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Policy

In accordance with EMU mission, vision, and life together statements, we expect academic integrity of all members of the community. Responses to violations of academic integrity are detailed below.

Context

Eastern Mennonite University fosters a culture where faculty, staff, and students respect themselves and others. In this culture, faculty, staff, and students gain confidence in their desire and ability to communicate concepts, construct new knowledge, and think critically about their own and others’ ideas. In doing so, EMU community members grow as competent thinkers and writers.

EMU faculty and staff care about the integrity of their own work and the work of their students. They work intentionally with students during the learning process, creating assignments that promote interpretative thinking. Honesty, integrity, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility are characteristics of a community that is active in loving mercy, doing justice, and walking humbly before God.

At EMU, academic accountability means that community members are accountable to themselves, their colleagues (fellow students or fellow instructors), the university, and the fields of study in which they engage. To be academically accountable means to be able to give a transparent account of the academic work that we do. It means that we “leave tracks” and create trails so that others may learn where we started and how we ended up where we are.

A transparent account for academic work involves producing and submitting one’s own work in papers, essays, projects, quizzes and tests; correctly and consistently acknowledging sources used; factually representing research results, one’s credentials, and facts or opinions; and appropriately documenting use of technology.

Examples of violations of EMU’s Academic Accountability Policy are below. Additional examples of violations are available in this document.

  1. Not providing appropriate documentation to all information, ideas, and quotations taken from any source, including anything online; 
  2. Using resources such as notes, textbooks, online resources when not authorized by the instructor;
  3. Giving or receiving unauthorized assistance to or from another person, face to face or electronically on or during or after a quiz or test;
  4. Falsifying research results, withholding data, misrepresenting facts;
  5. Presenting material as one’s own from a site that sells essays;
  6. Frequently committing violations within a single document or repeatedly over time;
  7. Using Google Translator or other software to translate work from one’s native language to the language of instruction and submitting the work as one’s own work; or
  8. Recycling one’s own previous work without proper citation and securing the instructor’s approval.

Academic Accountability Procedures

The following procedure is appropriate for use in undergraduate and graduate settings.

When an instructor observes or suspects that an episode of academic misconduct has occurred, the process below should be followed.  NOTE: The Academic Accountability Representative (AAR) is the director of the Academic Success Center and acts as a process facilitator. Instructors are mandated to contact the AAR about possible academic misconduct to the AAR.

  1. The instructor contacts the AAR to discuss their observations (while not naming the student(s) involved) and together they decide whether or not to initiate a formal process.
  2. If the instructor and AAR decide that a formal process is needed, the instructor informs the student about the concern  (the paper submitted, the test taken) and that they will be consulting with the university AAR to initiate a formal process and will inform the student of the consultation results.
  3. The instructor completes a form reporting their concerns, which goes automatically to the AAR.
  4. The AAR arranges a meeting with the instructor to occur within 2 business days.  During these meetings, the following happens:
    1. AAR checks on any prior episodes with this student (AAR has access to all previous reports);
    2. Instructor shares further details of the episode and any documentation of alleged violation;
    3. Together, they (AAR & Instructor) explore possible reasons for the incident, plan for the instructor to converse with the student to understand each others’ perspectives, and explore possible avenues for accountability;
    4. If the AAR and instructor conclude that no violation has occurred, the instructor will inform the student and copy the AAR;
    5. If the AAR and instructor conclude that a violation may have indeed occurred, the AAR will schedule a meeting with the student(s) within 2 business days to cover items b-c above;
    6. The AAR will record notes of the meetings with instructor and student(s) on the Maxient file;
    7. The AAR will set up a planning meeting with the AAR, instructor, and student within 7 business days and inform the parties. The student will be told that they may invite a trusted support person to this meeting if they choose;
    8. In the case that an accountability process extends beyond the last day of the course, the instructor will record an “Incomplete” grade for the course.
  5. The AAR/Instructor/Student meeting will include the following:
    1. The AAR will briefly explain the purpose of the meeting and facilitate decisions about  ground rules;
    2. The student will explain their actions and what led up to those actions (what happened? What were you thinking at the time?);
    3. The instructor will explain their observations and concerns (what happened? What were you thinking at the time?);
    4. The instructor and student will discuss possible actions to remedy the situation and prevent its recurrence (what have you thought about since? What could make it right? What could keep it from happening again in the same way?);
    5. The instructor and student will write and sign a detailed action plan to include dates and responsibilities of all parties. The plan should include due dates and the responsibilities of both parties.
  6. The AAR will record the Action Plan in the Maxient case file and arrange further instruction if necessary.
  7. Shortly before the Action Plan is due, AAR will check in with the student and instructor to monitor progress.
  8. Once the Action Plan has been carried out, the AAR will update the case notes to reflect this completion, and close the case in Maxient.
  9. The instructor will replace any Incomplete grades with final grades.

Complications

  1. If the instructor and student cannot agree on an Action Plan
    1. The AAR will meet with the student and the instructor separately to evaluate points of disagreement and to develop potential solutions. The AAR will facilitate a meeting where both parties discuss the issues and proposed solutions.
    2. If the student and instructor cannot agree on an Action Plan after these individual meetings, the dean of the instructor’s school in collaboration with the Dean of Students will identify an Action Plan or grade consequence.  
  2. If the Action Plan is not satisfactorily completed by the student 
    1. The instructor may assign a failing grade to the assignment or test in question.
    2. Failure to complete Action Plan will be recorded in the case notes in Maxient. 
  3. Repeated violations with accompanying failure to complete Action Plans 
    1. If the student fails to complete multiple action plans, a Letter of Probation, or Letter of Indefinite Suspension/Disciplinary Withdrawal may be issued.  The AAR and school dean will determine these responses and the dean will carry out the response.
    2. If the instructor assigns  a student an F for the course, the student will not be allowed to withdraw from the course. The student is prohibited from attending class after the professor assigns the F grade. The course continues to apply towards the number of credits the student is pursuing that semester.

Student Appeal

The student will submit an appeal form to the Provost in writing within five (5) working days following notification of the Academic Accountability report. The student may wish to work with their academic advisor or a Student Life staff member to complete the Appeal form.  The student will send the completed form to the Provost.

 Reasons for the appeal must be clearly stated and based on at least one of the following:

  1. Significant and relevant new evidence;
  2. Alleged procedural error that may have affected the decision; or
  3. Unduly harsh and arbitrary consequences of the academic accountability violation
  4. The Instructor, AAR, or other institutional representative did not follow through on the agreed upon plan.

On the basis of these factors, the provost will review the appeal and, in consultation with the AAR, make a decision to uphold or modify the academic accountability violation record. The Provost will communicate the decision to the student in writing within five (5) days after the receipt of the appeal. The decision is final.

Documentation 

  • Students who receive any type of academic accountability violation will have it documented in an internal record keeping system at EMU. Ths system is confidential with limited access. 
  • Academic accountability violations/probation/suspensions are never part of a student’s official EMU transcript.  
  • Academic accountability violations will not prevent admission into any academic major at EMU.  
  • Academic accountability violations are not part of any student life recommendation for students transferring to another university.  
  • A review of academic accountability violations - in particular, reports marked “incomplete” - may be included when students are considered for student leadership positions, academic honors, participation in cross-cultural opportunities and recommendation for students transferring to another university.
  • Academic accountability violations that are egregious and broad in scope may have more serious consequences, including a letter of academic conduct probation and/or a letter of indefinite academic conduct suspension/withdrawal.  
  • Students who have repeat academic accountability violations may receive a letter of academic conduct probation.  This letter serves as official notification that additional academic conduct violations may warrant a letter of indefinite academic conduct suspension.  

Responsible Party

The provost is responsible for this policy.

Policy Review

This policy is reviewed annually.

Policy Distribution

Undergraduate, Graduate and Seminary Catalogs, Undergraduate, Graduate, Seminary and Lancaster Student Handbooks.

Reviewed by Undergraduate Council, Graduate Council, and Faculty Senate
Approved by Academic Cabinet, March 25, 2009 and revised October 6, 2010
Revised by Academic Cabinet, February 26, 2013
Revised by Academic Cabinet, November 19, 2014
Revised by Provost’s Council, December 16, 2015
Revised by Graduate Council, April 1, 2019 and approved by Provost’s Council, April 10, 2019
Revised by task force and approved by Provost’s Council, May 4, 2021