Students should be given very explicit information about the Academic Honesty Policy, both in the course syllabus and orally at the initial class meeting, so that they are aware of Western's policy as outlined in Appendix D of the University Catalog and in any policies specific to your department or class. If you, as an instructor, should encounter an incident of academic dishonesty in your class, you should follow these condensed steps from Appendix D:
- Instructor suspecting an act of academic dishonesty shall discuss the matter thoroughly with the student involved. Within TEN working days after discovering the alleged violation, arrangements for this discussion shall be made by the instructor in writing (see Sample Academic Dishonesty Letter below).
- Following this discussion, the instructor shall determine whether an act of academic dishonesty has occurred, and if so, whether it is a minor or major violation.
- Within TEN working days of giving a zero (minor violation) on an assignment or an F (major violation) in a course, the instructor will submit the standard form summarizing the evidence. This form will be sent to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Registrar, the unit head and the student in either electronic or hard copy, Report of Academic Dishonesty Incident Form. It is important that the student receive a copy of the incident report form, which informs them of their right to appeal.
- A student who receives a zero on an assignment or an F in a course may appeal.
- Within FIVE working days of the finding of academic dishonesty the student may appeal in writing to the unit head. Within TEN working days of the appeal the unit head shall make a ruling on the case as to whether the student in question committed an act of academic dishonesty, and distribute the decision to all parties involved.
- Within FIVE working days of the ruling either side may appeal the findings of the unit head to the Dean of the College, in writing. The Dean will make a ruling on the case, and depending on that ruling, either party may:
- Within FIVE working days appeal in writing to the Academic Honesty Board.
- Within FIFTEEN working days of the filing of the appeal to the Academic Honesty Board a hearing shall be called, unless both parties agree to a delay.
- Within FIVE working days of the ruling of the Academic Honesty Board, either side may appeal in writing all findings to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, whose decision is final.
Sample Academic Dishonesty Letter
The following is a sample letter that you may copy/paste and incorporate as your own for addressing a student suspected of cheating or plagiarism:
There is very strong evidence that you have performed dishonestly on the <insert exam, paper, etc...> in my class, <insert course and number>, <insert term and year>. <Briefly describe the act of dishonesty, see Appendix D 2a-j for language>. Such an act constitutes a violation of Western's academic honesty policy. Therefore, it is my intention to give you a failing grade (F) in the course, unless you can immediately explain to my satisfaction that you were not dishonest. I have, in the meantime, submitted to the Registrar a grade of X (no grade reported). That grade will be changed to F on <insert date ten class days later> if you do not contact me concerning this incident by that date. For more information about your appeal rights, please consult the bulletin, Appendix D, Academic Honesty Policy and Procedure. By copy of this letter, I am informing the Registrar and the Vice President for Academic Affairs of this incident. I hope you will respond immediately so we may find resolution.
Professor <insert name>