had a chance to review the sound recording of the hearing and express their judgment. In no case shall a decision be suspended for more than 7 days after the hearing.
  6. The chair shall be counted as a voting member, but shall cast their vote only in order to break a tie vote.
  7. A hearing shall proceed in the absence of the accused student only if:
    1. The student waives the right to be present or
    2. The committee is satisfied that proper notice of the hearing was given to the student and that there is no legitimate cause for the absence.
  8. The hearing shall be recorded by sound recording. The recordings are to be preserved for one year. Any participant in the hearing may obtain a copy of the recording or the transcript of the hearing (if one is made, though the University is under no obligation to produce a transcript) at actual cost. Deliberations are private and are not recorded.
  9. The Chair in their discretion shall administer the hearing to promote fairness. Subject to that discretion, the hearing shall include:
    1. Presentation of charges by the committee chair.
    2. Presentation and examination of material evidence and witnesses by the committee and by the accused student(s) but excluding material relevant to sanctions to be imposed. In appropriate circumstances, the chair may take steps to protect a witness through actions such as sequestering, withholding a witness’s identity, or taking testimony prior to a hearing.
    3. Statement by the accused student(s) and examination of the student(s) by the committee.
    4. Additional examination of witnesses if required.
    5. After excusing the accused student, and advisor, and witnesses, deliberation of the committee, which shall not be recorded.
    6. Formulation of the judgment and assessment of any appropriate penalty by a majority vote of the members present providing there is a quorum (see E5 above).
  10. The chair shall make the necessary determination of the scope of the inquiry with a view to according full and fair exploration of relevant material. It is in the discretion of the chair whether to accept additional documents prepared by any of the witnesses and first offered at the time of the hearing.
  11. Because the hearing is not a court hearing, the committee is not bound by legal rules of evidence. However, every effort will be made to conduct hearings as fairly and expeditiously as possible.
  12. The hearing shall not be public, and information gained at the hearing shall be treated as privileged information by all participants. This does not bar the disclosure of the findings and recommendations of the committee to those authorized to receive such information. Inasmuch as this provision is for the protection of accused students, it does not bar them from disclosing information pertaining solely to themselves, if they wish to do so, provided, however that in proceedings involving multiple students, no student should disclose information learned about any other accused student to any persons not participating in the hearing.
  13. At the request of the accused student, the chair of the Academic Conduct Committee may, at their discretion, elect to admit parents or legal guardians. See C. 4.
  14. The hearing shall be conducted with proper decorum. The hearing may be recessed by the chair if:
    1. Additional evidence or witnesses are needed.
    2. It is apparent that a fair hearing cannot be held because of disturbances, illness, or similar causes.
  15. The school/college may, from time to time, make public the facts and decisions of cases that come before the committee. However, such reports shall not reveal the name of any student, professor, or course involved in a case that has been heard by the committee.

F. Recommendation

  1. Cases involving students enrolled in the school/college where the infraction occurred:
    The committee shall write up its recommendation including a statement of the charges, evidence, judgment, and recommended penalty, which shall be transmitted to the designated Dean within seven (7) days after the hearing at which the judgment was made. With regard to the judgment, the designated Dean shall review the evidence supporting the committee’s findings. If necessary, the designated Dean may refer the matter back to the committee for further consideration and/or elaboration, or may request the transcript or recording of the hearing and/or copies of the evidence. However, the judgment of the committee shall not be replaced by a judgment more damaging to the student unless new evidence has been considered upon a rehearing. Similarly, with regard to the recommended penalty the designated Dean of the school or college conducting the hearing shall not impose more severe penalties than those recommended by the committee.
  1. Cases involving students enrolled in another school/college.
    If the accused student is not enrolled in the school/college where the infraction occurred, the designated Dean of the school/college conducting the hearing shall transmit the committee’s judgment and recommended penalty to the designated Dean of the student’s school/college within 7 days. With regard to the judgment and recommended penalty, the designated Dean of the student’s school/college shall review the evidence supporting the committee’s findings. If necessary, the designated Dean may refer the matter back to the committee for further consideration and/or elaboration, or may request the transcript or recording of the hearing and/or copies of the evidence. However, the judgment of the committee shall not be replaced by a judgment more damaging to the student unless new evidence has been considered upon a rehearing. With regard to the recommended penalty, the designated Dean of the student’s school/college is not bound by the committee’s recommendation, but shall make an independent determination of the appropriateness of the recommended penalty, and may impose a penalty that is greater or lesser than that recommended by the committee.

G. Within 14 days of the date of the Committee’s final recommendation, the designated Dean of the student’s school/college shall send an email (read receipt/delivery notification enabled) to the student’s official university email account notifying the student of the judgment and penalty imposed.

VI. Penalties

A. Students Who Sign Approved Agreement for Resolution Forms

Students who sign Agreement for Resolution Forms shall receive the grading penalty noted on the form. Students will also receive a letter of reprimand from the designated Dean. The form and the letter of reprimand will be retained in the student’s internal record in the school or college, but shall not be recorded on the student’s transcript. It may, however, be considered when reviewing the student’s eligibility for University programs and when imposing sanctions for future offenses.

B. Students Whose Cases Are Referred to the Committee

Students who are not allowed the option of a grading penalty or who elect to have their cases heard by the Academic Conduct Committee may receive the sanctions of Reprimand, Disciplinary Probation, Suspension, or Expulsion only through action of the Academic Conduct Committee. If applicable, a faculty member may assign a grade of “I” in a course while a matter is pending before the Academic Conduct Committee. In a case in which the Academic Conduct Committee has found a violation of the Code, the ultimate grade assigned by the faculty member may also reflect the faculty member’s determination of how seriously overall course goals and expectations of the academic discipline are compromised by work involved in an incident of academic misconduct, and how that work should in consequence contribute to the final course grade.

C. Students who believe that a faculty member has penalized them for alleged acts of academic misconduct without having followed the procedures set forth in this Code should make their concerns known as soon as possible to the designated Dean.

D. If the accused is found by the Committee to have committed academic misconduct, the Committee may recommend any reasonably appropriate penalty. The penalty may be one or more of those listed below; however, because it is impossible to anticipate all variables of misconduct, the Committee has broad power to fashion a sanction that is fair to the student, suitable to the offense, and effective as a future deterrent. The Committee may recommend such other appropriate sanction as it sees fit.

  1. No penalty for minor violations that do not warrant sanction.
  2. Reprimand
    1. For violations of a minor nature or mitigated by extenuating circumstances.
    2. A copy of the reprimand shall be placed in the student’s internal record but shall not be recorded on the student’s transcript. Past reprimands may be considered in imposing sanctions for future offenses
    3. Reprimands place no restriction on the student’s participation in academic or nonacademic school/college or all-University activities.
  3. Disciplinary Probation
    1. For violations deemed serious enough to warrant some abridgment of the student’s rights and privileges.
    2. Given for a specified period of time.
    3. Prohibits the student from being an officer in any recognized all-University or school/college student organization, and from participating in intercollegiate activities during the specified probation period.
  4. Suspension
    1. For violations deemed serious enough to warrant separation of the student from the University community for a limited time, but not serious enough to warrant expulsion.
    2. Given for a period of one to three semesters.
    3. Recorded on the student’s transcript; the student’s transcript shall carry the statement “withdrawn.”
    4. The student must apply to the Dean of their school/college for readmission, making a satisfactory statement concerning their interim activities and their intended future conduct.
    5. No academic coursework may be undertaken for Boston University credit, nor may any Boston University degree be conferred, during the period of suspension.
  5. Expulsion
    1. For extremely serious academic misconduct.
    2. Recorded on the student’s transcript.
    3. Expulsion is permanent.
  6. Other sanctions
    1. Successful completion of one of the Educational Resource Center’s periodic academic integrity workshops. The record of successful completion shall be maintained for purposes of documenting a first offense.
    2. Removal from a Professional Program. For violations involving conduct that is considered serious enough to withdraw the student from a program leading to a professional endorsement from the University. Such conduct may take place within a professional field assignment as well as the University. Removal from a professional program does not, in itself, bar the student from graduation.
    3. Revocation of the degree. For serious misconduct, including but not limited to misconduct that occurred while the student was enrolled at the University but was discovered after graduation, conduct involving fraudulent use of University transcripts or degree certificates after graduation, or similar serious misconduct.

VII. Dissemination of Information

A. Notice of suspension or expulsion is sent to the parent or guardian of a student who has consented to the release of such information to their parents or guardians.

B. Dissemination of information is governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and GDPR (if applicable).

C. Any sanction resulting in a separation from the University, i.e., suspension, expulsion, and/or revocation of admission or degree, will be recorded on the student’s transcript. See bu.edu/reg/academics/ferpa/ for more information.

D. Any record created pursuant to this Code may be disclosed with or without a waiver if required by law.

E. Efforts will be made to ensure that students receive a copy of the Academic Conduct Code at their first registration at the University. The URL to the Code will be provided centrally through the University Bulletin and located on the Academic Integrity website.

VIII. Record Retention

A. Academic integrity records will be retained by the school or college of enrollment for seven years after the student graduates or otherwise leaves the University.

B. Records relating to suspension, expulsion, or revocation of a degree shall be retained by the University indefinitely.

IX. Appeals

A. All decisions may be appealed to the Dean of the school/college in which the student is enrolled. Such appeals must be filed within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the final decision and penalty.

B. A student who is appealing is entitled to receive a copy of all materials considered by the committee, a copy of the tape recording of the hearing, and a copy of the committee’s report.

C. When a student is enrolled in a school/college other than the school/college where the case was heard and is appealing both the judgment and penalty, the Dean of the student’s school/college shall request that the Dean of the school/college where the case was heard render a decision on the appeal of the judgment. Thereafter, the Dean of the student’s school/college of enrollment will render a decision on the appeal of the penalty.

D. Standard on Appeal: The decision of the designated Dean should be upheld unless it appears on appeal that the decision was unreasonable and unfair. The Dean will notify the student of the decision. The letter shall also inform the student of the procedure for appeal to the University Provost.

E. Within fourteen (14) days of the receipt of the Dean’s final response to appeals within the school/college, a student may appeal the judgment or the penalty to the University Provost. Appeals are to be in writing, setting forth the basis of the appeal and whether the student is appealing the judgment, the penalty, or both.

F. The Provost shall review the documentation, and when deemed necessary, may refer the appeal back to the original committee for clarification and comments.

G. A rehearing will be ordered only if new evidence is presented or a procedural error is identified. The procedure at a rehearing is the same.

H. After the hearing, a recommendation to the Provost is to be made, as described in section E. I. (“Recommendation”), above.

I. Before making a decision, the Provost may conduct their own investigation if they feel it is warranted.

J. The decision of the Provost is final.

Academic Integrity Addendum for Graduate Students

Philosophy and Importance of Academic Integrity in Graduate Scholarship and Professional Training

The work of the academy focuses on extending the bounds of current knowledge. The community of scholarship includes undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and faculty undertaking original research, sharing ideas, and fostering intellectual interchange. A graduate student’s training in a specific discipline begins by learning about the work of the preeminent scholars in their field. Early on, the student works with supervising faculty to dig deeply into a particular aspect of a subject, something that hasn’t been extensively explored but may build upon the works of others. Ultimately, the production of a thesis, dissertation, capstone or other creative scholarly artifact relies upon the originality, honesty, and veracity of the student.

The International Center for Academic Integrity defines academic integrity “as a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to six fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. From these values flow principles of behavior that enable academic communities to translate ideals to action.” Academic integrity is a core underpinning of the scholarly community. Programs like the University’s Responsible Conduct of Research underscore the “central importance of truth, integrity, and transparency in research and scholarship; highlight the value and necessity of open and honest communication with colleagues and mentors; point out our responsibilities to the larger research community and public; and emphasize how important it is to be proactive to ensure that our research environments are characterized by fairness, clarity, and respect.” When an institution maintains scrupulous standards of integrity and honesty in scholarship, the degrees it awards are meaningful and representative of reality.

Students in professional programs that involve the care of patients or clients or the education of PK-12 students are also expected to maintain high standards of personal and professional integrity. Students must treat patients, clients, and students with respect and dignity, and with the understanding that the health and welfare of these patients, clients, and students is paramount.

In addition to meeting the standards of Boston University, students are expected to meet the standards for conduct and professional behavior set forth by their professional training site(s).

Summary of Academic Integrity Violations

Please see section III of the Academic Conduct Code for more information about violations.

At the graduate level, it is expected that students exhibit sophistication in understanding the tenets of academic integrity. At Boston University, graduate students are governed by the presumption that their academic work is held to the highest standards of research and scholarship.

Plagiarism; responsible authorship and allocation of credit

Scholarship demands proper recognition of the reliance on the prior scholarship of others and truthful representation of original research and data. To misappropriate the ideas of another or to misrepresent the contributions of colleagues means that one risks all one has worked for, compromises one’s integrity, and loses the future one had hoped to create for oneself in graduate school.

Falsification of data or results; data acquisition and management

The National Institutes of Health Central Resource for Grants and Funding Information site defines research misconduct as “fabrication [or] falsification… in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.” Fabrication involves creating data or results and falsification involves intentional manipulation, modification, omission or misrepresentation of research processes, data or results.

Unethical Collaboration

Collaboration is an essential component of much scholarly activity. It is a centerpiece of much graduate level research, especially in the laboratory sciences; and group projects, study teams, and collaborative problem-solving, when allowed or encouraged by an instructor in graduate courses, can contribute to knowledge and cultivate practical skills for daily living. At the same time, appropriate assignment of credit for work done in collaborative contexts is crucial. Especially in research environments, but also in classroom settings, it is important that participants in collaborations of various sorts have clear agreement on the assignment of individual credit. In research contexts, it may be helpful to have this agreement in writing, and it will likely be important for students to discuss credit assignment with their faculty advisors. It is important that collaborators clearly acknowledge all those whom they have collaborated in submitted course assignments or research. Unethical collaboration misrepresents joint work as one’s own.

Unprofessional treatment of patients and clients

Students must treat patients, clients, and pre-K–12 students with respect and professionalism. Students must treat patients, clients, or students according to their professional code of ethics and current standards of practice and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Working with patients, clients, or pre-K–12 students without authorization; refusing to work with any patient, client, or student because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, color, religion, national origin, financial status, or disability; or otherwise acting in disregard of patient, client, and student well-being and privacy are violations of the Academic Conduct Code.

Consequences

The consequences of academic misconduct are substantial, see section VI of the Academic Conduct Code. A finding of plagiarism, falsification of data, or other violation casts doubt upon the whole of the student’s work, nullifying individual findings and perhaps adversely affecting the work of a larger research group.

According to the Academic Conduct Code, the possible penalties for violations include:

  • Reprimand
  • Disciplinary Probation
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Revocation of Degree