Code of Academic Integrity Update | Pepperdine University | Seaver College

Code of Academic Integrity Update


Academic Integrity

The Code of Academic Integrity at Seaver College is an integral part of the educational process. It makes possible an atmosphere conducive to the development of the total person through learning experiences. Since a person is more than intellect, learning is more than academic achievement. It includes achievement in all the qualities of an individual: intellectual, spiritual, ethical, emotional, and physical. Seaver's Code of Academic Integrity provides among students, faculty members, and the administration a spirit of community where total development of all individuals can occur. Furthermore, it creates a climate of mutual trust, respect, and interpersonal concern, where openness and integrity prevail.

The Code of Academic Integrity enriches the educational process at Seaver College and encourages the development of a "Seaver spirit." Consequently, this leads to a pervasive sense of pride for and loyalty to Seaver's high standards of academic ethics, personal honesty, and spiritual values which imbue Seaver College as a Christian university.

The code emphasizes the dignity and development of each individual. The code maintains free competition and independent intellectual effort, not tolerating dishonesty, cheating, or plagiarism in any form. If acts of dishonorable conduct occur, the code outlines applicable procedures and sanctions designed to censure such activity.

But, to be effective, the code must be maintained by the community. This requires a genuine sense of maturity, responsibility, and sensitivity on the part of every member. In particular, each member of the Seaver College community is expected to pursue his or her academic work with honesty and integrity. Academic Integrity is the expression of intellectual virtue in human beings as a result of their creation in God's image. It represents the convergence of the best of the human spirit and God's spirit, which requires personal, private, and community virtue. As a Christian institution, Pepperdine University affirms that integrity begins in our very created being and is lived out in our academic work.

Unfortunately, students do, on occasion, violate Academic Integrity, and this provides a need for discipline and an opportunity for restoration. The following pages describe the conduct that violates Academic Integrity, applicable procedures, and sanctions that may be imposed.

I. Violations of Academic Integrity

Most, but not all, violations of academic integrity involve one of the following four general categories of behavior.

i.   Plagiarism

Plagiarism occurs when a writer appropriates another's ideas, research, or writing without proper acknowledgement of the source or uses another's words without the use of quotation marks.

ii.   Cheating

Cheating is the use of unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in an academic exercise as well as unauthorized collaboration in any form.

iii.  Fabrication

Fabrication is the falsification or invention of information in an academic exercise or to university officials. Fabrication also includes lying to a member of the administration, faculty, or Academic Integrity Committee (AIC).

iv.   Facilitating Academic Dishonesty

The facilitation of academic dishonesty occurs when students knowingly or negligently aid others or allow their work to be used in a dishonest academic manner. Students also facilitate academic dishonesty when they are aware of, but fail to report, violations of the code of academic integrity. Students who facilitate academic dishonesty are as guilty of violating academic integrity as those who plagiarize, cheat or fabricate materials.

a.   Violation Levels

Any violation of academic integrity is subject to an appropriate penalty. Violations at Pepperdine University are classified into four levels according to the nature of the infraction. For each level of violation, a corresponding set of sanctions is recommended. The Academic Integrity Committee and the office of the Dean of Seaver College are charged with using these guidelines as general rules of practice for the academic community in matters relating to the assignment of violation level and appropriate sanction.

1.   Level One

Level One violations may occur because of inexperience or lack of knowledge of principles of academic integrity. These violations are likely to involve a small fraction of the total course work, are not extensive, and/or occur on a minor assignment. Cases involving Level One violations are primarily viewed as "teaching opportunities." Therefore, they are to be administered by the instructor in consultation with the student and subsequently reported to the AIC chair. In cases where the student disagrees with the sanction imposed, the student may appeal the case to the AIC. Level One violations include (but are not limited to) the following examples:

1A.   Working with another student on a laboratory or other homework assignment when such work is prohibited.

1B.   Failing to footnote or give proper acknowledgment in an extremely limited section of an assignment. This includes changing some words but copying whole phrases, copying words from a source but only marking some of those words as a quotation, paraphrasing without attribution, copying the syntactical or organizational structure of another writer, using unique or apt phrases from another writer, or failure to use quotation marks to cite a passage.

1C.   Engaging in any of the following (or similar) activities during an examination when prohibited: talking, having notes visible, leaving the exam room without permission, looking at another's paper, failing to stop working when time is called.

1D.   Committing other minor or unintentional infractions of academic integrity.

The recommended sanctions for violations at Level One are:

i)    Consultation with a Writing Center tutor and/or

ii)   Completion of an assigned paper or research project on a relevant topic, and/or

iii)  Submission of a rewritten assigned paper, and/or

iv)  Completion of a make-up assignment at a more difficult level than the original assignment, and/or

v)   Receipt of a zero for the original assignment.

Records of students who commit Level One offenses will be maintained in the Seaver Dean's Offices until graduation, following which these records will be expunged.

A second instance of a Level One violation constitutes an automatic Level Two or higher violation.

2.   Level Two

Level Two violations are characterized by dishonesty of a more serious nature or by dishonesty that affects a more significant aspect or portion of the course work. Cases involving Level Two violations are still primarily viewed as "teaching opportunities" and are therefore to be administered by the instructor in consultation with the student and subsequently reported to the AIC chair. In cases where the student disagrees with either the violation or the sanction imposed, the student may appeal the case to the AIC. Level Two violations include (but are not limited to) the following examples:

2A.   Using significant portions of information for an assignment without acknowledging the sources or the collaborators.

2B.   Giving or receiving assistance to/from others, such as help with research, statistical analysis, computer programming, or field data collection that constitutes an essential element in the undertaking without acknowledging such assistance in the paper, project, or assignment.

2C.   Giving or receiving unpermitted assistance on exams.

2D.   Using unauthorized materials during an exam.

2E.   Quoting directly or paraphrasing, to a moderate extent, without acknowledging the source.

2F.   Submitting the same work or major portions thereof to satisfy the requirements of more than one course without permission from the instructor.

2G.   Collaborating before or during an exam to develop methods of exchanging information and implementation thereof.

2H.   Removing posted or reserved material, or preventing other students from having access to it.

2I.   Providing false excuses to postpone tests or due dates.

The recommended sanction for Level Two violations is a Level One sanction and/or the following:

i)    Course grade that is lowered one or more grade levels, and/or

ii)   Course grade of F, and/or

iii)   Placement on University Probation for one or more semesters. See the Sanctions and Expectations for Student Leaders sections in the Student Handbook for the consequences associated with University Probation. Students on University Probation also are ineligible to participate in International Programs.

Instructors and the AIC committee may exhibit discretion in determining the appropriate sanction for a Level Two violation based upon the severity of the violation.

All records of students who commit Level Two offenses will be maintained permanently in the Seaver Dean's Office.

A second instance of a Level Two violation constitutes an automatic Level Three or higher violation.

3.   Level Three

Level Three violations include dishonesty that affects a major or essential portion of work done to meet course requirements, or involves premeditation, or is preceded by one or more violations at Levels One and Two. All cases involving Level Three violations are heard by the Academic Integrity Committee. Level Three violations include (but are not limited to) the following examples:

3A.   Committing any premeditated Level Two violation involving a major portion of coursework.

3B.   Taking an exam for another student.

3C.   Altering an exam and submitting it for re-grading.

3D.   Use, without proper attribution, of a paper or major sections of a work obtained from the Internet.

3E.   Presenting the work of another as one's own.

3F.   Permitting another to present one's work as their own.

3G.   Buying or selling unauthorized aid on examinations, papers, or grades.

3H.   Offering or accepting bribes related to academic work.

3I.     Fabricating data by inventing or deliberately altering material (this includes citing "sources" that are not, in fact, sources).

3J.    Translating work from one language into another and submitting as one's own work.

3K.    Lying to AIC members during an investigation or hearing.

3L.    Sabotaging another student's work through actions designed to prevent the student from successfully completing an assignment.

The sanction typically to be sought for all Level Three violations is a Level Two Sanction and/or suspension from the University for one or more semesters. All records of students who commit Level Three offenses will be maintained permanently in the Seaver Dean's Office.

4.   Level Four

Level Four violations represent the most serious breaches of intellectual honesty and academic integrity.

All Level Four cases are heard by the Academic Integrity Committee. Level Four violations include (but are not limited to) the following examples:

4A.   All academic infractions committed after return from suspension for a previous academic integrity violation.

4B.   Stealing an examination from a professor or from a University office.

4C.   Falsifying a transcript to secure entry into the University or change the record of work done at the University or elsewhere.

4D.   Falsifying medical records.

4E.   Falsifying any official University documents by mutilation, addition, or deletion.

The typical sanction for a Level Four violation is permanent expulsion from the University. Such cases will results in the permanent notation of "Academic Disciplinary Expulsion" on the student's transcript.

5.   Consequences of Violating the Code of Academic Integrity

Students committing acts of academic dishonesty not only face university censure, but also face a serious risk of harming their future educational and employment opportunities. Prospective employers and other educational institutions frequently use recommendation forms that ask for feedback on an individual's moral or ethical behavior. Since such forms are sent with the permission of the student, University faculty and administrators knowledgeable of academic dishonesty infractions are ethically bound to report such occurrences.

II. Procedures

a.   Academic Integrity Procedures

1.   The academic integrity procedures are designed with the following purposes in mind:

i.   To provide a positive direction in cultivating academic integrity;

ii.  To insure thorough and fair investigation of pertinent evidence;

iii.  To maintain strict confidentiality among committee members; and

iv.  To allow for an appropriate channel of appeal.

Such purposes are to be attained through the efforts of the Academic Integrity Committee.

2.   Reporting

Any alleged violation of academic integrity is to be reported to the chair of the AIC.

b.   Pre-Hearing Procedures

1.   Students opposing Level One or Level Two sanctions imposed by an instructor or charged with Level Three or Level Four violations will receive a written correspondence from the AIC chairperson detailing the following:

i.    Date and time of the hearing. The hearing will be scheduled not less than five business days or more than thirty calendar days  after the student has been notified.

ii.    The alleged violation(s) of academic integrity.

iii.    Possible sanctions for the alleged violation(s).

iv.    The URL to the Academic Integrity web site and the hearing procedures.

v.    The ability of the student to bring a student, faculty or staff advisor.

vi.   The ability of the student to call witnesses and/or submit documents during the hearing.

vii.   A statement that the AIC hearing is confidential.

viii.  The opportunity to appeal the resulting decision of the AIC.

ix.   Contact information for the AIC chairperson.

2.   The student may provide a written response to the AIC Chairperson up to 24 hours prior to the AIC hearing.

3.   The student and the accusing faculty member(s) shall notify the Chairperson of the committee of the names of the witnesses they choose to have testify on their behalf and provide a copy of all pertinent documents at least twenty-four hours prior to the hearing, and they shall assume responsibility for the presence of their witnesses at the hearing. The committee may, at its sole discretion, limit the number of witnesses and documents considered at the hearing.

4.   All hearings will be closed to Seaver College community. Only the members of the committee, the accused student, advisors involved in the hearing, and accusing faculty member(s) involved in the case may be present at the hearing. Authorized witnesses will be present to testify individually and each witness must leave the hearing as soon as his or her testimony is completed.

c.   Hearing Procedures

1.   Academic Integrity proceedings are not analogous to criminal court proceedings. No particular model of procedural due process is required. However, the procedures are structured in order to facilitate a reliable determination of the truth and to provide fundamental fairness. Procedures can be informal in cases involving Level One or Level Two violations; more procedural formality is observed in serious disciplinary cases involving Level Three or Level Four violations. In all situations, fairness requires that students be informed of the nature of the charges and be given a fair opportunity to respond to them.

2.   The hearing will be called to order at the time specified. The hearing cannot begin without seven committee members and/or alternates (see #5 below), the accused student, and the accusing faculty member(s) (or an appointed representative) in attendance.

3.   All testimony and committee decisions, including sanctions, will be digitally recorded. The deliberations of the AIC are not recorded.

4.   No member of the hearing committee who is otherwise interested in the particular case brought before the committee, whether bringing charges against the student, or who is placed in a position of developing or prosecuting the case against the student, shall sit in judgment during the proceedings. This committee member will be replaced as stipulated in No. 5 of the procedures.

5.   All committee members involved in the case being presented before the committee must recuse themselves from the committee. An alternate committee member shall replace each recused member during the hearing. When possible, the alternate committee member should be from the same academic division as the recused committee member.

6.   The hearing will begin with the Chairperson providing a summary of the procedures to be followed at the hearing and the charges asserted against the accused student.

7.   The accusing faculty member will present to the committee any evidence the faculty member wishes to have under consideration. The faculty member may call witnesses and/or present documents, if deemed pertinent to the case. At the close of any witness's presentation, the witness may be questioned by the committee on any points of evidence on which the committee is unclear. The witness will then be asked to leave the hearing. The faculty member(s) also may be questioned by the committee on any points of evidence on which the committee is unclear.

8.   The accused student will be given an opportunity to rebut the charges. The accused student may call witnesses and/or present documents, if deemed pertinent to the case. At the close of any witness's presentation, the witness may be questioned by the committee on any points of evidence on which the committee is unclear. The witness will then be asked to leave the hearing. At the close of the accused student's presentation, the student may be questioned by the committee on any points of evidence on which the committee is unclear. In addition, the committee may ask the faculty member about points of evidence which are unclear.

9.   After all evidence has been presented, the accused student and the accusing faculty member(s) will be asked to leave the hearing room while the committee deliberates. At this time, the committee will review and discuss all the evidence it feels is pertinent to the case. The AIC will make its determination according to the preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., whether it is more likely than not that the student violated the AI code). When deliberation has been completed, a secret ballot will be taken to decide whether the accused student violated the AI code. The ballots will be counted by the secretary and reported to the committee.

10.   The accused student will be found in violation or not in violation of the AI code based upon a vote of at least three-fourths of the members present, with no more than two members dissenting. If the accused student is found in violation of the AI code, the committee will vote on a sanction. The sanction must have a majority vote. Vote is by secret ballot and is counted by the secretary. The results (and original ballots) will be presented to the Associate Dean of Seaver College. The accused student will be asked to return to the hearing room to be informed of the committee's decision.

11.   If found in violation, the student will be advised of his/her opportunity to appeal the decision to the Associate Dean of Seaver College. See "Appeal Procedures" below.

12.   Formal written notice of the decision will be sent to the student, the accusing faculty member(s), and the Associate Dean of Seaver College.

13.   All notes and recordings of the hearings shall be given to the Associate Dean of Seaver College to be kept as specified in the Code of Academic Integrity.

14.   To maintain a record of the hearing, the secretary will prepare a single written record of the hearing. The record shall consist minimally of:

i.   A statement of the alleged misconduct and violation(s);

ii.   A summary of information presented in the hearing, including a chronological sequence of the proceedings;

iii.  A summary of the statement of the accused student;

iv.  A statement of the decision; and

v.  The sanctions issued.

In addition, the secretary will retain a digital recording of the hearing as specified in item 3.

15.   Any member of the AIC may attach a statement to the secretary's report of the hearing indicating his or her dissent.

16.   If the accused student fails to appear at the hearing, the Committee may make a decision based on the available information. If the AIC chairperson determines that good cause exists for the accused student not appearing at the hearing, a new date may be set for the hearing.

d.   Appeal Procedures

1.   A student who wishes to appeal the AIC's decision can submit a written appeal to the Associate Dean of Seaver College. The appeal letter must be submitted within seven calendar days of the date on the written notice of the sanction.

2.   The written appeal must specify grounds that would justify consideration. General dissatisfaction with the outcome of the decision or an appeal for mercy is not an appropriate basis for an appeal. The written appeal must specifically address at least one of the following criteria:

i.  Insufficient information to support the decision.

ii. New information, sufficient to alter a decision, or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, because such information and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original hearing.

iii. Procedural irregularity that undermined the student's ability to present a defense (see "Hearing Procedures" above).

iv. Inappropriateness of the sanction for the violation of the Code of Academic Integrity.

3.   The appellate process does not require a hearing, nor does it require the Associate Dean to make personal contact with the student or the Academic Integrity Committee. The Associate Dean may, but is not required to, convene an ad hoc appeals committee to assist in considering the appeal. The Associate Dean is not bound by the decision of the ad hoc appeals committee.

4.   The Associate Dean may affirm, reverse, or modify the sanction. The Associate Dean may also return the case to the Academic Integrity Committee for further consideration. The Associate Dean's decision shall be final and effective immediately.

III. For Students and Faculty

a.   Instructions to Students

It is the student's responsibility to meet with the faculty member to discuss the alleged violation of academic integrity. At this meeting between the faculty member and the student, the student has the opportunity to accept the faculty member's proposed Level One or Level Two sanction or request a hearing of the AIC. Failure on the part of the student to meet with the accusing faculty member may result in an automatic hearing before the AIC.

If he or she so desires, the student appearing before the committee shall have the right to be assisted at the hearing by an advisor of his or her choice. The advisor shall be from the Pepperdine community, either faculty, staff, or a student. The student shall notify the committee's Chairperson of the name of the advisor and the relationship to him or her at least twenty-four hours prior to the hearing. With permission of the committee, an advisor may make a brief statement on the student's behalf. Otherwise, the advisor will limit himself or herself to consultation with the student.

If, for a valid reason, the accused student cannot attend the hearing at the arranged time, the student should contact the AIC chairperson as soon as possible to reschedule the hearing date. If the student cancels or postpones a second scheduled hearing, the committee may rule that the student's failure to appear is a waiver of the student's right to represent himself or herself at the hearing and the hearing will proceed without the student.

b.   Instructions to Faculty

1.   The faculty member accusing the student of the alleged offense should attempt to meet with the student and discuss the incident and determine if there is an acceptable explanation for the apparent violation of the Code of Academic Integrity.

2.   If an agreement concerning the alleged Level One or Level Two violation is reached, the faculty member will submit a completed AI report form to the AIC chair.

3.   If the student is unavailable for a meeting, the alleged violation remains unresolved despite the faculty member's efforts to meet with the student, or if the alleged incident represents a Level Three or Level Four violation, the faculty member will submit a completed AI report form to the AIC chair and a hearing will be scheduled.

Once a copy of the charges has been received by the chairperson of the AIC, (s)he will contact the student to schedule a hearing. See "Pre-Hearing Procedures" above.

IV. Academic Integrity Committee

a. Current Membership

1.   Composition of Committee

The AIC will consist of four undergraduate students, one graduate student, and one faculty representative from each academic division and the library. Selection of the student representatives will be made by the chairperson of the AIC in consultation with the Seaver Dean's Office.

2.   Committee Tenure

i.   Students are selected by the AIC chairperson and serve a one-year term beginning in September. Faculty and library representatives are elected to serve a two-year term by the respective academic divisions as follows:

a.   Even-numbered years: Social Science, Humanities/Teacher Education, Fine Arts, and Religion

b.   Odd-numbered years: Natural Science, Business, and Communication, International Studies and Languages, and Library.

ii.  Freshman students and non-full-time faculty members are ineligible to serve on the AIC.

iii. Chairperson

A non-voting (except in the case of a tie vote) chairperson shall be elected by the AIC from among its members. The chairperson must have served previously on the AIC.

3.   Officers

i.   A secretary shall be elected by the AIC. This election will be conducted by the chairperson without nomination and by ballot. Only faculty and library members of the AIC are eligible to serve as secretary.

4.   Vacancies

i.   In the event of a student or faculty vacancy, the AIC chairperson will consult with the Seaver Dean's Office to determine an appropriate      replacement.

5.   AIC Membership Academic Year 2013-2014

i.  Faculty

a.   Rob Shearer (Business Administration Division)

b.   Bert Ballard (Communication Division)

c.   Sonia Sorrell (Fine Arts Division)

d.   Mason Marshall (Humanities and Teacher Education Division)

e.   Priscilla MacRae (Natural Science Division)

f.    Chris Heard (Religion Division), Chair

g.   Tomas Martinez (Social Science Division)

h.   (University Libraries)

ii.   Students

a.   (Undergraduate Student Representative)

b.   (Undergraduate Student Representative)

c.   (Graduate Student Representative)

V. Reporting Form

Link to view the printable Reporting Form: