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Procedures for Resolving Academic Misconduct

Each member of our academic community is responsible for supporting academic integrity. Cases in LSA courses of alleged violations of academic integrity are to be referred to the Office of the Assistant Dean (Student Academic Affairs) (See Cross School/College Cases section below if non-LSA courses or students are involved). Faculty, staff, or students are encouraged to contact the Office of the Assistant Dean for consultation, or to report potential incidents of academic misconduct (734-764-7297, lsajudicial@umich.edu, 1213 Angell Hall)

A student may be accused of academic misconduct if a faculty, staff, or student believes, after reasonable investigation as appropriate, that academic misconduct has occurred and that the student has some responsibility for it. An instructor who believes academic misconduct has occurred may either give the student an admonition and a poor or failing grade on the work, or file a formal complaint of academic misconduct with the Assistant Dean, who then will handle the case.

Students accused of academic misconduct may not change registration in the course (e.g., drop the course, change grading option to P/F) while the case is pending, or if a finding of academic misconduct has been made. While the case is being investigated and/or adjudicated, the presumption of innocence means that the student may continue to attend class and receive grades. During that time, however, the student may not receive credit for the course in which the alleged misconduct occurred and may not be graduated. If a final grade must be reported for the course while the case is pending, the instructor should report the course grade as NR (no report), not as an I (incomplete). NR is a temporary, neutral grade that may be used in special circumstances where a final grade is not yet able to be reported.

All materials relating to a formal complaint of academic misconduct or to a report of admonition by an instructor will be kept in confidence in the Office of the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education per LSA Records Policy.

Cross-School/College Cases of Academic Misconduct

In cases where a student registered in another School or College at the University of Michigan (e.g., Engineering, Nursing, Kinesiology, Art and Design) is alleged to be responsible for academic misconduct in an LSA course, the authority of the College of LSA extends only to determining whether or not the alleged action is a violation of the LSA Community Standards of Academic Integrity. If so, the instructor is free to assign whatever grade penalty he or she determines is appropriate. The Office of the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education and Executive Director of the Newnan LSA Academic Advising Center will recommend a sanction or sanctions to the appropriate office of the other School or College in which the student is registered, but that School or College has the responsibility for imposing any recommended or other substitute or further sanction it determines is appropriate.

In cases where a student registered in LSA has been found responsible for academic misconduct in a course offered by another School or College at the University of Michigan, the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education will notify the student in writing of the disposal of the case and of any sanction or sanctions being imposed by the Assistant Dean. The student has the right to appeal the sanction (but not issues of responsibility or innocence) to the Assistant Dean.

Office of the Assistant Dean Resolution

Members of the academic community may file a complaint of academic misconduct with the Office of the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education (lsajudicial@umich.edu, 734-764-7297, 1213 Angell Hall). The complaint for any alleged instance of academic misconduct should be filed as soon as practicable from the date of occurrence. When choosing this option, the instructor should not impose any penalty or require any remedial work until the case has been resolved. Instructors should notify the student of their concern, and inform them that they will be contacted by the Office of the Assistant Dean.

Once a complaint has been filed with the Assistant Dean, it may not be withdrawn without the approval of the Assistant Dean. Also, a student against whom a complaint of academic misconduct has been filed may not change registration in the course (e.g., drop the course, change grading options) in which the complaint is pending or in which a finding of academic misconduct is made.

Instructors should send via email to lsajudicial@umich.edu, or in person to 1213 Angell Hall,the following information. Note that all documents may be shared with the accused student(s):

  • description of the incident

  • student name and UMID

  • course name and number

  • class syllabus

  • assignment/exam instructions

  • student exam/homework/paper (electronic copies are fine; if originals are needed they will be requested)

  • any other supporting documentation (e.g., work of other students on the same assignment that demonstrates how unusual the student’s work is, work of the same student that would illustrate a change in pattern/style and demonstrates how unusual the work is, etc.).

The Office of the Assistant Dean will then schedule a meeting with the Assistant Dean or the Assistant Dean’s designee to discuss the case. The Assistant Dean or designee has the authority to determine, based upon the information available, whether a violation of the LSA community standards of academic integrity has occurred and the student is responsible for academic misconduct.

Following the meeting, a decision will be made and relayed to the student, with a copy to the instructor, via email. If a student is found responsible for academic misconduct, appropriate grade penalties for the infraction will be at the discretion of the instructor in accordance to the syllabus if applicable. In addition, the student may also be assigned college sanctions by the Office of the Assistant Dean.  If a student is found not responsible for academic misconduct, we would ask that instructors grade the student accordingly for the assignment.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, cases will be resolved within the academic term (and typically within a week or two) in which the incident occurs.

Student Meeting with the Assistant Dean

In meeting with the Assistant Dean or designee the student may present any relevant material or statements in his/her behalf. The student will have the right, prior to the meeting, to review relevant original materials in the Office of the Assistant Dean and to obtain copies of such materials if desired. In the meeting the Assistant Dean or designee will describe the charges made, detail the evidence supporting those charges, and review the range of College sanctions (e.g., disciplinary probation, community service, suspension). This is an opportunity for the student to be heard and to present his/her side of the incident. Typically in each meeting a representative of the LSA Student Honor Council sits in attendance and participates, though acting neither as an advocate for nor against the student.

The Assistant Dean or designee has the authority to determine, based upon the information available, whether a violation of the LSA community standards of academic integrity has occurred and the student is responsible for academic misconduct. The student will then be informed by letter, with an electronic (email) copy to the instructor(s), of the decision and sanction(s), if any, to be imposed.

If the student against whom the complaint of alleged academic misconduct has been reported does not make timely arrangements for a meeting to take place in the Office of the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education, then the Assistant Dean may make a determination in the case on the basis of the evidence presented.

Optional Student Consultation with Honor Council President

A student who has been accused of academic misconduct may wish to speak with the President of the LSA Student Honor Council, who can talk about the process, as well as answer any general questions the student may have.  Students have often found it helpful to talk with the President in advance of their meeting with the Office of the Assistant Dean. The President of the Honor Council is not involved in any decision-making, nor are they privy to details of individual cases.

Sanctions

If a student is found responsible for academic misconduct, the Office of the Assistant Dean has the authority to determine appropriate administrative sanctions (i.e., sanctions unrelated to a course grade). Sanctions that may be imposed by the Assistant Dean include, but are not limited to:

  • a letter of reprimand

  • writing of a reflective essay

  • a defined period of disciplinary probation, with or without the attachment of conditions, notated on official or unofficial transcript

  • tutorial or workshop completion

  • assigned hours of community service

  • a defined period of suspension, with or without the attachment of conditions, notated on official or unofficial transcript

  • permanent expulsion from the College

  • withholding of a degree, or

  • any combination of the previously listed sanctions.

When an instructor has cause to question a student’s work based upon inferential circumstances but the student’s responsibility cannot be established, the Assistant Dean may send a formal “letter of warning” to the student.

If the student is found responsible for academic misconduct, the course instructor is free to determine the effect the violation will have on grades assigned to the student for specific course assignments and/or the final course grade. Any grade entered for a student in a course in which a complaint of academic misconduct is pending, whether for a specific course assignment or the final course grade, is subject to modification after all proceedings and appeals are concluded.

Appealing a Decision: The LSA Academic Judiciary Committee

A student found responsible for academic misconduct may submit, through the Office of the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education, a written appeal to the LSA Academic Judiciary Committee. The student must submit this written appeal in a timely manner. The written notice of appeal must state what is being appealed — whether the finding of academic misconduct, the sanction imposed, or both — and must describe in detail the grounds for the appeal. The grounds for appeal may be one or more of the following:

  1. the demonstration of a significant error in the hearing process or procedures

  2. the availability of compelling new evidence

  3. the demonstration of bias on the part of anyone involved in the hearing process or procedures

  4. misconduct on the part of the individual adjudicating the hearing

    or

  5. demonstration that any rights of the accused student have been violated.

Successful submissions for the case to be reviewed on appeal are rare and exceptional.

The LSA Academic Judiciary Committee has sole discretion to determine if sufficient grounds exist for consideration of an appeal. If the request for appeal has merit, the LSA Academic Judiciary Committee shall select a panel of its members (typically four LSA faculty members and three LSA undergraduates) to review the appeal as soon as practical after the decision to grant the review has been made.

Following its review, the College Academic Judiciary Committee may sustain or reverse the finding of academic misconduct. If the finding of academic misconduct stands, the Committee may sustain, modify, or increase the sanction imposed. The student will be informed by letter of the Committee’s decision.

Admonition or Instructor Resolution

Members of the instructional faculty may choose to resolve an incident of alleged academic misconduct themselves. That is, an instructor who determines that a student is responsible for an act of misconduct may impose an admonition, or warning, plus a grade reduction and/or remedial work, without filing a formal complaint of academic misconduct.

If an instructor should choose to resolve a case of academic misconduct by admonition, the following conditions apply:

  • the student is fully apprised of the allegation(s) and shown any evidence

  • the student accepts responsibility for the incident

  • the student accepts the grade penalty and/or remedial work assigned by the instructor

  • the instructor should report the admonition to the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education (lsajudicial@umich.edu).

An admonition might be appropriate when the incident is not egregious and should merit no consequence greater than a zero on the assignment, though the student may be required to do additional, remedial work (e.g., rewrite a paper). The distinction between academic evaluation (e.g., reduction in grade, additional work) and disciplinary action is important here. Instructors have the authority to make academic judgments relating to their students’ work, and to make decisions in the interests of furthering their students’ education. Only the College, acting through its formal processes, may discipline a student.

Reporting the admonition to the Office of the Assistant Dean is important so that repeat offenses can be tracked. No further disciplinary sanction will be imposed by the Office of the Assistant Dean. The admonition report will be kept on file in the Office of the Assistant Dean during the student’s enrollment. If the student is ever again charged or admonished for academic misconduct, the prior admonition will count as proof that the student has been warned about misconduct and specifically informed about the community standards of integrity. Therefore, the admonition may lead to a more severe sanction for any future offense.

The student may contest any instructor’s admonition by bringing the case to the attention of the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education This must be done in a timely manner (typically within ten class days after receiving the admonition). For example, the student may feel that the instructor has imposed an inappropriate penalty. When this occurs, the case will be fully investigated, all relevant information will be reviewed, principles of fairness and due process will apply, and disposition of the student appeal will be based upon its merits.