Conduct Guidelines and Grievance Procedures for Students -- 400.00 Academic Misconduct Procedures
Montana State University

400.00 Academic Misconduct Procedures

The administration, faculty and students of Montana State University believe that academic honesty and integrity are fundamental to the mission of higher education. The University has a responsibility to promote academic honesty and integrity and to assure the highest ethical and professional standards and behavior in the classroom. Accordingly, the University has developed procedures that address instances of academic dishonesty. Students who violate these standards commit academic misconduct and will be subject to academic and/or disciplinary sanctions.


410.00   Academic Misconduct
420.00   Description and Examples
430.00   Sanctions
440.00   Academic Misconduct Procedures


Includes cheating, plagiarism, forgery, falsification, facilitation or aiding academic dishonesty; multiple submission, theft of instructional materials or tests; unauthorized access to, manipulation of or tampering with laboratory equipment, experiments, computer programs, or animals without proper authorization; alteration of grades or files; misuse of research data in reporting results; use of personal relationships to gain grades or favors, or otherwise attempting to obtain grades or credit through fraudulent means.


A description of some forms of academic dishonesty and some examples are provided to help the student understand his or her responsibilities for academic honesty:


A.     Cheating - giving, using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids or other devices in any academic exercise including unauthorized communication of information. Examples of cheating include copying from another student's paper or receiving unauthorized assistance during a quiz, test or examination; using books, notes or other devices such as calculators, unless authorized; acquiring without authorization copies of tests or examinations before the scheduled exercise; or copying reports, laboratory work or computer programs or files from other students.


B.     Falsification / fabrication - the invention or unauthorized alteration of any information or citation in an academic exercise. Examples of fabrication include inventing or counterfeiting data or research procedures to give the appearance of results being achieved from procedures that were not undertaken. Examples of falsification include the false citation of a source of information; altering the record of, or reporting false information about practicum or clinical experiences; altering grade reports or other academic records; submitting a false excuse for absence or tardiness; or altering a returned examination paper and seeking a better grade.


C.    Tampering - interfering with, altering or attempting to alter university records, grades, assignments, laboratory experiments or other documents without authorization. Examples of tampering include using a computer or false-written document to change or affect the grade recorded for a student; forging the signature of a university official on a drop/add sheet or other official university record; erasing records or information of a student; unauthorized access to a university record by computer or unauthorized entry into an office or file; or obtaining information from the university without proper authorization.


D.    Plagiarism - presenting the work of another as one's own without proper acknowledgment. Examples of plagiarism include submitting as one's own work the work of another student, ghost writer or commercial writing service; directly quoting from a source without acknowledgment; paraphrasing or summarizing another's work without acknowledging the source; or using facts, figures, graphs, charts or information without acknowledging the source. Plagiarism may occur orally or in writing and may involve computer programs and files, research designs, distinctive figures of speech, ideas and images or any other information that belongs to another person and is not acknowledged as such. Inadvertent or unintentional misuse or appropriation of another's work (such as relying heavily on source material that is not expressly acknowledged) is still considered plagiarism.


E.     Facilitating academic misconduct - giving assistance or attempting to assist another in the commitment of academic misconduct.


F.     Multiple submission - submitting the same paper or oral report for credit in two courses without the instructor's permission; making minor revisions in a paper or report for which credit has already been received and submitting it again as a new piece of work.


G.    Other Academic Misconduct - Examples of academic misconduct include allowing another student to copy from one's paper during an examination or test; distributing test questions or substantive information about the material to be covered on a test before the scheduled exercise; collaborating on work with the knowledge that the collaboration is not authorized or will not be reported; or taking an examination or test for another student or signing a false name on an academic exercise.



The following sanctions may be imposed for academic misconduct:

A.     oral reprimand;

B.     written reprimand;

C.    an assignment to repeat the work or an alternate assignment;

D.    a lower or failing grade on the particular assignment or test;

E.     a lower grade or failing grade in the course;

F.     removal of the student from the course in progress;

G.    removal of the student from a major, college or program;

H.     withdrawal of degree or academic credit previously bestowed; and

I.      any sanction that may be imposed for violation of the Student Conduct Code (reference Section 660.00), including disciplinary probation, suspension or expulsion from the University.


The primary responsibility for managing the classroom environment rests with the faculty.  Students who engage in any prohibited or unlawful acts that result in disruption of a class may be directed by the instructor to leave the class for the remainder of the class period.  The term "prohibited acts" includes behavior prohibited by the instructor, including but not limited to, smoking in the classroom, persistently speaking without being recognized or called upon, refusing to be seated, and disrupting the class by leaving and entering the room without authorization.

Longer suspensions from a class or dismissal from a course on disciplinary grounds must be preceded by a charge of a violation of the Student Conduct Code and by a Student Conduct Hearing as set forth in Section 650.00 of the Student Conduct Code, if requested by the student or the instructor.  A student dismissed from a class as the result of a Student Conduct Hearing will be assigned a grade of F (Failing).  The student may register to re-take the course at a later date in accordance with existing University policy.

It must be emphasized that this provision is not designed to be used as a means to punish classroom dissent.  The expression of disagreement with the instructor or classmates is not in itself disruptive behavior.


 441.00 Instructor Imposed Academic Sanctions.

      If an instructor has reason to believe that a student has engaged in academic misconduct, the following procedures apply:

 441.01 Informal meeting.

The instructor should personally and privately advise the student that there is reason to believe that the student has committed an act that constitutes academic misconduct. The student should be allowed a reasonable opportunity to respond or explain.

If, after hearing the student's response (if any is provided), the instructor continues to believe the student engaged in academic misconduct, he or she will inform the student of his or her determination and of any intended sanction (s). An instructor is limited to imposing sanctions within the scope of the academic activity (sanctions A through E of Section 430.00). The instructor will prepare the Academic Misconduct Notification form and submit a copy to the student, the Department Head, Graduate Dean (if a graduate student) and the Dean of Students. The instructor has the right to refuse to sign a drop form for the class in question.

442.00 Additional Sanctions under Student Conduct Code

442.01 Referral by Instructor.

In addition to the imposition of the academic sanctions, an instructor may request in writing that the Dean of Students file a charge against the student for violation of the Student Conduct Code. If the student is found in violation of the Student Conduct Code, sanctions F-I of Section 430.00 may be imposed in addition to the academic sanctions.

442.02 Recurrence of Academic Misconduct.

A student who has been sanctioned by instructors more than once at MSU will be charged with a violation of the Student Conduct Code and subject to additional disciplinary sanctions.

442.03 Right to Appeal.

A student who receives an Academic Misconduct Notification under this section may request a hearing before the Student Conduct Board to contest the instructor's determination that academic misconduct occurred. The student must file a written request with the Dean of Students within five (5) working days of receipt of the Academic Misconduct Notification.

442.04 Grade Pending Resolution.

If the student appeals the instructor's academic misconduct determination, an incomplete grade ("I") will be assigned until the matter is concluded. A grade assigned before the instructor's knowledge of academic misconduct may be changed after it was assigned if the grade was obtained through academic misconduct or by fraud.


442.05 Appeal Procedures.

If a student appeals the instructor's academic misconduct determination, the procedures under the Student Conduct Code (Section 650.00) will be followed, as modified below.

a.    Decision of Student Conduct Board. In cases of alleged academic misconduct, the Student Conduct Board will determine whether the student engaged in academic misconduct and will recommend any non-academic sanction outlined under Section 430.00 above. The decision of the Student Conduct Board will be forwarded to the Dean of Students (or designee) and to the relevant instructor (s).

b.    If the Student Conduct Board finds the student committed academic misconduct, the instructor imposed academic sanction will stand. If the Student Conduct Board finds the student did not commit academic misconduct, the instructor will have ten (10) working days to report his or her grade for the student's work. The instructor will forward his or her grade determination to the Dean of Students (or designee), and the Graduate Dean (if a graduate student).

c.    The Dean of Students will send a copy of the decision, the grade and the sanction (s) imposed to the student and the instructor, and the Graduate Dean if applicable. Either party may appeal the decision directly to the Provost subject to the criteria set forth in Section 670.00 of the Student Conduct Code. The decision of the Provost is the final decision of the University.


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