Q. If I am accused of academic misconduct, can’t I just resolve the situation with my instructor?

A. Faculty members who suspect that a student has committed an act of academic misconduct may talk with the student to resolve any questions they may have. But according to Bucknell’s policy, if the professor suspects or believes that academic misconduct has occurred, rather than make a determination that a student is guilty and impose a penalty, s/he is required to bring the case to the Board of Review on Academic Responsibility through the associate dean of the college. The associate dean will then contact the student.

Q. How can I be considered guilty of academic misconduct if I didn’t realize that what I was doing is wrong?

A. Students are responsible for knowing what constitutes academic misconduct and for asking their professors for clarification whenever they have questions. Unauthorized collaboration and plagiarism (particularly paraphrasing) are two kinds of academic misconduct about which students frequently say they didn’t fully understand the rules. All first-year students are required to pass an on-line interactive academic responsibility orientation during the summer before they arrive on campus. Students can also find information at the following link: Policies and Procedures. For more specific information on Avoiding Plagiarism and Unauthorized Collaboration, click on these links.

Q. What should I do if I know that another student has committed an act of academic misconduct?

A. You should report it to the professor of the course, who will investigate and initiate action if there is evidence of misconduct.

Q. What are the penalties for academic misconduct?

A. That depends on the severity of the situation. The penalties normally range from a zero on the assignment to an F in the course for a first offense. If a student is found guilty of a second offense, the penalty is usually a one-semester academic suspension. A third offense generally results in permanent expulsion.

Q. How does the university keep the records of academic misconduct cases?

A. The files on academic misconduct cases are kept separately in the Registrar’s Office and there is no mention on the student’s transcript. If the Board of Review imposes a penalty that is less severe than an F in the course, the records are shredded when the student graduates unless the student is a senior, in which case the records are shredded a year after graduation. If the penalty is an F in the course, suspension, or expulsion the university keeps those records indefinitely. The Registrar’s Office puts a summary of kinds of cases and the penalties imposed on Banner Web, but there is no specific information about the student or the course in which the misconduct occurred.

Q. If I have been found guilty of academic misconduct but the records have been destroyed, what should I say if I am asked on an application for graduate school or employment whether I have ever been accused or found guilty of academic misconduct?

A. The only truthful answer to the question is "yes," but you can explain the university’s policy on record keeping (see above question) and the circumstances of your own case.

Q. Does the university ever reveal that a student has been found guilty of academic misconduct?

A. If a person or agency has a right to know that information (a prospective employer or graduate school admissions counselor, for instance), we are obliged to answer truthfully if they ask for the information. But we do not offer the information without being asked for it. If we are asked for this information after the university has destroyed the records of a particular case, we would tell the person or agency that we have no record of any academic misconduct. We do not contact parents and can only talk with parents about a student’s personal information if the student has signed a release form.

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