Academic Ethics Code of Conduct
The purpose of this code is to encourage and promote positive learning and ethical student behavior, define behavior violating academic ethics, specify procedures for the determination of the facts of the alleged misconduct, and to define penalties. It is the responsibility of the student to maintain the highest ethical standards in academic achievement within the positive learning environment provided by the College.
Students assume full responsibility for the content and integrity of the course work they submit. The following is a guide to assist students in observing positive behavior in academic ethics:
- Students must do their own work and submit only their own work on examinations, reports and projects, unless otherwise permitted by the instructor.
- Students can benefit from working in groups. They may collaborate or cooperate with other students during take-home exams, only if specifically authorized by the instructor in the class syllabus or at the time of the exam.
- Students must follow all written and/or verbal instructions given by instructors or designated College representatives prior to taking exams, placement assessments, tests, quizzes and evaluations.
- Students are responsible for adhering to course requirements, including conduct and attendance in the course, as specified by the instructor and/or department.
- Students are expected to demonstrate professional and civil behavior toward their instructor and fellow students at all times. This includes interactions both in and out of the classroom, as well as electronic communication.
- A student that suspects another student of academic misconduct is encouraged to report the incident to the instructor.
It is a WCTC student's responsibility to be informed about what constitutes academic misconduct and how to avoid it. Examples of academic misconduct include (but are not limited to):
- Plagiarism (turning in work of another person and not giving them credit)
- Stealing an exam or course materials
- Copying another student's homework, paper or exam
- Cheating on an exam (copying from another student, turning in an exam for re-grading after making changes or working on an exam after the designated time allowance)
- Falsifying academic documents
Students can avoid academic misconduct by:
- Refraining from copying and pasting directly from the internet
- Knowing how to cite sources in papers, lab reports or other assignments (Use the Writing Center for help with APA, MLA and other citation styles.)
- Understanding the expectations and limitations when working in groups (Determine what aspects of a project – paper, presentation, demonstration – are collaborative or to be completed by individual students.)
- Using campus resources for assistance (e.g. Academic Support Services)
If students know a classmate is cheating on an exam or other academic exercise, they should notify their instructor or exam proctor. If students see a classmate cheating during an exam, they should raise their hand and inform the instructor or proctor verbally or by writing a note on their exam. As a part of the WCTC community, students are expected to uphold the standards of the College. Additionally, a classmate's dishonesty on an exam may affect the overall grading curve and other students' grades in the class.
When an instructor suspects academic ethics violations has occurred, he/she shall inform the student of the general facts or conduct upon which the allegation is based, including (as appropriate) the date, time and place when alleged conduct took place. If the instructor determines that it did not occur, no further action is necessary.
If the instructor determines the violation did occur, the instructor will apprise the Associate Dean of the situation and the chosen course of action. Additional or more restrictive sanctions may be applicable depending on Program or Course Syllabi. Please refer to that documentation for more information.
- If the action is not otherwise specified by department policy, the instructor may choose to:
- Warn the student of unacceptable behavior;
- Issue an alternative assignment, project or examination;
- Reduce the grade, or assign a failing grade for the assignment, project or examination;
With consent from the Associate Dean or instructional manager, the faculty may choose to:
- Remove the student from the course and issue the appropriate administrative grade;
- Assign a failing grade for the course;
The instructor shall notify the student, in writing, of the charge(s) and the resulting action. This communication will also be sent to the Associate Dean.
- On the recommendation of the instructor and Associate Dean or instructional manager, the Dean may choose to suspend or expel the student from the program. In this case, the Dean shall notify the student, in writing, of the charge(s) and the resulting action. This communication will also be sent to the instructor and Associate Dean.
All Academic Ethics Code violations should be reported to the Student Life Office. Three (3) Academic Ethics Code violations will result in suspension from WCTC for a period of two (2) years. Prior to re-enrollment after that period, the student will be required to meet with the Director of Student Life. Any further Academic Ethics Code violations after re-entry will result in permanent expulsion from the College.
Sanctions for Academic Ethics violations that result in a failing course grade can only be appealed through this appeal process, not a Final Grade Dispute. In order to have a decision reviewed for an appeal, the student must provide, in writing, justification as to why at least one of the following criteria are met:
- Evidence did not warrant a finding of responsibility.
- Hearing was not fair or the process outlined in the Code was not followed.
- Sanction is not appropriate for the violation.
The student should submit the nature and cause of the complaint and desired outcome(s) to the supervisor of the instructor or administrator from whom the sanction came.
- If sanctioned by the instructor, the student should attempt to resolve the issue through a discussion with the instructor and Associate Dean(s), or the instructional manager, within seven (7) college calendar days. These calendar days do not include days the College is on break for holidays as specified on the academic calendar. A college day is defined as a day classes are in session.
If the complaint remains unresolved, the student shall submit, in writing, the nature and cause of the complaint and desired outcome(s) to the Dean, or designee, and then meet with the Dean, or designee, within seven (7) calendar days of the initial meeting, in an attempt to mediate the problem. The Dean will send copies of that communication to the instructor and Associate Dean, or Manager. After the meeting, the Dean, or designee, will provide a response to the student, in writing, within seven (7) calendar days. Copies of this communication will again be sent to the instructor and Associate Dean, or Manager. If the issue remains unresolved after the written response from the Dean, the student may, within ten (10) calendar days after receiving the Dean's or other staff members' written response, request in writing, to the Director of Student Life, or designee, a hearing with the Board of Review.
- If the student is originally sanctioned by the Associate Dean as described in section 1A above, the student must initiate the appeal process with the Dean.
If the issue remains unresolved after the written response from the Dean, the student may, within ten (10) college days after receiving the Dean's or other staff members' written response, request in writing, to the Director of Student Life, or designee, a hearing with the Board of Review.
- If the student is originally sanctioned by the Dean, the student may, within ten (10) calendar days after receiving the Dean's written response, request in writing to the Director of Student Life, or designee, a hearing with the Board of Review.
The Board of Review consists of three (3) members. These members will come from a trained pool of five (5) students, five (5) administrators, and five (5) instructors, and there will be one Board member from each of these categories. The Director of Student Life will select three members from this pool for each Board of Review hearing, making efforts to ensure representation of each constituency. The College's attorney may be present to act as an advisor, but will not be a voting member. In order for student peers to sit as members of the Board of Review, all involved students must sign a release and authorizations to have students sit on the Board. If appropriate authorizations are not obtained, the Board of Review will proceed without student representatives.
The Director of Student Life, or designee, will serve as the Chair of this committee. The Board of Review is advised by this person and the Chair does not participate in the hearing but serves as a resource during the deliberation and sanctioning phases of the hearing. This Chair has access to a student's conduct history, and will make it available to the Board of Review when appropriate.
Board of Review Procedures
- If an accused student, with notice, does not appear before the hearing board, the information in support of the alleged violation(s) will be presented and considered in the student's absence. If no defense is offered, it is reasonable for the hearing officers to infer that no defense is available.
- All persons will be asked to affirm that their testimony is truthful and will be admonished that furnishing false information to the WCTC may result in additional violations of the Academic Ethics Code of Conduct.
- The complainant, accused student and their advisors, if any, will be allowed to attend the entire portion of the hearing at which information is received, excluding deliberations of responsibility and sanctioning. Admission of any other person to the hearing will be at the discretion of the hearing board chair and/or the Director of Student Life.
- Attorneys: Private attorneys will be allowed to be present at the hearing on behalf of any party. They may consult with and advise the parties during the proceeding but may not examine witnesses or otherwise directly participate on behalf of either party. An attorney who fails to respect this limitation will be removed and no replacement will be permitted.
- In hearings involving more than one accused student in the same situation, the Director of Student Life may permit the hearings concerning each student to be conducted jointly.
- The complainant and the accused student(s) have the right to be assisted by an advisor they choose. The advisor must be affiliated with WCTC, unless a special waiver is granted in advance by the Director of Student Life. The complainant and the accused student are responsible for presenting his or her own information at the hearing, and therefore, advisors are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any hearing. Advisors who do not observe this restriction can be removed from the hearing by the Chair or the Director of Student Life. No replacement adviser will be permitted. The Dean, Associate Dean or manager, will also be present at the hearing.
- The complainant, accused student and the hearing board may arrange for witnesses to present pertinent information to the board. Witnesses will provide information to and answer questions from the hearing board. Questions may be suggested by the accused student and/or complainant to be answered by each other or by other witnesses. This will be facilitated by the board with such questions directed to the chair rather than to the witness directly. Questions of whether potential information will be received will be resolved at the discretion of the chair of the board.
- Pertinent records, exhibits and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration by a board at the discretion of the chairperson.
- All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the chair of the board.
- The hearing board will determine, by a majority vote, whether the accused student has violated each section of the Academic Ethics Code of Conduct which the student is accused of violating. The board's determination will be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the accused student violated the Student Code of Conduct. The Board of Review may consider the record of the original hearing with the conduct officer, but is not bound by it.
- Formal rules of process, procedure and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in civil or criminal court, are not used in these proceedings.
- Hearings (excluding deliberations) will be audio tape-recorded. The tape-recording will be kept until a College Vice President or designee has rendered his or her decision, after which the tape will be erased.
- The Chair will prepare a written deliberation report to the Vice President, detailing the finding, how each Board of Review member voted, the information cited by the Board of Review in support of its finding, and any information that the Board of Review excluded from its consideration, and why. This report should conclude with any recommended sanctions. This report should not exceed two pages in length and must be submitted to the Vice President of Learning within 48 hours after the end of deliberations. The Vice President may make appropriate modifications and then will implement the final determination. This determination will be sent, in writing, to the student, complainant, dean, Associate Dean or manager, and copied to the members of the Board of Review.