Penn State Harrisburg

C-7. Academic Integrity Policy - Penn State Harrisburg, the Capital College Implementation


To establish a Penn State Harrisburg, the Capital College academic integrity policy that is consistent with the existing policies, practices, and procedures of The Pennsylvania State University as explained in University Faculty Senate Policy 49-20 and the Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual, Section G-9.


In August 2000, the Council of Academic Deans stated that Penn State is "An academic community that values integrity, promotes the highest levels of personal honesty, respect for the rights, property and dignity of others, and fosters an environment in which students and scholars can enjoy the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment neither to engage in acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception, nor to tolerate such acts by other members of the community." The Deans agreed that the individual Colleges "will provide all faculty members and teaching assistants information about appropriate ways to promote academic integrity and handle dishonesty cases."

The Capital College faculty, academic administration, staff, and student body, share the values expressed by the Deans and believe that integrity is the cornerstone of all academic activities.


Faculty are expected to demand high standards of integrity, protect the rights of honest students, and insure that acts of dishonesty are deterred. The individual course instructor is responsible for providing students with a statement explaining the behaviors that are academically inappropriate for the particular course.

All students are expected to act with personal integrity in order to create and sustain an atmosphere where all can succeed through their own honest efforts. While it is expected that students will maintain the highest academic standards and submit only work they have produced honestly, others may violate the academic integrity policies. The following procedures explain the consequences for those Capital College students who act in a dishonest manner contrary to the values of the College and the University.

A. Procedures for Dealing with Academic Dishonesty: Instructor's Rights and Responsibilities

  1. When an instructor suspects that a student has behaved in a dishonest manner, the instructor will offer to meet with the student to discuss the situation and to give the student an opportunity to respond. If the instructor believes there is some misunderstanding about the instructor's expectations, he/she may use this meeting to clarify the expectations and the University’s academic integrity policy.

  2. If the instructor has evidence or a strong reason to believe a student has behaved in a dishonest manner, the instructor will inform that student that he/she suspects the student of violating the academic integrity policy and explain the College's procedure for dealing with such situations. The instructor will identify the alleged incident by citing the time, place, and manner in which the incident occurred.

  3. Based on the evidence and the instructor's evaluation of the student's actions, the instructor may assign an academic sanction ranging from an official warning to course failure. A more detailed and comprehensive listing of the types of academic sanctions faculty may assign to students on the Academic Integrity Form can be found in the document "Sanctioning Guidelines for Academic Integrity Violations" available from Section G-9.

  4. If the instructor’s attempts to contact the student by telephone, email, or regular mail are unsuccessful, the instructor should sign the Academic Integrity Form (AIF) and return it to the Dean’s Office. The Senior Associate Dean will attempt to contact the student. If those attempts are unsuccessful, the instructor’s recommended sanctions will be referred to the Academic Integrity Committee (hereafter the AIC) for review. In such cases, the student’s failure to respond will be considered an admission of responsibility and the instructor’s sanctions will be imposed if the AIC concurs.

  5. If the instructor decides to impose an academic sanction, the instructor must fill out the AIF and forward it immediately to the Dean's Office. The Senior Associate Dean will forward a copy of the AIF to the Registrar and to the AIC for review.

  6. If the instructor opts to pursue a disciplinary as well as an academic sanction, that is, to impose the XF grade as defined by the University Faculty Senate Policy 49-20, she/he will put this recommendation in writing and forward it to the AIC. If the AIC concurs with the instructor’s recommendation, the chairperson will forward the form to the Senior Associate Dean who will refer the cases to the Capital College Office of Student Conduct. If the AIC believes the case can be resolved by the imposition of academic sanctions only, the committee will notify the Senior Associate Dean and assign the academic sanction. The Senior Associate Dean will inform the instructor and the student of the decision.

B. Student's Rights and Responsibilities

  1. The student will have the opportunity to accept or reject responsibility for the dishonest act and to accept or reject the proposed academic sanction.

  2. If the student accepts responsibility and the proposed academic sanction, he/she will sign the AIF provided by the instructor. The instructor will forward the signed form to the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for transmittal to the Academic Integrity Committee. After the AIC reviews the form for compliance with the integrity policy, that AIF will be returned to the Senior Associate Dean and forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct for record keeping.

  3. If the student accepts responsibility but contests the instructor's proposed sanctions, the student can request that the AIC review the proposed sanctions and decide if such sanctions are appropriate. All such requests must be filed in writing and addressed to the Office of the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

  4. The AIC may impose sanctions different from those proposed by the instructor but only in accordance with approved policies. The committee may also request such information from the student as it deems necessary.

  5. If the student does not accept responsibility and chooses to contest the allegations, he/she can request that the AIC review the case by filing a written request to the Office of the Senior Associate Dean.

  6. If the AIC decides to hold a review or hearing and it is determined that the student is found responsible for academic dishonesty, the review or hearing outcome may result in [a] no change the sanction[s], [b] stronger sanction(s), or [c] a reduction in the sanction(s).

  7. If, after all the hearings described below are concluded, the student is found not responsible for an act of academic dishonesty, all incident records will be destroyed.

C. Composition, Purpose, and Responsibility of the Academic Integrity Committee

  1. The Committee will be composed of at least one faculty member from the schools of Business Administration; Behavioral Sciences and Education; Humanities; Public Affairs; Science, Engineering, and Technology; and the Library.

  2. The Committee will meet whenever there is a formal accusation of academic dishonesty and the student either denies responsibility or contests the proposed academic sanction(s). The Committee Chair or designate acquires all relevant evidence, directs the meeting, rules on admissibility of evidence and relevance of testimony, and votes in case of ties.

  3. The AIC will judge each case based on a preponderance of evidence of academic dishonesty rather than the more stringent basis of beyond a reasonable doubt.

  4. The AIC will determine if there is a need for formal hearings or if a review of the previously submitted evidence will suffice.

  5. If the instructor or the student requests a formal hearing, that request must be presented in writing to the Office of the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs before the AIC reviews the case.

  6. Since the findings of the AIC are final, the committee expects that all evidence will be submitted before the case is reviewed If the student or the instructor requests that the AIC review the findings after the case has been heard, the AIC may grant such a request if a majority of the members believes that the instructor’s/student’s appearance would provide any new evidence, that is, evidence not available at the time the case was reviewed or was not submitted by the instructor for some defensible reason. The AIC is empowered to establish the rules governing any appearances by students or faculty.

  7. The rights of the instructor and the student must be respected during any such hearing, and all hearings must be conducted in professional manner consistent with University policies and practices.

  8. If the AIC finds the student responsible, it will assess academic sanctions, with due consideration for the sanctions proposed by the instructor. The academic sanctions imposed by the AIC will be final. The AIC will forward the outcome(s) of its deliberations to the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs who will forward all documents to the Office of Student Conduct for record keeping. The faculty member will be notified promptly of the committee’s findings and required to submit the appropriate grade to the Registrar.

  9. AIC will establish, on a case-by-case basis, the conditions that need to be met for a recommendation that the Office of Student Conduct approve a change of an XF grade to an F grade.

  10. If the instructor and the AIC recommend the application of formal University disciplinary sanctions (i.e. punishments), the case will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.

D. Responsibilities of the Office of Student Conduct

  1. Office of Student Conduct will review the facts of the case and assign disciplinary sanctions where appropriate. In the case of repeat offenders, Student Conduct may initiate disciplinary actions, which may result in additional sanctions.

  2. If, after a complete review by the instructor and the AIC, all parties agree that an XF grade should be imposed, the case must be referred to Student Conduct. The XF grade is a disciplinary sanction, defined in Policy 49-20 of the University Faculty Senate's Policies and Rules for Students as an indication on the student's transcript that failure in the course is due to a serious act of academic dishonesty. Because the sanction is so serious, the instructor, AIC, and Student Conduct must concur on its imposition. The AIC will also establish, on a case-by-case, the conditions that need to be met in order for the Office of Student Conduct to change an F grade to an XF.

E. Examples of Violations of Academic Integrity

  1. Cheating: Using crib sheets; pre-programming a calculator or computer; using notes or books during a closed book exam; or any other action designed to persuade a reasonable person that the responses provided are those of the test-taker or author.

  2. Copying on Test: Looking at another unsuspecting student's exams and copying; copying in a compliant manner with another student; exchanging exams for the purpose of copying; passing answers via notes; discussing answers in exams, etc.

  3. Plagiarism: The fabrication of information and citations; submitting others' work from professional journals, books, articles, papers, electronic sources of any kind, or the submission of any products from commercial research paper providers regardless of what rationales a vendor uses; submission of other students' papers or lab results or project reports and representing the work as one's own; fabricating, in part or total, submissions and citing them falsely. Note: Copying and pasting any materials from the World Wide Web is plagiarism.

  4. Acts of Aiding and Abetting: Facilitating acts by others; unauthorized collaboration of work; permitting another to copy from an exam; permitting another to copy from a computer program; writing a paper for another; inappropriately collaborating on home assignment or exam without permission or when prohibited, etc.

  5. Unauthorized Possession of Examinations: The possession of examinations, through purchase; stealing exams; failing to return exams on file; selling exams; photocopying exams; buying exams; any possession of an exam without the instructor's permission, etc.

  6. Submitting Previous Work: Submitting a paper, case study, lab report or any assignment that had been submitted for credit in a prior, or concurrent, class without the knowledge and permission of the instructor(s).

  7. Tampering with Work: Changing own or another student's work product such as lab reports, papers, computer programming assignment, or test answers; tampering with work either as a prank or in order to sabotage another's work, etc.

  8. Ghosting: Taking a quiz, an exam, performing a laboratory exercise or similar valuation in place of another; having another take a quiz, exam, or perform an exercise or similar evaluation in place of the student, etc.

  9. Altering Exams: When instructor returns graded exams for in-class review and subsequently collects them, student changes incorrect answers and seeks favorable grade adjustment asserting the instructor made mistake in grading; other forms may include changing the letter and/or numerical grade on test, etc.

  10. Computer Program Theft: Electronic or physical theft of computer programs, code, data or text belonging to another, etc.

  11. Failure to Cite Electronic Resources Regardless of the Source: All electronic resources must be cited in every report, paper, project, portfolio, or any other document submitted for evaluation by an instructor.

  12. Tampering: Interfering with or using another student's or faculty member's email, computer account, or website; sending viruses or worms; or any similar actions may also constitute malicious academic dishonesty, which may be sanctioned by University policy and applicable federal and state laws.

Approved March 18, 2002

Revised December 7, 2003

Revised December 18, 2004

Revised May 3, 2005

Revised October 15, 2005 (Removed references to Schuylkill campus and subcommittees.)

Revised July 12, 2013 (Clerical changes)

Academic Integrity Form [PDF]100.75 KB
Academic Integrity Flowchart [PDF]72.68 KB