Academic Honesty

Academic integrity is the foundation on which learning at Moravian College, Moravian Theological Seminary, and the Comenius Center is built. Students are expected to perform their academic work honestly and fairly. In addition, students should neither hinder nor unfairly assist the efforts of other students to complete their work successfully. Institutional expectations and the consequences of failure to meet those expectations are outlined below.

In an academic community, students are encouraged to help one another learn. Because no two students learn in exactly the same way or absorb exactly the same things from a lecture, students are encouraged to study together. The boundaries on what is or is not acceptable work may not always be clear; thus, if at any point in academic work at Moravian, students are uncertain about their responsibility as scholars or about the propriety of a particular action, the instructor should be consulted. The list below is not to be considered complete but rather covers the most common areas of concern. In general, students should be guided by the principles as described here.

Plagiarism

A major form of academic dishonesty is plagiarism, which the institution defines as the use, deliberate or not, of any outside source without proper acknowledgment. While the work of others often constitutes a necessary resource for academic research, such work must be properly used and credited to the original author. This principle applies to professional scholars as well as to students.

An "outside source" is any work (published or unpublished) composed, written, or created by any person other than the student who submitted the work. This definition is adapted from Napolitano v. Princeton, which established the accepted legal standard.

All work that students submit or present as part of course assignments or requirements must be their own original work unless otherwise expressly permitted by the instructor. This includes any work presented, in written, oral, or electronic form or in any other technical or artistic medium. When students use the specific thoughts, ideas, writings, or expressions of others, they must accompany each instance of use with some form of attribution to the source. Direct quotes from any source (including the Internet) must be placed in quotation marks (or otherwise marked appropriately) and accompanied by proper citation, following the preferred bibliographic conventions of the department or instructor. It is the instructor's responsibility to make clear to all students in the class the preferred or required citation style for student work. Ignorance on the student's part of bibliographic convention and citation procedures is not a valid excuse for having committed plagiarism.

When writing creative or research papers in a foreign language, students may not use electronic translation services. Utilizing such tools without express permission of the instructor constitutes plagiarism. The use of electronic dictionaries for single-word inquiries or short idiomatic expressions is permissible at the discretion of professors in the Department of Foreign Languages.

Students may not present oral or written reports written by others as their own work. This includes incorporating formal lecture notes written or dictated by someone other than the student.

Students may not use writing or research obtained from a term-paper service or purchased from any person or entity, unless they fully disclose such activity to the instructor and are given express permission. They may not use writings or research obtained from any other student previously or currently enrolled at Moravian or elsewhere or from the files of any student organization (such as fraternities or sororities) unless expressly permitted to do so by the instructor.

Students may not submit or present work prepared in whole or in part to fulfill course requirements for more than one course, unless expressly permitted to do so by all instructors involved. This includes work submitted for courses at other institutions as well as in previous semesters at Moravian College, Moravian Theological Seminary, and the Comenius Center.

Students must keep all notes, drafts, and materials used in preparing assignments until a final course grade is given. For work in electronic form, they may be asked to keep all intermediate drafts and notes electronically or in hard copy until final grades are given. All such materials must be available for inspection by the instructor at any time.

Cheating

Students may not submit homework, computer solutions, lab reports, or any other coursework prepared by, copied from, or dictated by others. If the student is employing the services of a tutor (whether from the campus community or elsewhere), the tutor may not prepare the student's work for class.

Students may not provide or receive unauthorized help in taking examinations, tests, or quizzes, or in preparing any other requirements for a course. Such restrictions are illustrated by but not limited to the following:

    • Using unauthorized material in an examination, test, or quiz.
    • Using crib notes in any form, regardless of who prepared them.
    • Using calculators or any other hand-held electronic devices unless authorized by the instructor.
    • Using e-mail or text-messaging during any exam without the permission of the instructor.
    • Stealing, using, or transmitting in writing, electronically, or verbally, actual examinations, tests, quizzes, or portions thereof prior to, during, or following an exam.
    • Reading or observing another's work without the person's consent, whether it be on paper, in electronic form, or in any other medium.
    • Soliciting or using a proxy test-taker or acting in that capacity.

Helping or Hindering Others

Students may not tamper with, damage, or otherwise hinder the work of others to complete their own assignments.

Students may not collaborate during an in-class examination, test, or quiz, or work with others on out-of-class assignments, exams, or projects unless expressly allowed or directed to do so by the instructor. If students have any reservation about their participation in any out-of-class assignments, they should consult with the instructor.

Falsification

Students may not offer a falsified excuse for an absence from an examination, test, quiz, or other course requirement, directly or through another source.

Students may not falsify laboratory results, research data, or results. They may not invent bibliographical entries for research papers or handouts. They may not falsify information about the date of submission for any coursework.

Other Inappropriate Behaviors

In the preparation of course, program, or degree work, students are directed to comply with the copyright law of the United States (Title XVII, U.S. Code, available in Reeves Library). Violations of copyright law and of regulations regarding the use of copyrighted material for educational purposes are violations of this policy.

Damage to or abuse of library, media, computing, or other academic resources is prohibited by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Students may not copy print or non-print media or download copyrighted files (including music) from the Internet beyond accepted norms. Reeves Library staff should be consulted concerning U.S. copyright policies on "fair use" for educational purposes.

Consequences of Violating the Academic Honesty Policy

An instructor who suspects a student of violating the policy on academic honesty with regard to an assignment, requirement, examination, test, or quiz will consult with the department chair or another full-time faculty member in the department, using a blind copy of the work in question, to verify the violation. If they agree that a violation has taken place, the instructor will, in almost all cases, assign either a grade of 0 to the work in question or a failing grade in the course in which the violation occurred.

The student must be informed in writing of the alleged violation and penalty; and a copy of this memo must be sent to the dean of curriculum and academic programs. A record of the violation will be kept in the Office of Academic Affairs and a copy of the record in the Division of Student Affairs until the student completes the degree or certification program, at which point all references to the incident will be removed from the student's permanent record. Anonymous information will be maintained by the Office of Academic Affairs for statistical purposes only.

The College strongly recommends that any finding of academic impropriety be disclosed to the student's faculty advisor, to assist the student in understanding the implications of the finding and to assist the advisor in counseling the student. The dean of curriculum and academic programs will request that a student involved in academic disciplinary proceedings provide written authorization to disclose the results to the academic advisor for the limited purposes set forth in this section.

Accusations of violations of the Academic Honesty Policy must be presented to the dean of curriculum and academic programs by the end of the drop/add period of the subsequent term. No charges may be brought after that date.

A faculty member who wishes to impose a penalty other than course failure or assignment failure must confer with the dean of curriculum and academic programs before notifying the student of the penalty.

Students wishing to appeal either the charge of dishonesty or the penalty should first consult with the faculty member. If dissatisfied with the result of that consultation, students should meet with the department chair. To seek an appeal beyond this, students should do so in writing to the Academic Standards Committee, chaired by the dean of curriculum and academic programs. Student appeals must be filed within one month of the instructor's filing of the violation. The faculty member will be asked to explain in writing the charge and circumstances surrounding it. Letters from material witnesses may be submitted by either the faculty member or the student, but letters in support of the student's character will not be accepted or considered by the Academic Standards Committee.

Students charged with a second violation of the Academic Honesty Policy will be referred automatically to the Academic Standards Committee, which will exclude its student members to review the matter. As with student appeals of charges or penalties, the faculty member and the student in question will submit a written explanation of the situation. If the charge is found to be valid, the committee will determine whether the penalty was sufficient and reasonable. At this point, the student could be suspended or expelled.

If the Academic Standards Committee determines that suspension or expulsion is reasonable and advisable, the student will be informed of this action in writing. If an appeal is requested, a formal hearing will be held. No parents or friends may be present. Material witnesses will be asked to submit testimony in writing and may be asked to testify in person. No character witnesses or written statements from such parties are permitted. Students may consult with their academic advisor in preparing an appeal or defense before the Academic Standards Committee. The president of the College may elect to hear appeals of suspensions or expulsions.

In the event of a third charge, the case will be automatically referred to the Academic Standards Committee for a formal hearing, following the procedure described above. Should the committee determine that a student has violated this policy for the third time, the result shall be immediate expulsion. Students wishing to appeal must make their request in writing. Appeals must be received by the vice president for academic affairs within five class days of receipt of the original hearing verdict. The vice president for academic affairs shall evaluate the written appeal so as to determine whether grounds exist. The president of the College may elect to hear appeals of the decision; appeals may only be presented (in writing) to the president if (1) new evidence is uncovered after the review by the vice president for academic affairs; or (2) where the student making the appeal has concerns about procedural issues during the appeals process.

Any member of the Academic Standards Committee who feels he or she has a conflict of interest in reviewing the case must be recused from discussion and voting. Student members of the Academic Standards Committee may not hear or review academic honesty cases. For a case to be reviewed, a simple quorum is required. If more than two faculty or administrative members of the committee recuse themselves from deliberations, the dean of curriculum and academic programs will appoint ad hoc replacements from the faculty to review the case.

Students may not withdraw from a course in which they have been charged with a breach of this policy. If the charge is overturned by the committee, the student may choose to withdraw with a W from the course without assessment of a late fee.

Student Rights with Regard to Academic Honesty Allegations

Students have the right:

  • To have the alleged violation and penalty described in writing.
  • To discuss with the instructor the alleged violation and penalty.
  • To review all material submitted to the Academic Standards Committee before it makes its determination. Response to the material may be made orally or in writing.
  • Within one month of the filing of the alleged violation, to appeal in writing the alleged violation or penalty to the Academic Standards Committee, through the dean of curriculum and academic programs.
  • To receive assistance from the academic advisor in preparing an appeal to the Academic Standards Committee. In addition, members of the current student body and current full-time employees may assist the student in preparing an appeal or defense.
  • To receive a decision from the Academic Standards Committee within a reasonable time.
  • To have all record of the alleged violation removed from the student's file in the event of an acquittal.
  • To have at the hearing a member of the faculty, administration, or student body to provide support to the student but not participate in the proceedings. Individuals other than those listed above (including but not limited to family members and attorneys) will not be admitted.
  • To appear in person and present information on their own behalf, to call witnesses, and to ask questions of anyone present at a hearing. In determining the validity of and responsibility for the alleged violation, the Academic Standards Committee will permit witnesses of fact but not character.
  • To refuse to answer or make a statement. Decisions will be based on the available evidence.
  • To elect not to attend a hearing, without penalty, in which case the hearing will be conducted in students' absence with the evidence available, and decisions will be based on that evidence.
  • To have all record of the violation(s) removed from the student's permanent record and from the files of the Office of Academic Affairs as well as the Office of Student Affairs at the time of graduation.
  • To receive written documentation of the outcome of a hearing and any sanctions imposed.
  • To request an appeal of the process of any hearing by the Academic Standards Committee. Appeals will be heard by the vice president for academic affairs, who will determine whether proper procedures have been followed and return the case to the Academic Standards Committee if appropriate.

Faculty Rights with Regard to Academic Honesty Allegations

The faculty member filing the academic honesty violation has the right:

  • To have the chair or other faculty member present in meetings with the student.
  • To confer with the dean of curriculum and academic programs or department chair on an appropriate penalty for the alleged violation.
  • To negotiate with the dean of curriculum and academic programs an alternative penalty if the instructor feels there are mitigating circumstances.
  • To submit to the Academic Standards Committee any materials relevant to the decision.
  • To review the student's written appeal and respond in writing to the Academic Standards Committee before the case is reviewed.
  • To be apprised of the Academic Standards Committee's decision.