Academic Integrity

Effective learning, teaching and research all depend upon the ability of members of the academic community to trust: 
-    one another 
-     the integrity of work that is submitted for academic credit 
-    the integrity of scholarly research 

Such an atmosphere of mutual trust fosters the free exchange of ideas and enables all members of the community to achieve their highest potential.


In all academic work, the ideas and contributions of others must be appropriately acknowledged, and work that is presented as original must be, in fact, original. Faculty, students and administrative staff all share the responsibility of ensuring the honesty and fairness of the intellectual environment at Washington University in St. Louis.

All undergraduates are governed by the Undergraduate Student Academic Integrity Policy.  For information specific to the College of Arts & Sciences please see the sections below, or view our list of Frequently Asked Questions

A&S Academic Integrity Committee

If a student is alleged to have committed an act of academic misconduct in an undergraduate Arts & Sciences course, the case will be decided by the College’s Academic Integrity Committee (AIC). The AIC evaluates academic integrity complaints and renders decisions as to whether a student has violated the academic integrity policy. The members of the committee are students and faculty. The Academic Integrity Officer (AIO) for the College of Arts & Sciences coordinates the committee, works with the instructor and student throughout the process, chairs the hearing, and informs parties of the decision. The AIO does not have a vote—only the students and faculty decide the cases. A hearing panel is typically two faculty members and two students, though with the approval of both complainant and respondent a panel of one student and one faculty is acceptable. The role of the committee is to provide instructors and students an objective process to evaluate complaints, to ensure fairness and consistency regarding academic integrity complaints across departments, and to enable the university to document incidents of dishonesty in a central location (Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards) so that repeat offenders can be identified across schools.

Academic Integrity Complaint Procedures

These procedures apply to Arts & Sciences undergraduates as well as to undergraduate students from other schools and colleges who enroll in Arts & Sciences courses. 

Any instructor may initiate and carry out the complaint process by following the guidelines outlined below.

Students should familiarize themselves with the process, so they can help ensure fair proceedings, appeal findings if appropriate, and protect their right to privacy within the limits outlined below.

Students and instructors who have questions about academic integrity complaint procedures should contact the lead Academic Integrity Officer (AIO): MAYA GANAPATHY.

Making a Complaint

Any member of the university community may file an academic integrity complaint.

Students: Students who observe an act of academic dishonesty are strongly advised to make the violation known to the course instructor or seek guidance from the lead AIO in which the incident occurred. Undergraduate teaching assistants or graduate Assistants in Instruction who suspect academic dishonesty has occurred should report the incident to the supervising instructor.

Instructors: Instructors report academic misconduct by bringing academic integrity complaints to the lead AIO. Instructors can consult with the lead AIO about the nature of the complaint, the quality and quantity of evidence in support of it, and the procedure. If the instructor seeks assistance with acquiring evidence, such as student records or other university records, then the AIO, as an officer of the university, may assist the instructor in that effort. If the incident occurs at the end of the semester, the instructor should not post a grade until the complaint is resolved. Complaints may be brought to the lead AIO even after a semester has been completed.

An academic integrity complaint must include:

  • A summary of the complaint in letter or memo form explaining the basis for suspicion of academic integrity violation
  • Supporting evidence (e.g., source material, copies of original exam and resubmitted exam, relevant student work, a list of witnesses, etc.)
  • A copy of the assignment or exam
  • The course syllabus

After review, the lead AIO will advise the instructor on whether the materials are substantial enough to support the complaint. If the materials are substantial enough to support the complaint, the instructor will be asked to refrain from assigning a grade for the assignment and/or for the course until the complaint is resolved.

Notifying a Student of the Complaint

If the evidence supports the complaint, the lead AIO will assign a presiding AIO to the case. The presiding AIO will notify the student by email and ask the student to meet to review both the complaint and all available supporting materials, as well as the implications of sanctions (both immediate and long term). Arrangements to speak on the phone or Zoom can be made if the student is unable to meet with the presiding AIO in person.  During the meeting, the student may ask the presiding AIO questions about the academic integrity policy, and the hearing procedure. From the date of the meeting, students have one week to decide how they would like to proceed, either (1) acknowledge responsibility for the academic integrity violation or (2) request a hearing to dispute the academic integrity violation complaint.  

Acknowledging responsibility: If the student wishes to acknowledge responsibility for the violation and waive their right to a hearing, they may do so. The presiding AIO will record the decision, notify the Office of Student Conduct, and inform the instructor of the outcome. See the section “Penalties, Recordkeeping, and Privacy” for information about next steps.

Requesting a hearing: If a student wishes to dispute the academic integrity violation complaint, they can request a hearing. The presiding AIO will then establish a date for the hearing and convene the hearing panel.ng AIO will then coordinate the committee and hearing, work with the instructor and student throughout the process, chair the hearing, and See the sections “Preparing for a Hearing,” “Hearing Procedure,” and “Appeals” for more information about next steps.

Preparing for a Hearing

If the student requests a hearing, the presiding AIO will notify the instructor and the academic integrity coordinator will schedule the hearing and assemble a panel to hear the complaint. Hearings may be in person or virtual.

Student supporting material: In order to substantiate their case and respond to the charges made against them, the student should provide the presiding AIO with a written statement and any supporting evidence or list of witnesses. 

Instructor supporting material: If the instructor wishes to provide additional materials or add witnesses, they should provide these to the presiding AIO.

Deadline for submitting supporting materials: Statements, supporting evidence, and/or witness lists must be submitted to the AIO at least a week prior to the hearing date (e.g., if the hearing is scheduled for a Friday, the materials must be received by 5 pm on the Friday prior). Materials should not be submitted after the deadline; however, the presiding AIO has the authority to admit materials submitted after the deadline. The decision to consider new material or evidence presented during a hearing is at the sole discretion of the AIO and hearing panel. The AIO may rule out of order any argument in the hearing that refers to materials not submitted by the deadline.

Objections to supporting materials: The presiding AIO will provide access to all materials to both parties for their review; the instructor and student will have one business day to review the materials and submit objections to any of the materials or, if applicable, witness. The presiding AIO will provide a prompt ruling on objections unless significant consultation with the Office of General Counsel is required.  In rare cases, an objection of significant complexity may result in a delay or a rescheduling of the hearing.

The AIO will then provide the hearing panel (see section below for more information) with access to the complaint materials at least three business days prior to the hearing. If the hearing panel has questions about the materials, the presiding AIO will work to resolve them prior to the hearing.

Academic Integrity Committee & Hearing Panel

Academic Integrity Committee (AIC): If a student decides to dispute an academic integrity violation, the case will be decided by members of the College’s AIC. The AIC is composed of students and faculty members who are trained to evaluate academic integrity complaints and render decisions as to whether a student has violated the academic integrity policy.

Hearing panel:  A hearing panel is typically composed of two faculty members and two student members of the AIC, though with the approval of both complainant and respondent a panel of one student and one faculty is acceptable. The role of the committee is to:

  • provide instructors and students an objective process to evaluate complaints
  • ensure fairness and consistency regarding academic integrity complaints across departments
  • enable the university to document incidents of dishonesty in a central location (Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards) so that repeat offenders can be identified across schools.

 

Hearing Procedure

Prior to beginning the hearing, the presiding AIO will meet with the hearing panel members to ask if there are any questions. Once questions are resolved, the presiding AIO will bring the instructor and student into the hearing room together. Both the instructor and student are allowed to have a support person at the hearing (e.g., another student, relative, advisor, faculty or staff member). The support person may not participate in the hearing.

After introductions are made, the AIO will describe the procedure, outlined below.

  • The instructor will summarize the complaint. The committee will ask the instructor questions. The student may ask the instructor questions.
  • The student will summarize or read their prepared response. The committee will ask the student questions. The instructor may ask the student questions.
  • Witnesses, if called, will be brought into the hearing at the appropriate time. Hearing panel members may ask the witnesses questions.  Witnesses will be asked to leave once the hearing panel determines that the witnesses have made their contribution to the hearing.

Once the hearing panel determines that it has no more questions, the presiding AIO will inform the instructor and student that their part in the hearing is concluded. The hearing panel will deliberate after the instructor and student leave the hearing room. The panel then makes its decision based on a majority vote. not have a vote. The AIO may answer questions regarding policies and precedence, but only the students and faculty on the hearing panel decide the case.

Decision of no violation: If the hearing panel finds that the student has not violated the academic integrity policy, the hearing is concluded, and the AIO will notify the instructor, the student, and the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards of the outcome via a letter that will not be added to the student’s record.

Decision of violation: If the hearing panel decides that the evidence more likely than not supports a finding that the student violated the academic integrity policy, the AIO will notify the instructor, the student, and the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards via a letter. This letter will be added to the student’s university record. The instructor then will determine which penalties should be imposed. If the AIC determines that the student’s behavior was especially egregious, it may place the student on disciplinary probation for a period of time. The minimum length of disciplinary probation is one semester. Any disciplinary probation must also be for a fixed length of time—it cannot be imposed indefinitely.

Once the instructor receives notification of the outcome and they have determined which penalties should be imposed, they may submit the appropriate, final student grade.

Appeals

If either the instructor or student wishes to appeal the committee’s decision, they must contact the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards in writing within 14 days of the decision. The chair of the Student Conduct Board (SCB) will review the appeal and may send the matter back to the Academic Integrity Committee (AIC) for re-hearing or convene the Student Conduct Board to hear the matter and make a determination. Appeals are governed by Section VII. C. of the University Judicial Code.

Penalties, Recordkeeping, and Privacy

Penalties for Academic Integrity Violations

If the student is found to have violated the academic integrity policy, the finding of the AIC will be reported to the instructor, and the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. If the student is not an Arts & Sciences undergraduate, the student’s school of enrollment will also be notified. The presiding AIO will send the student a letter of finding, which will become part of the student’s record.

Withdrawing from the course will not prevent the Academic Integrity Officers (AIOs) or AIC from adjudicating the case and imposing sanctions.

If the student has prior violations of the academic integrity policy, then the presiding AIO will notify the AIC members only after the hearing and if they find the student in violation of the policy. The AIC will refer the student to the University’s Student Conduct Board (SCB), the only body that may impose suspension or expulsion for an academic integrity violation. In such cases, the College is the complainant and the presiding AIO will make the case to the SCB. The AIO may call the instructor as a witness.

Special note regarding grade penalties

The instructor has final determination regarding the grade penalty. The instructor may ask the presiding AIO or department chair for guidance before they determine a penalty. If the student wishes to dispute the grade penalty, they may contact first, the department chair or program director, and second, the Arts & Sciences Faculty-Student Mediator. Please be aware that failures of the assignment or lowering of the final course grade are typical grade penalties and are well within university norms.

Recordkeeping

The AIOs, in conjunction with the Student Records Coordinator, maintains confidential records of complaints, hearings, and decisions. The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards keeps records of decisions made by the AIC. These records are kept indefinitely.

Privacy

Records of the AIC are student records. They are closely held, available only to the AIOs, the Registrar and Assistant Registrar for the College of Arts & Sciences, and the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. Instructors are not informed of any prior violations a student may have when they make a complaint; the AIC panel does not know of any prior violations until after it renders a decision. Letters of finding, suspension, and expulsion are part of the student file, which may be seen by a student’s four-year advisor or any university employee who has just cause to have access to a student’s record.

Please note that graduate and professional schools, professional organizations, and employers may ask the College to disclose a student’s record of academic violations.