Academic Misconduct Process

Effective August 18, 2017 an updated Student Conduct Code went into effect. The full Student Conduct Code is described in Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 478-121. The University has developed a companion policy on academic misconduct, Student Governance Policy, Chapter 209, which explains how student academic misconduct proceedings work and a student’s rights in the process.

Under the old Student Conduct Code, the College of Engineering Academic Misconduct Process included an Agreed Settlement option where faculty could handle misconduct issues directly with students. Under the new code, all alleged academic misconduct by College of Engineering students must be reported to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Academic misconduct process

  • The instructor sends documentation of the case to the COE AD for Academic Affairs using the online reporting tool.
  • A Conduct Officer is assigned and a conduct proceeding will be initiated. The fact finding process will focus on gathering all of the pertinent information necessary to determine whether or not a violation of the Student Conduct Code occurred.
  • An investigative interview will be scheduled for the student to review the alleged violation(s) of the Student Conduct Code.
  • During the investigative interview, the student is provided with an overview of the Student Conduct Process and their rights.
  • The student has the opportunity to provide their account of what occurred, present relevant evidence, and provide names of witnesses for further consideration by the Conduct Officer during the fact finding process.
  • During the fact finding process, the Conduct Officer may initiate a full hearing and the student will be notified of this decision.
  • At the conclusion of the fact finding process, the Conduct Officer will make a decision regarding whether there was a violation of the Student Conduct Code based on a “preponderance of evidence” standard, and if so, the Conduct Officer will also determine what sanctions are appropriate for the violation(s). This written decision is called an Initial Order.
  • The student has the option to request an administrative review of the decision within 21 days of service of the Initial Order.
  • If an administrative review is not requested the Initial Order is considered final.

For more details about the student conduct process, please visit Student Governance Policy, Chapter 209.

Additional information for faculty

What to do if you suspect a student of academic misconduct

  • Note that you may not simply assign a zero for suspected academic misconduct, because this action fails to preserve the rights of the student. Any grading sanction an instructor takes must follow from the Student Conduct Process, and specifically from a finding that the student is responsible for the alleged action.
  • If you prefer not to deal directly with the student, you may simply refer the case directly to the COE AD for Academic Affairs and the Dean’s office will manage the process of determining if the student is responsible for academic misconduct.
  • You may also choose to communicate with the student by email or in person to explain why you suspect the student has engaged in academic misconduct and to ask for an explanation. Be sure to explain to the student that she/he has the right to talk directly to the Dean’s Office if he/she does not want to interact directly with you about the allegation. If you discuss the matter with the student and decide that you believe that the student engaged in academic misconduct, refer the matter to the COE AD for Academic Affairs for review. After referral, the Dean’s Office will manage the process of determining if the student is responsible for academic misconduct.
  • Use Report It to refer the case to the COE AD for Academic Affairs.

Grading work in a case of suspected academic misconduct

  • Do not assign a grade for the assignment or the course. If the quarter is ending, you must assign an “X” grade until after you have been notified by the Dean’s Office that the conduct process is complete.
  • If the student is found responsible for academic misconduct, you will then calculate and submit the final grade. Grading is the purview of the instructor, but please keep in mind that under the Student Conduct Code, grades are not a sanction. Common practice is for instructors to assign a zero/no credit for any assignments or exams involving academic misconduct. Assigning no credit for only the portion of the assignment or exam where the misconduct occurred is also an option. All other course assignments should be evaluated and graded according to the expectations and grading method stated in the course syllabus. Please make sure that your syllabus is clear on the consequences of academic misconduct in your course.
  • If the Dean’s Office exonerates the student, the course instructor will reinstate the grade which the student would have received had the misconduct charge not been reported.

Sample syllabus statement on academic misconduct

Course Policy on Academic Misconduct

Engineering is a profession demanding a high level of personal honesty, integrity and responsibility. Therefore, it is essential that engineering students, in fulfillment of their academic requirements and in preparation to enter the engineering profession, shall adhere to the University of Washington’s Student Code of Conduct.

Any student in this course suspected of academic misconduct (e.g., cheating, plagiarism, or falsification) will be reported to the College of Engineering Dean’s Office and the University’s Office of Community Standards and Student conduct. (See CoE website for more detailed explanation of the academic misconduct adjudication process). Any student found to have committed academic misconduct will receive a 0-grade on impacted academic work (e.g., assignments, project, or exams).