Appeals of Academic Integrity

Appeal of Penalties for Infractions of Academic Integrity

I. Background

Article 1 section 401-406 of the Student Code covers infractions of academic integrity such as cheating or plagiarism. Sections 404-405 describe the procedures to be followed if an instructor feels a student committed one or more infractions of academic integrity listed in section 402.

The student may appeal the finding or the sanction in these cases. The nature of the sanction determines who hears this appeal. This document only refers to cases heard at the departmental level for penalties less than a failing grade for the course. A copy of these procedures shall be available to the student in the departmental office. In no case shall this departmental appeal result in a harsher sanction than the one originally assessed by the instructor.

II. Appeals Procedure for the Student

A student wishing to appeal the allegation of an infraction and/or the sanction imposed by an instructor should write to the designee of DEO (department executive officer) within five business days of notification of the right to appeal. Such notification should have been received when the student was informed of the instructor's decision concerning the alleged infraction. In the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department the DEO is the Department Head and the designees of the DEO are the Associate Head for Undergraduate Affairs (for undergraduate students) and the Associate Head for Instructional and Graduate Affairs (for graduate students).

III. Appeals Procedures by the Department

A. Hearing Committee

In the ECE Department the Department Advisory Committee serves as the Capricious Grading Committee (CGC) and will serve as the hearing committee for such cases. If a member of the Committee is the instructor who has imposed the sanction, this individual will be replaced by a faculty member chosen by the appropriate Associate Head from either the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee or the Graduate Committee depending on whether the student is an undergraduate or a graduate student.

B. Preliminary Procedures

  1. The instructor will provide the CGC Chair with a copy of all of the information provided to the student concerning this infraction and the sanction imposed.
  2. The student will be requested to provide the CGC Chair with a written statement explaining the basis for the student's feeling that the allegation was incorrect or the sanction unfair.
  3. The CGC will review these statements to see if a hearing is justified. If it is not, the sanction is upheld. The Chair will inform the student and the DEO of this decision. The DEO will then inform the appropriate offices. If it is determined that a hearing is justified, the Chair will request the instructor to respond in writing to the student's statement.

C. The Hearing

  1. The CGC Chair will schedule a hearing for the appeal and provide adequate notice to the student. Both the student and the instructor may be present throughout this session and may present any relevant evidence including testimony by other persons. The session will not be open to the public. Witnesses other than the student and the instructor may be excluded from the hearing during the testimony of other witnesses.
  2. The hearing is not intended to be adversarial but fact-finding. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable but the hearing must be conducted so as to satisfy the requirements of due process. Cross-examination is not a normal part of the hearing.
  3. At the close of the session, the CGC will deliberate privately.
    1. If a majority uphold the instructor's decision, it will stand and the student and the DEO will be informed of this fact.
    2. If a majority of the CGC disagrees with the instructor's decision and recommend a milder sanction, they should inform the DEO of this recommendation. (The CGC may not recommend a harsher sanction). The DEO will decide the actual sanction and inform the instructor of this decision.
    3. If a majority of the Committee disagrees with the instructor's decision and concludes that the student did not commit the infraction, they should inform the DEO of this recommendation. The DEO may then permit the student:
      1. to be given whatever grade the student is entitled to without regard to the charge of an infraction of academic integrity;
      2. to withdraw from the course; or
      3. to change sections in the course, if possible.
  4. If the sanction imposed by the instructor is upheld or a different sanction imposed, the DEO will then forward a record of the sanction imposed to the College Office for Academic Programs for the student as instructed in Section 1-406 (a) of the Code.