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Academic Information

Cheating and Plagiarism

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It is the policy of the faculty and administration to deal effectively with the student who practices cheating or plagiarism. These acts are fundamentally destructive of the process of education and the confident evaluation of a student's mastery over a subject. A University maintains respect and functions successfully within the larger community when its reputation is built on honesty. By the same token, each student benefits in helping to maintain the integrity of the University. This policy, therefore, provides for a variety of faculty actions including those which may lead to the assignment of a failing grade for a course and for administrative actions which may lead to dismissal from the University. This document is written with the intent to support the traditional values that students are on their honor to perform their academic duties in an ethical manner.


The following definitions of cheating and plagiarism shall apply to all work submitted by a student. Any change or refinement in the following definitions or applications of the definitions, necessitated by the nature of the work involved, shall be made by the faculty member or departments desiring the change. Any change shall be announced, in writing, in the relevant classes before the work is assigned and a copy of the changes will be filed in the department office and in the Office of Judicial Affairs.

Definition of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined as the act of using the ideas or work of another person or persons as if they were one's own, without giving credit to the source. Such an act is not plagiarism if it is ascertained that the ideas were arrived at through independent reasoning or logic or where the thought or idea is common knowledge. Acknowledge of an original author or source must be made through appropriate references, i.e., quotation marks, footnotes, or commentary. Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to, the following: the submission of a work, either in part or in whole, completed by another; failure to give credit for ideas, statements, facts or conclusions which rightfully belong to another; in written work, failure to use quotation marks when quoting directly from another, whether it be a paragraph, a sentence, or even a part thereof; or close and lengthy paraphrasing of another's writing or programming. A student who is in doubt about the extent of acceptable paraphrasing should consult the instructor. Students are cautioned that, in conducting their research, they should prepare their notes by (a) either quoting material exactly (using quotation marks) at the time they take notes from a source; or (b) departing completely from the language used in the source, putting the material into their own words. In this way, when the material is used in the paper or project, the student can avoid plagiarism resulting from verbatim use of notes. Both quoted and paraphrased materials must be given proper citations.

Definition of Cheating

Cheating is defined as the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain or aiding another to obtain academic credit for work by the use of any dishonest, deceptive or fraudulent means. Examples of cheating during an examination would include, but not be limited to the following: copying, either in part or in whole, from another test or examination; discussion of answers or ideas relating to the answers on an examination or test unless such discussion is specifically authorized by the instructor; giving or receiving copies of an exam without the permission of the instructor; using or displaying notes; "cheat sheets," or other information or devices inappropriate to the prescribed test conditions, as when the test of competence includes a test of unassisted recall of information, skill, or procedure; allowing someone other than the officially enrolled student to represent the same. Also included are plagiarism as defined and altering or interfering with the grading procedures. It is often appropriate for students to study together or to work in teams on projects. However, such students should be careful to avoid use of unauthorized assistance, and to avoid any implication of cheating, by such means as sitting apart from one another in examinations, presenting the work in a manner which clearly indicates the effort of each individual, or such other method as is appropriate to the particular course.

Faculty Responsibilities in Allegations of Cheating or Plagiarism

Before a faculty member charges a student with cheating or plagiarism, the faculty member should have reasonable evidence with respect thereto. Reasonable evidence includes documentary or other physical evidence, personal observation, or testimony. Prior cheating or plagiarism is not reasonable evidence. In order to establish facts of the student's knowledge or skill, the faculty member may ask the student to provide such additional demonstration of competency as the faculty member deems necessary to evaluate scholarship and academic performance. The faculty member must advise the student that a decision to provide an opportunity for such an additional demonstration of competency is entirely at the faculty member's option and that the student may comply with the request of the faculty member at the student's option. Neither compliance nor non-compliance shall be considered an admission of cheating or plagiarism.

In cases where a student is suspected of cheating or plagiarism, the faculty member should arrange for an informal office conference with the student as soon as possible. The purpose of the informal conference is to bring the persons involved together to discuss the issues informally and to discuss courses of action. At the conference the student shall be notified by the faculty member of the charge and supporting evidence. For an incident which occurs during or as a part of a final examination consult the section just below.

In cases where there is more than one individual suspected of cheating or plagiarism, the faculty member may decide to call the students to confer jointly as a group, or as individuals, or both. If the faculty member should decide to confer with the students as a group, the students shall have the option to also confer with the instructor separately as individuals.

The faculty member shall inform the student(s) that both students and faculty have the right to submit a request to the Academic Integrity Committee (discussed below) for a written opinion on whether the accusation is supported by the evidence. All notes and discussions between the student and the faculty member are confidential, except as may be relevant to the Academic Integrity Committee or in subsequent campus disciplinary proceedings. Neither the faculty member nor the student should discuss a specific charge of cheating or plagiarism or any violations with reference to individuals in the classroom before other members of the class.

When the student cannot be contacted and therefore the informal conference cannot be held, as is sometimes the case after final examinations, a grade of "I" (Incomplete) may be assigned, but only if the instructor wishes an additional test of competence (see section just above). The instructor shall have the agreement form for assigning an "Incomplete" sent to the last known address of the student. The agreement form shall state the following:

Under the provisions of the CSULB Policy Statement on Cheating and Plagiarism, an additional test of competency related to the syllabus name of suspect demonstration (e.g., Final Examination) is requested. You may decline to do so. Please contact the instructor, the department office, or the office of Judicial Affairs for information regarding the University policy on Cheating and Plagiarism. The instructor must indicate on the agreement form the grade with will be assigned, normally 120 calendar days following mailing of the Incomplete Agreement, if the student does not respond or, responding, the student does not agree to an additional test of competence.

Charges of cheating or plagiarism cannot be brought against a student more than 120 calendar days after discovery that the work in question may have been plagiarized or that cheating may have taken place.

Notes and evidence shall be kept by the department chair or program director for a minimum of five years after the case is settled.

In implementation of the Executive Order from the Chancellor's Office that requires documentation of faculty action regarding cheating and plagiarism, the Academic Senate revised the Cheating and Plagiarism Policy to include the following language:  After action has been taken by the faculty member, the faculty member shall complete a form that identifies the student who was found responsible, the general nature of the offense, the action taken, and a recommendation as to whether or not additional action should be considered by the Office of Judicial Affairs.  The complete form should be sent by the faculty member to both the provost and the vice president for student affairs whenever cases of academic dishonesty are handled by the faculty member.

Academic Integrity Committee

The Chair of the Academic Senate and the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs shall jointly appoint an Academic Integrity Committee for the University. This Committee shall consist of one member from the student body, chosen by the Associated Students Government for a one year term of office; three members of the full-time, tenured or tenure-track faculty, each with a term of office of two years, terms of office expiring in alternate years; and one member of the Office of Academic Affairs, who shall be Chair, voting only in case of ties.

The primary charge of the Committee is to receive the requests of students accused of cheating or plagiarism or the requests of faculty accusing specified student(s) of cheating or plagiarism. Following its review of the evidence, the Committee shall report its opinion to the student(s) and to the faculty member involved on whether the accusation is supported by the evidence. This opinion may not be appealed. However, when new evidence appears to so warrant, a faculty member or student may ask, in writing, the Provost or the Chair of the Academic Senate to request the Committee to reconsider a case. The Academic Integrity Committee shall make readily available the rules and procedures governing its operations.

In all cases, a Report of the Committee is advisory to the student, with whom rests the presumption of innocence, and the faculty member, to whom the decision on the evidence and academic action is reserved.

A faculty member or student who requests a review of the evidence in a case of alleged cheating or plagiarism must make such a request to the Academic Integrity Committee in writing no later than 14 calendar days following the date of first notification of the student by the faculty member of the allegation. Except under extenuating circumstances, the student and faculty member will have no more than 14 additional calendar days to provide evidence to the Committee.

To preserve the rights of privacy, the Committee meetings shall be closed. The Committee may request additional information as may be appropriate to the development of its Reports. The Committee is to provide a final Report within 21 calendar days of the submission of a request to it. Should additional time be required, the reasons should be communicated to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Chair of the Academic Senate as well as the student(s) and faculty members involved.

The Committee is to report on its actions annually to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Chair of the Academic Senate.

Academic Action

One or more of the following academic actions are available to the faculty member who finds a student has been cheating or plagiarizing. These options may be taken by the faculty member to the extent that the faulty member considers the cheating or plagiarism to manifest the student's lack of scholarship or to reflect on the student's lack of academic performance in the course. These actions may be taken without a request for or before the receipt of a Report from the Academic Integrity Committee.

  • A. Review – no action.
  • B. An oral reprimand with emphasis on counseling toward prevention of further occurrences;
  • C. A requirement that the work be repeated;
  • D. Assignment of a score of zero (0) for the specific demonstration of competence, resulting in the proportional reduction of final course grade;
  • E. Assignment of a failing final grade;
  • F. Referral to the Office of Judicial Affairs for possible probation, suspension, or expulsion.

Academic dishonesty cases that occur in the classroom shall be handled by faculty members. After a faculty member takes action, the faculty member shall complete a "Student Academic Dishonesty Report" form that identifies the student who was found responsible, the general nature of the offense, the action taken, and a recommendation as to whether or not additional action should be considered by the campus Judicial Affairs Office. The faculty member shall send a completed "Student Academic Dishonesty Report" form to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Provost whenever academic dishonestly cases are handled by the faculty member.

A student may appeal a final course grade the computation of which included an examination or other test of competence in which a score of zero was assigned for cheating or plagiarism, but only on the grounds permitted in the University Grade Appeal Policy Statement. An appeal of the final grade may include as written testimony the Report of the Academic Integrity Committee.

Disciplinary Sanctions - Administrative Action

Procedures and sanctions of the Office of Judicial Affairs are under the administration of the Vice President for Student Services and are conducted pursuant to the authority provided in Section 41301 of Title 5 of the California Administrative Code. Copies of Section 41301 of Title 5 may be found in the University Bulletin and the Campus Regulations available in the Office of Judicial Affairs. Copies of Chancellor's Executive Order 148, "Student Disciplinary Procedures for the California State University" are also available upon request.

Opportunities for appeal regarding the sanctions applied by Vice President for Student Services are provided for students involved in the proceedings as outlined by Executive Order 148.

For a summary of the charges concerning cheating and plagiarism report to the Vice President for Student Services. (PS 08-02)

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