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 April 23, 1999 Volume 6, Number 15

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Year 2000


Council considers new student academic dishonesty rules

Ron Cuming

At its April 15 meeting, Council considered, but did not approve, a new set of rules dealing with student academic dishonesty. It was decided that the By-Laws Committee recommendations go to the Colleges for further discussion.

The new rules were necessitated by change in approach to student academic dishonestly contained in The University of Saskatchewan Act , 1995. Under section 61(1)(h) of the Act, Council has jurisdiction with respect to student academic dishonesty. Under the prior Act, the Senate had ultimate jurisdiction in this area.

The rules have been designed to provide substantial uniformity among University units with respect to procedures followed when academic dishonesty is alleged and with respect to punishments imposed where academic dishonesty is found.

All departments must follow prescribed guidelines when dealing with allegations of academic dishonesty. The registrar will keep a record of all cases in which academic dishonesty has been found and the penalty imposed in each case. All Department hearing boards or Council appeal boards must access this information and take it into consideration when imposing a penalty in a particular case.

A clear definition

Another central feature of the approach embodied in the rules is that they contain a clear definition of what constitutes an academic offence. The goal is to make it clear what is an academic offence so that students know what is prohibited. A list of acts of academic dishonesty is set out in the rules. Of particular note is the extensive definition of plagiarism.

An allegation of academic dishonesty for which a punishment is thought appropriate may be made by an instructor, a student, or an administrative officer of the University. The allegation, which is a formal charge of academic dishonesty, is presented in writing to the head of the Department responsible for the matters to which the allegation relates.

Where the matter falls outside the responsibility of a Department, the allegation is delivered to the vice-president (academic). The student involved, the dean of the student's College, and the registrar are also given copies of the allegation.

An allegation involving a matter within the jurisdiction of a Department is initially dealt with at the Department level through an informal hearing by a hearing board of the Department composed of faculty members of the Department and a student registered in the College of which the Department is a part. The student against whom the allegation has been made may waive the requirement that the board have a student member.

While no specific procedure is prescribed by the rules, the board must meet with the person making the allegation, the student against whom the allegation has been made. It may meet with anyone else who, in the opinion of the board, can provide relevant evidence.

Reprimand to expulsion

Should the hearing board conclude that the allegation is supported by the evidence, it may impose a penalty ranging from a reprimand to expulsion from the University.

The student involved or the person making the allegation may appeal the decision of a hearing board to an appeal board that is external to the Department involved. The appeal board is named by the Council Nominations Committee and must be composed of three members of Council including one student.

A hearing before the appeal board is much more formal and structured. The parties involved may be represented by counsel. The hearing board will essentially start from the beginning. To this extent, it is not acting as an appellate body but as a forum for a rehearing of the evidence.

When the appeal board finds that the allegations are substantiated by the evidence, it may affirm the penalty imposed by the hearing board or it may impose a penalty that it decides is more appropriate to the circumstances. There is no further appeal from the decision of an appeal board.

- Ron Cumming, College of Law, is the current Council chairman.

On Campus News is published by the Office of Communications, University of Saskatchewan.
For further information, visit the web site or contact communications@usask.ca

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