Students’ Rights and Responsibilities
Students have the right to experience conditions favorable to learning, including the right to reasonable accommodations for documented disabilities. They have the right to pursue an education free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, religion or religious creed, disability, sex or gender, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, military, veteran or Vietnam Era status, or any other protected classification recognized by applicable law. Students enjoy the freedoms of speech, expression, and association, and the rights to privacy, freedom from harassment, due process in judicial matters, and to appeal judgments and penalties for alleged misconduct.
Students have the responsibility to conduct themselves, both individually and in groups, in a manner that promotes an atmosphere conducive to teaching, studying and learning. Students are expected to uphold academic and personal integrity, respect the rights of others, refrain from disruptive, threatening, intimidating, or harassing behavior and behavior that is harmful to themselves, other persons or property. Students have the responsibility to abide by the standards, policies and regulations of the University.
In addition to the rights and responsibilities described in the above statement, it is the responsibility of each student to be aware of and to meet the requirements for graduation, and to adhere to all deadlines, rules, and regulations published in this catalog and the student handbook. While academic advisors, faculty and college officials assist students in interpreting policies and requirements and making plans, the final responsibility for meeting requirements and adhering to policies belongs to each student.
Students may gain access to their academic records anytime through BoxerOnline. Students should monitor this information often, and consult with their faculty, academic advisors, the Advising Center and the Registrar regarding their plans and progress toward program completion. Students should monitor their course schedules each semester, especially during the first week of classes, to be sure that they are registered for the correct/intended courses and sections.
All students are issued a Pacific University email account which is the official method of communication to students. Students are expected to check their Pacific email on a frequent and regular basis. All official emailed communication to and from students is through this account. By law, the University cannot release protected information by email unless it is certain that it is going to the intended recipient. Because the Pacific email account is issued by Pacific and is password-protected, it is considered to be secure.
Code of Academic Conduct
Honesty and integrity are expected of all students in class participation, examinations, assignments and other academic work. Students are responsible for behaving with academic integrity as described below as well as for understanding and complying with the policies listed within individual program sections, student handbooks, course syllabi, and policy manuals.
Students are responsible also to the more general Student Code of Conduct, whose expectations, possible sanctions in the event of misconduct, and appeals procedures are provided in the Student Handbook. (www.pacificu.edu/about-us/offices/student-conduct/student-handbook/student-code-conduct
Principles of Academic Integrity
Pacific University is an academic community where the pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and skills unites us as its members and depends on the integrity of its members to fulfill its mission. Every one of us has reasons to be concerned about academically dishonest practices. Among such reasons are the following:
- Academic integrity is at the core of our community values.
- Academic dishonesty can undermine the value of Pacific University diplomas by weakening the reputation of Pacific University, associating it in the public mind with institutions whose students have little integrity and a poor work ethic.
- Academically dishonest practices are corrosive of individual and community integrity.
- In the long run, such practices harm the perpetrator, who fails to give himself or herself the opportunity to develop ideas and skills.
- Academic dishonesty is unfair because it gives the cheater an advantage over other students who rely on their own work and knowledge.
- Academic dishonesty weakens the link between grades and work, undermining the immediate incentive of students to put in the hard work necessary to develop skills and knowledge.
- Certain forms of academic dishonesty, because they infringe on copyrights, are illegal.
- Academic dishonesty is a violation of the Pacific University Code of Academic Conduct and will be punished according to University and College policies.
Forms of Academic Dishonesty
Cheating is an attempt to use deception to portray one’s knowledge and skills as better than they really are. Behaviors that fall under the label of cheating include, but are not limited to:
- giving or receiving unauthorized aid in academic work such as the improper use of books, notes, or other students ’ tests or papers
- taking a dishonest competitive advantage, for instance preventing others from obtaining fair and equal access to information resources
- using work done for one course in fulfillment of the requirements of another, without the approval of the instructors involved
- copying from another student’s paper
- allowing another student to benefit from your test paper or other materials
- collaborating on projects or exams that are clearly meant to be individual enterprises
- using any unauthorized materials during a test
- taking a test for someone else or allowing someone else to take a test for you
- stealing another student’s work, including material in a computer file, and submitting it as your own
Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s words, ideas, or data as your own without proper documentation or acknowledgment. It may also entail self-plagiarism. Quotations must be clearly marked, and sources of information, ideas, or opinions of others must be clearly indicated in all written work. Plagiarism can be unintentional; nevertheless, in all cases it will be treated as a violation. Behaviors that fall under this category include, but are not limited to:
- quoting another person’s actual words, complete sentences or paragraphs, or an entire piece of written work without acknowledgment of the source
- using another person’s ideas, opinions, or theories, even if they are presented entirely in your own words, without proper acknowledgment of the source from which they were taken
- using facts, statistics, or other material to support an argument without acknowledgment of the source
- copying another student’s work
- submitting in a course or for a project all or portions of a work prepared or submitted for another or previous course without proper acknowledgment and approval of the instructors involved
Fabrication is the intentional use of invented information or the use of falsified results or data with the intent to deceive. Behaviors that fall under this category include, but are not limited to:
- citation of information not taken from the source that is cited
- listing sources in a bibliography not used in the academic project
- submitting a paper or lab report or any other kind of document based on falsified, invented information, or the deliberate concealment or distortion of the true nature of such data
- forging a signature on a University document
Other Forms of Academic Misconduct
These address the intentional violation of University policies, including but not limited to:
- tampering with grades or helping another to tamper with grades or any other part of a student’s academic record
- furnishing to a University office or official a document based on information that you know is false or which has been tampered with in an unauthorized fashion
- stealing, buying or otherwise obtaining all or part of an unadministered test; also the unauthorized use of a previously administered test
- changing a grade in a faculty member’s records, on a test or on other work for which a grade has been given
- using electronic information resources in violation of the “Acceptable Use Policy”
Things Students Can Do to Avoid Charges of Academic Dishonesty
- Prepare in advance for examinations and assignments; don’t let yourself get too far behind in your reading and studying for any of your courses.
- Prevent other students from copying your exams or assignments. Try to choose a seat during an exam away from other students. Shield your exam. Don’t distribute your papers to other students prior to turning them in.
- Check with your instructor about special requirements that might pertain to that particular course or assignment. If you cannot find a written section in the syllabus or on the actual assignment to answer your questions about what is acceptable, ask the instructor about his or her expectations.
- Use a recognized handbook on source citation. Many professional organizations have style manuals for this purpose; for example, there is the APA Style Manual for psychology or the MLA Style Sheet for the humanities. Be sure to ask your professor what an acceptable style guide is for the written work you will be submitting in her or his course.
- Discourage dishonesty among other students.
- Refuse to help students who cheat.
- Protect your rights and those of other honest students by reporting to your professor incidents of cheating you have observed.
- Remember that ignorance of rules, laws and policies is no excuse.
- Do nothing that gives you an unfair advantage over your peers.
Academic Misconduct Procedures
Cases of academic misconduct may be initiated by any faculty member when they believe an instance has occurred. Procedures differ between undergraduate and graduate/professional programs. Students in graduate/professional programs should contact their programs for detailed procedures. Undergraduate student procedures are as follows:
Undergraduate Academic Misconduct Procedures - Step 1
For undergraduate students, faculty members follow the following procedures when they believe that an instance of academic misconduct has occurred. The timelines outlined herein are adhered to unless there are compelling extenuating circumstances that would require an extension.
- The faculty member will review the evidence to ensure that there is a preponderance of evidence supporting a charge of academic misconduct. Faculty members involved are strongly encouraged to consult with the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences to help determine what course of action to pursue. They may also consult with colleagues while ensuring the anonymity of the student(s) involved.
- If the faculty member is fairly certain that academic misconduct has occurred, he or she must initiate action within five school days of discovery. The faculty member will meet with the student(s) involved as soon as possible to discuss the situation. When a faculty member believes that a student has violated the academic honesty code during the final examination period and cannot discuss the issue with the student in question (because he or she has left campus for the holiday or summer), the faculty member will assign the student an “L” grade to show that the actual grade will be turned in late.
- If after meeting with the student(s) the faculty member believes academic misconduct occurred, the faculty member will complete and hand-deliver an academic misconduct report form to the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences within five school days. The form is available here, or through the office of the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. It will contain a brief report of the incident, the sanction to be imposed, and a catalog of any supporting documentation related to the incident. The faculty member will collect all available evidence until after the appeals period in order to provide photocopies to the Associate Dean if needed.
- The Dean will send to the student(s) written notification of the determination of academic misconduct and the sanction imposed within five school days. This notice also will inform the student(s) of his or her rights to appeal the decision and of the right to examine the evidence in the case.
Undergraduate Student Appeals Process - Step 2
- The student may appeal the decision of the faculty member by submitting a request in writing to the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences within five school days of receiving his or her notification.
- After reviewing the evidence and consulting with the student(s), the Dean will determine whether or not academic misconduct occurred and, if so, will impose a sanction commensurate with the nature of the offense. Normally, the sanction proposed by the faculty member is upheld, if it is in line with University policy and no new evidence has come to light.
- The student may appeal the decision of the Dean to the Academic Standards Committee by submitting a request in writing to the Dean within five school days of receiving his or her notification. The representative of the Dean’s Office will not attend the hearing of the appeal. If the committee finds against the student, it normally will uphold the sanction proposed by the faculty member, if it is in line with University policy and no new evidence has come to light.
Initiating College-level Action - Undergraduates
- After a case of academic misconduct has occurred, the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences will send a warning to the student alerting him or her that a second case may result in suspension or dismissal from the college.
- After a second case of academic misconduct, the Dean will bring the case to the Academic Standards Committee, which will consider whether to impose college-level action (suspension or dismissal) because of the multiple nature of the offense.
- The Dean may request that the Academic Standards Committee consider college-level action for a single case of misconduct, if this is warranted.
Sanctions and Procedures for Cases of Academic Dishonesty
All acts of academic dishonesty are reported to the Dean of the College in which the person is a student. Students always have the right to appeal a charge of academic misconduct.
Sanctions should be consistent with the severity of the violation. Possible sanctions include, but are not limited to, an “F” for an assignment or an “F” or “N” for a course. In case of violations of the “Acceptable Use Policy,” sanctions range from being barred from the campus electronic network to suspension from the University. In particularly serious breaches of the academic honesty code, or in repeat offenses, suspension or dismissal from the University may be imposed, as well as other appropriate sanctions.
In all instances, violations are reported to the Dean of Students’ Office, and records of such violations are kept in students’ confidential files. Records and reports in these files are maintained according to the University’s Records Retention Policy.
Procedures vary by College, and are listed in each College’s section within this catalog. In general, faculty suspecting academic misconduct will confer with the Dean of the College; if the evidence seems to support a charge of academic misconduct, a College-wide committee will review the situation, make a ruling and, if warranted, assign a sanction. Students may appeal the College-level decision to the University if one of the following is true:
- Evidence of error in procedure by the College-wide review committee
- New evidence, sufficient to alter a decision
- Evidence that the sanction(s) imposed was not appropriate to the severity of the violation
Dismissal for Failure to Meet Minimum Academic Performance Requirements
In most cases, undergraduates would face dismissal for inadequate academic performance only at the point that they fail to raise their performance even after a suspension. However, graduate and professional students in specially accredited programs may be subject to program-specific academic performance expectations and progress timelines as outlined in program descriptions and handbooks. Such programs provide prospective and enrolled students with the specific conditions that could lead to dismissal. Students who fail to meet a program’s minimal performance standards or timelines undergo review as outlined in program handbooks. Dismissal decisions are ultimately made through college Academic Standards Committees following procedures specific to each college. Students dismissed on the basis of academic performance may pursue an appeal of college decisions at the university level, as described below.
University-Level Appeals for All Students
All requests for appeals of rulings by college academic standards committees shall be submitted in writing through the Provost to the University Standards and Appeals Board within ten (10) University working days after the ruling is received by the student.
Appeals must be explicitly justified for at least one of the following reasons:
- Evidence of substantial, material error in procedure by the College Academic Standards Committee. The error must be of sufficient gravity to constitute: (1) a total departure from procedure, or (2) a defect that prevented the giving or receiving of necessary and relevant information, or (3) a lack of neutrality on the part of the hearing authority.
- New evidence that is (1) unavailable at the time of the original hearing and (2) that is sufficient to alter the decision. Both of these conditions must be met to invoke this basis for appeal.
- Evidence that the sanction(s) imposed was disproportionate to the severity of the violation, or that a sanction is unnecessarily extreme in light of the standard being upheld. The appellant bears the burden of demonstrating the disproportionate relationship between the sanction and the offense committed. A description of the impact of the sanction upon his/her personal circumstance without anything more is insufficient as a basis for an appeal.