Academic Code of Conduct

Campus-Wide Academic Code of Conduct 

I. General Principles

The Academic Code of Conduct (ACC) for the University of Michigan-Dearborn is based on the premise that undergraduate and graduate students will perform honestly and ethically on all tests, projects, and assignments. Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner conducive to an environment of academic integrity and of respect for the educational process. Therefore, an individual should realize that deception for the purpose of individual gain is an offense against the members of the community.

To ensure that the ACC functions properly, all UM-Dearborn faculty should include in their syllabus the following statement:

“The University of Michigan-Dearborn values academic honesty and integrity. Each student has a responsibility to understand, accept, and comply with the University's standards of academic conduct as set forth by the Code of Academic Conduct, as well as policies established by the schools and colleges. Cheating, collusion, misconduct, fabrication, and plagiarism are considered serious offenses. Violations will not be tolerated and may result in penalties up to and including expulsion from the University.”[1]

All students and faculty members are required to familiarize themselves with the ACC, its implications and effects. Unfamiliarity with the ACC could result in ineffective enforcement or the violation of student rights. It is recommended that department chairs and program directors discuss the ACC with their instructional faculty at periodic intervals.

Any violation of the ACC by undergraduate or graduate students will be dealt with in accordance with the procedures described below.

[1] Failure of faculty to include the statement does not absolve students from adherence to the ACC. 

II. Prohibited Academic Conduct

The actions cited as prohibited conduct should be used as a guide rather than an exhaustive list of behaviors that the University considers misconduct and subject to disciplinary action.[2]

  1. Plagiarism: includes representing the words, ideas, or work of others as one’s own in writing or presentations, and failing to give full and proper credit to the original source. Failing to properly acknowledge and cite language from another source, including paraphrased text. Failing to properly cite any ideas, images, technical work, creative content, or other material taken from published or unpublished sources in any medium, including online material or oral presentations, and including the author’s own previous work.
  2. Cheating: includes Copying from another’s exam or other evaluative assignment. Using notes, books, digital devices or resources, or other materials for an exam or other evaluative assignment without explicit permission of the instructor. Submitting work that was previously used for another class without the informed permission of the instructor. Discussing or sharing information about questions or answers on an exam or other evaluative assignment without explicit permission of the instructor. Giving, taking, or receiving a copy of an exam without explicit permission of the instructor. Allowing another person to take an exam or complete an assignment for the student. Attempting to change the result of an exam or other evaluation.
  3. Fabrication: includes alterations to transcripts, grades, letters of recommendation, or other evaluations by or for any current or former student.
  4. Aiding and Abetting Dishonesty: altering documents affecting academic records; aiding others to commit any act prohibited by the ACC; forging a signature of authorization or falsifying information on an official academic document, election form, grade report, letter of permission, petition, or any document designed to meet or exempt a student from an established University or unit academic regulation.
  5. Interference: obstructing or hindering the work or study of a member of the faculty, or staff, or a student at the University.

[2] The University has adopted the forms and definitions of academic misconduct approved by the Rackham Graduate School for plagiarism, cheating, and fabrication. See rackham.umich.edu/current-students/policies/academic-policies/section11.

III. Disciplinary Actions

Faculty members have the authority to impose penalties with respect to her or his class. These penalties include, but are not limited to, reducing a student’s course grade or failing a student in the course(s).

For first time offender cases that are appealed, the Academic Integrity Board shall have the authority to sustain or overturn the faculty member’s determination of an ACC violation. The Academic Integrity Board may also choose to impose additional sanctions beyond the penalties imposed by the instructor. Each college may also choose to impose additional sanctions, including but not limited to the suspension of scholarships. For repeat offenders, the Board shall make a recommendation to the dean calling for one or more of the sanctions provided in section G of the UM-Dearborn Student Rights and Code of Conduct.

IV. Reporting a Violation

Alleging a prohibited academic conduct is the responsibility of the faculty member.

It is recommended that the faculty member make every attempt to resolve the case promptly between him/herself and the student. The student has the right to appeal a faculty member’s violation charge to the Academic Integrity Board.

When a faculty member believes a student has violated the University’s ACC, s/he will communicate with the student in order to discuss the case in detail. The faculty member shall inform the student of the nature of the ACC charges; explain the sanctions imposed as a result of the charges; provide the student a copy of the Academic Code of Conduct Violation Report; and provide him/her an opportunity to refute the allegations. The instructor should also inform the student of the following: 1) s/he has the right to appeal through the Academic Integrity Board within ten (10) academic calendar days [3] of receiving the notification letter [4] from the charging unit’s associate dean, and 2) that the case will be reported to the College’s associate dean designated with monitoring for repeat offenses.

After meeting with the student(s) potentially involved (or arranging for an alternative communication if the meeting is not feasible, such as in the case of an online class or when the student avoids/does not respond to a faculty member’s request for a meeting), the faculty member shall submit to his/her dean’s office and to his/her department chair a copy of the Academic Code of Conduct Violation Report (hereafter Violation Report), including supporting documents if necessary, within five (5) academic calendar days. The faculty member may submit a Violation Report even if the faculty member does not have the direct authority to impose an appropriate penalty.

The associate dean responsible for ACC violations shall send an email or letter which secures a delivery receipt to the student within three (3) academic calendar days of receiving the Violations Report with the following information: 1) confirmation that the allegation and the sanction from the instructor is a matter of record; 2) notification that the record of the incident is in a confidential University academic integrity database, and 3) explanation of the services and support provided by the Ombuds Services Office in Enrollment Management & Student Life in relation to ACC violations.

The associate dean of the charging unit shall ensure that all ACC violations received shall be entered into the University database and s/he shall conduct a search of the database for prior ACC violations by the student. If the student has a prior ACC violation -- regardless of whether guilt was admitted -- then a hearing of the Academic Integrity Board shall be automatically convened. 

[3] Includes only the Fall and Winter semesters, excluding weekends and University recognized holidays.

[4] The charging unit’s associate dean shall send the notification letter with a guaranteed delivery receipt.

V. Academic Integrity Board Jurisdiction, Composition, and Conflict of Interest

Each college shall create its own Academic Integrity Board which shall be a permanent standing committee of the college and have jurisdiction over alleged violations of the ACC. The Board shall consist of three (3) full-time faculty members of the college serving two-year terms; three (3) non-voting students serving one-year terms; and the Ombuds Services Office director or designee as an ex-officio, non-voting, advisory member.[5] The faculty members shall be appointed by the college’s executive committee and the Student Government President shall select the student members who shall have no record or pending accusations of academic violations. A chair of the Board – chosen from its members – shall function as the administrative head.

Members of the Board shall disqualify themselves from hearing a case if they believe their capacity for making an objective judgment in the case is or may reasonably appear to be impaired. Members should not disqualify themselves for any other reason. Replacements for disqualified members shall be selected in the manner described in paragraph one of section V.

[5] Only the faculty members shall be counted as members of the Board for purposes of counting a quorum.

VI. Academic Integrity Board Procedures

  1.  A hearing of the Academic Integrity Board shall be called by the associate dean if a student: 1) contests the accusation(s) against her/him within ten(10) academic calendar days of receiving the letter from the charging unit’s associate dean, or 2) has an existing ACC violation on record. A student shall initiate an appeal by completing and submitting to the charging unit’s associate dean a copy of the Academic Appeal Form.[6] If a student decides to appeal there shall be no risk of an additional sanction or penalty being imposed.
     
  2. Within fifteen (15) academic calendar days after referral, the Board shall meet to discuss the case.[7] The Board shall take no longer than fifteen (15) academic calendar days after its initial meeting to make its decision/recommendation and convey the information to the appropriate parties.
     
  3. The Board’s decision/recommendation shall be based on a preponderance of the evidence standard of proof.
     
  4. The Board shall examine and evaluate all documents within the files submitted. The Board has the authority, but is under no obligation, to meet with the instructor and student. If the Board meets with one party they shall provide the opposing side an opportunity to appear. Either party may call for the appearance of no more than three witnesses. University students, faculty, and employees are required to comply with the requests to appear as witnesses. For all other matters, the Board shall promulgate its own policies.
     
  5. For first-time offender cases, the Board shall have the authority to sustain or overturn a faculty member’s accusation and sanction of an ACC violation.  Upon making its decision the Board’s chair shall inform in writing the associate dean who shall, in turn, notify the student and faculty member. If the Board overturns a faculty member’s decision then all records of the ACC violation shall be removed from the University academic integrity database.
     
  6. For repeat offenders, the Board shall first meet and make a determination of a violation.[8] If the student is found to have violated the ACC then the Board will reconvene to decide the proper penalty. Before the second hearing, the student and faculty member may submit evidence or a statement concerning the appropriate sanctions to be imposed.

    Factors that may be considered in determining the nature of sanctions to be imposed include: 1) the intent of the student; 2) the effect of the conduct on the University community; 3) past disciplinary record of the student; and 4) any mitigating factors presented by the complainant (i.e., stress, personal illness, illness/death of family members, cultural misunderstandings, etc.). Upon reviewing the submitted materials the Board shall make a recommendation to the dean calling for one or more of the sanctions provided in section G of the Code of Conduct (included at the end of this document).  The Board’s chair shall notify the dean of the recommendation.
     
  7. When a student presents details that would suggest that the challenged action stemmed from conduct violating a non-academic policy, such as sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination, then no further action will be taken pending the completion of the Office of Institutional Equity proceedings.

[6] The final exam period during the end of each semester is exempted from this rule.

[7] A “preponderance of the evidence” shall mean evidence which is of greater weight or more convincing than evidence to the contrary; evidence which shows that something more likely than not is true.

[8] The Board members shall not be told of the student’s potential repeat-offender status. Only after the Board finds the student in fault shall the associate dean inform its members and schedule the penalty-phase hearing.

VII. Final Decision

For first-time offenders, the student or faculty member may appeal the Board's decision to the dean within ten (10) days of the Board issuing notifications to all parties involved regarding the Board’s recommendation(s). For repeat offender cases, the dean shall make the final decision within ten (10) academic calendar days of the Board issuing its recommendation(s). The dean will decide the case on the basis of the records of the proceedings of the Academic Integrity Board, the written materials submitted by the student, and the results of his or her consultation with the parties if any.

The dean’s decision shall be written and contain the dean’s finding of fact and may (at the discretion of the author) include reasons for the decision. It shall be provided to the student, the student's dean (if applicable), the department chair/program head, the faculty member, and the chair of the Academic Integrity Board, and placed in the student's file.

If the student is from another unit then the charging college’s dean along with the student’s home-unit dean shall review the records and other materials together and issue a joint-decision. If the two deans cannot come to an agreement then the Provost shall make the final decision according to the procedures laid out in paragraphs one and two of section VII.

VIII. Automatic Procedural Review

The Office of the Provost for Academic Affairs shall conduct an automatic review to ensure no material procedural error in the process occurred. If the Provost Office determines there was a material procedural error then the case shall be remanded to a reconstituted Board for a new hearing.

IX. Maintenance of Records

All records related to ACC violations shall be maintained by each unit in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

X. Responsible Administrator

The Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs or designee is responsible for the annual and ad hoc review of this policy and its procedures. The Faculty Senate is responsible for the approval of this policy.

[1] Failure of faculty to include the statement does not absolve students from adherence to the ACC.

[2] The University has adopted the forms and definitions of academic misconduct approved by the Rackham Graduate School for plagiarism, cheating, and fabrication. See rackham.umich.edu/current-students/policies/academic-policies/section10#1022.

[3] Includes only the Fall and Winter semesters, excluding weekends and University recognized holidays.

[4] The charging unit’s associate dean shall send the notification letter with a guaranteed delivery receipt.

[5] Only the faculty members shall be counted as members of the Board for purposes of counting quorum.

[6] The final exam period during the end of each semester is exempted from this rule.

[7] A “preponderance of the evidence” shall mean evidence which is of greater weight or more convincing than evidence to the contrary; evidence which shows that something more likely than not is true.

[8] The Board members shall not be told of the student’s potential repeat-offender status. Only after the Board finds the student in fault shall the associate dean inform its members and schedule the penalty-phase hearing.

Approved by the Faculty Senate November 10, 2014
Approved as amended by the Faculty Senate June 12, 2017