Academic Dishonesty

It is the policy of Shippensburg University to expect academic honesty. Students who commit breaches of academic honesty will be subject to the various sanctions outlined in this section. This policy applies to all students enrolled at Shippensburg during and after their time of enrollment.


As used in this policy, the term academic dishonesty means deceit or misrepresentation in attempting (successfully or unsuccessfully) to influence the grading process or to obtain academic credit by a means not authorized by the course instructor or university policy. A breach of academic honesty is committed by students who give, as well as receive, unauthorized assistance in course and laboratory work and/or who purposefully evade, or assist other students in evading, the university's policy against academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to:

  • Bribing, or attempting to bribe, faculty or staff personnel in order to attain an unfair academic advantage.
  • Possessing course examination materials prior to administration of the examination by the instructor without the instructor's consent.
  • Using unauthorized materials or devices such as crib notes during an examination.
  • Providing and/or receiving unauthorized assistance during an examination.
  • Using a substitute to take an examination or course.
  • Misusing transcripts, records, or identification, such as forgery or alteration of transcripts.
  • Allowing others to conduct research for you or prepare your work without advance authorization from the instructor, including, but not limited to, the services of commercial term paper companies.
  • Plagiarism, as the term is defined in the section Plagiarism.
  • Intentionally and without authorization falsifying or inventing any information or citation in an academic exercise, such as making up data in an experiment or observation.

The preceding list is only for purposes of illustration. Other forms of inappropriate conduct may also be subject to charges of academic dishonesty.

Resolution of Charges

When an instance of academic dishonesty is alleged, the issue should be resolved on an informal basis between the student and faculty member. If an informal resolution cannot be achieved, a formal process of deciding culpability and assessing sanctions will be followed. If the student has committed a previous violation, the formal process must be followed.

Informal Resolution

A faculty member who obtains information that a student has been dishonest should act promptly to resolve the issue. The faculty member should first contact the Dean of Students to determine if this is the first violation for the student. If the suspected incident is not the first, the offense must be handled through the formal resolution process.

For a first violation, the faculty member may attempt to resolve the issue informally with the maximum penalty to be a grade of F in the course. If the faculty member feels the offense warrants a more severe penalty, the matter must be resolved through the formal process.

For the matter to be resolved informally, the faculty member must meet with the student and present any evidence of a violation. The student will be given an opportunity to provide an explanation after hearing the evidence. If the faculty member determines a violation has occurred, he/she will complete the Settlement of a Charge of Academic Dishonesty form. This form will include the penalty that the faculty member will apply.

The form is then given to the student, who has 72 hours to seek advice and decide whether to sign. If the student agrees to accept the penalty, he/she must sign in the presence of the faculty member. The faculty member will then implement the accepted penalty and forward the settlement form to the Dean of Students. The form will be kept on records for five years and may be used if the student is accused of another academic dishonesty offense or any other violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The information will only be used for internal purposes and will not be disclosed outside the university.

If the student refuses to sign, the faculty member may pursue the matter through the formal resolution process.

Formal Resolution

An allegation of academic dishonesty must be resolved through a formal process if the student disputes the charges or does not accept the penalty proposed by the faculty member. The formal process must also be followed if the incident is not the student's first violation.

In the formal process, an allegation of academic dishonesty will be treated as a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The charges will be resolved through the Judicial Process administered by the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students and an academic administrator designated by the Provost will consult to determine if sufficient information is present to warrant further action.

If there is sufficient information to proceed with the complaint, the steps outlined in the "Student Code of Conduct and Judicial Process" section of the student handbook Swataney will be followed. Academic dishonesty cases must be heard by the university judicial hearing board; the judicial officer option is not available for these cases. Appeals of academic dishonesty decisions will be handled by the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Provost.


The Student Code of Conduct contains a list of sanctions, which may be imposed for violations. In addition to those in the Code of Conduct, the following two sanctions may be imposed against students found to have committed acts of academic dishonesty:

  • Grade Reduction
    The grade for a particular unit of work or for the entire course may be reduced.
  • Imposition of a Failing (F) Grade.
    The student may receive an F for the course.

These two penalties may be imposed through the informal settlement process or the formal hearing process. More severe penalties, including suspension or expulsion, may only be imposed through the formal process. Additional stipulations may be attached to any sanction.


Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty. Shippensburg University will not tolerate plagiarism, and the faculty will make all reasonable efforts to discourage it.

Plagiarism is your unacknowledged use of another writer's words or specific facts or propositions or materials in your own writing. When other writers' words or materials (even short phrases or specific terminology) are used, you should put these words, phrases or sentences inside quotation marks (or else indent and single-space more extended quotations), and you should then cite the source of the quotation either in the text of your writing or in footnotes. Failure to do so may be considered plagiarism. When the propositions of another writer are restated in your own words (paraphrased), you should also indicate the source of the paraphrased material in your own text or in footnotes. Comparable citation should be made for borrowings from media other than printed texts, such as lectures, interviews, broadcast information, or computer programs.

The more flagrant form of plagiarism is your submission of an entire paper or computer program or lab report (or a substantial portion of a longer work) written by someone else and presented as your own work. This can include material obtained from a friend, from a fraternity or sorority file, from duplicated student writings used for analysis in other writing courses, from commercial sources, or from published materials. Another common form of plagiarism is the unacknowledged borrowing from other sources (either words or propositions) and the integration of such material in your own work.

Certain situations may cause conscientious students to fear plagiarizing when they are not really plagiarizing. These include:

Improper format for documentation

Improper documentation is not plagiarism but a technical academic problem. Different professors, different academic departments, and different academic disciplines have various ways of documenting borrowed materials. Each professor should make clear to you how he/she wants borrowed materials documented for given writing or programming assignments. You should make every effort to understand precisely what your professor expects regarding documentation. As long as you make a clear effort to document all borrowed materials, you are not plagiarizing.

Use of supplemental individualized instruction on an assignment

Various tutorial resources are available at the university, including a writing center and assistance from faculty who assist students during the process of composing a paper. When you seek these kinds of legitimate academic assistance, you are not plagiarizing. In fact, you are making an extraordinary attempt to improve your writing and academic performance. In such cases, you should inform your instructor of the fact you have sought assistance from a given source on an assignment. This acknowledgement should be stated on the cover sheet of your paper or program. The prohibition against plagiarism should in no way inhibit or discourage you from seeking legitimate supplemental instruction in developing an assignment.

Use of a proofreader

If you are unsure of your ability to produce finished drafts that are virtually error-free, you may use such resources as hired typists, more editorially proficient friends, tutors, or writing center personnel to insure your finished papers are relatively error-free. You should indicate on the title page the fact your paper was typed and/or proofread by someone else. The prohibition against plagiarism should in no way inhibit or discourage you from using available reference and/or human editorial resources in seeking to produce an error-free final copy of a paper.

In summary, plagiarism is the unacknowledged borrowing of another writer's, speaker's or programmer's words and/or propositions. To avoid plagiarism, you should acknowledge assistance received in developing and/or proofreading a paper. If you need or desire such assistance, you should not be discouraged from seeking it because of the university policy on plagiarism.