Academic honesty policy offers consistency

By Leanne Pantone
April 24, 2003

The vote was unanimous. Cabrini will now be implementing a new academic honesty policy. The policy, passed on Tuesday, April 15, creates uniform standards that will be consistently enforced by all levels of the campus community.

The new policy states that the principal objective is “to promote a dynamic, open and honest intellectual climate based on the personal and academic integrity of all members.” Faculty, staff and students are expected to uphold the values of academic integrity, which are honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility.

“We are not just talking about getting someone for an academic violation,” Dr. Kathleen McKinley, sociology department chair, said. “We are working at creating a college, which is a community, of academic integrity.”

“We wanted the [policy] to be fair, and we wanted it to be based on the mutual trust between the faculty and students,” McKinley said. “The long-term goal is to increase the range of acceptance of those values.”

“The main goal for the new policy is for the faculty to consistently support the college’s standards for academic honesty and for the students to take the policy seriously,” sophomore Amanda Brown, student representative on the Academic Council, said. “The idea is that the policy will create a college-wide standard to be upheld by everyone.”

The Academic Council created an Academic Honesty Board in the policy that is responsible for not only presiding over the cases brought to it, but for educating the community about the policy and the standards that the community is expected to uphold.

Also part of the policy is extended and detailed definitions of what would-be violations of academic honesty. When writing the policy, the Academic Council “discovered that other schools have examples for students to see,” McKinley said. “We now have five different categories with specific examples to show the students what would be inappropriate behavior.”

With the new or extended definitions of a violation of academic honesty, students and professors now have universal examples to refer to when instances of academic dishonesty arise. When or if they do, there is also a universal set of punishments for the violator to receive.

Brown said, “Everyone had a lot of different ideas and many compromises were made, especially when it came time to decide what kinds of penalties could be assigned for certain violations.”

According to McKinley, with the first offense, it is up to the faculty whose class the violator is in to decide. However, there is a list of choices for him or her to choose according to the specific violation, whether it is cheating, plagiarism, information falsification or fabrication, theft or destruction of intellectual property or facilitation of academic dishonesty. The list takes a set towards consistency among the faculty by not allowing for a random assignment of punishment.

The most dramatic consistency, however, comes with the violator’s second offense, according to McKinley. Everyone or anyone who violates the policy for a second time will fail the course. This punishment is campus-wide, and there are no exceptions.

Posted to the web by Matthew Cavalier

Leanne Pantone

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