Academic Misconduct

Academic honesty and integrity are highly valued in the Northwestern campus community. Academic honesty directly concerns ethical behaviors that affect both the academic environment and the civic community. Academic dishonesty seriously violates the integrity of the academic enterprise and will not be tolerated.

The behaviors considered a violation of the Standards of Academic Conduct include, but are not limited to, the following list. These are examples of actions that constitute misconduct for which students may be sanctioned.

  1. Buying, selling, otherwise obtaining, possessing or using any copy of any unsanctioned material intended to be used as an instrument of academic instruction or academic evaluation in advance of its initial administration.
  2. Acting as a substitute for another person or using another person as a substitute in any academic evaluation process.
  3. Using the aid of others or providing aid to others in a manner prohibited by the instructor, or University regulations, in the research, preparation, creation, writing, performing or publication of work for academic credit or evaluation.
  4. Submitting the work of others in a manner which represents the work to be an individual's own.
  5. Knowingly permitting one's work to be submitted by another person without the instructor's permission.
  6. Knowingly violating the terms of any disciplinary sanctions imposed in accordance with this code.
  7. Certain behaviors during the administration of an instrument meant to evaluate student progress (written examinations, quiz, lab practical, etc.), including the following or others that may be described by faculty in a course syllabus:
    • Having personal belongings other than writing implements in vicinity of the test. Examples of personal belongings include: briefcases, backpacks, purses, notebooks, textbooks, and unauthorized electronic devices (ex: cell phones, iPods, laptop computers, Blackberry’s, calculators).
    • Eyes wandering toward anyone else's test, or posturing in such a manner.
    • Placing one's test booklet or answer key so that another student may see it.
    • Study notes of any kind, in view of the student or other students.
    • Wearing a hat.
    • Long hair not tied back
    • Unauthorized use of headphones.
    • Unauthorized exit from the room; anyone who leaves the room may not return.
    • Behaving in a way that is a distraction to others.

Reporting Academic Misconduct

Faculty who determine that academic misconduct has occurred (i.e., items 1-6 above) should specify the misconduct by completing and submitting the Academic Misconduct Violation Report Form to the Program Dean, and the Dean of Students and Alumni Services. The faculty member may elect to handle the incident with appropriate sanctions, or the incident may be referred to the Program Dean, the Dean of Students and Alumni Services, or designee for further investigation or possible referral to the Behavioral Standards Committee.

Faculty, test monitors, or students who are satisfied that a specific test-taking violation has occurred (i.e. item 7 above) during an examination or quiz will use the following procedure:

  1. If a faculty member, or test monitor, witnesses a violation during an examination, the faculty member, or test monitor, should allow the student to finish the examination. The faculty member, or test monitor, will immediately document the incident using the Academic Misconduct Violation Report Form.
  2. If a student witnesses a violation of academic conduct during an examination, the student should report the violation to a faculty member immediately following the examination. If the student(s) reports the violation more than two class days after the exam, action may not be taken. The faculty member will immediately document the incident using the Academic Misconduct Violation Report Form.

    The faculty member will interview all students involved to determine if there is enough evidence to take action. The faculty member also has the option to refer the investigation to the Program Dean.

    Students who come forward with allegations of a violation of another student should be assured that their confidentiality will be protected. However, if the matter is referred to the Program Dean, the student(s) may be asked to present what they witnessed.

  3. Depending on the nature of the violation, the faculty member or Program Dean has three options for sanctions:
    1. a written warning to the student
    2. a grade of zero for the examination
    3. other sanction(s), as deemed appropriate

    In all cases, the sanction should be recorded on the Academic Misconduct Violation Report Form.

  4. The faculty member, or Program Dean, will notify the accused student as soon as possible by email, but no later than five class days after the examination to describe the inappropriate test-taking behavior that was observed, and within ten class days of the examination to describe the action or sanction that will follow.
  5. The faculty member, or Program Dean, will then send copies of the Academic Misconduct Violation Report Form to the Program Dean (if sent by the faculty member) and the Dean of Students and Alumni Services for the student’s file. Other sanctions may follow.

Appeals

Students may appeal a faculty member’s decision to the Program Dean only if they believe the investigation and disciplinary processes have not been appropriately and fairly followed. Appeals must be made in writing on or before the tenth class day following the notification of the decision.

If the sanction was delivered by the Program Dean instead of the faculty member, students may appeal the decision to the Provost only if they believe the investigation and disciplinary processes have not been appropriately and fairly followed. Appeals must be made in writing to the Provost on or before the tenth class day following the notification of the decision. The decision of the Provost is final.