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Misconduct Process

If you are accused of academic misconduct of any sort, including cheating on an exam or an assignment, plagiarising, lying about an illness, and so on, you will need to meet with your instructor and, in some cases, an Academic Integrity Committee or your Dean. You will get a fair hearing, but there is no excuse for cheating in any way. Remember, even if you did not plan to cheat or plagiarise, you are responsible for all your actions and for every piece of work handed in with your name on it. (The information on this page can also be found in the Learning Modules and in the Student Guide to Academic Integrity.)

On this page:

If I am caught for plagiarism or cheating, what will happen to me?

If you are caught for any type of cheating, whether it is plagiarism, cheating in a test or exam, faking your results, or some other academic misconduct, you will face sanctions (or penalties). Depending on the nature of your academic misconduct, you will go through one of two possible processes and face different consequences.

What happens when academic dishonesty is suspected?

If a faculty member or teaching assistant witnesses or discovers a breach of academic integrity, then a written record of what has been seen or found is taken. The instructor and TA must follow UOIT’s policies on reporting and dealing with academic misconduct. All cases of academic misconduct must be reported and a record of all allegations, along with details of resolutions, will be kept on file in the Dean’s office and in the Registrar’s Office.

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What are the consequences for academic dishonesty at UOIT?

Any form of cheating is academic dishonesty. If you commit academic dishonesty, depending on the severity (and frequency) of your offence(s) you could: fail your assignment, fail your course or be suspended from your program, your faculty, or UOIT for up to three years, during which time you won’t be able to transfer any credits earned at another university towards any UOIT degree requirements or receive any funds from the university. You could also be placed on disciplinary probation for the remainder of your program. Offences are kept on file in the Registrar’s Office, but more serious offences will also be recorded on your transcript for at least two years.  After two years, you can appeal to have the notation on your transcript removed. If you have already graduated when academic misconduct is discovered, your degree may be revoked.

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What’s the process for dealing with alleged cheaters here at UOIT?

Every case is different, but your instructor might talk to you about the allegation first to determine all the facts. Lesser Offences (first offence on an assignment worth 25% or less of the total course grade) are normally dealt with by the course professor or instructor. Major Offences (two or more previous offences, on an assignment worth more than 25% or on an exam), however, are dealt with by the Dean (or Dean’s representative) of the Faculty in which the course is offered. Most Faculties have an Academic Integrity Committee that represents the Dean in dealing with academic misconduct.

Note: during the review and investigation of the offence, you cannot drop the course in which the offence took place. Until a decision is made, you should continue to register and attend all classes as usual.

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What is the difference between a Lesser Academic Offence and Major Offence?

While all misconduct is serious, some offences are clearly more serious than others. A Lesser Offence is a first offence on an assignment worth 25% or less of the total course grade. A Major Offence is a repeated offence or a misconduct on an assignment worth over 25% of the total course grade or cheating on an exam.

How are Lesser Offences dealt with?

Lesser Offences are dealt with by the course instructor and must be reported to the Dean of the Faculty in which the offence occurred and to the Registrar’s Office. The instructor will meet with the student to discuss the problem. If it is a Lesser Offence, the instructor will impose a sanction appropriate to the situation. A sanction (or penalty) might be a deduction in your grade, a requirement to rewrite the assignment, or a zero on the assignment. You will also be asked to sign a form that outlines the circumstances and the sanction. By signing the form, you are stating that you understand that what you did was academic misconduct and that you agree to the sanction. The report is kept on file, but no notation is made on your transcript. If you disagree with the instructor, you may choose to not sign the form and to have the case heard by the Faculty’s Academic Integrity Committee.

NOTE: If you commit another act of misconduct, the sanction(s) will be more severe.

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How are Major Offences dealt with?

An offence is considered major if you have already had a prior offence OR if the assignment in question is worth more than 25% of the total course grade OR if it is a final exam. Major Offences are dealt with by the Dean (or Dean’s representative) of the Faculty in which the course is offered. Most Faculties have an Academic Integrity Committee that represents the Dean in dealing with academic misconduct. You will be asked to meet with two or more members of the Academic Integrity Committee. The letter or email that you received will include all the information that the course instructor provided to support the allegation of misconduct. Read this material carefully. Always respond to the letter or email to indicate that you have received the information and that you will meet with the committee at the appointed time.

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What will happen at the Academic Misconduct hearing?

At the meeting (or hearing), you are allowed to bring an advisor (who could be a friend, a parent or someone else that you trust). Always inform the committee that you are bringing someone and who it is. At the meeting, you will be given the chance to tell your side of the story – what happened, why it happened, and so on – and anything else that you feel is relevant to the case. For example, you may explain whether or not you believe you are guilty and your explanation of what happened. You may be asked questions to help clarify the situation. The committee members will respond to your statement, possibly to explain the problem in greater detail or to elaborate on why you were brought to the committee. You may ask questions and elaborate on the details further. Once the discussion is finished, you will be able to leave.

The committee will review all of the details of the case and the evidence (including all relevant information on the assignment in question, writing samples, and records from meetings with you, as well as records of any past incidences of academic dishonesty) in order to come to a decision on whether there is reasonable evidence that you committed an offense and what sanction, if any, will be imposed.

Occasionally, a committee will determine that no offence was committed and the case will be dismissed. However, most instructors do not send cases to the academic integrity committee unless they are quite certain that an offence was committed.

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What types of sanctions or consequences are there for cheating and other academic misconducts?

The sanctions for academic misconduct range in severity depending on the nature of the misconduct, the year the student is in, whether or not it is a first, second or third offence, and so on. The university treats its students fairly and students always have the opportunity to explain what happened. Possible sanctions include,  

  • Resubmission of work without penalty;
  • Resubmission of work with penalty;
  • Warning letter/written reprimand;
  • Failing grade (F) for assignment/exam/test or course;
  • Disciplinary probation;
  • Suspension from attendance in a course, a program, a faculty, or the university (NOTE: While suspended, a student may not register, and loses the right to attend lectures, write examinations, and receive payment from University sources. Courses taken elsewhere during the period of suspension are not eligible for transfer credit. Notice of suspension will be placed in the student’s file and will appear on his academic record. The conditions of suspension will specify the length of time such notice will remain on the student’s academic record.)
  • Permanent expulsion;
  • Expunging of grades or revoking of degrees;
  • Other sanctions as appropriate.

A record of the incident and ruling will be kept by your Faculty and the Registrar's Office so they can make appropriate notes on your academic record. In most cases, the record will only be provided to other UOIT offices on a need-to-know basis, but any failing grades will be evident on your academic transcript. In addition, a notation of academic misconduct may be placed on your transcript as part of a sanction. This notation will be on your transcript for a minimum of two years. To have it removed after two years, you must submit an appeal to the university. For more details on the policy, see the Academic Calendar.

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What are the student’s rights in this process?

With respect to all accusations of academic dishonesty, students are presumed innocent until the contrary has been established. Decisions regarding the commission of such an offence are based on the balance of probabilities. If a lesser offence is unresolved between the faculty member and the student, the matter is forwarded to the Dean (or Dean’s representative).

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