What is Academic Misconduct?

Students will sometimes make unintentional mistakes, but students are also under considerable pressure to manage large workloads and work to tight deadlines. The university takes its commitment to academic integrity very seriously, and there are serious consequences for intentionally cheating, such as getting a zero for your work in a course, failing the course, or even being suspended or expelled from the university.

The university has an Academic Misconduct Policy (you can read it here). The policy defines academic misconduct as “behaviour that interferes with or attempts to interfere with the integrity of the learning environment.”

Examples of academic misconduct of which you should be aware include:

  • copying another student’s work during a test or examination; 
  • submitting an answer to an examination question prepared outside the examination room without authorization; 
  • possessing unauthorized aids at an examination site, such as a dictionary or a calculator in an exam, unless you’re given permission to do so; 
  • having someone else take one’s examinations;
  • altering one’s work without permission after it has been assessed, i.e., for the purpose of contesting the original assessment; 
  • knowingly allowing one’s work to be copied during a test/examination or otherwise; 
  • collaborating on take-home exams or other assignments without permission; 
  • improperly obtaining through theft, bribery, collusion or otherwise an examination or test paper or other materials; 
  • signing in another student on an attendance sheet; and 
  • submitting any work for evaluation that has previously been submitted in another course, without the faculty member’s prior approval

You are responsible for maintaining academic integrity in all work submitted for credit and in any other work assigned by the instructor of the course.

What happens if I am accused of Academic Misconduct?

If your instructor suspects that academic misconduct has occurred, some of the following things may happen:

  • Your instructor may remove unauthorized materials and talk to other students who may have witnessed academic misconduct (such as cheating on an exam).
  • The Dean of the Faculty responsible for the course and the Office of the Registrar will be notified.
  • You may be restricted from being able to withdraw from the course until the matter has been investigated.
  • You may be asked, in writing (which means an email will be sent to your student email address), for a meeting to discuss the issue. You must reply to this email within seven days. If you don’t respond, you may get a second email from the Dean of the Faculty in which you are enrolled. If you still don’t respond, you may be considered “non-responsive” and your case may move forward without you.

What are the penalties for academic misconduct?

If you have committed academic misconduct, you will receive a penalty or sanction. Sanctions that may be imposed for academic misconduct include:

  • Grade of zero on an assignment
  • Grade of zero in a course
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Suspension from the University for a minimum of one semester
  • Expulsion from the University

More than one of the above may be imposed simultaneously.

If I commit academic misconduct, who will know?

A finding of academic misconduct will be recorded in the your file in the Office of the Registrar and otherwise as noted below. In addition:

  • All records are confidential. They will be made available to appropriate parties only when a given case of academic misconduct has been established or as otherwise required by law.
  • Every confirmed finding of academic misconduct, regardless of severity, will be recorded in the official academic file of the student.
  • A file of hard copies of plagiarized papers and other documentation of academic misconduct will be maintained in each Faculty office.
  • The student’s transcript shall reflect penalties of suspension and expulsion from the University, as well as those embedded in the final grade for the relevant course(s).
  • If the Student Appeals Committee overturns a decision, all records pertaining to the matter will be removed from the student’s file by the Office of the Registrar.
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