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Academic Integrity

Frequently Asked Questions

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Academic misconduct includes a range of actions including but not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; acquiring information (like test questions) inappropriately; lying about academic matters or falsifying information (like service hours or internship work); stealing or defacing anything related to the academic mission of the University; submitting your work (like a paper or part of a paper) to multiple instructors without their permission; and/or conspiracy to do any of these violations.

Each class comes with its own requirements and assignments that have been designed to meet the mission of that particular course. When you “recycle” work from one class for another, you typically are not meeting the educational goals of each unique class, and you cheat yourself out of the opportunity to learn. You should check with your professors before re-using any content from one course in another.

Plagiarism is not just about quoting from other people. If you use any ideas from any source without properly letting the reader know exactly where that idea came from, it is plagiarism. 

Depending on the severity of the offense, you can receive sanctions such as an F for the assignment or an XF for the course. The grade of XF will be recorded on the transcript with the notation “Failure due to academic misconduct.” The XF cannot be replaced by retaking the course. Students who have violated the Academic Integrity Policy and who have been informed that they will receive an XF grade for the semester are not eligible to withdraw from a class. Instructors and the Office of the Registrar will deny any request for withdrawal. If a student decides to withdraw from the University entirely, the student will still receive an XF for the course for which the academic integrity violation occurred while receiving Ws for all other courses.

If a student has never been given an XF before, he or she may have the "X" removed after completing an Academic Integrity Remediation Program.  It is important to note that only one "X" may be removed from a student's transcript, and undergraduate students with three XF grades (including one that has been removed from the student's transcript via remediation) will be placed on academic suspension due to multiple violations of academic integrity. Students with four or more XF grades will be expelled.

Yes. All students have the right to appeal a penalty for academic misconduct, including an XF grade. Appeals must be initiated within 5 business days of the facilitation meeting. Students should complete the Academic Integrity Appeal Initiation form, available by emailing the Academic Integrity Officer, which should then be submitted to the Office of Academic Integrity via an email to integrityFREEMississippi before the deadline for initiating the appeal. 

Within five business days of receiving an appeal form, the Academic Integrity Officer should contact all parties informing them that a formal appeal has been initiated. All parties must submit any written materials they intend to present to the Academic Integrity Appeals Board within 10 business days of being notified of an appeal. An appeal hearing will be scheduled within 30 business days of an Appeal Initiation Form being submitted to the Office of Academic Integrity. All appeals are heard by the Academic Integrity Appeals Council, which is composed of faculty, a graduate student representative and an undergraduate representative.

Everyone who sees your transcript will see the notation of “failure due to academic misconduct,” which could shape how you are seen by future employers or schools. Additionally, students with an XF grade cannot graduate with honors. Students who receive three XF grades will be automatically suspended; students with four or more XF grades will be expelled.

Only a XF will show as a failing grade due to academic misconduct on your transcript. Low level sanctions such as, but not limited to, a zero on an assignment, reduced credit, or resubmission of the assignment will not appear on your transcript, but may be reflected in your final letter grade for the course.

Yes, you may reach out the Office of Academic Integrity with any questions or concerns you may have about your experiences in the classroom. If you have been given a sanction due to academic misconduct that you do not agree with, you do have the right to reach out to the Office of Academic Integrity to inquire about next steps. Please email integrityFREEMississippi and provide your name, course number, instructor’s name, and a brief description of the incident.

The Creed at Southern Miss begins with two very important lines:
“I belong to a community of scholars at The University of Southern Mississippi.
I will demonstrate integrity and determination in all academic pursuits.”

Part of the duty of all Southern Miss students, faculty, and staff is to ensure the value of the degrees and coursework and maintain the standards and values that give the classes and degrees their value. As part of a community of scholars, you can play a vital role in ensuring the highest integrity and continuance of a true community of scholars by reporting those who have violated their standards and the values of the Creed by engaging in violations of the academic integrity standards. When academic misconduct through cheating, plagiarism, misuse of artificial intelligence, or other means becomes or is believed to be common, often degrees can be viewed with suspicion by future employers and others in professional communities who may worry that an institution who has students who violate academic integrity codes may create employees who would violate company policies. If you are aware of academic misconduct or academic integrity policy violations, you have a duty to protect the value of your courses and your future degree by reporting those who would violate policy.

Students cannot report a violation anonymously, but the Office of Academic Integrity keeps the report confidential. Once the report is filed, your involvement is limited only to that of being the reporter of the incident. While your name will not be shared with the student or faculty member, you also will not be permitted, due to student privacy and the laws and protocol which govern it, to learn any further information about the allegations or outcomes of any academic integrity process.”

Contact Us

Office of Academic Integrity
International Center 319
Hattiesburg Campus

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