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Penalties for Plagiarism

Hope College gives professors some choices about how to deal with students who plagiarize.

If a professor believes that a student commits plagiarism because he or she is trying to do honest work but doesn't know all of the rules and regulations about how to cite sources, the professor will usually impose some kind of penalty and require the student to redo the work. The penalty might be a lower grade or even failure for the assignment, but usually the student will still be able to pass the course if the other work in the semester is good enough.

When a professor believes a student has intended to lie about the source of ideas and words, and has tried to cheat on an assignment, the penalties are much stiffer. The professor can fail the student for the assignment and can also fail the student for the course. In fact, the ordinary penalty for this kind of plagiarism is failure for the course.

Any case of plagiarism must be reported by the professor to the college Provost. The Provost keeps a record of all cases of plagiarism, and if a student plagiarizes repeatedly, the Provost will take additional actions and impose additional penalties. The maximum penalty is expelling the student from the college.

How are violations handled?

With the aim of maintaining and promoting integrity in the community and in a spirit of helpful concern, every member of the community is encouraged to address any perceived violations of integrity directly by confronting the appropriate party. The following procedures have been defined to ensure that apparent violations are handled in a prompt and just manner.

  1. If a faculty member observes an apparent violation of academic integrity, the faculty member should arrange an informal, private meeting with the student within one week. At that meeting the faculty member will discuss his/her suspicion with the student and inform the student of the options below, and of the student's right to appeal any action taken by the faculty member.
    1. If the student has an explanation, which is acceptable to the faculty member, the case may be closed with no written record or further action.
    2. If the matter is not resolved, the instructor may impose a sanction, taking into consideration the circumstances and seriousness of the violation. In the case of major violations the faculty member may assign a failing grade in the event (test, paper, performance, etc.) or for the course. Sanctions for minor violations may include downgrading the work or assigning additional work to replace the work in question. The faculty member may also recommend to the Provost that additional non-grade sanctions be imposed.

      In the event that any sanction is imposed by the faculty member, the incident and the action taken must be reported in writing to the Provost (with a copy to the student) within one week of the informal meeting.

    3. If a sanction has been imposed, the student has the right to file a written appeal to the Provost (with a copy to the instructor). This appeal must be filed within one week after the student receives notification of the sanction. The Provost will then review the incident, resolve it to the satisfaction of both parties, or refer it to the Student Standing and Appeals Committee (SSAC).
    4. If the incident is referred to the SSAC, the SSAC may act on the basis of the written record, or may invite the parties to submit additional information. If the student is found to be innocent, the faculty member will be notified and any academic sanction imposed against the student will be nullified.
    5. If the student is not found innocent, the Provost will decide whether to impose a non-grade sanction. The Provost will take into account the faculty member's recommendations, any related record in the Provost's office, and recommendations from the SSAC or the office of the Dean for Student Development.
    6. If additional non-grade sanctions are imposed by the Provost, the student may appeal these to the SSAC.
    7. If, after meeting with the student to discuss an apparent violation, the faculty member is unsure of what action to take, she/he may refer the matter to the SSAC through the Provost even if no sanction has been imposed. The faculty member may seek advice from the Provost and SSAC at any time.
  2. All proceedings will be conducted with strict confidentiality by all those involved in the matter. Records of alleged violations resulting in innocent findings will be promptly destroyed. In cases where guilt is established, reports from the faculty member and the SSAC will be retained by the Office of the Provost for the duration of the student's academic career at Hope College . The record will also allow the recording of the student's defense. All related reports shall be destroyed upon graduation. The record of a student suspended or expelled for a violation will be retained for three years before being destroyed. All provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act shall apply regarding release of information from these records.
  3. Course syllabi should contain a reference to these procedures and detail their applications for that particular course. Syllabi may refer students to the Student Handbook for the full text of the Code for Academic Integrity.
  4. Faculty are encouraged to create environments conducive to fostering integrity by all. This means that proctoring examinations may be necessary in some instances, but it also calls for positive action on the part of the instructor to remove undue temptation.
  5. The Administrative Affairs Board will maintain its charged oversight of the conduct of the SSAC and will also take overall responsibility for encouraging and maintaining an atmosphere supporting academic and social integrity.