The Code of Academic Integrity

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We, the Students, Faculty, Librarians, Staff, and Administration of The George Washington University, believing academic integrity to be central to the mission of the University, commit ourselves to promoting high standards for the integrity of academic work. Commitment to academic integrity upholds educational equity, development, and dissemination of meaningful knowledge, and mutual respect that our community values and nurtures. The George Washington University Code of Academic Integrity is established to further this commitment. 

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Article I: The Authority of the Code of Academic Integrity

Section 1: Application of the Code of Academic Integrity

The Code of Academic Integrity (“Code”) shall apply to students enrolled in all colleges and schools within the University, except the following schools and programs: 

  1. The Law School and

  2. The Medical Doctor Program in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. 

Section 2: Precedence of the Code of Academic Integrity

This Code takes precedent over all other academic integrity policies of The George Washington University (except as referenced in Section I). This Code applies to reports of academic integrity violations that are received by the University on or after the effective date of this Code, regardless of when the alleged violation occurred. Where the date of the reported violation precedes the effective date of this Code, the definitions of academic integrity violations in existence at the time of the alleged incident will be used, except where use of such definition would be contrary to law. The remainder of this Code, however, including the procedures, will be used to resolve all reports of academic integrity violations subject to this Code made on or after the effective date of the Code, regardless of when the alleged incident occurred. 

Section 3: Interpretation

Conflicts or questions about this Code (including its interaction with other policies of the University) should be forwarded to the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs (“Provost”). The Provost or a designee shall be the final interpreter of this Code. 

This Code and any changes to it will be interpreted to comply with applicable legal requirements. 

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Article II: Basic Considerations

Students are responsible for the honesty and integrity of their own academic work, which may also include their applications for admission, in addition to any group or collaborative academic work attributed to them that is submitted for academic evaluation or credit in an academic course, program, or credential. Behavior not addressed by this Code may be addressed by another policy at the University. 

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Section 1: Definition of Academic Integrity Violations

Academic integrity violations are cheating of any kind, including misrepresenting one's own work, taking credit for the work of others without crediting them and without appropriate authorization, and the fabrication of information. 

For purposes of this Code, an academic exercise can be any student activity, document, record, or similar submitted for review by an instructor, teaching assistant, or similar course official as part of a course or course of study in which the student is registered or seeks to register. This includes but is not limited to graded assignments, drafts submitted for review, discussion board postings, simulations, comprehensive exams, dissertations, admission applications for academic programs, or other products in pursuit of any academic credential. 

Attempts to commit acts prohibited by this Code constitute a violation of this Code and may be sanctioned to the same extent as completed violations, even if such attempts are unsuccessful or incomplete. 

Common examples of academic integrity violations include, but are not limited to, the following, whether they occur in-person or remotely: 

  1. Cheating: Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise; engaging in unauthorized collaboration in any academic exercise; submitting work for an in-class examination that has been prepared in advance without authorization; copying from another student's examination; representing material prepared by another as one's own work (including contract or paid cheating); violating rules governing administration of examinations; violating any rules relating to the academic integrity of a course or program. 
  2. Fabrication: Falsifying any data, information, or citation in an academic exercise. 
  3. Plagiarism: Misrepresenting words, ideas, or a sequence of ideas as original or one’s own. Plagiarism can include failure to attribute, improper paraphrase, intentional plagiarism, and/or self-plagiarism as described below: 
    • Failure to attribute: Use and/or representation of another’s words, ideas, sequence of ideas, data, and/or other work material without the necessary in-text attribution to credit the original author of those materials. In-text attributions include, but are not limited to, parenthetical citations, footnotes, or other notations that attribute academic material to the original source. 
    • Improper paraphrase: Use of direct language, including phrases or full sentences, from source material without including quotation marks; the lack of quotation marks misrepresents those words as belonging to the writer, even when an in-text citation or equivalent is given. If the writer’s text echoes the word choice of the source material and that echoed word choice is not in quotation marks, the result is likely improper paraphrasing, even if an in-text citation is included. Proper paraphrasing requires source material to be restated in the words of the writer and attributed to the original author via an in-text citation or equivalent. 
    • Intentional plagiarism: Deliberately or knowingly using and representing another person’s words, ideas, sequence of ideas, data, and/or other work material without proper acknowledgment, citation, or attribution. Material does not need to be copied verbatim to constitute intentional plagiarism. Contract or paid cheating may constitute intentional plagiarism. 
    • Self-plagiarism: Submission of work previously-submitted for credit in whole or in part as if the new submission is original work or the concurrent submission of material to more than one course. Such submission is prohibited unless the instructor of record explicitly permits it on a given assignment. 
  4. Falsification and forgery of University academic documents: Falsification, alteration, concealing material information, making false statements, or misrepresentation of academic documents, including but not limited to academic transcripts, academic documentation, letters of recommendation, admissions applications, or related documents. 
  5. Facilitating academic integrity violations: Taking any action that a person knows or reasonably should know will assist another person in violating this Code. This may include circumstances in which the facilitator is not enrolled in the course. 

  6. Sanction Violation: Violating the terms of any sanction assigned in accordance with this Code. 

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Section 2: Reporting Violations

It is the communal responsibility of members of The George Washington University to respond to suspected academic integrity violations by: 

  1. Consulting the individual(s) thought to be involved and encouraging them to report it themselves, and/or

  2. Reporting it to the instructor of record for the course, and/or 

  3. Reporting it to Student Rights & Responsibilities. Reporting oneself after committing academic integrity violations is strongly encouraged and may be considered a mitigating factor in determining sanctions.  

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Section 3: Assignments and Examinations

The instructor of record for a given course is solely responsible for establishing academic assignments and methods of examination in that course. 

Instructors of record are encouraged to provide clear explanations of their expectations regarding the completion of assignments and examinations, including permissible collaboration. This includes detailed examples about what collaboration is and is not permitted and what resources may and may not be used. 

Instructors of record are encouraged to choose assignments and methods of examination believed to promote academic integrity. Examples of these include opportunities to display critical thinking around a unique set of issues, creative assessments developed by students, careful proctoring of examinations, and the regular creation of fresh exams and assignments. Nothing in this Code is intended to eliminate or prohibit the use of collaborative projects or unproctored examinations or other assessments. When assigning collaborative projects or using unproctored examinations, the instructor of record should explicitly state the expectations of performance for all participants. 

Instructors of record are encouraged to provide opportunities for students to affirm their commitment to academic integrity in various settings, including examinations and other assignments. The following statement may be used for this purpose: “I, (student's name), affirm that I have completed this assignment/examination in accordance with the Code of Academic Integrity.” 

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Article III: The University Integrity and Conduct Council

Section 1: Mission of the University Integrity and Conduct Council 

The University Integrity and Conduct Council (UICC) will be responsible for promoting academic integrity and for administering all procedures in this Code. 

Administrative and logistical support for the UICC shall be provided by Student Rights & Responsibilities (SRR), within the Division for Student Affairs. The Office shall be the repository for records pertaining to this Code and the UICC. 

Section 2: Composition of the UICC and Academic Integrity Panels (AIPs)

The UICC shall include student and faculty members from each of the schools whose students are subject to this Code. The terms of all members shall be one academic year. Members may be renewed for additional terms. The process for identifying and selecting candidates to serve on the UICC shall be determined by the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities, pursuant to Article III, Section 3, below. Recruitment should yield broad and diverse representation of the University community. 

The Academic Integrity Panels (AIP), which are selected from members of the UICC, shall adjudicate cases referred to a hearing under this Code. The Director of Student Rights & Responsibilities or a designee (the “Director”) will select and convene AIPs as needed. An AIP shall be comprised of three student members (one of whom serves as presiding officer) and two faculty members. At least one member should be from the school or college of the course in which the violation was reported. If UICC members from the school or college of the course are unavailable to adjudicate a case, the Director may appoint other UICC members as substitutes. 

The presiding officer for an individual case shall be a student member of the AIP and shall be selected by the Director or designee prior to the start of an AIP. The presiding officer may participate but will have no vote in the deliberations or recommending a sanction at the hearing, except in the circumstances outlined below. Following the hearing, the presiding officer will write a report on the hearing. 

In the event a full AIP cannot be convened in a timely manner, a case may be heard by an Ad- Hoc AIP, consisting of at least one student and one faculty member, so long as both the instructor of record and the respondent agree. In such an event, a student will serve as the presiding officer and all students (including the presiding officer) and faculty members will have the ability to vote to resolve the case. 

Any case that arises before or during a summer, academic, or holiday break period may be heard during that same break period providing that members of the UICC are available. Otherwise, the case will be adjudicated during the following academic term. 

All members of the UICC shall participate in training organized by the Director or designee. 

Section 3: Selection and Removal of UICC Members

Annually and typically by July 1 preceding a new academic year, SRR will handle the nomination, application, and selection processes of the UICC members who will serve in the next academic year. SRR may confer with the following entities in the nomination and selection process: 

  1. the Chair of the Faculty Senate Committee on Educational Policy and Technology; 

  2. GW’s academic deans of schools or colleges subject to this Code; 

  3. the President of the Student Association and student associations of the schools and colleges subject to the Code or a designee; and 

  4. other offices and student leaders at the University to promote diverse membership that represents the academic and demographic identities of the University communities. 

The following criteria shall be used in the selection of the student members: 

  1. They must be students registered for at least three credit hours in a degree-granting program of a school or college subject to this Code; 

  2. They must have made satisfactory academic progress and be in good academic standing; 

  3. Students with a pending case or incomplete sanctions may not be selected for the UICC. Students with resolved cases and who have completed all sanctions may be selected at the discretion of the Director of Student Rights & Responsibilities or designee; 

  4. They may not hold any executive position, either elected or appointed, in the Student Association. 

The following criteria shall be used in the selection of the faculty members: 

  1. They must be full-time faculty members in a school or college subject to this Code; 

  2. They may not be elected members of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate. 

Current members of the UICC who are alleged to have committed any violation of this Code, the Code of Student Conduct, or any other university policy shall be suspended from participation during the pendency of any investigation or proceeding into the alleged violation. Members found in violation of this Code or the Code of Student Conduct shall be disqualified from any further participation in the UICC until all sanctions are completed and with the approval of the Director. Faculty members serving as an instructor of record or witness in a pending case under this Code shall not participate on an AIP until that case is resolved. 

The UICC, by a two-thirds vote of the membership, or the Director may remove a member for non-participation. SRR may define additional expectations of participation for the UICC membership. 

Vacancies, as they occur, shall be filled by the Director. 

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Section 4: Case Procedures

All attendant procedures and records of the UICC and its AIPs, from the initial allegation to the final resolution, shall be confidential, to the extent allowed by applicable law and university policy. 

In any circumstance where the matter is referred to the department chair or other comparable official, that person may assume the role of instructor of record for purposes of the academic integrity case process. 

Allegations involving violations of this Code may be initiated by instructors of record, students, librarians, or administrators. Anyone with awareness of a violation may report it to the instructor of record or SRR. Any allegations should be made as expeditiously as is reasonably possible (normally within ten business days except in the summer or during academic breaks and holidays) from the discovery of the alleged violation. Allegations may be initiated as follows: 

  1. A student may initiate an allegation of academic integrity violations against another student, by referring the case to the instructor of record and/or to SRR. If the case is brought directly to SRR for action, then the Director shall promptly notify the instructor of record. If the instructor of record will not or is unable to address the case, the matter will be referred to the department chair or other comparable official. 

  2. When an instructor of record reports an allegation or is made aware of a violation that the instructor of record determines to be substantive, the instructor of record shall contact SRR in order to discover whether the student has ever been found in violation of this Code. 

  3. However reported, the instructor of record will present the student with specific allegations and may propose a sanction. The instructor of record may consult with SRR on sanctioning considerations. Sanctions will be determined in accordance with the relevant sections of this Code. If the instructor of record declines to propose a sanction, the matter will be referred to the department chair or other comparable official for proposed sanctions. 

  4. In the event a student withdraws or drops the relevant course while a case is pending, the case may still proceed under this Code. 

Cases may be resolved by one of the following: 

  1. Academic Integrity Agreements, in which both the respondent and the instructor of record agree to the finding of violation for all allegations and sanctions, in accordance with Section 5 of this Code. The written agreement will be provided to SRR to advise regarding sanctioning consistency, with the final determination being the mutual agreement of the instructor of record and respondent, evidenced by each person’s signature. 

  2. Determination by the AIPs when the respondent does not accept responsibility for the alleged violations or does not accept the proposed sanction. In such cases, the AIP will review the case in accordance with the procedural guidelines outlined below. 

All actions, on any level, shall be recorded with SRR. Instructors of record must notify and submit the appropriate documentation about any violation of this Code to SRR for proper retention of records. 

The following procedures shall guide AIP Hearings. 

  1. Respondents and instructors of record shall be given notice of the hearing date and the specific allegations at least five business days in advance and shall be accorded reasonable access to the case file, which will be retained in SRR. The appropriate academic dean, department chair, and the Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, or any designees shall also receive notification of the pending allegations at least five business days before the hearing. The timeline for collection and distribution of documents from instructors of record and respondents will be in accordance with published procedures developed by the Director of SRR or designee. 

  2. Any party may challenge an AIP member on the grounds of personal bias. In such cases, AIP members may be disqualified from the hearing at the determination of the Director. 

  3. Hearings will be closed to the public, without exception. Prospective witnesses, other than the instructor of record and respondent, shall be excluded from the hearing except while providing their statements. All parties and witnesses shall be excluded from AIP deliberations. 

  4. The respondent may be accompanied by a support person. The role of the support person shall be limited to consultation with the respondent they are supporting. Under no circumstances is the support person permitted to address the AIP, speak on behalf of the respondent, or question other participants. At the discretion of the presiding officer, violations of this limitation will result in the support person being removed from the hearing. The University retains the right to have legal counsel present at any hearing. 

  5. Hearings will occur in the absence of respondents who fail to appear after proper notice. If respondent(s) fail to appear, the instructor of record will still be required to present a case. 

  6. The presiding officer shall exercise control over the proceedings to achieve orderly and timely completion of the hearing. Any person, including the instructor of record and respondent, who disrupts a hearing may be excluded by the presiding officer. The presiding officer shall direct the hearing through the following stages: statements from both the instructor of record and respondent, questioning of witnesses by both the instructor of record and respondent, the questioning of the instructor of record, respondent, and any witnesses by panel members, and concluding statements by the instructor of record and respondent. 

  7. Hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the investigatory model of administrative hearings, in which the AIP assumes responsibility for eliciting relevant evidence. The purpose of the hearing is to establish the facts. The standard of proof for making a finding of in violation will be the preponderance of evidence standard (i.e., based on the evidence presented, it is more likely than not that a violation occurred). Where the AIP vote outcome is tied, the preponderance of evidence standard has not been met and the AIP’s decision is that the respondent will be found not in violation. 

  8. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable in proceedings conducted pursuant to this Code. The presiding officer shall have the discretion to admit all matters into evidence that reasonable persons would accept as relevant. 

  9. Hearings will be recorded. These recordings will be retained as part of the record. 

  10. SRR or the presiding officer may request the attendance of witnesses upon request by any AIP member or of either party. Only witnesses who can provide direct knowledge about the given case shall be called. Requests must be approved by the Director. University students and employees are expected to comply with such requests. Instructors of record and respondents shall be accorded an opportunity to question those witnesses who participate for either party at the hearing. Failure of witnesses to appear will not invalidate the proceedings. 

  11. Witnesses shall be asked to affirm that their statement is truthful. Any student, faculty, or staff member who knowingly provides false information during this process will be referred to Student Rights & Responsibilities, Human Resources, and/or the Office of the Provost as appropriate for review and appropriate disposition. In lieu of oral statements, authenticated written statements or other forms of participation may be accepted at the discretion of the Director.  

  12. AIP’s deliberation following the hearing shall occur in two stages: the determination regarding responsibility and if applicable, recommendation of sanctions. To find a respondent in violation of the Code, a majority of the voting AIP members must agree. If the AIP finds a respondent in violation, they shall also make a sanctioning recommendation. A sanction other than expulsion can be recommended by the affirmative vote of three- quarters of the voting AIP members. In the event of a tie regarding sanctions other than expulsion, the presiding officer casts the deciding vote. A sanction of expulsion can be recommended only by an affirmative vote of all voting AIP members. 

  13. Reports of the AIP shall include a determination of the responsibility of the respondent. If the respondent is found in violation, then the report will also include a recommendation of sanctions. Sanctions will be recommended and determined in accordance with the relevant sections of this Code. If an AIP determines that a respondent is in violation of the Code, the report shall be forwarded to the dean of the school in which the academic integrity violation occurred or a designee without a conflict of interest in the case, as determined by the dean. If in the judgment of the dean or designee the sanction recommended by the AIP is a significant deviation from the sanctions imposed in closely similar cases, the dean or designee may revise the sanction before notifying the respondent of the determination and sanction. The dean or designee may not modify or revise the AIP’s determination of responsibility. The instructor of record and department chair of the course shall receive a copy of the determination and sanction. 

  14. These proceedings should be concluded as expeditiously as possible. The AIPs should strive to have proceedings concluded within four weeks of the report of the violation. However, failure to do so shall not constitute improper procedure under the Code. 

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Section 5: Sanctions

In each case, the following factors may be considered in determining an appropriate sanction: 

  • the nature of the violation and the incident itself; 

  • the significance of the assignment(s) in question to the academic course or program; 

  • evidence of intent or lack thereof by the respondent in committing the violation; 

  • the impact or implications of the conduct on the University community and its learning environments; 

  • prior misconduct by the respondent, including the respondent’s relevant prior academic integrity or behavioral misconduct history or lack thereof, both at the University and elsewhere; 

  • maintenance of an environment conducive to the integrity of learning and knowledge;

  • protection of the University community; 

  • necessary outcomes in order to eliminate the prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on members of the University community; and, any mitigating, aggravating, or compelling circumstances in order to reach a just and appropriate resolution in each case, including the respondent’s demonstration of the understanding and impact of the violation. 

Possible sanctions include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • educational sanctions intended to improve the respondent’s understanding and implementation of academic integrity. This may be assigned in combination with any other sanction. If the respondent fails to complete these sanctions, a registration hold may be placed on their student account. 
  • reduction in academic credit for the assignment or course. 
  • failure of assignment (generally recommended for first violation). 
  • failure of course, including a transcript notation until graduation and successful petition for removal (generally recommended for second violations or egregious first violations). 
  • suspension from the University for a specified period of time, including a transcript notation until seven years from the date of the incident and successful petition for removal. Suspension may include requirements the student will need to complete in order to return or upon return.
  • expulsion (permanent removal from the University), including a permanent transcript notation. 

Neither suspensions nor expulsions may be imposed through an Academic Integrity Agreement. 

Transcript notations for failure of course or suspensions may be removed upon expiration of the dates set forth above and only after successful petition of the respondent to the Provost or designee. 

Records shall be maintained and released by Student Rights & Responsibilities in accordance with University policy and applicable law. 

Following graduation or removal of transcript notation, whichever is later, the respondent’s record will be transferred to an administrative archive status and therefore become internal and administrative (i.e. non-conduct) records. Such files are not part of general third-party releases, even with authorization from the respondent. Such records may be released to third-parties upon specific request of the respondent or as required by law. 

Respondents found in violation of this Code may also be removed from or determined to be ineligible for certain University programs or activities, in accordance with the policies, rules, or eligibility criteria of that program or activity. 

No outcome shall prohibit any program, department, college, or school of the University from retaining records of violations and reporting violations as required by their professional standards. The University may retain, for appropriate administrative purposes, records of all proceedings regarding violations of this Code. 

Sanctions assigned to a respondent found in violation of this Code may also have subsequent ramifications upon their academic standing in an academic course or academic program in accordance with the faculty member’s syllabus or in the academic college, school, or department regulations and bylaws. 

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Section 6: Appeals

After a decision has been confirmed by the relevant dean or designee, the respondent may submit a written petition of appeal to Student Rights & Responsibilities within five (5) business days of the outcome. 

Appeals of the decision of the AIP or of the sanction imposed by the relevant dean or designee may be based only on the following grounds: 

  1. There was a material deviation from the procedures of this Code that affected the outcome. 

  2. There is new and relevant information that was unavailable at the time of the proceeding, with reasonable diligence and effort that could materially affect the outcome. 

Appeals will be reviewed by the Provost or a designee. The Provost or a designee will then make a decision on the appeal, based on the appeal petition and the reports of the AIP and the relevant dean or designee. The appeal decision of the Provost will typically be rendered and provided to the instructor of record and the respondent within 10 business days of the appeal materials being received by the Provost. 

The decision of the Provost or designee in connection with the appeal shall be final and conclusive and no further appeals will be permitted. The dean of the respondent’s home school at the University shall also receive final notice of the case outcome. 

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Article IV: Changes and Reports Regarding the Code of Academic Integrity

Section 1: Changes to the Code of Academic Integrity

Substantial changes to this Code shall be referred to or initiated by the Provost or designee. Changes may also be initiated by either the Faculty Senate or the Student Association. Substantial changes must be approved by a majority vote of both the Faculty Senate and the Student Association. 

The Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students shall coordinate with the Joint Committee of Faculty and Students through the Provost to conduct a review of the Code of Academic Integrity at least once every five years. 

Substantial changes will then be forwarded to the President of the University for confirmation and submission to the Board of Trustees. 

Effective August 1, 2022

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