Northeastern University

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Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution

Academic Integrity Policy

File an Academic Integrity Report

Academic Integrity Resources:

The Policy

A commitment to the principles of academic integrity is essential to the mission of Northeastern University. The promotion of independent and original scholarship ensures that students derive the most from their educational experience and their pursuit of knowledge. Academic dishonesty violates the most fundamental values of an intellectual community and undermines the achievements of the entire University.  

As members of the academic community, students must become familiar with their rights and responsibilities. In each course, they are responsible for knowing the requirements and restrictions regarding research and writing, examinations of whatever kind, collaborative work, the use of study aids, the appropriateness of assistance, and other issues. Students are responsible for learning the conventions of documentation and acknowledgment of sources in their fields. Northeastern University expects students to complete all examinations, tests, papers, creative projects, and assignments of any kind according to the highest ethical standards, as set forth either explicitly or implicitly in this Code or by the direction of instructors.  

The following is a broad overview, but not an all-encompassing definition, of what constitutes a violation of academic integrity.  

Cheating: The University defines cheating as using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise. When completing any academic assignment, a student shall rely on his or her own mastery of the subject.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Unauthorized use of aids such as but not limited to notes, text, the Internet, cell phones, etc. to complete any academic assignment. 

  • Copying from another student’s academic work. 

  • Unauthorized communication during an examination. 

  • Handing in the same paper for more than one course without explicit permission from the instructor(s). 

  • Intentionally viewing a test before it is administered. 

  • Storing notes in a portable electronic device for use during an examination.   

Fabrication: The University defines fabrication as falsification, misrepresentation, or invention of any information, data, or citation in an academic exercise.  

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Inventing data, facts, or sources for an academic assignment. 

  • Altering the results of a lab experiment or survey. 

  • Citing a source in a bibliography that was not used. 

  • Stating an opinion as a scientifically proven fact.     

Plagiarism: The University defines plagiarism as using as one’s own the words, ideas, data, code, or other original academic material of another without providing proper citation or attribution. Plagiarism can apply to any assignment, either final or drafted copies, and it can occur either accidentally or deliberately. Claiming that one has “forgotten” to document ideas or material taken from another source does not exempt one from plagiarizing.  

The following sources require citation:

  • Word-for-word quotations from a source, including another student’s work. 

  • Paraphrasing (using the ideas of others in your own words). 

  • Unusual or controversial facts not widely recognized. 

  • Audio, video, digital, or live exchanges of ideas, dialogue, or information. 

Students unclear as to whether or not a source requires citation should speak with their professor or consult the Writing Center in 412 Holmes Hall.   

Unauthorized Collaboration: The University defines unauthorized collaboration as instances when students submit individual academic works that are substantially similar to one another. While several students may have the same source material, any analysis, interpretation, or reporting of data required by an assignment must be each individual’s independent work unless the instructor has explicitly granted permission for group work.   

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Submitting work that closely matches that of another student, even when the work is to be original to the student handing in the assignment.

  • Sharing a take-home examination, case write-up, lab report, or any other assignment with a peer without express permission from the instructor.   

Participation in Academically Dishonest Activities: The University defines participation in academically dishonest activities as any action taken by a student with the intention of gaining an unfair advantage over other students.  

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Misrepresenting oneself or one’s circumstances to an instructor. 

  • Stealing an examination. 

  • Purchasing a pre-written paper. 

  • Selling, loaning, or otherwise distributing materials intended for the purpose of cheating, 

  • plagiarism, or other academically dishonest acts. 

  • Destroying, altering, stealing, or forging another student’s work, library materials, 

  • laboratory materials, academic records, course syllabi, or examination/course grades. 

  • Intentionally missing an examination or assignment deadline to gain an unfair 

  • advantage. 

  • Forging information or signatures on official University documents.   

Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: The University defines facilitating academic dishonesty as intentionally or knowingly helping or contributing to the violation of any provision of this policy.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Doing academic work for another student. 

  • Making available previously used academic work for another individual who intends to resubmit the work for credit.   

Obligation to Uphold Academic Integrity: All members of the Northeastern University community have a role in upholding the Academic Integrity Policy. Any member of the community who witnesses a violation of this policy should report it to the appropriate faculty member or the Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution (OSCCR). All instructors are required to refer to Northeastern’s Academic Integrity Policy in their course syllabi.

Options for Instructors Reporting Alleged Violations of the Academic Integrity Policy: A faculty member who suspects a student in his or her class, or working under his or her direction, of violating the Academic Integrity Policy can choose to:

  • File official charges with the OSCCR, or 

  • Submit the complaint as an “information only” case to request that the incident be kept “on file” for the student.   

An instructor who believes that a student made an unintentional mistake and who does not want to file an official complaint may submit an “information only” complaint. The faculty member will speak with the student suspected of violating the policy before sending forward a complaint. OSCCR will inform the student via e-mail when it receives an “information only” complaint. This correspondence will provide the student with resources to avoid potential future violations as well as notice that another “information only” complaint for an Academic Integrity violation may result in an official charge and meeting with a member of the OSCCR staff. When an “information only” complaint is received by OSCCR for a student who already has one or more “information only” complaints on file, OSCCR reserves the right to determine whether there are sufficient facts in the new complaint to support a charge of an Academic Integrity violation. The Director of OSCCR will review all complaints submitted against a student to determine whether sufficient evidence for a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy exists. If the Director determines that the evidence is sufficient, the case will be assigned to a staff member within the OSCCR. The staff member will assign the case to an Administrative Hearing or to the Student Conduct Board as appropriate.  

Sanctions: Hearing Officers and the Student Conduct Board have discretion to impose sanctions for a Responsible finding of an Academic Integrity violation that range in severity from a written warning to expulsion and include an action taken by the student to help rebuild trust within the community.  

Hearing officers will take the following into consideration when determining appropriate sanctions for violations of the Academic Integrity policy.

  1. Nature of the violation(s) 

  2. Severity of the damage, injury, or harm resulting therefrom 

  3. Student’s past disciplinary record 

  4. Mitigating circumstances 

  5. Aggravating circumstances   

Appeals: Students may appeal the disciplinary actions of an Academic Integrity violation on the three grounds identified in the Code of Student Conduct. The Appeals Process outlined in the Code of Student Conduct will be used for such appeals. Please refer to the Code of Student Conduct for a complete description and explanation of the Appeals Process.

Grading Authority: OSCCR does not have authority over assignment or course grades.  Therefore, a student who violates Northeastern University’s Academic Integrity Policy may also be subject to academic penalties at the discretion of the instructor in the course. This can result in, but is not restricted to, the student failing the course. A student with questions about the Academic Appeals process should contact the academic advisor to review that process.

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