All academic institutions have core principles and values that support the institution’s mission and guide students’ conduct, in order to eliminate any academic misconduct. These values and principles upon which the institutions are built are the academic integrities for those institutions. The University of California, Riverside academic integrity policy defines academic misconduct as an act that improperly distorts a student’s or other students’ grades or academic records. In October 21, 2004, the Education Policy Committee proposed a recommendation of a new policy regarding the academic integrity at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). After the agreements for the proposal, the committee prepared a flow chart representing the paths that academic offenders would during the review of their accusations.
Academic misconduct refers to any formal academic action that undermines honest academic performance, hence referred to as cheating. This conduct includes bribery, plagiarism, cheating, sabotage, deception, professorial misconduct, and fabrication. Cheating includes copying other students’ work, possession of resources or pre-prepared notes in an examination, use of external assistance and allowing other people to prepare your work without getting authority from the instructor in charge. There are many reasons as to why students would get involved in such misconduct including personal characteristics, moral development, misconduct deterrent methods, contextual factors and demographics. Some students rationally decide to get involved in academic dishonesty, and this, with time, becomes a pathological trend and a student is unable to prevent the urge to cheat. This may begin as a wrongful association of success and cheating, making students believe that the probability of excelling in academics depends on their ability to cheat. Demographic factors such as race, social class, religion, nationality and parental education influences a student’s likelihood of cheating (University of California 1).
Chancellors at the University of California, Riverside may impose authority on students who violate the disciplinary policies including academic misconduct and any other form of dishonesty. To promote intellectual honesty in research, the policy encourages research units and research schools to build statements that integrate well with the research climate and the requirements of individual disciplines. In case there is a violation or suspicion of violation in research, the policy recommends that the teaching assistants, faculty members or any other personnel report this to the research unit’s director, the school dean or department chair, who should forward this report to the Research Associate dean for further action.
The policy also requires instructional personnel, teaching assistants and faculty members to provide statement highlighting academic integrity for all courses and inform students of their expectations and standards, to avoid cases of violations through ignorance. In case there are violations or suspicion of violation in the courses, faculty members must communicate this with the suspected student within thirty working days of discovering this matter. The faculty gives the student an opportunity to respond to the allegation, after which, the instructor takes action depending on the likelihood that the student committed or did not commit the violation. If the instructor confers that the student did not commit the misconduct, he /she dismisses the allegation without taking any action. If the student fails to dispute the allegations, the instructor imposes the appropriate sanctions that comply with the academic integrity principles, misconduct premeditation, degree of intentionality and the assignment’s nature (University of California Policies 2).
Any action taken against a student must be documented in the referral form for Academic misconducts. On the other hand, if a student disputes the allegations, the instructor refers the incident to Student Judicial Affairs. Students cannot withdraw from disputed courses once they are officially notified until appropriate sanctions are imposed on them. Students may also appeal the decisions of Student Judicial Affairs or an instructor through the committee of College Academic Integrity in his/her college. However, the appellate decisions concerning the matter are final.