Faculty Handbook 2020-2021

E.1.f. Academic Integrity

Hendrix College is committed to high standards of honesty and fairness in academic pursuits. Such standards are central to the process of intellectual inquiry, the development of character, and the preservation of the integrity of the community.

Hendrix College cultivates an active interest in the liberal arts and intellectual inquiry where students take responsibility for their own actions. In keeping with this mission, the Faculty and students of Hendrix College have adopted a set of standards and procedures designed to

  • help create a supportive and fair learning environment;
  • guarantee the integrity and value of each student’s work;
  • demonstrate the student body’s commitment to serious academic pursuits;
  • foster a capacity for ethical decision-making;
  • involve students and faculty mutually in the academic judicial process;
  • specify the procedures to be followed for incidents of academic dishonesty;
  • cultivate an on-going dialogue about academic values within the Hendrix Community.

In pursuit of these goals, Hendrix students have agreed to adhere to the following principles:

  • All students have an equal right to their opinions and to receive constructive criticism.
  • Students should positively engage the course material and encourage their classmates to do the same.
  • No students should gain an unfair advantage or violate their peers’ commitment to honest work and genuine effort. It follows that any work that a student submits for class will be that student’s own work. The amount of cooperation undertaken with other students, the consistency and accuracy of work, and the test-taking procedure should adhere to those guidelines that the instructor provides.
  • Members of the Hendrix community value and uphold academic integrity because we recognize that scholarly pursuits are aimed at increasing the shared body of knowledge and that the full disclosure of sources is the most effective way to ensure accountability to both ourselves and our colleagues.

Violations of these standards of academic integrity may take one of the following forms:

  • Plagiarism, which involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another’s idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper or project (or any portion of such) prepared by another person;
  • Cheating on examinations, laboratory reports, exercises, or projects that are to be done by individual students; giving or receiving answers and/or materials pertinent to any academic work without permission of the classroom teacher;
  • Stealing, manipulating, or interfering with any academic work of another student;
  • Colluding with other students on work that is to be completed by an individual student;
  • Lying to or deceiving faculty; or
  • Violating particular standards as determined and explicitly outlined by individual classroom teachers on a course by course basis. These particular standards should be clearly indicated on the syllabus for each course.

Instances of academic dishonesty are handled in a two-track system that distinguishes between minor and major violations. The distinction between minor and major violations is made by the classroom teacher except in the case of students with multiple violations. The Committee on Academic Integrity shall handle instances of students with multiple violations as well as violations that require a conference.  Multiple violations are treated as major violations. Otherwise, the distinction between minor and major violation is subjective and is intended to differentiate between cases of ignorance, such as poor citation, and cases of deliberate dishonesty. Records of all violations are submitted to the Committee on Academic Integrity for inclusion in a database to track violations.  These records are kept for a period of six years.

Composition of the Committee: The committee consists of six members of the Student Association and five Faculty members. The Student Senate nominates and selects student members in the same manner as the College Conduct Council. The College’s Committee on Committees nominates the faculty members. The Committee on Committees also identifies one of the Faculty members to serve as committee chair.

A minimum of five members of the Committee on Academic Integrity including at least two Faculty and two student members is required to hold a conference The Chair assembles conference groups from available committee members.

The Chair is responsible for the following: convening the Committee when a report has been filed that requires a conference; serving as the official, corresponding liaison between the Committee and the concerned parties; being the contact person for all questions concerning the process and procedure of the Committee; and transmitting all Committee decisions to the concerned parties through an Official Letter of Decision.

Committee Process: All alleged violations of academic standards must be reported in writing to the Committee on Academic Integrity. A report may be filed, using the available Letter of Agreement form, in one of three ways:

  1. The classroom teacher and student discuss the alleged violation and agree to a sanction. The classroom teacher files the violation report to the Chair of Committee on Academic Integrity. The Chair may then accept the violation and file it without committee involvement, unless further action is warranted by inconsistencies of sanctions or by previous violations.
  2. The classroom teacher and student discuss the alleged violation and/or sanctions and the student does not agree with one or both. The classroom teacher files the violation report to the Chair of Committee on Academic Integrity, who then schedules a conference.
  3.  A student may report another student's alleged violation by either informing the classroom teacher, who files a report with the Chair of the Committee, or filing a report directly with the Chair of the Committee. In either case, the Chair shall establish appropriate deliberations and sanctions with respect to the severity of the violation in consultation with the classroom teacher and the Committee.

Generally, reviews of violations of academic integrity fall into two procedural categories:

  • Alleged violations that are settled through a letter of agreement, without a conference.  If a classroom teacher accuses a student of a violation of academic integrity, the classroom teacher can describe the alleged violation and recommended sanctions in a letter.  In these cases, no conference is required as long as:
    • The student signs the letter, indicating that they accept the charges and sanction.
    • The student has no prior record with CAI.
    • The sanction is reasonable, as determined by the CAI.

  • Alleged violations settled through a conference. Conferences are called when a case falls into any of the categories below:
    • A student does not accept the charges / admit responsibility for the violation.
    • The student does not agree to the sanction (i.e., they think the sanction is too harsh).
    • The student is on academic probation.
    • The student initially agreed to the sanctions and accepted guilt, but later changed their mind; they have one week to repeal the decision, once they sign the letter. 

If it is determined a conference is necessary, the Committee shall convene within two weeks of that report, provided this conforms to the academic calendar. If the academic calendar does not allow such convention, the case will be revisited during the first two weeks of the next academic session. Whoever files the alleged violation report to the Committee must attend the conference. At this meeting, all statements and evidence will be presented.  All parties have the right to introduce evidence or witnesses. Witnesses must have firsthand knowledge of the academic integrity violation and/or evidence related to the accusation. A student facing an accusation of violating standards of academic integrity must continue through the conference process even if the student has withdrawn from the class in which the alleged violations took place.

A simple majority may postpone a decision if certain evidence deemed crucial to the case has not been presented. A decision may be postponed only twice, and on each occasion the Committee must reconvene within a week, provided this conforms to the academic calendar.

In order to protect the confidentiality of students, all Committee deliberations are held in confidence, as are all decisions and potential sanctions. Furthermore, at the beginning of each academic year, and at each conference, every member of the Committee must sign a Confidentiality Statement to protect the privacy of deliberations.

The Committee has two options in rendering a decision:

  • In violation
  • Not in violation

In situations where a conference is required, a student is in violation of the standards of academic integrity only when a majority of the conference committee concur that a violation has occurred. If the Committee finds a student to be in violation of the standards of academic integrity, it also hands down a particular sanction in direct consultation with the classroom teacher. The Committee must consider the recommended sanction from the classroom teacher. A majority of the conference committee must agree upon specific sanctions.

Students are still subject to these sanctions if they have withdrawn from a course in which an academic integrity violation took place, whether the violation is determined to be major or minor. When a decision has been reached, it is transmitted to the involved parties through an Official Letter of Decision from the Chair of the Committee. Included in this Letter is the decision of the Committee and the prescribed sanction.

In cases of a minor violation, the violation letter is sent to the student and to the classroom teacher. The violation will not appear on the transcript. In addition, these records may be divulged to Hendrix Faculty and staff requesting information relevant to awards and honors. Records of single or minor violations shall not be divulged to outside parties such as employers and graduate schools. 

In cases of a major violation, the violation letter is sent to the student, classroom teacher, Vice-President for Student Affairs, Provost, Registrar, and parents or legal guardians (in situations where FERPA does not apply). The violation will not appear on the transcript. Inquiring parties (e.g., employers or graduate schools) who directly ask whether or not a student has violations of academic integrity will be informed that a violation exists (although the details of the violation will not be released).  

If a student is not found to be in violation of the standards of academic integrity, the student and the classroom teacher will be notified.

The Committee shall retain all records of academic integrity violations for a period of six years, after which the records are purged. 

Penalty Guidelines: In most cases, cheating or plagiarism on assignments results in a “0” for that assignment and/or a reduction of one letter grade in the course. In most cases, cheating or plagiarizing on a cumulative assignment, for example a final exam, paper or presentation, results in an F for the course.

Other options include:

  • Academic Integrity Probation.  If a student is later found responsible for another academic integrity violation, the committee may consider a more serious sanction, such as probation. With such a recommendation, the Provost of the College is the consulting officer.
  • Suspension or expulsion.  In severe cases, a student may be suspended or expelled. With such a recommendation, the Provost of the College is the consulting officer.

Appeals: You are entitled to appeal an academic integrity decision based on one of the following reasons: (a) new information exists, unavailable during the original conference, that could affect the outcome; (b) a material deviation from written procedures could have impacted the fairness of the conference; (c) the sanction(s) may be grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offense. 

If you choose to make an appeal, you must submit a letter explaining your reason for the appeal to the Provost by e-mail within seven days of the Committee’s decision. The Provost will determine whether there are sufficient grounds for appeal, and, if such grounds are found, forward the case to the Committee on Academic Appeals. Decisions by the Committee on Academic Appeals are final. The Appeals process should be completed within four weeks of filing, exclusive of breaks in the academic year.