Academic Honor Policy

Florida State University is a proud member of the Center for Academic Integrity.

The Academic Honor Policy (pdf)* is an integral part of the FSU academic environment. The policy outlines the University’s expectations for students’ academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty throughout the process. New students are introduced to the Academic Honor Policy at Orientation and pledge to uphold it at New Student Convocation. In surveys, students have indicated that the strength of an individual instructor’s message about the importance of academic integrity is the strongest deterrent to violating the Academic Honor Policy. Thus, instructors should remind students of their obligations under the policy and fully communicate their expectations to students. If an instructor encounters academic dishonesty, he/she should follow detailed procedures to resolve the alleged violation in a timely manner while protecting the personal and educational rights of the student.

Violations

Instructors are responsible for reinforcing the importance of the Academic Honor Policy in their courses and for clarifying their expectations regarding collaboration and multiple submission of academic work.

  1. Plagiarism - Presenting the work of another as one’s own (i.e., without proper acknowledgement of the source).
  2. Cheating - Improper access to or use of any information or material that is not specifically condoned by the instructor for use in the academic exercise.
  3. Unauthorized Group Work - Unauthorized collaborating with others.
  4. Fabrication, Falsification, and Misrepresentation – Unauthorized altering or inventing of any information or citation that is used in assessing academic work.
  5. Multiple Submission – Submitting the same academic work (including oral presentations) for credit more than once without instructor permission. It is each instructor’s responsibility to make expectations regarding incorporation of existing academic work into new assignments clear to the student in writing by the time assignments are given.
  6. Abuse of Academic Materials - Intentionally damaging, destroying, stealing, or making inaccessible library or other academic resource material.
  7. Complicity in Academic Dishonesty - Intentionally helping another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.
  8. Attempting to commit any offense as outlined above.

Academic Honor Process

This section outlines the Academic Honor Process. Also refer to the Academic Honor Policy for specifications of each process.

Notification to the Office of Student Affairs

When an instructor believes that a student has violated the Academic Honor Policy in one of the instructor’s classes, the instructor must first contact the Office of Student Affairs to discover whether the student has a prior record of academic dishonesty in order to determine whether to proceed with a Step 1 agreement or an Academic Honor Policy Hearing. The instructor must also inform the department chair or dean.

Student Rights

Students have the following important due process rights and additional prerogatives:

  1. Be informed of all alleged violation(s), to receive the complaint in writing (except in a Step 1 agreement where the agreement serves as notice) and to be given access to all relevant materials pertaining to the case.
  2. Receive an impartial hearing in a timely manner where the student will be given a full opportunity to present information pertaining to the case.
  3. When possible, discuss the allegations with the instructor.
  4. Privacy, confidentiality, and personal security.
  5. Be assisted by an advisor who may accompany the student throughout the process but may not speak on the student’s behalf.
  6. Choose not to answer any question that might be incriminating.
  7. Contest the sanctions of a Step 1 agreement and to appeal both the decision and sanctions of an Academic Honor Hearing. 

The student has the right to continue in the course in question during the entire process. Once a student has received notice that they are being charged with an alleged violation of the Academic Honor Policy, or when a student has been found “responsible” for an Academic Honor Policy violation, the student is not permitted to withdraw or drop the course. Should no final determination be made before the end of the term, the grade of “Incomplete” will be assigned until a decision is made.

Step 1 Agreement

Throughout the Step 1 process, the instructor has the responsibility to address academic honor allegations in a timely manner, and the student has the responsibility to respond to those allegations in a timely manner. If pursuing a Step 1 Agreement is determined to be possible, the instructor shall discuss the evidence of academic dishonesty with the student and explore the possibility of a Step 1 Agreement.

Four possible outcomes of this discussion may occur:

  1. If the charge appears unsubstantiated, the instructor will drop the charge, destroy the documentation, and no record of academic dishonesty will be created.
  2. The student may accept responsibility for the violation and accept the academic sanction proposed by the instructor. The agreement involving the academic penalty must be put in writing and signed by both parties on the Step 1 Agreement, which must then be sent to the Associate Dean of Faculty & Administrative Affairs.
  3. The student may accept responsibility for the violation, but contest the proposed academic sanction. In this circumstance, the instructor must submit the Academic Honor Policy Referral to Contest Sanction form along with supporting documentation to the Associate Dean of Faculty & Administrative Affairs.
  4. The student may deny responsibility. In this circumstance, the instructor submits the Academic Honor Policy Hearing Referral form along with supporting documentation to the Associate Dean of Faculty & Administrative Affairs for an Academic Honor Policy Hearing.

Hearings

If the student has a prior record of academic dishonesty, denies responsibility during a Step 1 Agreement, alleged violations involve simultaneous violations of the Student Conduct Code, or the serious nature of the allegations merits a formal hearing, the instructor must submit the Academic Honor Policy Hearing Referral form and appropriate documentation to the Associate Dean of Faculty & Administrative Affairs. The hearing will be conducted in a non-adversarial manner with a clear focus on finding the facts with the proceeding.

Advisor

The Academic Honor Policy affords all students involved in the University conduct process the right to an advisor (see section (7)(c)3). An advisor can be a friend, family member, faculty member, attorney, or anyone a student chooses. Regardless of who a student chooses to advise them, the advisor cannot speak for a student in the hearing unless authorized by the hearing body. Students will need to complete and submit the Advisor Request form to the Associate Dean of Faculty & Administrative Affairs two (2) class days prior to their hearing in order for an advisor to be present at the hearing.

Witnesses

The student or hearing committee may call appropriate witnesses to provide information relevant to the alleged violations in a formal hearing.

Outcomes

In light of the facts and circumstances of each case, the following outcome, or combination of outcomes (with or without appropriate modifications) may be imposed upon any student found to have violated the Student Conduct Code. Certain outcomes may incur a financial cost.

Following a Step 1 Agreement, the following sanctions are available:

  • Additional academic work, including re-doing the assignment
  • A reduced grade (including “0” or “F”) for the assignment
  • A reduced grade (including “F”) for the course

Following an Academic Honor Policy Hearing, the following sanctions are available:

  • Additional academic work, including re-doing the assignment
  • A reduced grade (including “0” or “F”) for the assignment
  • A reduced grade (including “F”) for the course
  • Educational Activities
  • Restitution, letter of apology, or other restorative act
  • Disciplinary Probation
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal
  • Expulsion
  • Withholding of diplomas, transcripts, or other records for a specific period of time
  • Suspension of degree, in cases where an offense is discovered after the degree is posted
  • Revocation of degree, in cases where an offense is discovered after the degree is posted

Hearing Decision

Upon conclusion of the hearing, the hearing body will make a determination of “responsible” or “not responsible” for each alleged violation. If a decision of responsible is reached, the hearing body will craft a set of educational outcomes for the student to complete in order to fulfill the honor process. These outcomes will be detailed in the decision letter along with a deadline for completion.

Appeal Process

Decisions of the Academic Honor Policy Hearing Panel may be appealed provided one or more reasons listed in “Appeals” is relevant to the case. On appeal, the burden of proof shifts to the student to prove that an error has occurred. The student should file a written letter of appeal to the Associate Dean of Faculty & Administrative Affairs within 10 class days after being notified of the Academic Honor Policy Hearing Panel decision.

Documents and Forms

 

Additional Resources

Contact Us

Dr. Irvin Clark
Associate Dean of Faculty & Administrative Affairs
Holley Academic Center A311
850-770-2100
iclark2@pc.fsu.edu

*The academic Honor Policy was APPROVED BY the FACULTY SENATE AND STUDENT SENATE FEBRUARY 16, 2005; EFFECTIVE AUGUST 22, 2005, REVISIONS APPROVED BY BOARD OF TRUSTEES, JUNE 2010, JUNE 2014
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