Homewood Undergraduate Academic Ethics Policy

Preamble

Throughout its history, The Johns Hopkins University (“University”) has enjoyed a distinguished reputation for academic excellence and integrity. Each member of the University bears a personal responsibility to uphold the ethical standards of the institution. The Undergraduate Academic Ethics Board (“Ethics Board”) has adopted the following procedures for responding in a timely and impartial manner to infractions of the high ethical standards of the academic community. Faculty and undergraduate students in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (“KSAS”) and the Whiting School of Engineering (“WSE”) are expected to understand their responsibilities as members of the University academic community and are bound by this policy.

Questions?

For general questions regarding Student Conduct please contact studentconduct@jhu.edu.


The Undergraduate Academic Ethics Board

Section A

The Undergraduate Academic Ethics Board is a subcommittee of the Academic Council and an independent committee of the Student Government Association. The Ethics Board is composed of eight full-time faculty members (four from each school) and a minimum of twelve undergraduate students, as well as a Presiding Official (up to three presiding officials may be trained to fill the role), who is an undergraduate student. Faculty members are selected by the Vice Deans of Undergraduate Education for KSAS and WSE for one academic year and are eligible for reappointment in accordance with selection procedures established by the respective Vice Dean. Undergraduate members are selected by the Student Government Association. Undergraduate members shall serve terms of one academic year and can be reappointed for subsequent academic calendars. A board member may be removed from the Ethics Board for misconduct and/or failure to meet expectations or abide by applicable policies and procedures.

Section B

The Ethics Board is responsible for the maintenance of the academic integrity of the undergraduate programs in KSAS and WSE and for all matters concerning adherence to this policy, including but not limited to: receiving reports of suspected violations, consulting with members of the University community on ways to reduce possible violations, appointing hearing panels, maintaining confidential records, orienting new students to the ethical standards of the community.

Section C

The duties of the Presiding Official are:

  1. to plan and oversee all general meetings of the Ethics Board;
  2. to assist in training of the Ethics Board members selected for the subsequent year;
  3. to assist in the selection of new Ethics Board members when requested;
  4. to provide assistance to the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) when requested; and
  5. to oversee all hearings of the Ethics Board in accordance with the procedures laid out in this policy.

Jurisdiction

KSAS and WSE students may enroll in courses in one or more other University divisions or schools. KSAS and WSE students are subject to this policy not only when enrolled in KSAS/WSE courses, but also when enrolled in courses in other University divisions or schools. Academic misconduct in the context of those “outside” courses will be subject to and resolved under this policy.

Non-Academic Misconduct

All issues of non-academic student misconduct are subject to the University-wide Student Conduct Code.

Research Misconduct

Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, reviewing or reporting research. For a complete definition, refer to PDF Document: The Johns Hopkins University Research Integrity Policy. The Policy applies to all University faculty, staff, trainees and students engaged in the proposing, performing, reviewing or reporting of research, regardless of funding source. Allegations of research misconduct regarding a student must be referred to the Research Integrity Officer for assessment under that Policy and must also be reported to the relevant Vice Dean of Education or designee.


Violations of Academic Integrity

Undergraduate students enrolled in KSAS and WSE assume a duty to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University’s mission as an institution of higher learning. Students are obliged to refrain from acts which they know, or under circumstances have reason to know, violate the academic integrity of the University.

Academic misconduct is prohibited by this policy. Academic misconduct is any action or attempted action that may result in creating an unfair academic advantage for oneself or an unfair academic advantage or disadvantage for any other member or members of the academic community. This includes a wide variety of behaviors such as cheating, plagiarism, altering academic documents or transcripts, gaining access to materials before they are meant to be available, and helping another individual to gain an unfair academic advantage. Nonexclusive examples of academic misconduct are listed below.

Cheating. The following are nonexclusive examples of cheating:

  • fraud, deceit, or dishonesty in an academic assignment, text or examination.
  • use or consultation of unauthorized materials (e.g., notes, books, etc.) on assignments, tests, or examinations.
  • unauthorized discussion of a test or exam during its administration.
  • copying content on an assignment, test or examination from another individual.
  • obtaining a test or examination or the answers to a test or examination before administration of the test or examination.
  • studying from an old test or examination whose circulation is prohibited by the faculty member.
  • use or consultation of unauthorized electronic devices or software (e.g., calculators, cellular phones, computers, tablets, etc.) in connection with assignments, tests or examinations.
  • use of paper writing services or paper databases.
  • unauthorized collaboration with another individual on assignments, tests or examinations.
  • submission of an assignment, test or examination for a regrade after modifying the original content submitted.
  • permitting another individual to contribute to or complete an assignment, or to contribute to or take a test or examination on the student’s behalf.
  • tampering with, disabling or damaging equipment for testing or evaluation.
  • unauthorized submission of the same or substantially similar work, assignment, test or exam (e.g., a paper, etc.) to fulfill the requirements of more than one course or different requirements within the same course.

Plagiarism. The following are nonexclusive examples of plagiarism:

  • use of material produced by another person without acknowledging its source.
  • submission of the same or substantially similar work of another person (e.g., an author, a classmate, etc.).
  • use of the results of another individual’s work (e.g., another individual’s paper, exam, homework, computer code, lab report, etc.) while representing it as your own.
  • improper documentation or acknowledgment of quotations, words, ideas, or paraphrased passages taken from published or unpublished sources.
  • wholesale copying of passages from works of others into your homework, essay, term paper, or dissertation without acknowledgment.
  • paraphrasing of another person’s characteristic or original phraseology, metaphor, or other literary device without acknowledgment.

Forgery/Falsification/Lying. The following are nonexclusive examples of forgery, falsification and lying:

  • falsification or invention of data or information for an assignment, test or exam, or in an experiment.
  • citation of nonexistent sources or creation of false information in an assignment
  • attributing to a source ideas or information that is not included in the source.
  • forgery of university or other official documents (e.g., letters, transcripts, etc.).
  • impersonating a faculty member.
  • request for special consideration from faculty members or university officials based upon false information or deception.
  • fabrication of a reason (e.g., medical emergency, etc.) for needing an extension on or for missing an assignment, test or examination.
  • claiming falsely to have completed and/or turned in an assignment, test or examination.
  • falsely reporting an academic ethics violation by another student.
  • failing to identify yourself honestly in the context of an academic obligation.
  • providing false or misleading information to an instructor or any other University official.

Facilitating Academic Dishonesty. The following are nonexclusive examples of facilitating academic dishonesty:

  • intentionally or knowingly aiding another student to commit an academic ethics violation.
  • allowing another student to copy from one’s own assignment, test, or examination.
  • making available copies of course materials whose circulation is prohibited (e.g., old assignments, texts or examinations, etc.).
  • completing an assignment or taking a test or examination for another student.
  • sharing paper mill/answer bank websites or information with other students.

Unfair Competition. The following are nonexclusive examples of unfair competition:

  • intentionally damaging the academic efforts of another student.
  • stealing another student’s academic materials (e.g., books, notes, assignments, etc.)
  • denying another student needed University resources (e.g., hiding library materials, stealing lab equipment, etc.).

Responsibilities of Students & Faculty

Section A

Faculty members and instructors are responsible for specifying at the beginning of each semester or term the basic rules and procedures for any and all coursework, examinations, and other academic exercises. Under this policy, instructors of record for a course assume the same responsibilities and expectations of faculty members. They are also responsible for exercising a reasonable degree of caution while writing, transporting and administering examinations and other graded work. All faculty members and instructors are responsible for taking appropriate actions in accordance with this policy in all cases of suspected violations of academic ethics.

Communications under this policy will primarily be conducted with students through their official University email address. Students are expected to check their official University email on a regular basis.

Section B

It is the responsibility of each student to report to the faculty member in charge of the course or to the Ethics Board any suspected violations of academic ethics.


Procedures for Handling Suspected Violations of Academic Integrity

Section A

If a student is suspected of a possible violation of academic ethics, the faculty member in charge of the course will review the evidence and the facts of the case promptly with the student. If, after speaking with the student(s), the faculty member determines that a violation of academic ethics has occurred, the faculty member may (a) settle the case directly with the student with appropriate notification to the Office of the Dean of Student Life subject to the conditions noted below; the faculty member may also ask the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) to serve as a mediator in such instances or (b) promptly notify the Ethics Board in writing, through the Office of the Dean of Student Life, setting forth the details of the case.

Section B

  1. A faculty member has the authority to resolve a case with a student if (a) the current offense does not constitute a second or subsequent offense, and (b) the resolution does not call for a notation on the student’s transcript. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to check with the Office of the Dean of Student Life to determine whether the student has any prior record of academic misconduct. If the circumstances surrounding the case do not satisfy the above criteria, then the faculty member must send the case to the Ethics Board for resolution.
  2. If the faculty member resolves a case with the student(s), the penalty or penalties imposed may only be selected from items (b) through (e) listed under the Penalties section. If the faculty member determines that none of these penalties is appropriate, the faculty member must refer the suspected act(s) of academic misconduct to the Ethics Board for resolution.
  3. If such agreement between the faculty member and the student is reached, the faculty member must promptly provide the student with the stipulation of facts and resolution agreement form outlining the resolution that includes the charges, a summary of the evidence, the findings, the sanctions agreed upon, and must also simultaneously provide a copy of the resolution agreement to the Office of the Dean for Student Life. A student must sign the stipulation of facts and resolution agreement form within 5 business days from date of receipt. Failure to complete the agreement within the allotted time will result in a referral to the Ethics Board for resolution.
  4. Once a student signs an agreement with the faculty member or instructor of record, there are no further avenues for appeal.
  5. This resolution process is for a first ethics offense only, where a student accepts responsibility with a faculty member and agrees to the sanctions imposed. Any such resolution will not be released to third parties without the student’s consent or unless otherwise required by law or contract.
  6. Students are expected to be forthright with their own responses relative to inquiries from third parties concerning disciplinary matters or institutional actions.

Section C

In the case of a first offense that is not resolved between the faculty member and student, or a second or subsequent offense, or a determination by the faculty member that a suitable sanction would be greater than failure in the course for a first offense, the faculty member must promptly notify the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) in writing of the alleged violations, evidence, including potential witnesses, and other pertinent details of the case. Faculty members should make every effort to take such action within one week of the alleged occurrence of academic misconduct.

In the event that a case arises near the end of a semester or during the final exam period, the faculty member must submit a charge to the Office of the Dean of Student Life within a reasonable timeframe. Any charge received at the end of the semester, summer term, or during the final exam period, may be held over until the following semester. When possible, hearings may be held during Intersession and summer. For summer hearings, officers and board members may be drawn from the Board for the subsequent academic year at the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct (or designee).

Section D

Upon receipt of a charge of a violation of academic ethics that constitutes a student’s second or subsequent violation from a faculty member or an unresolved first violation, the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) shall appoint a hearing panel to consider the charge(s). The panel shall decide the issue of responsibility and, if the student is found responsible, shall impose an appropriate penalty, as specified in the Penalties section.

Section E

When the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) receives a charge of a violation of academic ethics from a faculty member, the Director(or designee) shall:

  1. file the faculty member ‘s written charge in the Ethics Board’s file in the Office of the Dean of Student Life
  2. collect all pertinent evidence including but not limited to syllabi, original work, and written statements
  3. set a hearing date, time, and location
  4. notify the accused student(s) of the charge(s) and hearing date, time, and location
  5. select members of the Ethics Board to serve on the hearing panel
  6. conduct an administrative meeting with the accused student and witnesses to review hearing procedures and documentary evidence
  7. dismiss a case for a lack of sufficient information or if the alleged conduct does not fall within conduct prohibited by this policy.

Hearing Panels

Section A

When the conditions warrant a hearing, the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) shall appoint a hearing panel of unbiased persons to consider the case.

Section B

A hearing panel shall consist of two faculty members and three students and shall ordinarily be selected from the members of the Ethics Board; although a panel member may be appointed from outside Board members in the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) should circumstances so warrant. A Presiding Official shall conduct the proceedings of the hearing panel. The Presiding Official is responsible for maintaining records of all procedural decisions.

Section C

If any member of the panel feels they are unable to evaluate all parties fairly, they should remove themselves from the board, and the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) may appoint a hearing panel member from other Ethics Board members or faculty or full-time undergraduate students from KSAS and WSE who are not members of the Ethics Board. Such a circumstance might occur if a panel could not be appointed from among available members of the Ethics Board.

Section D

The faculty member shall submit all relevant documents to the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) at least five business days prior to a hearing. The accused student shall submit all relevant documents to the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) at least two business days prior to the hearing. If any evidence is submitted after this date, both parties will be notified of its addition.

The Director of Student Conduct (or designee) or panel may request the presence of any witness with relevant information about a case. The accused student may request that the panel hear witnesses with relevant information to speak on the accused student ‘s behalf. Absent exceptional circumstances, the accused student should inform the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) in writing at least three (3) days in advance of any meeting or hearing of the names of the witnesses and to what they will attest. The Director of Student Conduct (or designee) or panel may determine whether and the extent to which witnesses will be permitted to participate or questioned in any meeting or hearing, including whether their testimony is relevant.

Section E

In connection with the resolution of alleged policy violations, an accused student shall:

  • be notified in writing of the charges, and the date, time and location of the hearing, and identity of the panel members at least five business days in advance of the hearing;
  • have the opportunity to review in advance of any meeting or hearing any information to be considered by any faculty member, administrator or panel consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (“FERPA”) and to protect other confidential information;
  • be notified in writing of the outcome of any hearing, namely the findings, determination of responsibility, and any sanctions; and
  • be notified in writing of the outcome of any appeal.

Section F

The hearing panel members will be informed of the details of the charge(s) and associated evidence before the hearing is convened and shall keep all information confidential.

Section G

The accused student may discuss procedures with the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) but may not approach or contact members of the panel, the accuser, or the accuser’s witnesses concerning any matter directly or indirectly related to the hearing.

Section H

  1. Students charged with misconduct arising from a single incident or occurrence may have their hearings joined at the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct (or designee).
  2. The accused student shall receive written notification of a joinder of charges.
  3. When a hearing involves a joinder of charges, the determination of responsibility of each student shall be ruled upon separately.

Section I

  1. Students are responsible for appearing as witnesses before a hearing panel as requested by the Ethics Board. No student may willfully interfere with the processes of the Ethics Board or its hearing panels.
  2. An accused student may raise the potential conflict of any University personnel participating in the resolution process. An accused student may also decline to participate in the resolution process. The University may however continue the process without the accused student’s participation.

Section J

Those present at a hearing of the Ethics Board are limited to the following: the Presiding Official, panel members, faculty member or instructor of record, the accused student(s), and not more than one representative of the accused student(s). A family member, upon authorization of the accused student, may request to attend the hearing by providing notice to the Office of the Dean of Student Life at least two days prior to the scheduled hearing. Any witness called by either party may be present only when making a statement or being questioned by the panel. The Director of Student Conduct (or designee) or other administrative officer may also attend the hearing but cannot determine responsibility regarding the accused.

Section K

A full and complete record shall be made of the proceedings via a digital audio recording. No recording of the deliberation shall be made. The hearing panel shall prepare a brief written report detailing the reason(s) for a responsible or not responsible finding and any penalties imposed. The Office of the Dean of Student Life will maintain a file of all such reports in accordance with file retention policies. If a student is found responsible, they will receive written notification of their sanction(s).

Section L

  1. The Presiding Official shall conduct the hearing in an orderly fashion. The Presiding Official shall have the authority to exclude testimony and evidence that is repetitious or irrelevant to the charges, and shall make decisions of all questions of procedure with the input of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs (or designee) as appropriate. They may ask the Vice Provost for Student Affairs (or designee) questions for clarification; the Vice Provost for Student Affairs (or designee) may weigh in on questions of procedure when determined necessary.
  2. The Presiding Official may recess the hearing when it is deemed necessary. During a recess of a hearing, no discussion of the case by panel members, the accused student, the accuser, or witnesses will be permitted.

Section M

The accused student shall be presumed not responsible until a determination of responsibility has been made. A determination should be reached during deliberations based upon the information before the hearing panel under a preponderance of the evidence standard as described below.

Section N

Upon calling the hearing to order and introducing the panel, the Presiding Official shall read the charge(s) and ask the accused student to enter a plea of responsible or not responsible.

Section O

If the accused student pleads responsible to the charge(s), the faculty member shall present testimony which can aid the hearing panel in determining the severity of the offense. The student shall then be given the opportunity to present information to the hearing panel to be considered in determining a penalty. The hearing panel may also ask questions of both parties in order to ascertain the severity of the offense.

Section P

  1. If the plea is not responsible, the faculty member shall present testimony and evidence in support of the charges. Evidence may include documents, the faculty member ‘s own testimony, and that of any witnesses. Before calling a witness, the faculty member should be prepared to establish that the witness will present evidence relevant to the case at hand. Only the panel may ask questions of the accused or the faculty member. The Director of Student Conduct (or designee) and/or Presiding Official may curtail questioning if it is determined to be irrelevant or repetitious.
  2. Following the faculty member ‘s presentation, the accused student shall present testimony and evidence under the same restrictions.
  3. Following the accused student’s presentation, the faculty member and the accused student may recall witnesses if they can establish the need to present pertinent or clarifying information. Such a recall of witnesses shall be subject to the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct (or designee).
  4. After testimony from both sides has been heard, the faculty member and the accused student shall be given the opportunity to present a closing statement and any mitigating circumstances which they feel are appropriate. If the charge being heard constitutes a second or subsequent offense by the student, the student shall have the opportunity to comment on each prior offense individually.
  5. Following the closing statements, the faculty member, the accused student, student’s representative, and all witnesses are excused. All parties shall remain accessible and available during board deliberations.

Section Q

  1. The panel shall deliberate the charge(s) until each member is ready to vote or the Director of Student Conduct (or designee) determines that any further deliberation will not be productive.
  2. The accused student, faculty member, and/or any witnesses may be recalled for further testimony at any time during the panel’s deliberation.
  3. The individual decision of each hearing panelist on responsible/not responsible shall be based upon a preponderance of the evidence whether an accused student’s actions constitute a violation of this policy. A “preponderance of the evidence” means “more likely than not.” This standard is met if the proposition is more likely to be true than not true.
  4. Voting of the hearing panel may be by secret ballot or verbally. The panel shall make its determination of responsibility by majority vote; except unanimity is required for sanction of expulsion.
  5. The accused student will be asked to return to the hearing room. The presiding official will announce the Ethics Board determination of responsibility.

Section R

Written notice of the outcome of the hearing shall be sent to the student(s), faculty member, and Dean and Vice Deans for Undergraduate Education of KSAS or WSE, depending on the school in which the student is enrolled. A copy will also be retained in the Office of the Dean of Student Life.


Penalties

Section A

If a student is found responsible for a violation of academic ethics, whether by direct settlement with the faculty member, by pleading responsible at a hearing, or by a ruling of a hearing panel, a notification of the violation must be made in the student’s file explaining the violation along with listing the sanction(s) imposed and the resolution agreement or hearing panel report, as applicable.

Section B

  1. One or more of the following penalties may be imposed upon students found responsible for violations of academic ethics; this is a non-exhaustive list:
    1. A warning letter. The student is notified in writing that his or her actions constitute a violation of this policy, and may be subject to other actions (e.g., re-taking an exam or failure in a course).
    2. A notation placed on the student’s permanent transcript explaining the violation and outcome.
    3. Retake of the examination, paper or exercise involved.
    4. Score of zero on the examination, paper, or exercise involved.
    5. Lowering of the course grade.
    6. Failure in the course.
    7. Probation. The student is notified that further violations of this policy within the stated period of time will result in the student being considered for immediate suspension or other appropriate disciplinary action. If at the end of the specified time period no further violations have occurred, the student is removed from probationary status.
    8. Failure in the course with a notation on the transcript that the grade was for a violation of academic ethics, i.e., an “FEV” grade.
    9. Failure in the course with suspension from the University.
    10. Failure in the course with suspension from the University and notation on the transcript that the failing grade was for a violation of academic ethics.
    11. Suspension from the University for one or more semesters.
    12. Suspension from the University for one or more semesters with a notation on the transcript that the cause was a violation of academic ethics.
    13. Expulsion from the University with a notation on the transcript that the cause was a violation of academic ethics.
  2. Hearing panels shall make every effort to select a penalty appropriate to the severity of the offense, and may take into consideration any mitigating circumstances brought to its attention, as well as any record or absence of prior misconduct. A hearing panel may also impose a penalty that is not enumerated above if to do so would appropriately reflect the severity of the offense. This section lists some of the sanctions that may be imposed upon students for violations of this policy. KSAS and WSE reserves the right, in its discretion, to impose more stringent or different sanctions and corrective measures depending on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Sanctions for academic misconduct under policy are generally cumulative/progressive in nature.
  3. In most cases, the penalty for a second or subsequent finding of responsibility must be selected from items (f) through (m) of Section B-1 above.

Section C

The panel shall make its determination of responsibility and sanctions by majority vote, except that unanimity is required for a sanction of expulsion.

Section D

A student found responsible for a violation of academic ethics in a course forfeits the right to withdraw from the course or to change a graded course to pass/fail, or to absolve the grade by repeating the course. Grades assigned as a result of adjudicated ethics violations will always factor into g.p.a calculations even if the course is repeated. Retaken ethics violation courses will not earn duplicate credit. Any withdrawal from that course or change effected prior to the finding of responsibility shall be voided and the student will be re-enrolled.

A student who has been presented with a violation of academic ethics from a faculty member forfeits the right to drop or withdraw from the course during the pendency of an allegation.

A student who is found responsible for a violation of academic ethics in a course forfeits the right to drop or withdraw from the course. The student forfeits the right to change a graded course to pass/fail.

Any course drop or withdrawal from that course or change effected prior to the finding of responsibility shall be voided.

Section E

A student who has committed a violation of academic ethics has the option of making a timely and personal report of the offense to the faculty member in charge of the course or to the Dean of the respective school. A self-reported violation of academic ethics reported and dealt with under this section shall not constitute a first offense. Self-reporting is defined as reporting a violation of academic ethics without prompt by an instructor.


Appeals

Section A

  1. Except in the case of a resolution for first time offenses with a faculty member, the accused student may appeal a panel’s finding of responsibility and/or sanction(s) within 10 business days of the date of the notice of outcome solely on one or more of the following grounds:
    • procedural error that could have materially affected the determination of responsibility or sanction(s);
    • new information that was not available at the time of the hearing and that could reasonably have affected the determination of responsibility or sanction(s); and
    • excessiveness of the sanction(s).
  2. The appeal should be directed to the Vice Dean of Undergraduate Education (or designee) of KSAS or the Vice Dean of Undergraduate Education of WSE (or designee), whichever is applicable.
  3. The appeal must be in the form of a written statement setting forth the grounds for the appeal.
  4. An appeal will involve a review of the file, the audio recording of the hearing, and the Vice Dean for Undergraduate Education may request information from University personnel and panel members in determining the outcome of the appeal. The appeal does not involve another hearing. On review of the appeal, the Vice Dean for Undergraduate Education (or designee) may:
    • enter a revised determination of responsibility and/or revise sanction(s); or
    • remand the matter to a new panel to reconsider the determination of responsibility and/or sanction(s); or
    • convene a new hearing panel to consider the case.
  5. The Vice Dean for Undergraduate Education (or designee) will simultaneously send the appeal determination, with the reasons therefore, to the Director of Student Conduct, faculty member and to the accused student. The decision of the Vice Dean for Undergraduate Education (or designee) is final. No further appeals are permitted.

Records

Section A

Records will only be released if a written request has been made and approved by the Director of Student Conduct.

Students should be aware that, in keeping with applicable law and University policy, the notification of the outcome and sanctions against students and, if applicable, other pertinent information, may be shared with University personnel including academic advisors, registrar’s office, financial services, pre-medical, pre-law advisors and the office of international services in cases involving international students as visa status may be impacted.

Section B

The records of the Ethics Board shall be held in the Office of the Dean of Student Life.

Section C

A student’s academic misconduct file shall be retained for seven (7) years after that student graduates or otherwise leaves the University.