Code of Academic Integrity

Introduction

All information given here applies to all undergraduate and graduate students of Rider University.

Significance of Accepting Admission to Rider University

By the act of accepting admission to Rider University, students acknowledge and agree to the following:

  1. that they will be bound by and comply with all University standards and policies, including but not limited to those standards and policies set forth in this catalog and in the student handbook (The Source).  Primary and ultimate responsibility for knowing and conforming to these standards and policies and degree requirements resides with the individual student,
     
  2. that the ultimate authority to regulate and maintain order on the University campuses resides with the President and the Board of Trustees; and,
     
  3. that the University retains ownership and the exclusive right to use any and all promotional, publicity, and entertainment products (including those produced as course requirement), creations, and activities engaged in by the student while at the University, including but not limited to photographs, television, audio and video recordings, motion pictures, artistic performances and presentations, Internet/web-based productions and sales, and athletic events and all proceeds therefrom.  He/she has no right to any payment for participation therein.

Students further agree to execute any documents required to confirm or convey to the University all rights outlined in subpart (3) above.

Rider University’s Right to Change Catalog Contents

This Academic Catalog is not a contract nor is it an offer to enter into a contract.  While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this catalog, it must be understood that all policies and procedures (as well as courses, course descriptions, curricular and degree requirements and other academic information) described in this catalog are subject to change or elimination at any time without prior notice. 

Primary and ultimate responsibility for knowing and conforming to the standards, policies and degree requirements outlined in the Academic Catalog resides with the individual student.
While every effort will be made to inform students of any changes as soon as is practical, students should consult the appropriate academic or administrative department, school, college, or other service provider for currently accurate information on any matters described in this catalog.  Changes affecting degree requirements will take into account the applicability of the change to currently matriculated students. 

Rider University also reserves the right to vary the policies and procedures in the Academic Catalog on a case-by-case basis, as fair and reasonable treatment of interested parties requires in the University’s best judgment.

Academic Rights and Freedoms

It is the responsibility of Rider University to protect the academic freedoms of the students in accordance with the Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students. “Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students,” Interassociation Task Force (U.S. Student Assoc., AAC&U, AAUP, 1993). Of critical importance is section two, which deals with the relationship between the professor and the student. “The professor in the classroom and in conference should encourage free discussion, inquiry and expression. Student performance should be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.”

Protection of Freedom of Expression

Students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled.

Protection Against Improper Academic Evaluation

Students should have protection through orderly procedure against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. At the same time, they are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.

Protection Against Improper Disclosure

Information about student views, beliefs and political associations which professors acquire in the course of their work as instructors, advisors and counselors should be considered confidential. Protection against improper disclosure is a serious professional obligation. Judgments of ability and character may be provided under appropriate circumstances, normally with the knowledge or consent of the student.

When students feel that their academic rights and freedoms have been violated, they must have a defined avenue of appeal that is consistent with the principles outlined in the Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students, the AAUP 1940 Statement on Academic Freedom, and the AAUP 1956 Statement on Professional Ethics.

Code of Academic Integrity

Preamble

Academic honesty constitutes the cornerstone of the academic community. Learning, teaching and scholarship cannot be conducted in an atmosphere of dishonesty. Therefore, Rider University insists on strict adherence to the concept of academic honesty as indispensable to the continued existence and future development of the campus community. Every student has a direct personal interest in maintaining academic honesty since each evaluation of academic progress involves a judgment by the faculty member concerning each individual’s intellectual performance. The evaluation process is predicated on the assumption that an individual’s achievement reflects his/her own ability, effort and perceptions.

Academic dishonesty includes any unauthorized collaboration, misrepresentation or fabrication in the submission of academic work. In all written work, whether in class or out of class, the student’s name on the work is considered to be a statement that the work is his or hers alone, except as otherwise indicated. Students are expected to provide proper citations for the statements and ideas of others whether submitted word for word or paraphrased. Failure to provide proper citations will be considered plagiarism and offenders will be subject to the charge of plagiarism specified in the statement of regulations.

Similarly, students are expected to adhere to all regulations pertaining to examination conduct including placement tests. These regulations are designed to insure that the work submitted by the student on examinations is an honest representation of that student’s effort and that it does not involve unauthorized collaboration, unauthorized use of notes during the exam, or unauthorized access to prior information about the examination.

In oral or written submissions presented as scientific or non-fiction, fabrication or alteration of facts, data, images, or audio or video recordings, or misrepresentation of procedures or of participation in an academic activity, for the purpose of misleading, also constitutes academic dishonesty.

Jurisdiction of the Code of Academic Integrity

Each student is responsible for his or her academic conduct from the time of acceptance for admission through the actual awarding of a degree.

Statement of Regulations

Section 1. Out-of-Class Assignments.

Students are expected to provide proper citations for the ideas and statements of others. When the ideas are paraphrased, the sources of those ideas need only to be properly cited. When the ideas are quoted (copied word for word), the copied words must be set in quotation marks and cited. When students collaborate on papers or out-of-class examinations, the names of all collaborators must be acknowledged on all papers submitted. It is expected that research and writing assigned to an individual student will be done by that student.

1.1 Ghostwriting. Written work submitted by an individual student (or group of students working together as approved in advance by the instructor) is expected to be the work of that student (or approved group). A false claim of authorship is an act of academic dishonesty.

1.2 Word for Word Plagiarism. Copying, word for word, from any source (book, magazine, newspaper, Internet source, unpublished paper or thesis) without proper acknowledgment by quotation and citation within the text of the paper, or the submission of any part of another’s work, word for word, without proper quotation and citation is an act of academic dishonesty.

1.3 Patchwork Plagiarism. The submission of work which has been constructed by piecing together phrases and/or sentences quoted verbatim (word for word) or paraphrased from a variety of unacknowledged sources is an act of academic dishonesty.

1.4 Unacknowledged Paraphrases. Submission of another author’s facts or ideas in one’s own words without acknowledgment by proper citation is an act of academic dishonesty. (If the ideas or information are neither originally the student’s nor cannot be found in a variety of sources, the source must be acknowledged by footnotes or by proper citation within the text of the paper. Failure to acknowledge this indebtedness is referred to as “unacknowledged paraphrase.”)

Section 2. Examination Conduct

Students are expected to adhere to the following regulations pertaining to their personal and academic conduct before, during, and after examinations. These regulations are designed to insure that the work submitted by a student on examinations is an honest representation of that student’s effort and that it does not involve unauthorized collaboration, unauthorized use of notes during an examination, or unauthorized access to prior information about the examination.

2.1 Prior Access to Examinations. No student may have direct or indirect access to an examination or an examination question without the express approval of the faculty member who has prepared the examination. Unauthorized entry into offices, duplicating centers, computers, voice mail, fax, other electronic media, or personal possessions of faculty is prohibited. Prior access to examination information, attempts to gain access to examination material, unauthorized possession of examination material, and the derivation of benefit from or aiding access to examination materials are all acts of academic dishonesty.

2.2 Unauthorized Assistance During Examinations. The receiving or giving of any written, oral or visible help on an examination is an act of academic dishonesty.

2.3 Proxy Representation. Students are expected to sit for examinations required for the courses in which they are enrolled. Proxies/ghosts are strictly prohibited. Serving as a proxy, or being served by proxy, during an examination is an act of academic dishonesty. (Students must carry ID cards at all times, including the times they present themselves for examinations. Students must present their ID cards during an examination if requested to do so by the proctor or instructor.)

2.4 Unauthorized Use of Written or Electronic Material During Examinations. No student may use any book, notebook or other written or electronic materials during an examination unless such examination has been designated as an “open book” type, in which case the examining faculty member must have so informed the class prior to the examination. Materials which are not permitted to be used on the examination, if brought to the examination room, must be deposited at a location specified by the faculty member. Unauthorized possession of any written materials during an examination is an act of academic dishonesty.

Section 3. Fabrication

Students are expected to accurately report facts and data obtained in their research activities; present documentary photographs and audio and video recordings honestly; and, report on their attendance at events and engagement in activities honestly and accurately. Fabrication includes the making up or falsification of facts, data, sources or procedures; misleading doctoring or manipulation of photographs or video; or falsely claiming to have attended an event or visited a site, or engaged in an activity, or misrepresenting the time devoted to such attendance, visitation, or engagement, for the purpose of misleading.

3.1 Fictional devices in nonfiction material. Names, dates, places and other verifiable facts should not be altered in any paper or story that purports to be factual and non-fiction. Facts that must be disguised or withheld to protect the privacy or safety of a source should be acknowledged with an appropriate explanation to the reader/viewer. Composites, which present the characteristics or experiences of more than one person or event blended into one, should not be used without a clear explanation to the reader/viewer.

3.2 Documentary photos and audio or video recordings. While manipulating images and recordings for purposes of satiric or similar effect is permissible for artistic purposes, such manipulations should not be presented in a way that can be confused with reality. It is not permissible to doctor or manipulate photographs or recordings if the result is counter-factual. Cropping and enhancement of clarity are permissible, provided it does not distort reality so as to deceive the audience.

3.3 Scientific misconduct. Fabrication, manipulation, or “fudging” of the processes or results of experiments or observations, and similar practices which seriously deviate from those commonly accepted by the scientific community, as represented by your faculty, for proposing, conducting or reporting research, are also violations of this policy. Honest errors and honest differences of opinion in interpretations and judgments of data are not included in this definition.

3.4 Procedural dishonesty. This category includes falsely claiming to have attended an event or to have remained at the event longer than one did; claiming to have visited a site; or to have engaged in an activity, whether for purposes of extra-credit in a course, or for inclusion in a graded assignment.

Procedures to be Followed in Cases of Academic Dishonesty

Step One

When a faculty member has reason to believe that an act of academic dishonesty has been committed by a student enrolled either in a current course or in one completed within the previous four months, the faculty member shall notify the student in writing of the alleged violation and require that the student meet with the faculty member at a mutually satisfactory time within five (5) working days after the faculty member’s notification. The faculty member shall have the authority to extend the time within which the meeting takes place to ten (10) working days at his or her discretion. If the meeting does not occur within this time, the faculty member may proceed with the imposition of any of the sanctions described below.

At this meeting with the student, the faculty member and the student shall discuss the alleged act of dishonesty. The faculty member and the student shall seek to resolve the matter during this meeting. If the faculty member concludes that an act of academic dishonesty has not occurred, no further action shall be taken and the student shall be permitted to complete the course, if it is still in session, as if the faculty member’s allegation had not been made.

If, as a result of information obtained in this meeting and/or shortly thereafter, the faculty member concludes that an act of academic dishonesty has occurred, he/she must notify the student of this determination in writing within seven (7) working days of the meeting and must indicate which one of the following sanctions will be invoked. The existence of a prior finding of academic dishonesty may impact the choice of sanction. The options are listed below in ascending order of seriousness. The faculty member may:

  1. Direct the student to resubmit any work necessary to complete the course requirements;
  2. Direct the Registrar to change the grade given to the student to the notation “Incomplete” and direct the student to resubmit any work necessary to complete the course requirements;
  3. Lower the grade appropriately on the assignment in which the academic dishonesty took place in light of the gravity and implications of the act of dishonesty, recalculate the final course grade, and direct the registrar to change the final course grade accordingly;
  4. Direct the Registrar to enter the grade of “F” for the course on the student’s permanent academic record  (this “F” supersedes all other grades, including the “W” notation);
  5. Initiate charges against the student with the Academic Integrity Committee for the purpose of causing the student to be suspended or dismissed from the University   

The sanction will be effective immediately upon notification, except for sanction #5.

When the faculty member invokes sanction #5, he/she must submit a letter detailing the act of alleged academic dishonesty to the Academic Integrity Committee and, simultaneously, to the student involved, to the faculty member’s department chairperson, to the student’s academic dean and, in the case of an undergraduate student, to the Dean of Students.

When the faculty member invokes any of the sanctions #1 through #4 and the student does not challenge the decision within seven (7) working days of receiving notice from the faculty member, the faculty member shall place copies of the decision in the student’s academic file in the student’s academic dean’s office and in the student’s file in the office of the Dean of Students. If the student challenges the sanction (#1-#4) recommended by the faculty member (based solely on disputing the charge of academic dishonesty), he/she shall have the right to pursue a written appeal beyond the faculty member, first to the chairperson of the department where the faculty member (or if an adjunct based solely in a program, where his/her program director) is based and then, if necessary, to the appropriate academic dean. If the faculty member of the course is the department chairperson, the appeal shall go directly to the appropriate academic dean.

Step Two

The written appeal to the department chairperson or academic dean must be made within seven (7) working days of the receipt of the faculty member’s decision, with a copy of the appeal to the faculty member. The department chairperson or academic dean will have seven (7) working days to reach his/her decision. The department chairperson or academic dean shall send the decision to the student by registered mail or hand delivery, with a copy to the faculty member. If the department chairperson upholds the faculty member’s decision regarding academic dishonesty and the student does not appeal this decision in writing to the appropriate academic dean within seven (7) working days from the receipt of the decision, the department chairperson shall place copies of the decision in the student’s academic file in the student’s academic dean’s office and in the student’s file in the office of the Dean of Students.

Step Three

If either the student or faculty member is dissatisfied with the chairperson’s or dean’s decision, the student or faculty member will have seven (7) working days from receipt of that decision to submit a written appeal to the dean of the college in which the course is taught, with copies to the faculty member, student, and department chairperson. (If the dean has already ruled on the case, he/she shall appoint another department chair, or an associate or assistant dean to handle this appeal.) The appropriate dean shall schedule a meeting with the student and faculty member to hear the appeal as soon as it can reasonably be set, and, following his/her assessment of the situation, will have seven (7) working days to render a decision. The dean shall convey his/her decision in writing by registered mail or hand delivery to the student, with a copy to the faculty member and the department chairperson. If the dean upholds the faculty member’s decision regarding academic dishonesty and the student does not appeal this decision to the Academic Integrity Committee within seven (7) working days from receipt of the decision, the dean shall place copies of the decision in the student’s academic file in the student’s academic dean’s office and in the student’s file in the office of the Dean of Students. If after appealing to the dean, the student or faculty member is still dissatisfied, a final appeal may be made in writing to the Academic Integrity Committee within seven (7) working days of receipt of the dean’s decision.

Step Four

The Academic Integrity Committee shall consist of six (6) members:

Three (3) faculty members appointed by the bargaining unit members of the University Academic Policy Committee; two (2) administrators with faculty rank appointed by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; and one (1) full-time undergraduate student selected by the Student Government Association who, at the time of his/her service, must be a senior with a grade point average no lower than 3.25.

The bargaining unit members of the University Academic Policy Committee, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Student Government Association shall each designate one alternate who shall serve in the event an applicable appointee is unable to serve. The bargaining unit faculty members and the administrators shall serve two-year terms, beginning with the date of appointment, and may be reappointed. The student member shall serve a one-year term.

The committee shall select from among its members with faculty rank a chairperson and a vice chairperson, and immediately notify the President, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the chairperson of the University Academic Policy Committee, the president of the Student Government Association, and the Dean of Students of the names of the designees. The chairperson or vice-chairperson shall serve as the hearing coordinator. Any three (3) members of the committee with faculty rank (including the hearing coordinator) shall constitute a quorum.

The failure or inability of any appointing body to fulfill its responsibility to appoint any member(s) to the Academic Integrity Committee shall not prevent the committee from organizing and exercising its prescribed duties. Whenever there is no chairperson or vice-chairperson of the committee, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs shall appoint a convener. Ordinarily, the chairperson (or vice-chairperson, in his/her absence) shall preside over the meetings of the committee.

The hearing coordinator shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

  1. To assure that all procedures have been followed;
  2. To inform the members of the committee that a charge of alleged academic misconduct against a student has been brought by a faculty member or that a student or faculty member has appealed a decision;
  3. To see that all members of the committee receive the appropriate materials necessary for the hearing of the charge and appeal;
  4. To keep a permanent record of the committee’s proceedings; and
  5. To see that all decisions made by the committee are prepared and distributed to the relevant parties.

Within ten (10) working days after receipt of a charge brought by a faculty member, or an appeal brought by either party, a date for a hearing shall be set and the faculty member and the student shall be notified of that date. If the hearing has not occurred within those ten (10) days, it shall be scheduled to take place as soon as possible thereafter. The committee chairperson shall have authority to extend any deadlines when it is evident that both parties have made good faith, though unsuccessful, efforts to meet the stated deadlines. Parties at the hearing shall be limited to members of the Rider University community with information pertinent to the given case. The student may choose to have a University advisor present with him/her. This advisor may be a university administrator, faculty member, or current student.

If the requested sanction is dismissal from the University, the student shall have the right to be accompanied by an attorney. If the committee indicates in advance that dismissal will not be considered by the committee no attorney shall attend. In cases where dismissal will be considered, if the student wishes to be accompanied by an attorney, the hearing coordinator must be so notified at least seven (7) days before the scheduled hearing so that the University may also have counsel present.

The committee shall establish the operating procedures by which it reviews cases. Standard operating steps include:

  1. An uninterrupted presentation of his/her position by whichever person brought the matter to the committee (faculty member or student);
  2. An uninterrupted presentation of his/her position by the other party (faculty member or student);
  3. Committee questioning of either and/or both parties;
  4. Committee review of any documents or affidavits proffered by the parties;
  5. Committee deliberations in executive session.

The role of any University advisor or attorney present shall be that of observer of the proceedings and advisor to his/her client and shall not include the right to question either party for the record. An audio recording shall be made of all proceedings conducted by the Academic Integrity Committee.

After both the faculty member’s and the student’s assertions and responses have been heard (including questioning of either party by the committee), the committee will decide whether the faculty member’s charge and sanction shall be upheld.

If the faculty member’s charge is upheld, the committee will normally uphold the sanction originally imposed, if it is consistent with the faculty member’s pre-stated written guidelines (if any) given to the student at the outset of the course about the consequences of an act of academic dishonesty. However, the committee will have recourse to any one of the four (4) other sanctions which the faculty member could have chosen, or may decide to suspend or dismiss the student, depending upon the specific circumstances connected with each case.

When a student’s graduation is affected by the outcome of an academic conduct case in a semester, term or session immediately before such graduation, all parties in the case shall make reasonable efforts to expedite the entire process.

As a result of its deliberation, the committee may find the student innocent of academic dishonesty, thereby levying no sanctions against the student. Under this condition, no punitive action shall be taken against the student, either by the committee or by the faculty member.

If the committee finds the student guilty of academic dishonesty, it may direct that one of the following sanctions be taken against the student in ascending order of seriousness:

  1. That the student resubmit any work necessary to complete the course requirements;
  2. That the registrar change the grade given to the student to the notation “Incomplete” and direct the student to resubmit any work necessary to complete the course requirements;
  3. That the grade be lowered appropriately on the assignment in which the academic dishonesty took place in light of the gravity and implications of the act of dishonesty, and recalculate the final course grade and direct the registrar to change the final course grade accordingly;
  4. That the registrar enter the grade of “F” for the course on the student’s permanent academic record (this “F” supersedes all other grades, including the “W” notation);
  5. That in addition to, or in place of, any of the sanctions imposed above, the student be suspended for a definite period of time or be dismissed from the University, whenever the committee deems it in the best interests of the University to do so, with the notation, “Dismissed for Academic Dishonesty” entered on the student’s permanent academic record.

The sanction invoked will become effective immediately upon notification.

The committee shall notify, by registered mail or hand delivery, the faculty member and the student of its decision within five (5) working days after the hearing, and copies of the decision shall be forwarded to the student’s chairperson and dean for inclusion in the student’s academic file and, in the case of an undergraduate student, to the Dean of Students for the student’s file. The committee’s decision shall be final, with no other right of appeal.

Any letters placed in a student’s academic file and student’s file in the office of the Dean of Students according to any of the provisions in this policy will be available to individual members of the faculty and the committee when determining sanctions in subsequent incidents of academic dishonesty for that student. These letters will also be made available to the members of Academic Standing Committees for making subsequent decisions regarding conditional academic standing and academic dismissal for that student.