A. Levels of Violations and Recommended Sanctions
Any violation of academic integrity is a serious offense and is therefore subject to an appropriate penalty or sanction. Academic integrity violations at Rutgers University are classified into four levels according to the nature of the violation. For each level of violation, a corresponding set of sanctions is recommended. Level Three and Level Four violations are called "separable," since the recommended sanctions are temporary or permanent separation from the university. Level One and Level Two violations are called "nonseparable" since separation from the university is not a possible sanction for first offenses at those levels. However, separation is a possible sanction for repeat violations at Level One or Level Two.
The recommended sanctions at each level are not binding, but are intended as general guidelines for the academic community. Moreover, due to mitigating circumstances, a recommended sanction is not always imposed, even when a student is found responsible for a given violation. Culpability may be assessed and sanctions imposed differentially for those with more or with less experience as members of the academic community. Therefore, violations of academic integrity by graduate and professional students [In this policy, the term graduate and professional students refers to postbaccalaureate students pursuing master's or doctoral degrees of any type, as well as law students. The term does not refer to students in the undergraduate phase of a joint undergraduate-graduate degree program] will normally be penalized more severely than violations by first-year undergraduate students.
Examples are cited below for each level of violation. These examples are meant to be illustrations and should not be considered all-inclusive.
Level One Violations
Level One violations may occur because of inexperience or lack of knowledge of the principles of academic integrity and are often characterized by the absence of dishonest intent on the part of the student committing the violation. These violations generally are quite limited in extent, occur on a minor assignment, and represent a small fraction of the total coursework. Examples include:
1. Working with another student on a minor laboratory exercise or homework assignment when such collaboration is prohibited.
2. Failure to footnote or give proper acknowledgment in a very limited section of an assignment.
Sanctions for Level One violations ordinarily include one or more of the following, although this list is not all-inclusive:
1. Required participation in a noncredit workshop or seminar on ethics or academic integrity.
2. An assigned paper or research project related to ethics or academic integrity.
3. A makeup assignment that is more difficult than the original assignment.
4. No credit for the original assignment.
5. Disciplinary warning.
Level Two Violations
Level Two violations are breaches of academic integrity that are more serious or that affect a more significant aspect or portion of the coursework compared with Level One violations. Examples include:
1. Quoting directly or paraphrasing, to a moderate extent, without acknowledging the source.
2. Submitting the same work, or major portions thereof, to satisfy the requirements of more than one course without permission from the instructor to whom the work is submitted for the second or subsequent time.
3. Using data or interpretative material for a laboratory report without acknowledging the sources or the collaborators. All contributors to the acquisition of data and/or to the writing of the report must be acknowledged.
4. Failure to acknowledge assistance from others, such as help with research, statistical analysis, computer programming, or field data collection, in a paper, examination, or project report.
Sanctions for Level Two violations ordinarily include one or more of the following, although this list is not all-inclusive:
1. A failing grade on the assignment.
2. A failing grade for the course.
3. Disciplinary warning or probation.
Level Three Violations
Level Three violations are breaches of academic integrity that are more serious in nature or that affect a more significant aspect or portion of the coursework compared with Level Two violations. Examples include:
1. Repeat Level Two violations.
2. Presenting the work of another as one's own.
3. Copying work on hourly exams or final exams.
4. Plagiarizing major portions of a written assignment.
5. Acting to facilitate copying during an exam.
6. Using prohibited materials, such as books, notes, or calculators during an examination.
7. Conspiring before an exam to develop methods of illicitly exchanging information during the exam.
8. Altering examinations for the purposes of regrading.
9. Acquiring or distributing copies of an examination from an unauthorized source prior to the examination period.
10. Submitting purchased materials such as a semester paper.
11. Removing or damaging posted or reserve material, or preventing other students from having access to the material.
12. Fabricating data by inventing or deliberately altering material. Fabrication includes citing "sources" that are not, in fact, sources.
13. Using unethical or improper means of acquiring data.
The sanction for Level Three violations ordinarily is an F for the course and suspension for one or more semesters, depending on the seriousness of the violation.
Level Four Violations
Level Four violations represent the most serious breaches of academic integrity. Examples include:
1. Committing a violation of academic integrity after returning from suspension for a previous violation of academic integrity.
2. Committing a violation of academic integrity that breaks the law or resembles criminal activity (such as forging a grade form, stealing an examination from a professor or from a university office, buying a stolen examination, falsifying a transcript to gain access to the university or its resources, or altering the record of work done at the university).
3. Having a substitute take an examination or taking an examination for someone else.
4. Fabricating evidence; falsifying data; quoting directly or paraphrasing without acknowledging the source; and/or presenting the ideas of another as one's own in a senior thesis, a master's thesis, a doctoral dissertation, a scholarly article submitted for publication, or any other work represented as his or her own by a graduate or professional student.
5. Sabotaging another student's work through actions designed to prevent the student from successfully completing an assignment.
6. Knowingly violating a canon of the ethical code of the profession for which a graduate or professional student is preparing.
The sanction for Level Four violations ordinarily is permanent expulsion from the university with a permanent notation of disciplinary expulsion on the student's Rutgers transcript.
As stated above, a repeat violation at Level Two will ordinarily be treated as a Level Three, and hence separable, violation. Likewise, any violation of academic integrity committed after returning from suspension for a Level Three violation will be treated as a Level Four violation. A repeat violation at Level One will ordinarily be treated as a Level Two violation, although it may, under certain circumstances, be treated as a Level Three violation.
B. Other Consequences of Violating the Academic Integrity Policy
A student who commits a violation of academic integrity not only faces university censure and sanctions but also runs a serious risk of harming his or her future educational and employment opportunities. The notation of a specific sanction placed on the student's transcript remains for the term of the sanction. In all closed cases in which a grade of F is assigned for disciplinary reasons, the F shall remain on the student's transcript and be included in the GPA, even if the student retakes the course and achieves a passing grade. Moreover, prospective employers and other educational institutions frequently use recommendation forms that ask for judgment and comment on an individual's moral or ethical behavior. Since such forms are sent with the permission of the student, who thereby waives any right he or she may have under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act to keep disciplinary sanctions confidential, university faculty and administrators with knowledge of academic integrity violations are ethically bound to report such violations.