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Office of the Provost

Students' Guide to Academic Integrity


At the University of Southern Mississippi, we expect everyone in our community to operate with academic integrity, holding to the highest standards of scholarly professionalism. Our campus should be characterized by honest, responsible, respectful and ethical behavior, and the Academic Integrity Policy reflects this expectation. 

Our Academic Integrity Policy

The Southern Miss Academic Integrity Policy includes:

  • Our University’s definitions of “academic misconduct”;
  • Sanctions imposed for academic misconduct, including the “XF” grade;
  • Consequences of receiving an XF; and
  • Processes for appeal in cases of alleged misconduct. 

View Academic Integrity Policy


Students at the University of Southern Mississippi are responsible for understanding and following this policy.  All students will be required to complete an educational online module regarding academic integrity, and additional workshops will be available through University Libraries for those who would like additional information.  


Frequently Asked Questions for Students

What does the University consider to be “academic misconduct”?

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. 

How can submitting my work more than once be considered academic dishonesty?

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.

My instructor says I plagiarized, but I used my own words so how can that be?

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. To learn more about the different kinds of plagiarism and how to avoid it, check out the Student Success tutorial on Avoiding Plagiarism.  

If I violate the Academic Integrity Policy, what can happen?

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.

Is it possible to remove an XF from my transcript?

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 who wish to petition to remove an “X” should contact the Office of the Provost or email integrityFREEMississippi.

Can I appeal an XF or another penalty for academic misconduct?

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 form, which should then be submitted to the Office of the Provost or emailed to integrityFREEMississippi before the deadline for initiating the appeal. 

What happens during an appeals process?

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.

If I do have an XF on my transcript, what are the consequences?

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.


Helpful Links


Plagiarism: How to Avoid It 

from Bainbridge State College



Questions regarding academic integrity should be sent to integrityFREEMississippi.

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