Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I think a student cheated in my class. Can I kick her out of class or refuse to accept her assignments? Why?
A. Until a determination is made by the Judicial Affairs Office, students suspected of scholastic dishonesty must be permitted to: attend all classes; complete all assignments and complete exams (although unauthorized aids should be removed). Why? Failure to afford a student his or her due process rights as part of a disciplinary process can result in a number of legal repercussions, including attachment of personal liability to the offending instructor. The UTD Judicial Affairs’ Office is responsible for affording the student his or her due process opportunity by investigating the alleged infraction.
Q. In the course syllabus, I clearly state the penalty for cheating is an automatic “F” in the course. Why can’t I do what I say I will do?
A. Faculty involved in the disciplinary process are expected to abide by the standards articulated in the Regents’ Rules and Regulations as well as the UTD Handbook of Operating Procedures. The courts have held that a disciplinary penalty may not be imposed upon a student for engaging in prohibited conduct UNLESS the student has been offered an opportunity for a hearing that conforms to certain minimal procedural due process standards. An academic judgment relating to whether a student has or has not properly completed a quality academic exercise as assigned is the responsibility of the faculty. Investigating allegations of scholastic dishonesty and, if warranted, assessing a penalty is the responsibility of Judicial Affairs.
Q. I recommended a penalty of permanent expulsion for an allegation of scholastic dishonesty. Why is this student still in my class and why didn’t they expel him from the university?
A. An allegation of scholastic dishonesty is an assertion of a rule violation. Until the allegation is investigated and disposed of, the student must be permitted to attend all classes, complete all assignments and complete examinations. In assessing penalty, Judicial Affairs will review the student’s prior disciplinary record, consider the penalty recommended by the faculty member, and assess a penalty that is appropriate to the circumstances yet consistent with penalties for similar acts of scholastic dishonesty.
Q. During a conversation at lunch the other day, a fellow professor told me about Student X cheating on a test in her course. I’m going to watch Student X during my next exam and review his work with a very critical eye. Can I find out about other students in my courses that are suspected cheaters?
A. All information concerning scholastic dishonesty allegations and dispositions is strictly confidential, restricted solely between the faculty member and Judicial Affairs. It is a violation of the student’s FERPA rights when these matters are discussed with anyone without the student’s express written permission. Your casual conversation at the lunch table could result in liability. Scholastic dishonesty records are kept separate from academic records and are retained by the Judicial Affairs Office. One advantage of maintaining the records in a central location is to monitor incidents or repeated violations of scholastic regulations by the same student. Known multiple offenses generally result in more serious penalties. Your predisposition of anticipated conduct of Student X accompanied by heightened scrutiny of academic exercises submitted by Student X could prompt claims of discrimination or the filing of a grade grievance.
Q. I’m not too sure the paper submitted is original work by Student Y. The vocabulary, sentence structure and expressed ideas are more sophisticated than that used in class discussion. The references listed are fairly old for this topic. I’ve heard there is a way to check student papers for possible plagiarism. How can I access that tool?
A. Students will occasionally download free papers from Internet sources to submit and, sometimes even pay on-line sources for essays on select topics (out of date resources are sometimes the clue that gives it away). More commonly, students will find passages on the Internet and utilize the cut and paste approach to essay and term paper creation. The reader will generally note a variety of literary style changes when reading through the submitted essay. Sadly, many passages are used without appropriate attribution paid to the original creator of the work. Proper referencing and citation of sources is expected of college students. If you have received a paper or assignment that doesn’t appear to be original work, consider using Turnitin as a tool to assist in the identification of content sources. Turnitin is an effective tool for helping to identify sources of content included in essays. Some professors require each student to submit assignments directly to Turnitin. In turn, the professor picks up the submitted paper (and the originality report) from Turnitin. Want more information about Turnitin or want to create an account for your classes? Send an email requesting an account to email@example.com.
Q. I sent a Scholastic Dishonesty Referral with a recommended penalty for the student to be removed from the academic program. Judicial Affairs assessed a penalty that did not include removing the student from the program. Why not?
A. In assessing penalties for scholastic dishonesty, Judicial Affairs is not authorized to remove students from individual academic programs. The determination that a student no longer meets prescribed program standards or qualities is an academic decision to be made by the program administrators.
Updated: January 23, 2012