The College of New Jersey

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Academic Integrity Procedural Standards

I. Abbreviations

The following abbreviations are used throughout this document: CAIO = Chief Academic Integrity Officer, AIO = Academic Integrity Officer, AIA = Academic Integrity Administrator, ACAIB = All-College Academic Integrity Board.

II. Complaint and Notification

Any member of the College community, including students, may file a complaint against a student for possible violations of the Academic Integrity Policy. Faculty members are required to report any known possible violations of academic integrity, but may consult with the AIO in their school prior to reporting a complaint. A complaint from a faculty member should be submitted to the AIA in Academic Affairs via the Student Conduct software package Symplicity. Complaints from other parties should be directed to the Academic Integrity Administrator either electronically or in hard copy.  The AIA will then enter the complaint in Symplicity. Any complaint should be drafted with the understanding that it will be shared with the charged student(s) and should be submitted as soon as possible after the incident takes place.  Normally, this will be during the semester in which the violation occurred, but there are situations in which a violation may not be discovered until after the semester has ended (e.g., work submitted to fulfill the requirements in a course in which a grade of Incomplete was given, or a faculty member learning from a witness about a violation that occurred during the previous semester). The person filing the complaint is encouraged to provide any supporting information along with the complaint.

In the case of a complaint from a faculty member, the faculty member should notify the student of the complaint through the student’s College email address, as the official means of communication at the College. In the case of a complaint from another party, the AIA will notify the student via email.

III. Investigation and Hearing

The AIA will refer the complaint to an AIO. This AIO will normally be the one from the School in which the suspected violation occurred. However, the case may be referred to another AIO if there is a conflict of interest or in the interest of timeliness. The AIO will then conduct an investigation including but not limited to discussion with the individual(s) who submitted the complaint, discussion with witnesses, and review of relevant documents as appropriate. During this investigation withdrawal is not permitted from a course in which an academic integrity violation is suspected and no refund or cancellation of fees will be permitted. Withdrawal from the College as a whole is permitted, but a hold will placed on the student’s account consistent with the section of the Procedural Standards under “Leave of Absence or Withdrawal.”

As part of the investigation, the AIO will conduct a hearing with the student or refer the student’s case to the All College Academic Integrity Board (ACAIB) for a hearing. The AIO must refer the case to the ACAIB whenever suspension or expulsion are possible sanctions. The AIO may assign a case to an AIO in another school if any conflicts of interest or extraordinary scheduling issues exist.

The student against whom a complaint has been made will meet with the assigned AIO or ACAIB for a hearing to discuss the grounds for any charges, process, and sanctioning practices. Notice of the scheduled hearing will be issued to the student charged through the student’s College email address, as the official means of communication at the College. This notice will include the specific charges, the nature of the information to be presented at the hearing, which will be in the form of the Incident Report created in Symplicity by the faculty member or AIA, and a link to information about the academic integrity procedures. After receiving the notice of the scheduled hearing, the student may request to view documents relevant to their case ahead of the hearing. In some instances, this may be a supervised viewing (e.g., the relevant document is an exam that was not going to be returned permanently).

If after notice the student does not attend a scheduled conference, the AIO or ACAIB may postpone the conference, assign the student an “Incomplete” grade in the relevant course, or review the information available and make a decision on responsibility including assigning any sanctions to the student if deemed appropriate. In the case of the assignment of an Incomplete, the grade will be recorded by Records and Registration at the direction of the AIO or ACAIB. The AIO or ACAIB will communicate this decision to the student and the faculty member in whose course the violation was suspected.

IV. Hearing with an Academic Integrity Officer

Formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in academic integrity proceedings.

The AIO may temporarily adjourn the hearing if he or she determines that further review or clarification is necessary, including, but not limited to, consulting with the AIA or CAIO or interviewing the Professor and/or other witnesses. Further, the AIO may reassign the case to another AIO or the ACAIB if information revealed during the hearing warrants that decision.

A. Decision. The AIO will determine whether the student is responsible for any violation of the Academic Integrity Policy. The AIO’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the student charged violated the Academic Integrity Policy. If the student is found not responsible for violating the Academic Integrity Policy, the process is concluded. If the student is found responsible, the AIO will then assign any appropriate sanctions. The AIO’s decision and sanction, in the case of a violation, will be communicated to the student through their campus email address.

B. Appeal. The student charged may appeal the decision and/or any sanctions issued by the AIO in writing to the CAIO (See section VII for appeal procedures and deadlines).

V. All College Academic Integrity Board Hearing

Formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in academic integrity proceedings.

A. All College Academic Integrity Board. The ACAIB is a board chaired by the CAIO. The ACAIB is comprised of four voting members (three faculty members, one student), and the chair votes only in the case of a tie. The AIA does not vote or participate in deliberations, but may answer questions regarding procedural standards, policy, or sanctioning practices. Further, the charged student may meet with the AIA prior to a hearing to discuss any questions or concerns.

B. Decision. The ACAIB will determine whether the student is responsible for any violation of the Academic Integrity Policy. The ACAIB’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the student charged violated the Academic Integrity Policy. If the student is found not responsible for violating the Academic Integrity Policy, the process is concluded. If the student is found responsible, the ACAIB will then assign any appropriate sanctions. The ACAIB’s decision and sanction, in the case of a violation, will be communicated directly to the student at the conclusion of the hearing and through their campus email address.

C. Appeal. The student charged may appeal the decision and/or any sanctions issued by the ACAIB in writing to the Provost. (See section VII for appeal procedures and deadlines).

VI. Hearing Guidelines

Both AIO and ACAIB hearings shall be conducted according to the following guidelines.

A. Hearing. A hearing is conducted with the charged student. In cases involving more than one student charged, the AIO or CAIO may permit the hearing concerning each student to be conducted either separately or jointly. For an ACAIB hearing, the person bringing the complaint is required to attend the entire portion of the hearing at which information is received (this excludes deliberations). Admission of any other person (e.g., witnesses, additional student(s) in a case of suspected collaborative violation) to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the AIO for an AIO hearing and the CAIO for an ACAIB hearing.

B. Advisors. The student charged may be assisted by an advisor of their choice. At the student’s expense, advisors may assist the student with preparing for any hearings. However, advisors cannot be present or consulted during hearings. A representative from the College’s Office of the General Counsel may be present or available for consultation at any proceeding if there is any current or pending legal action filed against the College. A student should select as an advisor a person whose schedule allows for consultation in a timely fashion, because delays will not normally be allowed due to the scheduling conflicts of an advisor.

C. Testimony. The person bringing the complaint, the student charged, and the ACAIB or AIO may arrange for witnesses to present pertinent information. The CAIO or AIO will determine whether questions or potential information are appropriate at his or her discretion. Relevant records, exhibits and written statements (including character witness statements during the sanction phase) may be accepted as information for consideration by a board or AIO at the discretion of the chairperson or AIO.

D. Decline to provide information. The student charged has the right to decline to provide any written or oral statements, answer questions posed in a hearing, or provide any information on his or her behalf. However, the ACAIB or AIO may draw an adverse inference from the student’s absence of information or refusal to answer questions.

E. Procedural questions. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the CAIO.

F. Majority vote and quorum. For any ACAIB hearing, the board will determine by majority vote whether the student charged has violated the policy as charged. For any ACAIB hearing, a quorum of three voting members is necessary.

G. Basis for decision. The ACAIB’s or AIO’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the student charged violated the Academic Integrity Policy. Formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in academic integrity proceedings.

H. Hearing recorded. There will be a single verbatim record, such as a digital recording, of all ACAIB hearings. Deliberations will not be recorded. The record will be the property of the College.

I. Decision in absentia. If a student charged, with notice, does not appear for a conference or hearing, the ACAIB or AIO may postpone the hearing, assign a grade of “Incomplete” in the relevant course, or hear the information in support of the charges in the student’s absence and make a decision on the available information. In the case of the assignment of an Incomplete, the grade will be recorded by Records and Registration at the direction of the CAIO or AIO. The CAIO or AIO will communicate this decision to the student, the faculty member in whose course the violation was suspected, and the Dean of the School in which the faculty member resides.

J. Virtual hearing. If the student is unable to appear for a conference due to end-of-semester timing or other factors, the conference and/or hearing can be conducted via telephone, email, videoconference, or other means as determined by the CAIO or AIO with the consent of the student.

K. Special accommodation. The ACAIB or AIO may accommodate persons with concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation during the hearing by providing separate facilities or physical dividers, and/or by permitting participation by telephone, videoconference, video, audio, written statement, or other viable means as determined by the AIA to be appropriate.

L. Differing abilities accommodation. The ACAIB or AIO will provide any reasonable accommodation for hearing participants who have a disability and are registered with, or notify Disability Support Services in a timely manner.

VII. Appeal Procedures

A. Student appeal. A student found in violation of the Academic Integrity Policy is afforded a single opportunity to appeal decisions and/or any sanctions issued by an AIO or ACAIB within five business days of the date of the written decision. After five business days, the student forfeits the opportunity to appeal and the sanction goes into effect. Appeals challenging decisions or sanctions issued by an AIO will be reviewed by the CAIO, except in cases where the CAIO was serving as an AIO. In those cases, the appeal will be reviewed by the Provost. Appeals challenging decisions or sanctions issued by the ACAIB, including all cases of suspension or expulsion, will be reviewed by the Provost. The decision of the individual reviewing the submitted appeal is final and conclusive.

B. Required format. All appeals must be in writing, explicitly state the ground(s) for appeal, and include any supporting documentation that the student wishes to be considered. Deference is given to the original AIO or ACAIB findings of fact and decision of responsibility and/or any sanctions; therefore, the burden of proof is on the student filing an appeal to sufficiently demonstrate cause to alter procedures, the original decision or any sanctions. An appeal will generally be limited to a review of the verbatim record of the hearing (if applicable) and supporting documents for one or more of the purposes below. However, the individual reviewing the appeal may request additional information or clarification from the student, complaining party, and/or witnesses for purposes of this review.

i. Process review. A student may appeal whether the hearing was conducted in accordance with published procedures and without bias on the part of the AIO or any ACAIB member. Deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless significant prejudice resulted from those deviations.

ii. Information review. A student may appeal whether the conclusions drawn from information presented in the hearing could accurately establish that a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy occurred.

iii. Sanction review. A student may appeal whether any sanctions imposed were appropriate for the violation of the Academic Integrity Policy that the student was found to have committed.

iv. New information. A student may introduce new information within the prescribed five-day period, sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, provided that such information was not known to the student appealing at the time of the original hearing.

C. Appeal decision. The individual, CAIO or Provost, reviewing an appeal may make one of the following decisions.

i. Affirm. The individual may decide to affirm the original decision of the AIO or ACAIB.

ii. Alter sanction. The individual may alter the original sanctions issued by the AIO or ACAIB. Alteration in the sanction may include reducing or increasing the sanction or requirements.

iii. New hearing. The individual may determine that a new hearing by a different AIO or ACAIB is warranted to correct procedural irregularity or to consider new information. A student may appeal a decision of the new AIO or ACAIB.

VIII. Summer and End of Academic Year Cases

For cases that are reported late in the semester or over the summer and cannot be resolved using the procedural standards outlined in the Academic Integrity Policy, the student charged may be asked to participate in a virtual hearing or assigned a grade of “Incomplete” in the relevant course pending adjudication. In the case of the assignment of an Incomplete, the grade will be recorded by Records and Registration at the direction of the CAIO or AIO. The CAIO or AIO will communicate this decision to the student, the faculty member in whose course the violation was suspected, and the Dean of the School in which the faculty member resides. Any necessary grade changes or change in student status will occur at the resolution of the case.

IX. Sanctioning Practices

The following sanctions, alone or in any combination, may be imposed upon any student found to have violated the Academic Integrity Policy. The AIO or ACAIB may consider any prior academic integrity violations when assigning sanctions. In the case of suspension and expulsion, the effective date of the sanction is the date of the original sanction, regardless of the date of an appeal decision. Suspensions or expulsions issued before the conclusion of coursework, including final exams, will invalidate grades from all courses except in the case that the suspension is for a future semester.

A. Loss of privilege. A student may be denied the privilege of access to College resources as a result of his or her actions. For example, a student found to have circumvented the normal registration process may be denied the ability to take a given course in a given semester.

B. Resubmission. Allow the student to redo all or part of the work, and give a full or diminished grade for the assignment.

C. Diminished grade on assignment or course. Assign a diminished grade for the assignment up to and including a zero.  If the assignment was ungraded or of minimal value, then the penalty may be a diminished grade on a larger project (e.g., penalty on a graded final draft for dishonesty on an ungraded rough draft) or a diminished yet passing grade for the course as a whole.

D. Failing grade for the course. Record a grade of F for the course that will be calculated into the student’s GPA and place a notation on the student’s academic transcript stating that this F was given as a sanction for academic dishonesty. As soon as the finding is made to assign this sanction the student will be required to separate from the course. One calendar year after the finding a student may petition for administrative deletion of the notation. If the petition is successful, the notation will be removed and the student’s GPA will be recalculated if the student retakes the course.  If the course in question is graded on a “pass / no pass” basis, then the student will receive a grade of U (unsatisfactory), and the U will be noted as having been assigned due to academic dishonesty.

E. Pending suspension. This status serves as the student disciplinary probation status assigned to a student for a specified period of time before he or she is suspended from the College. While on this status, any further violations of Academic Integrity Policy may result in suspension from the College. In addition, this status constitutes a student disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Academic Affairs for five years after a student separates from the College. This sanction will be assigned in combination with resubmission, failing grade on the assignment, or failing grade in the course.

F. Suspension. Termination of course registration from the College after a specific date and for a specified time. The suspension may be for the semester during which a violation occurred and/or for a subsequent semester. A student who is suspended for the current semester will be withdrawn from all courses with a WD/WP/WF (dependent upon the date of the suspension) grade in all courses, with no credits earned for that semester. A student who is suspended for a future semester will receive an academic dishonesty F in the offending course but may receive credit for other courses completed.

During the period of suspension courses taken at another institution may be deemed not to transfer to TCNJ as a condition of the suspension. Through the duration of the suspension, the student may be restricted from College property and may be required to provide prior notice and receive approval from the Provost for the purpose of conducting College business.

Before a student may be readmitted to the College after the designated period of time, he or she must meet with the Provost to show satisfactory completion of any assigned directives or to discuss stipulated conditions for his or her return. In addition, this status constitutes a student disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Academic Affairs indefinitely. This sanction will also be noted on the student’s transcript. Should a student wish to return to the College after the suspension period, he or she must comply with any academic standards and procedures then in effect.

G. Expulsion. Permanent dismissal from the College and restriction from College property. In addition, this status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Academic Affairs indefinitely, and this sanction will be noted on the student’s transcript.  A student who is expelled prior to the completion of a semester will be withdrawn from all courses with an academic dishonesty WD grade in all courses, with no credits earned for that semester. A student who is expelled after the completion of a semester will receive an academic dishonesty F in the offending course but may receive credit for other courses completed.

X. Academic Integrity Violation(s) Record Keeping Practice

A. File maintenance. A student who is charged with a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy has a digital file created in the software package Symplicity and maintained by the AIA. Files are maintained for five years after the date the student separates from the College; however files of students who have been suspended or expelled are maintained indefinitely.

B. Confidentiality. The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) protects a student’s education records, including student conduct files, from unauthorized disclosure to third parties. A student must sign a waiver to grant access to his or her student disciplinary record before the College will disclose information protected by FERPA contained in the student’s records. These confidentiality requirements apply to students’ parents or guardians unless the student is financially dependent on the parents or guardians. Federal law makes exceptions in these cases and does allow the College to share student disciplinary information with specific persons.

C. Inspection. Students may request to inspect or view their student disciplinary records in accordance with FERPA. To do so, a student should make an appointment with the Academic Integrity Administrator. Records are not immediately available to students because they must first be reviewed for confidential information regarding other students, and thus may need to be redacted. Upon request, the Office of Academic Affairs will provide students with copies of redacted incident reports, letters, and any forms or receipts in the student’s file.

D. Reporting. If a student has given proper permission for the College to share student disciplinary information to a third party, it is the practice of the College to only disclose an academic integrity violation if a student has received any of the following sanctions: failing grade for the course, pending suspension, suspension, or expulsion. The College retains discretion to release additional information contained in a student’s academic integrity file if a third party requires disclosure of further information, or if a student separates from the College with any pending academic integrity matters.

E. Petition for administrative deletion.  Student disciplinary records may be administratively deleted upon approval by the Provost. When a record is administratively deleted, the information it contains is no longer part of an official academic integrity record. Statistical information from deleted files may be retained with the student’s name and student identification number removed. Administrative deletion affects only information maintained by the AIA in the Office of Academic Affairs. Copies of letters distributed to other College departments, incident reports, police reports, and the results of previous background checks reported outside of the Office of Academic Affairs are not affected by an administrative deletion. Petitions for an administrative deletion may be made no sooner than one year after the date of the student’s last finding of responsibility from the academic integrity process and must be submitted in writing to the Provost using the standardized form available here: https://tcnj.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5dxJ6UOWSqn2QW9

Administrative deletion may not be granted for conduct that resulted in suspension or expulsion from the College. These offenses are retained indefinitely.

For individuals who are still enrolled at the College at the time of petition for administrative deletion of disciplinary records, the only immediate outcome could be removal of the “academic dishonesty” transcript notation for course failure. The complete deletion of disciplinary records would not happen until such time that the individual was separated from the College.

XI. Leave of Absence or Withdrawal

A. Individuals who withdraw or take a leave of absence from the College while an academic integrity matter or any sanction is pending will have a registration hold placed on their student account(s) and will be notified of the pending matter and registration hold.

B. If documentation of a complaint or incident is brought to the attention of the Office of Academic Affairs after an individual separates from the College, but includes conduct that allegedly occurred while an individual was a student, the College retains discretion to assign any charges, and/or place a registration hold on the individual’s account pending adjudication.

C. The College retains discretion to determine when there is enough information available or it is necessary to adjudicate charges for formerly enrolled students.