Committee to review cheating and plagiarism policy

Faculty currently handle each case individually

Faculty Senate has decided to further review the findings of a subcommittee that discovered problems with the current plagiarism and cheating policy and procedures. The subcommittee was established by the Associate and Assistant Deans Committee in response to “the apparent increase in cases of plagiarism,” according to its report.

“My sense is that I see more cases of plagiarism coming through, but it does vary from semester to semester,” Sheryl Smith, associate dean of students, said.

As a result, the subcommittee concluded the policies need to be reviewed.

“Our policy and the procedure that it set forth have to be much clearer,” Smith said. “(They) have to have a clear sequence that is logical and need to ensure that there is due process for the individual that is accused.”

There is currently no procedure for reporting the number of incidents that occur throughout the university. Instead, faculty members handle each case as it comes.

According to current university policy, the faculty member who suspects a student of plagiarizing must notify the student. The student has the opportunity to defend himself or herself. If the instructor does not think the explanation is sufficient, he or she can impose sanctions.

Faculty members can fail the student for the assignment or the course, or send the case to the department chairperson or regional dean. Other sanctions can be imposed at that stage. These can be as serious as revoking the student’s certification or degree.

According to the committee report, problems often arise when the student appeals the claim. Because faculty sometimes also file charges through conduct court, the hearing can take place before the appeal is heard.

Faculty Senate’s executive committee may set up a commission to review the policy before the end of this semester, said Cheryl Casper, chair of Faculty Senate.

Faculty, students and academic administrators will take part in the commission. Casper said she liked the idea of having students write an honor code, a statement of values that students would sign when they arrive at the university.

Contact safety reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected]. Contact academic affairs reporter

Kristine Gill at [email protected].