Academic Misconduct Faculty FAQ

Students are referred to the Dean’s Discipline process if they are alleged to have engaged in behavior that is inconsistent with University policies and/or federal, state, or local laws. Practically speaking, you are most likely to encounter issues of academic integrity violations or classroom disruption.

Academic dishonesty undermines our academic community; it is our shared responsibility to promote intellectual honesty and scholarly integrity.

By formally addressing these matters, we are able to challenge students to reason through ethical situations they encounter as part of the learning process. Reporting also promotes consistency, fairness, and accurate record keeping, particularly when students are found to be repeat offenders. Further, the Dean’s Discipline process supports you in promoting academic standards and protects you against any claims of bias.

You can report any alleged violation directly on our reporting form. Information you will need to complete the referral includes: Student name and UNI; course name/section; course syllabus; assignment information; the work in question; any other supporting evidence.

As it is a disciplinary process, a student found responsible for a violation of academic integrity will be subject to appropriate sanctions. However, the Dean’s Discipline process is also an educational one designed to challenge students to make better decisions and facilitate a broader understanding of the impact their behavior may have on the Columbia Community.

In cases where one may be hesitant to report or has questions prior to reporting, consult with Student Conduct. Discussing the incident with Student Conduct prior to reporting is often helpful to clarify what the pressing issues and concerns are. Staff will walk you through the Dean’s Discipline process and possible outcomes.

Student Conduct does recommend that faculty speak with the alleged student prior to reporting an incident. During this conversation it is often helpful to show the student what you are concerned about and give them an opportunity to respond. You should then include their response within your report to Student Conduct.

Faculty members do not attend the hearing. Once Student Conduct receives a report from an instructor alleging an academic integrity violation, the hearing officers use this information, in conjunction with the student’s statement, to determine if a violation of policy has occurred. The student’s adviser attends to offer guidance and support.

The standard of proof used to make a determination of responsibility is that of “preponderance of the evidence.” This standard allows hearing officers to find a student responsible if the information shows that it is more likely than not that a violation occurred. If the student is found responsible, the degree of seriousness of the offense and the student’s previous disciplinary record, if any, will determine the severity of the sanction to be issued.

After the review, we determine whether the student’s behavior constitutes a policy violation and, of course, we always communicate with you, the faculty member, once this process is concluded. Importantly, the faculty members retain the ability to grade as they believe is appropriate separate from our process, whether or not a student has been found responsible.

When a student is found not responsible there was not enough evidence to substantiate that the student’s conduct violated University policy. However, this does not mean concerning behavior did not occur. In fact, many cases where students are found not responsible do still have an element of concerning behavior that needs to be addressed. Being at the Dean’s Discipline process is an educational one, we always address areas of concern and provide students resources to avoid misconduct. Grading is still determined by the course instructor independent of any decision rendered by Student Conduct.

Anytime you have questions regarding an academic integrity concern you may contact Student Conduct. We are happy to consult and determine if what you have observed warrants a report. Additionally, we always encourage faculty to consult with their department head to obtain guidance on school specific protocol e.g., grading, notify students of violations, communication after the process has concluded, etc.