Policy ACAF-PRO-012

Responsible Administrator:Office of the Provost
Responsible Officer:Provost
Origination Date:11/12/14
Current Revision Date:10/10/18
Next Review Date:10/10/21
End of Policy Date:N/A
Policy Number:ACAF-PRO-012



Student Academic Integrity Policy



Policy Statement

Academic misconduct involves deception to improve a grade, earn course credit, complete a degree or create an unfair academic advantage for oneself or disadvantage to another in the academic community. It includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, inappropriate acquisition or provision of information, conspiracy to cheat or plagiarize, lying about academic work, stealing academic materials physically or electronically, and unapproved multiple submissions of assignments.  


Reason for Policy/Purpose

Academic misconduct is inconsistent with the scholarly mission of The University of Southern Mississippi and is not tolerated. Students who commit acts of academic misconduct as defined in the Academic Integrity Policy will incur academic sanctions as enumerated by the Policy. 

 Who Needs to Know This Policy


The entire University of Southern Mississippi community.


Website Address for this Policy




Business Days Monday through Friday, excluding holidays and/or University closures.


Cheating Cheating is a broad category of academic misconduct characterized by an attempt to gain academic advantage through inappropriate means or impede the academic achievement of others. Because cheating encompasses a range of behaviors, it is difficult to comprehensively define all behaviors across and specific to every discipline in The University of Southern Mississippi academic community. In general, cheating includes but is not limited to unauthorized and inappropriate collaboration as defined by the instructor or proctor; giving or receiving (or attempting to give or receive) aid from any source without the consent of the instructor or proctor or in a manner inconsistent withcourse or program goals. Other specific activities that constitute cheating may be defined byinstructors, or based on professional ethics of the given discipline.


Plagiarism - The use of another person's words or ideas without appropriate quotation or attribution; claiming or submitting for academic credit the work of another person.


Acquiring or Distributing Information Inappropriately - The act of distributing or obtaining course assignments or examination questions or answers from sources not approved by the instructor or proctor (includes, but is not limited to, unauthorized use of the Internet, test banks associated with course text and previous student work). This includes recording or photographingof course materials or intellectual property or any other method of digitally collecting information. In addition, sharing of course materials without express permission from the instructor including any form or digital transfer (whether the student is enrolled in the course or not) is a violation of academic integrity.


Lying or Falsification of Data - Any statement of untruth in any matters related to the academic experience, including but not limited to forgery; false claims of authorship; falsification of information, data, or results derived from or related to research or to laboratory experiments; the misrepresentation of information, data, or results by any means with intent to mislead administrators, faculty, or others acting as officials of or in partnership with the University including clinical and internship supervisors.


Stealing or Defacing - The act of intentionally taking, transferring, defacing or destroying, without right or permission, any property related to the academic mission of the University, including an attempt to impede others.


Multiple Submissions - The submission, more than once, without authorization by all instructors involved, of substantial portions of the same work, including oral reports or work submitted for retaken courses.


Conspiracy - The act of agreeing or planning with any person to commit any violation of the Academic Integrity Policy. This definition includes but is not limited to impersonating or allowing oneself to be impersonated in an online course.  XF-The XF Grade is assigned for the most serious acts of academic misconduct.  An XF on the transcript impacts the GPA the same as a regular F, and is designated as a "failure due to academic misconduct".  The XF grade cannot be replaced by retaking a course, and no student with an XF can graduate with honors.  Multiple XFs will lead to suspension or being expelled from The University of Southern Mississippi.  The option for undergraduate students to remove an "X" from an XF grade through remediation can only be exercised once, so should the academic integrity policy be violated in future terms, an XF will be awarded that cannot be altered. 



1.0 The Agreement


In acknowledgment of the integrity policy, students--in SOAR upon enrollment in the University--must affirm the Integrity Agreement. Thereafter, it shall be understood that enrollment in a course constitutesaffirmationof the following agreement and that ignorance is not an excuse for violation of the policy:


As a member of the Southern Miss community, I will act with honor and integrity at all times. I will not engage in any act of academic misconduct, and I understand that such acts violate the Academic Integrity Policy and Code of Student Conduct and undermine the community of trust so important to the integrity of the University. Every member of the University community is responsible for maintaining the standard of academic excellence and will report to the appropriate officialifaware of a violation of the academic integrity policy.


1.1 Academic Integrity Facilitators


A total of three to five Academic Integrity Facilitators per college shall serve as facilitators to ensure proper enforcement and administration of the policy. Deans of each college will be asked for nominations of facilitators from which the Academic Integrity Officer (see section 1.4), in consultation with the Vice Provost for AcademicAffairswill select the facilitators from each college.  These facilitators shall be drawn from the ranks of corps of instruction faculty and shall, whenever possible, be elected from separate programs.  In the event that a faculty member cannot complete his or her term, the unfinished term shall be completed by a new facilitator selected in the same fashion.  Facilitators shall serve three-year terms and shall be responsiblefor:1) attending facilitation meetings to advise students and faculty involved in an Academic Integrity Policy violation of their rights; 2) guiding faculty and students through the remediation and appeals process; and 3) documenting instances of Academic Integrity Policy violations in Maxient, the reporting system at The University of Southern Mississippi. Facilitators may suggest to the faculty member appropriate sanctions in line with the academic integrity sanction guidelines (Section 2.0), but facilitators may not determine sanctions.  In the event that the student wishes to file an appeal, the facilitator shall describe the appeals process to all parties.


Facilitators shall complete a training program created by the Academic Integrity Officer and engage in a program of professional development over the course of their tenure to ensure they are aware of the best practices in adjudicating cases concerning academic dishonesty and guiding students who violate the process through the remediation program.


The facilitators do not, however, have the authority to overturn a penalty imposed by a faculty member, nor do they have the authority to uphold sanctions.  In the event that the student and faculty cannot reach a mutually satisfactory solution to the alleged infraction, the facilitator shall refer both parties to the appeals process. It should be noted that a facilitator may only inform faculty and students regarding the appeals process. The filing of an appeal is ultimately the student’s choice and responsibility.


Serving as an Academic Integrity Facilitator is considered a significant service role for faculty and will be a three-year appointment.


1.2   The Procedures for Faculty


It is the responsibility of faculty members to know the Academic Integrity Policy and communicate to their students the importance of academic integrity as well as any particular class-specific expectations. To ensure consistency and fairness in enforcing the academic integrity policy as well as the reporting of all violations, an official University Academic Integrity Officer will be the point of contact for all discovered potential violations of academic integrity. At the first identification of a possible violation, the faculty member should contact an AI facilitator from his or her college (list posted on Provost’s website) and establish at least two mutually agreed upon meeting times.


Once times are established, the faculty member completes AI Form A and emails the form to the student charged with the violation copying the AI facilitator. NOTE: If multiple students are involved in a single case, faculty must notify students separately and individually to ensure confidentiality and to stay within FERPA regulations. It should be mandated in the email message that the studentcontact the faculty member and AI facilitator within three business days, agreeing to meet at one of the two times provided on the form. If the student is not available for one of the two times, alternate times may be explored;however the meeting should occur within ten business days from the date of the discovery of the violation.


Note that once an XF has been assigned by an instructor, it may not be changed through the usual grade change process; instead, any change must be decided through the appeals process and board as set forth in this policy. In addition, if a violation of academic integrity has not been resolved at the time grades are due, faculty should report that grade as an Incomplete and offer the notation that an academic integrity case is pending.


If the student is in a fully online program or is otherwise away from campus and unable to attend (e.g., internship), the same procedure is followed to arrange a time for a telephone conference call between the faculty, student and facilitator.


If a student chooses to appeal to the Academic Integrity Board (see section 1.4) and the appeal goes in favor of the student, the faculty must meet the Academic Integrity Officer’s deadline for action (grade change, re-evaluation of work, etc) or the case will be referred to the faculty member’s school director for decision and the Dean and Vice Provost will be notified.


See Section 8.0 for facilitation meeting procedures and Appendix IV for tips for faculty to discourage and discover violations of academic integrity.  


1.3 The Procedures for Students


Upon receiving an email notification of a potential violation of academic integrity, a student is required to respond to the notification within three business days of when the notice was sent and commit to one of the meeting times offered in the notification. If the student is unavailable during those times due to an unavoidable conflict, he or she should provide an explanation of that conflict and offer another possible time. If a student does not respond within three business days from notification, the facilitation meeting will be held in absentia and the student forfeits the right to appeal the academic integrity sanction.  


Prior to the academic integrity meeting, the student should make him or herself familiar with the Academic Integrity Policy and purpose. At the facilitation meeting, the potential violation will be presented by the faculty with the facilitator present. If, after speaking with the student, the instructor believes a violation did not occur, the facilitator will mark the form as such. If however, the instructor believes a violation has occurred, the student has three options: 1) accept responsibility for the violation and accept the sanction given by the instructor; 2) accept the responsibility, but not accept the sanction;or 3) deny the violation. The facilitation meeting concludes when the student signs AI Form B documenting the outcome of the meeting. If the student wishes to appeal, the facilitator will offer guidance on how to begin the appeal process. See Section 9.0 for information regarding the appeals process.


1.4 The Academic Integrity Officer and Appeals Board


The Provost will appoint an Academic Integrity Officer to promote academic integrity through dissemination of the policy, monitor all academic integrity reports, recruit and train facilitators and student mentors, coordinate appeal hearings and remediation programs/courses, monitor whether students have completed remediation, and work with the registrar to ensure grade changes are made when appropriate. During the appealprocessthe AI Officer will use his or her best efforts to ensure that all parties to an appeal have been notified and have access to relevant documents, and monitors the appeal process to ensure that the appropriate procedures have been followed. The Academic Integrity Officer may vacate a decision, but on procedural grounds only.


The Academic Integrity Officer also designates appropriate classes or modules to serve as the Academic Integrity remediation program, advises on the content of those classes or modules, and certifies that a student has completed the program. The Academic Integrity Officer takes appropriate action to change an XF grade to an F if the student completes the required remediation program.


The Academic Integrity Officer submits annual reports to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs on the state of academic integrity at the University.


The Academic Integrity Officer, in consultation with the Academic Integrity Appeals Board, can propose revisions or amendments to the Academic Integrity Policy to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. Any changes must be approved through the appropriate University channels.


The Academic Integrity Appeals Board is a University Standing Committee composed of two students (one undergraduate and one graduate student) and three faculty members appointed by the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs after seeking nominations from the Attorney General of the Student Government Association, the President of the Graduate Student Senate, and the President of the Faculty Senate.


In the case that an Appeals Board member is not available for a hearing at a time when a majority of others are available, a facilitator not involved in the original facilitation meeting may serve on the Board for a faculty and a Mentor for a student as proxies for hearings.


Student board members serve one-year terms, and faculty board members serve staggered terms of two academic years.


The Academic Integrity Officer serves as the Board's presiding officer. He or she does not vote but may offer procedural guidance if needed.


The primary mission of the Appeals Board is to create a community of trust and responsibility that ensures the highest standards of ethical academic conduct at the University by overseeing appeals regarding allegations of academic misconduct and by annually reviewing this policy and keeping it updated.


All decisions of the Board are made by a majority vote of the quorum. The quorum is defined as at least three members of the Board (no fewer than one of whom must be a student); during summer terms, the Academic Integrity Officer may fill Board vacancies with Facilitators and Student Mentors who were not involved in the original facilitation meeting.


Together, the responsibilities of the Academic Integrity Appeals Board and Academic Integrity Officer are to:


•  afford each student and faculty member full respect and every reasonable consideration;

•  ensure that the facts of a case are given careful attention;

•  allow open discussion and case discovery through an orderly but not unduly formal procedure;

•  hold students to high standards of behavior; and

•  contribute to the educational mission of the University and protect its academic reputation by ensuring integrity in all academic matters brought to its attention.



1.5 The Academic Integrity Student Mentors


Academic Integrity Student Mentors will serve the University in a leadership role assisting in educating the University community and reporting potential violations of the Academic Integrity Policy. Each spring, students will apply to serve for one year as AI Mentors and will be selected by the Academic Integrity Appeals Board, with the Board selecting up to 12 undergraduate mentors and four graduate mentors, one from each college.


Similar to facilitators, mentors shall complete a training program created by the Academic Integrity Officer and engage in a program of professional development over the course of their tenure to guarantee they are aware of the best practices related to academic integrity. Mentors will be available to speak to classes and student groups regarding the Academic Integrity Policy.


2.0 Sanction Guidelines


This policy is grounded in an assumption that students—particularly newer undergraduate students—are involved in a process of learning about academic integrity, and many of them may not have learned equivalent definitions and standards before coming to the University.A secondassumption of this policy is that not all violations of the Academic Integrity Policy are equal. Finally, this policy seeks to encourage fairness and equity across courses and instructors to eliminate extreme variations in consequences for the same actions.


Using these assumptions as a foundation, this section offers general sanctioning guidelines for faculty to rely upon in responding to a discovery of a potential violation of academic integrity. It is understood that a faculty’s syllabus and professional judgmentsupersedesthese sanction guidelines, and while facultyretainthe right to assign a suitable sanction, sanctions must be documented with the facilitator. In addition, because of the many forms of academic dishonesty that exist and because rapid technological changes constantly shift the possibilities for misconduct, it is difficult to anticipate and define all possible violations of this policy. These guidelines are intended as a starting point for disciplinary and school conversations about integrity, how to encourage it, and appropriate responses to infractions.


Instructors make the initial determination that the Academic Integrity Policy has been violated. If a violation is suspected or discovered, the faculty should follow the academic integrity process put forth in the procedures section (1.2) regardless of the sanction. While all violations of academic integrity are considered serious in the University community, it is recognized that some acts are more egregious than others based on the depth and breadth of the academic assignment, premeditation, malicious intent, or repeat infractions. Below are general guidelines relating to violation levels and sanctions.


2.1 Level I Violation

A Level I violation typically involves a low-stakes assignment as defined by the instructor of record, with possible sanctions being a reprimand, zero or F on the assignment, even if that reduces the final grade, resubmission of additional or different work/assignment, taking a new exam or lowered course grade.


Examples of Level I violations include but are not limited to:

  • Cheating that is not premeditated on a quiz
  • Plagiarism of five sentences or fewer on a paper
  • Signing an attendance roster for a student who is not in attendance
  • Receiving inappropriate assistance on an assignment or collaborating when individual work is specified


First or second incidents of Level I violations receive the instructor sanction only. Upon receiving the third Level I sanction, however, even if in multiple courses and no matter over how many semesters, a student will be required to enroll in and pass the remediation course. If the student fails to enroll in the course or does not pass the course, the student will be referred to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and may face suspension from the University for one semester.


Students who have been notified of a potential violation of the Academic Integrity Policy are not eligible to withdraw from a class until the student has completed the facilitation process and/or the appeals process. Instructors and the Office of the Registrar will deny any request for withdrawal.


Note that if a student is found in violation of a second Level I violation in the same course in the same semester, the second violation could result in either an XF or the student be required to enroll in and pass the remediation course to be determined by the instructor.


2.2 Level II Violation

The Level II violation is sanctioned with the XF grade for the course. That grade will be recorded on the academic transcript with the notation "failure due to academic misconduct." The XF will be treated as an F for the purpose of calculating grade point average and class standing and cannot be replaced by retaking the course.  In addition, an XF can be assigned in a pass/no pass course.


Because The University of Southern Mississippi is an educational community, one XF grade may be removed through remediation, if the student admits to the violation. Remediation will be offered through enrollment in a one-hour course. If the student is off campus, he or she will be required to enroll in the online version of the remediation course.


In the spirit of the University’s educational mission, if an XF remains on an undergraduate student’s transcript because the student failed to remediate or because it was a subsequent XF, the X will be removed from the student’s transcript after five years.


Examples of Level II violations include but are not limited to:

  • Premeditated cheating on a test or major project or assignment
  • Plagiarism of what the instructor considers to be substantial amounts of a paper or project or submitting a paper written by another
  • Lying or falsification of data including forgery for the benefit of academic gain
  • Contributing to or advertising for sites that promote academic misconduct such as note selling websites, test bank websites or third-party vendor
  • Using unapproved materials including but not limited to cheat sheets, unauthorized aids (electronic devices and cell phones), going to websites not authorized during an online exam
  • Committing conspiracy to cheat, impersonating or allowing oneself to be impersonated in an online course
  • Multiple submissions, without authorization by all instructors involved, of substantial portions of the same work
  • Stealing for the purpose of academic gain
  • Acquiring information inappropriately including photos or video recording of exams or assignments
  • Any violation involving potential criminal activity for academic gain

2.3 Level III Violation

A Level III violation is specific to graduate students and undergraduate students in professional programs. A Level III violation may be sanctioned with the loss of an assistantship/fellowship, removal from the program, or an XFgrade,if it occurred in a course. If the student is a graduate student who receives an XF, he or she may appeal and deny the violation, but if the XF is upheld, he or she will be dismissed from the program and the Graduate School.


Violations include but are not limited to:

  • Any Level II action
  • Falsification of documentation for admission to a program or to secure funding
  • Falsification of data related to research or creative works
  • Plagiarism on qualifying exams, theses or dissertation, creative works, journal articles, professional presentations, or any other endeavor as it relates to the program or the profession
  • Knowingly violating research or professional ethics of the student’s area of study


Students enrolled in a graduate program can be dismissed from the program and the University upon receipt of the XF grade or after any instance in which academic misconduct has taken place.


Graduate students may not seek to remove an “X” from an XF through a remediation process, but they may appeal to the board if they believe that they have been wrongly sanctioned. Graduate students wishing to appeal a sanction for academic misconduct, including dismissal on the basis of academic misconduct, should first file an appeal with the Academic Integrity Appeals Board. A subsequent appeal for dismissal from the Graduate School should be based upon the resolution of the academic integrity appeal.



Students should not be disallowed from continuing to attend or participate in any class on the basis of alleged academic misconduct alone before they have an opportunity for appeal. Students who appeal a decision of the instructor may continue to register for and attend classes until the appeal process is completed.



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.



3.0 Automatic Sanctions for Undergraduate Students



Academic suspension: 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.



A student placed on academic suspension due to multiple violations of academic integrity may not enroll at The University of Southern Mississippi until one fall or spring semester has passed.


3.1.2            Readmission after the required suspension period requires reinstatement to the University through “the change of academic status” process initiated with the director of the student’s incoming school. Readmission requires approval by the dean of the college in which the student will enroll and clearance from the Academic Integrity Officer.



During the first semester upon return to the University, the student must complete the Academic Integrity remediation course (even if the course has already been taken to have an X removed from an XF). Failure to complete the course will result in re-suspension the next semester.



Expulsion: Undergraduate students with four XF grades (including one that has been removed from the students’ transcript via remediation) will be expelled from the University. In addition, the Office of the Provost reserves the right to expel students with fewer XF grades if the actionsdoneare egregious and clear upon review of evidence by the Academic Integrity Board.


4.0 Revocation of Degree



If the University discovers that a student or former student has improperly earned a degree or certification due to academic misconduct in the completion of degree requirements (e.g., plagiarizing part of a thesis or dissertation) from the University, the University reserves the right to revoke the degree or certification.  When the University is investigating allegations of an improperly earned degree or certification, the Procedures for Investigating Academic Misconduct in an Earned Degree/Certificate (as attached in Appendix V) shall be followed and not those of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


5.0  Withholding Honors



Students with an XF grade at the time of graduation will be disqualified from graduating with academic honors, including Latin Honors.


6.0  Offenses Not Associated with a Course



In case of academic misconduct not directly associated with a course, such as program examinations or defenses of academic projects, the proctor, committee chair, or relevant academic administrator will be responsible for determining whether the Academic Integrity Policy has been violated and the sanction that is to be imposed. The same University representative will serve in the role of the instructor in cases of appeal.



In cases where a student violates academic integrity that is not tied to an academic course, such as the selling or sharing of papers or notes, the student will be required to complete the remediation course or face suspension.  If the student takes the remediation course and has a second violation no matter the level, the student will face suspension.



Students should also be aware that academic dishonesty is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and may result in additional sanctions or consequences from the Dean of Students or other University officials in student affairs.


7.0   The Office of the Provost


The Office of the Provost is entrusted with ensuring that the Academic Integrity Policy is publicized and fairly administered. This policy does not extend to issues properly addressed by the Grade Appeals Committee or Student Government Association's Judicial Board.  The Academic Integrity Officer, the Academic Integrity Appeals Board, and any designated staff support the Office of the Provost.

The Office of the Provost may not assume an advocacy role for either students or faculty; however, it may advise participants on how to best access their rights.

The Academic Integrity Officer is appointed by the Provost and may hold an additional academic or administrative role (See section 1.4).


8.0 The Facilitation Process



The facilitation process should take place within seven business days from the time the student is contacted by the faculty member via email.


The academic integrity facilitation meeting may occur in either the faculty member’s office, the facilitator’s office or a mutually agreed upon private location. The facilitator should lead the meeting first explaining the process and purpose of the meeting and then allowing the faculty member to explain the violation and the student to respond. If the student admits to the violation and the proposed sanction, AI Form B is completed documenting that the violation occurred, a meeting was held and the student accepted responsibility and understands and agrees with the sanction. All parties present sign the form ensuring all understand the outcome of the facilitation meeting (See Appendix III for a process flowchart).


If the student denies the violation or does not agree with the imposed sanction, AI Form B is completed;however it is noted by the facilitator that the student denies the violation and/or the sanction. From there the student is able to file an appeal with the Academic Integrity Appeals Board, and the facilitator will offer information to the student to begin that process.


If more than one student is involved in the alleged misconduct, those students’ behaviors must be addressed separately and independently in two distinct meetings, and care should be taken to ensure that each student’s privacy is maintained.


9.0   The Appeal Process



Students have the right to due process and a fair, speedy appeal.



A student who wishes to appeal a penalty for academic misconduct must complete the Academic Integrity Violation Appeal Form. A student should file an appeal if the student accepts the responsibility, but does not accept the sanction or if the student denies the violation. If a student accepts the sanction and the violation is the student’s first Level II violation, the student does not need to appeal but rather should enroll in the remediation course the following semester to have the X removed from his or her transcript. The decision to enroll must be discussed with the facilitator, who will explain the remediation process during the facilitation meeting. The X may only be removed from one XF.



The student must initiate the appeal procedure within five business days of the facilitation meeting.



The appeal procedure is initiated when the student turns in the hard copy of the Appeal form to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs in the Office of the Provost. (Non-residential students in fully online programs should contact the Office of the Provost regarding how to proceed.) The Vice Provost will contact the Academic Integrity Officer within five business days. The student can appeal the sanction while the course is still in progress and should not need to wait until the final course grade is posted.



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 20 business days of an appeal form being submitted to the Office of the Provost. All appeals are heard by the Academic Integrity Appeals Board, a University Standing Committee appointed by the Provost. Academic Integrity Facilitators and student mentors not involved with the facilitation meeting may substitute for Board Members when necessary.



All parties to an appeal have a right to review the written material concerning the appeal that is submitted to the Academic Integrity Officer. All parties have the right to speak on their own behalf. All parties have the right to seek advice (in accordance with FERPA regulations) and schedule witnesses who may speak in their defense as long as they have direct information pertaining to the Academic Integrity Policy violation. Character witnesses are not permitted and will be dismissed by the Board.



Upon hearing the case, the Board, bymajorityvote of a quorum, must determine if a violation occurred, and/or if the academic integrity sanction was appropriately assigned based on the preponderance of evidence presented by all parties to the case. If the Board determines that the grade was inappropriately assigned, the Board is authorized to change the grade to an Incomplete and to require the faculty member to reassess the student's academic work and submit a grade change.


Per section 1.2, if a student chooses to appeal to the Academic Integrity Board (see section 1.4) and the appeal goes in favor of the student, the faculty must meet the Academic Integrity Officer’s deadline for action (grade change, re-evaluation of work, etc) or the case will be referred to the faculty member’s school director and the Dean and Vice

Provost will be notified.



At the end of the hearing, the Academic Integrity Officer must check to see if the student had a prior violation to determine if additional action should be taken. The Academic Integrity Officer should also inform all parties of the determination of the Academic Integrity Appeals Board within five business days of the hearing. The determination of the Academic Integrity Appeals Board is final and may not be further appealed except on procedural grounds as set forth in section 9.1.9 below. Decisions may be vacated only on procedural and not substantive grounds.



The Academic Integrity Officer shall monitor the process and proceedings of the Academic Integrity Appeals Board. Either on his or her own initiative or after receiving a complaint from a party involved in an appeals hearing, the Academic Integrity Officer may vacate a decision if proper procedures were not followed and remand it to the Academic Integrity Appeals Board for a rehearing.



The appeal process described in this policy applies for grades or penalties given for academic misconduct.



The Academic Integrity Appeals Board determines whether the charge of academic misconduct and the resulting penalty stand or whether the matter is returned to the faculty member to assign a grade based on the work completed.



Students wishing to appeal a grade that is unrelated to academic misconduct should use the grade appeal procedures described in the Grade Review Policy. A Grade Review may not be used in an effort to overturn an XF grade.



10.0 Hearing Procedures



Although Board decisions must be based on a full and fair hearing of the preponderance ofevidence, Board hearings are not courts of law and do not necessarily follow standard courtroom procedures.



Students seeking to appeal an academic integrity violation penalty are encouraged to discuss an allegation with parents,guarians, legal counsel or any appropriate member of the University community.



If a student has advisors or legal counsel, they may also be present at the hearing, and students may consult with them, but they may not speak on the student’s behalf or verbally participate in any enforcement proceedings.



In the event of an incapacitating illness, or some other documentable inability to represent him or herself, the student seeking an appeal or the faculty member whose grade is being appealed may choose, with the permission of the Academic Integrity Officer, another member of the University community as his/her surrogate during the proceedings.



A surrogate must be either an employee of the University or a student currently enrolled in the University.



Parties to the appeal may elect not to attend the hearings, but an absence must not impede the progress of a hearing and submitted evidence can still be reviewed.



The panel should attempt to be reasonable in the accommodation of the student or faculty member's schedule and should not proceed in the event of his or her temporary, documentedillness,unless a surrogate has been appointed.


11.0 Duties of the General Faculty



It is the responsibility of each member of the University faculty to include the University’s Academic Integrity Policy statement in course syllabi and enforce the policy when violations are discovered. Inadditionfaculty should grade assignments in a timely manner and appropriately proctor all quizzes, tests, and exams to better facilitate the educational purpose of the academic integrity policy. Careful consideration of assignment creation will also assist in deterring violations of academic integrity (see Appendix IV).  


12.0 Responsibilities of the Entire University Community



The ultimate success of the Academic Integrity Policy depends on the development of a culture of academic integrity defined by basic values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. Because the requisite culture and values require considerable time, resources, and effort, the University community must commit to promoting academic integrity as a defining characteristic of this institution.


13.0 Policy Awareness



To ensure student awareness of the centrality of academic integrity to scholarship and the learning process, the University will set forth its Academic Integrity Policy in all appropriate official publications and within the Academic Agreement students review in SOAR each semester.


14.1   Approval



The University of Southern Mississippi Academic Integrity Policy was originally approved in 2014 by:


Student Government Association

Faculty Senate

Graduate Council

Academic Council

Council of Chairs





The Provost is responsible for the review of this policy every four years (or whenever circumstances require immediate review).





Appendix I:     Forms A and Form B for facilitation meeting


Appendix II:   Academic Integrity Appeal form


Appendix III:  Academic Integrity process flowchart


Appendix IV:  Helpful tips for Faculty and Facilitators


Appendix V:   Procedures for Investigating Academic Misconduct in an Earned Degree/Certificate



Related Information/References

Portions of The University of Southern Mississippi Academic Integrity Policy were adapted from the following sources:

•      Mississippi State University Student Honor Code:  http://www.honorcode.msstate.edu/pdf/honor-code.pdf.


•      Universityof California-Irvine, Manual of the Irvine Division of the Academic Senate, Part III -- Appendices of the Irvine Division; Appendix VIII UCI Academic Senate Policy on Academic Dishonesty: http://www.senate.uci.edu/senateweb/default2.asp?active_page_id=754.


•      The University of Mississippi Student Academic Conduct and Discipline:  https://secure4.olemiss.edu/umpolicyopen/ShowDetails.jsp?istatPara=1&policy ObjidPara=10817696.




New Policy Origination Date – November 12, 2014


Amendments: Revision submitted to Executive Cabinet – September 18, 2018





Responsible University Administrator                                        Date






Reviewed by:






Director of Compliance                                                             Date








Office of General Counsel                                                         Date












President                                                                                  Date






Appendix I: Forms A and B for facilitation meeting 

Appendix II: Academic Integrity Appeal form 

Appendix III: Academic Integrity Process Flowchart
 Appendix IV: Helpful tips for Faculty and Facilitators


Faculty members are the first line of defense to deter and detect violations of academic integrity. According to research conducted between fall 2002 and spring 2015, Dr. Donald McCabe of Rutgers University in collaboration with the International Center for Academic Integrity found that 17% of Graduate students and 39% of undergraduate students admitted to cheating on tests and 40% of graduate students and 62% of undergraduate students admitted to cheating on written assignments. While these numbers are staggering, there are simple steps faculty can take to reduce incidents of cheating in their classrooms.


How to Deter Violations of Academic Integrity


1.     Discuss with your students what is and is not cheating. Knowing that you are concerned with academic integrity shows you care about your students and their learning. It also demonstrates you know the policy and will enforce it. Even just a short discussion highlighting your stance against all forms of cheating will demonstrate to students that you will be vigilant in monitoring for cheating and that you have a vested interest in what they learn.


2.     Be sure the academic integrity statement provided on the Provost’s website is on your syllabus. Discuss with your students how the policy relates specifically to your course as well as to your discipline.


3.     Offer unique assignments and do not use test questions from instructor manuals (seetestbankcafe.eu). Search the internet to see what is available related to your assignments. Rotate topics to make it more evident if a student is using work from a previous semester.


4.     Be specific and deliberate with assignment instructions, offering students smaller deadlines for a larger project.


5.     Emphasize learning over grades and offer a connection from the course material to students’ future careers.


6.     Create different versions of tests and exams.


7.     Check out online resources such as Study Soup, StudyLib and Course Hero to be knowledgeableonwhat is available.


8.     Grade in a timely manner.


9.     Have plans for missed assignments and exams.


How to Detect Violations of Academic Integrity


1.     Keep copies of assignments to compare as the semester progresses. In smaller courses, get to know each student’s writing style and ability.


2.     Use turnitin.com, which is provided by the University.


3.     Look for words on papers or in essays not commonly used by college students.


4.     If a suspicious sentence is discovered, Google it with quotation marks around the sentence so Google knows that is specifically what you are searching.


5.     Build trust with students who might be willing to tell you what is occurring beyond class time, such as inappropriate sharing of coursework or conspiracy to cheat. 


For more on this topic see the Center for Faculty Development’s website at https://www.usm.edu/center-faculty-development.


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Appendix V: Procedures for Investigating Academic Misconduct in an Earned Degree/Certificate




1.      The Director of the school will appoint a Dissertation/Thesis Review Committee (“Review Committee”) to review the thesis/dissertation and determine whether academic dishonesty occurred. This committee will be comprised of at least three faculty members from the school with no conflict of interest associated with the case. If the Review Committee finds academic misconduct (e.g., plagiarism), the Review Committee should submit a written report of its findings and a recommendation of appropriate sanction(s) to the Dean of the Graduate School, with a copy to the student, Director, and Dean of the academic college of the student’s major. The sanction may include revocation of degree/certification.




2.      If the Review Committee determines that the student engaged in academic dishonesty in the thesis/dissertation and recommends one or more sanctions, the Dean of the Graduate School will appoint a five-person ad hoc Dissertation Review Hearing Committee (“Hearing Committee”) to conduct a hearing at which the student may present his/her case in defense against the accusation and the sanction(s) being recommended.




3.      The school Director will present the report of the Review Committee, along with supporting testimony and documentary evidence, to the Hearing Committee. The student may do the same.




4.      Both the University and the student may have an advisor present, but this person/people may not participate actively in the proceedings. A court reporter will be present at the hearing to record testimony and receive documentary evidence.




5.      The Hearing Committee will review the evidence presented at the hearing and make a recommendation to the Provost in writing within 10 business days of the hearing, with a copy to the student and Director. The student may provide the Provost with a rebuttal of the finding and any recommended sanction(s) within 10 business days of submission by the Hearing Committee of its findings and recommendation. The Director may also provide any response (within 10 business days) of arguments he or she may believe important for the Provost’s consideration, with a copy to the student.




6.      The Provost will review all materials and recommendations of the Committees and submit his recommendation to the President within 10 business days of any submitted materials, with a copy to the student and Director.




7.      After review of all materials, reports, and recommendations, the President will make his determination within 10 business days from receiving the Provost’s recommendation, with a copy to the student and Provost, who will inform the Dean and Director. If the decision of the President requires approval or action by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (“Board”), he will submit the same information considered by the Hearing Committee, along with all recommendations, to the Board within 10 business days of receiving the Provost’s recommendation. In such a case, the student may provide the Board with a written rebuttal within 10 business days of the President’s recommendation.




8.      Each Committee and academic administrator involved in the review process will inform the student of each action taken within a reasonable time after such action is taken.