Academic honesty is essential to the individual growth and development of students at Athens Technical College. Upon admission to the college, each student is obligated to uphold the highest ethical standards in academic endeavors. Athens Technical College has a responsibility for ensuring that the grades assigned are indicative of the knowledge and skill level of each student. Acts of academic dishonesty hinder the college's ability to fulfill this responsibility. Faculty members have the primary responsibility of ensuring that academic honesty is maintained in the courses they teach. Students share the responsibility for maintaining academic honesty by refraining from acts of academic dishonesty and by notifying instructors of observed or known incidents of academic dishonesty committed by others. Students who fail to report incidents of academic dishonesty are subject to being charged with violating this academic honesty policy.
Procedures for Addressing Violations of Academic Dishonesty
Athens Technical College has established the following procedures for addressing violations of academic dishonesty.
Instructor's Meeting with Student
An instructor who has evidence that a student has committed an act of academic dishonesty must meet with the student as described below or during the week of final exams may report the violation to the vice president for student affairs. In meeting with the student, the instructor must present and explain the evidence of the violations of the academic honesty policy and allow the student to respond to the evidence. The instructor will then offer the student two options – to accept the charges or request a mediated discussion to review the charges with a trained facilitator. If the student accepts the charges, the student may receive a grade of zero points for all or part of that assignment or another suitable but less severe penalty, depending on the circumstances of the offense and as decided upon by the instructor. At the conclusion of the meeting, the instructor and student will sign a completed copy of the Violation of Academic Honesty Policy notification form. If the report is made directly to the vice president for student affairs, then the vice president will schedule a mediated discussion and will notify the student of the meeting date and time.
The instructor is responsible for:
- Providing the student with a copy of all documents pertaining to the alleged violation.
- Informing the student of his or her right to dispute the charges and thus to participate in a mediated discussion.
- Informing the student of his or her right to rescind the signed notification form by submitting a written statement to this effect to the vice president for student affairs within five business days of the meeting with the instructor.
- Sending a copy of the completed and signed notification form to the vice president for student affairs within 24 hours of the meeting with the student.
In certain instances such as when the alleged violation occurs during a final exam, the instructor may elect to submit all materials to document the violation to the vice president for student affairs without holding a meeting with the student. The vice president will then schedule a mediated discussion as outlined below.
If the student disputes the charges, if the student decides to rescind the signed acknowledgement form, or if the instructor refers the alleged violation directly to the vice president for student affairs, the vice president will assign a mediator to schedule and conduct a facilitated discussion. The student will receive written notification of the date and time of the facilitated discussion by certified mail, while the instructor will receive written notification via email and interoffice mail. The facilitated discussion will be held no less than five nor more than fifteen days after the student reasonably should have received written notification by certified mail. The vice president has the discretion to extend maximum time limits for the scheduling of the mediated discussion.
The faculty member, student who was believed to have violated the policy, and the mediator are the only participants in the facilitated discussion session. Other participants, including legal counsel, are excluded from attending mediated discussion sessions. Furthermore, these sessions may not be recorded. The faculty member and student may reach an agreement about the appropriate consequence(s) for a dishonesty violation keeping in mind that the process should be educational for the student who violated the policy yet fair to other students who have honestly completed the academic work. At the conclusion of the mediated discussion, the instructor, student, and mediator will sign a completed copy of the Mediated Discussion agreement form.
The mediator is responsible for:
- Providing the student and instructor with all documents pertaining to the alleged violation.
- Presenting and explaining the evidence of the academic honesty violation to the student.
- Completing a mediated discussion agreement form.
- Informing the student of his or her right to rescind the signed agreement form by submitting a written statement to this effect to the vice president for student affairs within five business days of the mediated discussion session.
- Sending a copy of the completed and signed agreement form to the vice president for student affairs within three business days of the meeting with the student.
The student has the right to rescind a facilitated discussion agreement by notifying the vice president for student affairs within five days from the date the agreement form is signed. If the agreement is rescinded, a student judiciary committee will be convened to determine if the academic dishonesty occurred and if so, to assign the appropriate sanction(s) for the violation.
Student Judiciary Committee
Hearing for Disputed Cases If the faculty member and the student cannot reach an agreement about the appropriate consequence(s) for an alleged violation of the academic honesty policy, the matter will be referred back to the vice president for student affairs. The vice president will then schedule a meeting of the student judiciary committee to hear the case and notify the student by certified mail and/or phone, the date, time, and location of the hearing. The student judiciary committee hearing will be held no more than fifteen days after the student reasonably should have received notification. In the event that additional time is necessary, the judicial advisor will notify the student in writing. Written notification of the need to extend the time will be sent by certified mail and by email to the student’s @student.athenstech.edu email account. The procedures for conducting a student judiciary committee are published as part of the Student Code of Conduct (see Student Code of Conduct outlined later in this section).
If the student judiciary committee finds the student guilty of an academic honesty infraction, the student must receive zero points for the activity for which the infraction occurred. First offense violations may also result in one or more of the following consequences:
- Final course grade of F
- Suspension for a period of one or more academic terms
A suspension allows a student to return to the institution after a specified period of time. Readmission to the college does not guarantee the student the opportunity to reenroll in the program of study from which he or she was suspended. An expulsion means that the student is ineligible to return to the institution.
If the student judiciary committee finds that extraordinary circumstances warrant the imposition of a consequence other than what is described above, the committee shall state in writing the reasons for the extraordinary circumstances and why an alternate consequence is considered appropriate. The vice president for student affairs will provide written notification to the student of the sanctions imposed as a result of a guilty ruling by the student judiciary committee.
Upon receiving the notification from the instructor, the vice president for student affairs will determine whether this incident constitutes a second acknowledgement by the student that he or she has violated this academic honesty policy. If it is determined that the incident is the first time the student has violated the academic honesty policy, the vice president for student affairs will send a certified letter to the student informing the student that he or she will be on disciplinary probation for the remainder of his or her tenure at Athens Technical College, unless the student meets with the vice president of student affairs, at which time may sign for a copy of the letter. If it is determined that the notification constitutes a second acknowledgement by the student, the consequence may result in the student being expelled. If the student acknowledges a second violation in a facilitated discussion or if a student judiciary committee finds a second violation of the policy, the student may be expelled with a notation that the expulsion was for an academic honesty violation.
Effective Date for Suspension or Expulsion
A student who is suspended or expelled from the college for violating the academic honesty policy will be administratively removed from all classes. The student will receive a final course grade of F in the course in which the academic honesty infraction. Students dismissed for disciplinary reasons or who leave the college when disciplinary action is pending are ineligible for refunds of all tuition and fees.
Action on Determination of Innocence
If the mediated discussion or the student judiciary committee determines that no violation occurred, the instructor shall enter a final grade for that student. The instructor will determine the grade for the assignment and the course. That grade shall be entered on or before the latter of (a) the date on which grades for that class must be submitted to the Office of Registration and Records or (b) 10 days following delivery to that instructor of a notice of that student's final determination of innocence. For this purpose, "final determination" means that an agreement is reached between the instructor and student during a mediated discussion session that academic dishonesty did not occur or that a student judiciary committee concludes that the student did not violate the academic honesty policy. The vice president for student affairs shall notify the instructor of the final determination.
Upon admission to the college, each student is obligated to uphold the highest ethical standards in academic endeavors. Students have a responsibility for maintaining academic honesty by refraining from committing acts that violate the academic honesty policy; therefore, it is imperative that each student become familiar with the contents of the policy. Being unfamiliar with this policy does not absolve the student from disciplinary action. Furthermore, students have a responsibility to notify instructors of observed or known incidents of academic dishonesty committed by others.
Faculty have the primary responsibility of ensuring that academic honesty is maintained in the courses they teach; therefore, they have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to inform students of the academic honesty rules that apply to particular academic work and the specific types of academic assistance that are permissible in connection with that academic work. Faculty is also responsible for following the steps outlined in this policy. When alleged violations are being resolved through the mediated discussion process or by student judiciary committee hearings, the instructor shall permit the student to complete all required academic work and shall evaluate and grade all work except the assignment(s) involved in the accusation of dishonesty. The instructor may, however, take any action reasonably necessary to collect and preserve evidence of the alleged violation and to maintain or restore the integrity of the exam or laboratory conditions. Requests for a course withdrawal will not be approved unless it is determined that no violation occurred.
An instructor who suspects that a student has violated the academic honesty policy within the context of clinical patient care may prohibit the student from any and all patient care responsibilities and from attendance at all clinical affiliate institutions until the issue is resolved. The instructor must notify the vice president for student affairs immediately of the prohibition. The student will be allowed to make up any clinical assignments without academic penalty if it is determined that no violation of the academic honesty policy occurred.
Academic honesty is defined as performing all academic work without plagiarism, cheating, lying, tampering, falsifying, stealing, purchasing, giving, or receiving unauthorized assistance from any other person, or using any source of information that is not common knowledge without properly acknowledging the source. Academic dishonesty means performing, attempting to perform, or assisting any other person in performing academic work that does not meet this standard of academic honesty. Academic work means any act performed in connection with work required to be submitted or performed, being prepared to be submitted, or actually submitted for an academic grade and academic advancement in connection with courses and programs offered in all types of learning environments by Athens Technical College. Academic work includes, but is not limited to, examinations, exercises, quizzes, term papers, required drafts of assignments, required attendance, reports, presentations and speeches, laboratory work, distance education assignments, scientific experiments, clinical and practicum rotations, and internship assignments.
No student shall perform, attempt to perform, or assist another in performing any act of dishonesty on academic work to be submitted for academic credit or advancement. A student does not have to intend to violate the academic honesty policy to be found in violation. Furthermore, lack of knowledge of the provisions of this policy is not an acceptable response to an allegation of academic dishonesty.
Examples of Academic Dishonesty
The following acts by a student are examples of academically dishonest behavior:
- Plagiarism — Submission for academic advancement the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of another that are not common knowledge, without appropriate attribution to that other person. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following acts when performed without appropriate attribution:
- Directly quoting all or part of another person's written or spoken words without quotation marks, as appropriate to the discipline.
- Paraphrasing all or part of another person's written or spoken words without notes or documentation within the body of the work.
- Presenting an idea, theory, or formula originated by another person as the original work of the person submitting that work.
- Repeating information, such as statistics or demographics, which is not common knowledge and which was originally compiled by another person.
- Purchasing (or receiving in any other manner) a term paper or other assignment that is the work of another person and submitting that term paper or other assignment as the student's own work.
- Unauthorized assistance — Giving or receiving assistance in connection with any examination or other academic work that has not been authorized by an instructor. During examinations, quizzes, lab work, and similar activities, students are to assume that any assistance (such as books, notes, calculators, and conversations with others) is unauthorized unless it has been specifically authorized by an instructor. Examples of prohibited behavior include, but are not limited to, the following when not authorized:
- Copying or allowing another to copy answers to an examination.
- Transmitting or receiving during an examination information that is within the scope of the material to be covered by that examination (including transmission orally, in writing, by sign, electronic signal, or other manner).
- Giving or receiving answers to an examination scheduled for a later time.
- Completing for another or allowing another to complete for you all or part of an assignment (such as a paper, exercise, homework assignment, presentation, report, computer application, laboratory experiment, or computation).
- Submitting a group assignment or allowing that assignment to be submitted representing that the project is the work of all the members of the group when fewer than all of the group members assisted substantially in its preparation.
- Unauthorized use of a programmable calculator or other electronic device.
- Lying/Tampering — Giving any false information in connection with the performance of any academic work or in connection with any proceeding under this policy. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Giving false reasons (in advance or after the fact) for failure to complete academic work, including, for example, giving false excuses to an instructor or to any college official for failure to attend an exam or to complete academic work.
- Falsifying the results of any laboratory or experimental work or fabricating any data or information.
- Altering any academic work after it has been submitted for academic credit and requesting academic credit for the altered work, unless such alterations are part of an assignment (such as a request of an instructor to revise the academic work).
- Altering grade, lab, or attendance records. This includes, for example, the forgery of college forms for registration in or withdrawal from a course.
- Damaging computer equipment (including removable media such as disks, CDs, flash drives) or laboratory equipment in order to alter or prevent the evaluation of academic work, unauthorized use of another's computer password, disrupting the content or accessibility of an Internet site, or impersonating another to obtain computer resources.
- Giving or encouraging false information or testimony in connection with academic work or any proceeding under this policy.Submitting for academic advancement an item of academic work that has been submitted (even when submitted previously by that student) for credit in another course, unless done pursuant to authorization from the instructor supervising the work or containing fair attribution to the original work.
- Theft — Stealing, taking, or procuring in any other unauthorized manner (such as by physical removal from an instructor’s office or unauthorized inspection of computerized material) information related to any academic work (such as exams, grade records, forms used in grading, books, papers, computer equipment and data, and laboratory materials and data).
- Other — Failure by a student to comply with a duty imposed under this policy. Any behavior that constitutes academic dishonesty is prohibited even if it is not specifically listed in the above compilation of examples.