Academic Misconduct Policy

Purposes and Principles

The purposes of this academic misconduct policy are to maintain the academic integrity of Tennessee Technological University as an institution of higher learning; to help insure that miscarriages of justice do not occur through erroneous, arbitrary, or whimsical actions by any of the parties concerned; and to provide regular channels through which decisions on such matters might be equitably determined.

The first principle upon which this policy stands is that plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty undermine the integrity of the academic process, and cannot be tolerated in an institution of higher learning. The classroom instructor, by virtue of the University's decision to hire him/her in an instructional capacity, is assumed to be an ethical person dedicated to the maintenance of high professional standards. Consequently, the instructor has the primary responsibility for control over classroom behavior, maintenance of academic integrity, and assignment of academic grades. The student has the right to just and equitable enforcement of all academic policies and standards, and to appeal a decision which he has evidence to indicate was erroneous. Because the instructor is the person with primary responsibility for such matters, the student's first recourse must be to the instructor concerned, but in cases where a satisfactory resolution cannot be achieved at that level, the student has the right to appeal to a College Academic Misconduct Committee. It must be understood by all parties concerned, however, that in doing so, the student assumes the responsibility of submitting to that committee mitigating evidence which supports the contention of an erroneous act on the part of the instructor, and is not merely contesting the instructor's original decision.

The following procedures are proposed to ensure compliance with these purposes and principles:

The Instructor

  1. Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited, and students involved in academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly as a participant or abettor, are immediately responsible to the instructor of the class, who has the authority to assign an "F" or a zero for the exercise or examination, or to assign an "F" for the course. In addition, the instructor may temporarily exclude a student involved in academic misconduct, but should provide for the student who may make a successful appeal. [The instructor has the primary responsibility for control over classroom behavior and maintenance of academic integrity, can order the temporary removal or exclusion from the classroom of any student engaged in disruptive conduct or conduct violative of the general rules and regulations of the institution. Extended or permanent exclusion from the classroom or further disciplinary action can be effected only through appropriate procedures of the institution.]
  2. A formal charge of misconduct must be sent in writing to the student, the Vice President for Student Affairs, and the Assistant Director of Records during the semester concerned or within five (5) calendar days after the final grades are due to the Records Office, or, in a case involving a graduating senior, by 4:30 p.m. the day grades are due. Within twenty-four (24) hours after receiving the charge, the Vice President for Student Affairs shall notify the student of his or her options. If the infraction is sufficiently grave, the instructor may in addition refer the matter to the University Academic Misconduct Committee for possible imposition of institutional sanctions.
  3. If within seven (7) calendar days after notification by the Vice President for Student Affairs the student signs a "Waiver of Appeal" or fails to initiate an appeal ("Request for Appeal" forms are available in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs), the judgment of the instructor in the matter is final.
  4. If within seven (7) calendar days after notification by the Vice President for Student Affairs, the student initiates an appeal before the College Academic Misconduct Committee, the instructor should await the committee's decision before making final disposition of the case. If the committee concludes the student has no mitigating evidence to support a contention of erroneous treatment, the instructor's judgment is confirmed and the matter is closed. If the committee deems the student to have mitigating evidence which contravenes the instructor's judgment, the instructor would be well advised to reconsider his action.

The Student

  1. The student has a primary obligation to assist in the maintenance of the academic integrity of the institution granting his degree, and he must conduct himself at all times in a manner above suspicion of academic dishonesty. Students involved in academic misconduct are immediately responsible to the instructor of the class, who has the authority to exclude temporarily, to assign an "F" or zero for the exercise or examination, or to assign an "F" for the course.
  2. The student who is charged with having committed an infraction by an instructor may allow the charge to stand and accept the consequences imposed by the instructor, may sign a "Waiver of Appeal" ("admitting guilt") and accept the consequences imposed by the instructor, or may, within seven (7) calendar days after notification by the Vice President for Student Affairs sign a "Request for Appeal" form (forms are available in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs), providing the student asserts that he has mitigating evidence to support the contention of erroneous treatment on the part of the instructor.
  3. Appeals are heard by the College Academic Misconduct Committee in the academic unit in which the infraction occurred. If, after consideration of mitigating evidence, the committee confirms the instructor's actions, the case is closed. If, in its opinion, mitigating evidence warrants, the committee may recommend to the instructor that he reconsider his actions.
  4. If the instructor persists, refusing to accept the recommendation of the College Academic Misconduct Committee, the student may avail himself of the grade appeals procedures provided by Tennessee Technological University, the Tennessee Board of Regents, and the State of Tennessee.

The Vice President for Student Affairs

  1. Within twenty-four (24) hours after receiving a written charge of academic misconduct from the instructor, the Vice President for Student Affairs shall notify the student of the instructor's misconduct charge and of the student's options..
  2. If within seven (7) calendar days after notification the student signs a waiver or fails to initiate an appeal ("Waiver of Appeal" and "Request for Appeal" forms are available in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs), the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall inform the instructor that the matter is closed.
  3. If within seven (7) calendar days after notification the student initiates an appeal, the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall so inform the Chairperson of the College Academic Misconduct Committee in the academic unit where the infraction occurred and, after consultation with the Chairperson, shall notify the student, the instructor, and committee members of the date, time, and place of the committee meeting.
  4. When and if the College Academic Misconduct Committee confirms the action of the instructor, the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall make a notation on the student's disciplinary record. If a pattern of misconduct is evident, the matter should be referred by the Vice President for Student Affairs to the University Academic Misconduct Committee for possible university sanctions.
  5. The office of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall provide support services for the college and university academic misconduct committees.

College Academic Misconduct Committees

  1. Unit Committees:
    1. A College Academic Misconduct Committee shall be established in each of the following academic units:
      1. College of Agricultural and Human Sciences
      2. College of Arts and Sciences
      3. College of Business Administration
      4. College of Education (including ROTC and Craft Center)
      5. College of Engineering
      6. School of Nursing
  2. Jurisdiction:
    1. Upon request of the student involved in academic misconduct, the College Academic Misconduct Committee from the academic unit where the infraction occurred may hear an appeal, provided the student asserts he has mitigating evidence which has a bearing on the instructor's actions.
    2. The College Academic Misconduct Committee may hold a hearing to determine the validity of the mitigating evidence only. Under no circumstances is the committee to determine guilt or innocence or to impugn in any manner the professional integrity of the instructor or contravene his responsibility for control over classroom behavior and maintenance of academic standards.
    3. If, in the opinion of the committee, mitigating evidence is sufficient to warrant reconsideration of the instructor's actions, it may make such a recommendation to the instructor, with copies to be sent to the instructor's departmental chairperson, his academic dean, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Vice President for Student Affairs.
  3. Membership:
    1. The College Academic Misconduct Committee of each unit, except for the School of Nursing, shall consist of one faculty member and one alternate from each department within the unit, elected for a three-year term by the department, and one student and alternate majoring within the academic unit nominated by the President of the Associated Student Body and appointed by the President of the University for a one-year term. The College Academic Misconduct Committee for the School of Nursing shall consist of three faculty members elected for three-year terms and one student and one alternate nominate by the President of the Associated Student Body and appointed by the President of the University for a one-year term.
    2. A quorum shall consist of three members including the Chairperson of the College Academic Misconduct Committee, the faculty representative from the department in which the infraction occurred and the student representative or student alternate. In cases where a member of the College Academic Misconduct Committee is involved, the alternate faculty member elected by his department shall serve on the College Academic Misconduct Committee. In cases where the Chairperson of the College Academic Misconduct Committee is involved, he shall assign another member of the College Academic Misconduct Committee to serve as Chairperson.
    3. The College Academic Misconduct Committee shall annually elect its Chairperson.
  4. Support Services
    1. The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall provide the support services for the College Academic Misconduct Committees.
    2. The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall notify the Chairperson of the College Academic Misconduct Committee when a meeting is necessary and shall, after consultation with the Chairperson, notify the student, the instructor, and committee members of the date, time and place of the meeting.

University Academic Misconduct Committee

  1. Jurisdiction:
    1. The University Academic Misconduct Committee shall hear cases involving academic misconduct referred to it from the instructor or the Vice President for Student Affairs when the gravity of the offense or a record of recurring offenses warrant imposition of institutional sanctions against an offender. Under no circumstances is the University Academic Misconduct Committee to review the decision of the College Academic Misconduct Committee, or to hold hearings on the facts of the case under consideration, or to determine guilt or innocence in any way. It is to confine its deliberations to the social implications for the university community of the academic infractions committed by the offender.
    2. The University Academic Misconduct Committee may, if it deems the offense or record warrant, recommend to the President that a student involved in academic misconduct receive a warning or a reprimand, be placed on probation, be suspended, or be expelled.
  2. Membership:
    1. The University Academic Misconduct Committee shall consist of the Chairperson of each College Academic Misconduct Committee and one student and alternate nominated by the President of the Associated Student Body and appointed by the President of the University for a one-year term.
    2. A quorum shall consist of five (5) members, including the Chairperson of the University Academic Misconduct Committee, the representative from the college in which the infraction occurred, and the student representative or alternate.
    3. The Chairperson of the University Academic Misconduct Committee shall be elected annually by the committee.
  3. Support Services
    1. The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall provide the support services for the University Academic Misconduct Committee.
    2. The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall notify the Chairperson of the University Academic Misconduct Committee when a meeting is necessary and shall, after consultation with the Chairperson, notify the student and committee members of the date, time, and place of the meeting.

[Source: University Assembly, May 18, 1983; Editorially Revised by the Academic Council, April 7, 2004.]

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