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Academic Integrity Policy

Effective Date of Policy

January 24, 2018

I. Introduction

As an institute of higher learning, Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) requires that students conduct themselves with honesty and integrity in all academic exercises.    

As much as it is a student’s responsibility to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity, so too is the institution responsible for providing a fair and equitable process for addressing behavior that falls outside of the academic integrity policy.  Accordingly, this policy has been developed to ensure due process.  This policy also identifies examples of efforts or actions classified as violations of academic integrity and articulates the procedural steps to be followed should issues on academic integrity arise.

II. Definitions

Violation of Academic Integrity – Attempt or behavior on the part of a student to give or receive unauthorized assistance in an academic exercise or receive credit for work which is not their own.

Such acts include, but are not limited to:

Cheating – Use of material, information, or study aids not permitted by the instructor during tests, quizzes, or other graded in-class activities. The prohibition, restriction, or permission regarding the use of such aides might be specifically stated in the test instructions (e.g., calculator use), but it need not be if their prohibition is a reasonable academic expectation for any such graded activity (e.g., use of a textbook, class notes, or a “cheat sheet” during a test). The cheating might be either premeditated (e.g., preparation and use of “cheat sheets,” securing a copy of the test beforehand) or opportunistic (e.g., looking at another student’s test paper).

Plagiarism – Use of another person’s or of a group’s words or ideas without clearly acknowledging the source of that information, resulting in their false representation as one’s own individual work. More specifically, to avoid plagiarizing, a student or other writer must give credit when he/she uses:

  • another person’s idea, opinion, or theory
  • any facts, statistics, graphs, drawing—any pieces of information—that are not common knowledge
  • quotations of another person’s actual spoken or written words
  • paraphrases of another person’s spoken or written words
  • another person’s data, solutions, or calculations without permission and/or recognition of the source, including the act of accessing another person’s computerized files without authorization

Plagiarism may be either deliberate or unwitting; that is, it is the responsibility of a college student to know what constitutes plagiarism so that ignorance is not a legitimate defense against a charge of plagiarism.

Falsification/Fabrication – Intentional and unacknowledged invention or alteration of any data, incidents, quotations, or citations in an academic exercise.

Unauthorized Collaboration – Intentional sharing of information or working together in an academic exercise when such collaboration is not approved by the instructor.

Facilitating Academic Dishonesty – Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another violate any provision of this policy.

Academic Sanction – Any penalty assessed by an instructor, possibly in consultation with department administration and/or the Dean of Students office, imposed solely in response to a student’s academic misbehavior and including, but not limited to such actions as lowering a grade, assigning extra work, or imposing a re-test.

Disciplinary Sanction – Any sanction imposed by the Dean of Students office, which may be in addition to an Academic Sanction and may include disenrollment from a course, suspension from campus, expulsion from the institute, or other administrative action.

(For more information, see the CNM Student Code of Conduct in the Code/Policies section of the current CNM Course Catalog.)

III. Procedures

Initial Steps Taken By an Instructor

If an instructor suspects a student has violated the academic integrity policy, or suspects a student attempted to violate the Academic Integrity policy, the instructor should document the incident (e.g. what was observed or discovered that led to this belief) and meet with the student. The goal of the meeting is twofold: (1) to inform the student of the allegation and review the evidence with the student; and (2) to provide the student with the opportunity to respond to the allegation by presenting his/her own evidence or by commenting on the allegation(s) and the evidence for it. The meeting with the student should occur as soon after the incident as possible (preferably, immediately after the class session in which the alleged incident occurred).

Academic Sanctions

Once the student has been given the opportunity to respond to the allegations, the instructor must determine, based upon a preponderance of the evidence, whether the academic integrity policy was violated. “Preponderance of evidence” means more likely than not. If the instructor determines the academic integrity policy was violated, the instructor may either: 1) impose an academic sanction up to and including a “0” on the assignment or test; or 2) contact the Dean of Students to coordinate a more severe penalty for the offense (e.g. an “F” for the course, or removal from a program – in the case of limited entry programs such as exist in Health, Wellness, and Public Safety). If the Dean of Students is contacted, the departmental dean should also be notified of the instructor’s intent to seek a more severe penalty in coordination with the Dean of Students office.

Regarding the instructor’s decision and the sanction that will be imposed, the student must be notified by the instructor via email. The instructor should also attempt to inform the student either by phone or in person.

Centralized Reporting

Once the decision making and sanctioning are complete, the incident must be documented and reported to the Dean of Students Office and to the appropriate instructional department office using the Academic Integrity Incident Report Form (available in the instructional departments or in the Dean of Students office). The Dean of Students Office will be responsible for the following:

  1. Generating an official CNM letter to the student summarizing the academic integrity policy violation and what sanction was imposed, as well as notifying the student what additional actions will be taken (in the case of repeat offenders or those already on probation), or what further actions would be taken should another incident occur. In addition, the letter will provide information about the student’s right to appeal.
  2. Maintain a centralized record of the incident within the Dean of Students Office so, if future incidents are reported, patterns of behavior can be identified and sanctioned accordingly.

Non-Academic Disciplinary Sanctions

When the report is received by the Dean of Students office, a student’s record will be examined to determine whether: 1) the student has had any previous incidents of violating the academic integrity policy; or 2) the student is on disciplinary probation for any other previous disciplinary incidents. If either of these conditions exists, the student will be called into the Dean of Students Office and will be subject to disciplinary sanctions in addition to the academic sanction imposed by the instructor (per the disciplinary procedures outlined in the Student Code of Conduct). The additional disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed include disenrollment from the course, suspension from campus, expulsion from the institute, and/or other administrative actions.

Appeal Processes

Appeal of an Academic Sanction

The student may appeal any academic integrity policy determination or sanction by requesting an appeal in writing  and submitting it to the Dean of the appropriate instructional department within one week after receipt of the Dean of Student’s notification letter. The appeal must include the following:

  1. The name of the individual requesting the appeal.
  2. The name of the instructor who imposed the academic sanction and the information regarding the course (course name, course number, section number).
  3. Description of the sanction that was imposed.
  4. The grounds for the appeal. These grounds may include, but are not limited to, the procedure that was followed, the factual basis for the determination, and/or the severity of the sanction.

After reviewing the appeal, the instructional Dean may take any of the following actions:

  1. Deny the appeal request.
  2. Grant the appeal request and refer the matter back to the instructor to amend the original decision or sanction.

When a decision has been made regarding the appeal, the instructional Dean will notify the Dean of Students regarding the outcome of the appeal.

Appeal of a Non-Academic Disciplinary Sanction

The student may appeal any disciplinary sanction per the guidelines found in the Student Code of Conduct under section IV, D, titled, "Non-Academic Discipline Appeal Process."