Academic Misconduct – Ethics

A. Persons and/or groups involved in Academic Discipline Cases (student handbook)

  1. College Dean – When an academic violation occurs, the Dean of the College (or a designee) will dispose of any violations referred or appealed to the Dean’s Office.
  2. Academic Appeals Board – Within each undergraduate college of the University, a student appeals board shall be established for each academic year as a standing committee consisting of three (3) faculty members and two (2) students to be appointed by the Dean of the College. In some cases, the Dean may convene the Academic Appeals Board and solicit its recommendation.
  3. Misconduct Review Panel – At the graduate level, a Misconduct Review Panel shall be established consisting of the Chairperson of the Graduate Council, the Chairperson of the Faculty Senate and/or the Chairperson of the University Research Council, and an administrative officer of the unit in which the suspected misconduct occurred.
  4. The decision of the Dean is final and will be reported to all parties concerned within three (3) working days under the general process and ten (10) working days in special graduate cases.

B. Academic Misconduct

Any student found guilty of academic misconduct shall be subject to disciplinary action. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following actions:

    1. Cheating or knowingly assisting another student in committing an act of cheating or other forms of academic dishonesty.
    2. Plagiarism is using another person’s work without acknowledgment, making it appear to be one’s own. Any ideas, words, pictures, or other source must be acknowledged in a citation that gives credit to the source. This is true no mater where the material comes from, including the internet, other student’s work, unpublished materials, or oral sources. Intentional and unintentional instances of plagiarism are considered instances of academic misconduct. It is the responsibility of the student submitting the work in question to know, understand, and comply with this policy. If no citation is given, then borrowing any of the following would be an example of plagiarism:
      • An idea or opinion, even when put into one’s own words (paraphrase)
      • A few well-said words, if these are a unique insight
      • Many words, even if one changes most of them
      • Materials assembled by others, for instance quotes or a bibliography
      • An argument
      • A pattern or idea
      • Graphs, pictures, or other illustrations
      • Facts
      • All or part of an existing paper or other resource

This list is not meant to include all possible examples of plagiarism. See the University Library’s web page on plagiarism for further examples.

  1. Unauthorized possession of examinations, reserve library materials, laboratory materials, or other course-related materials.
  2. Unauthorized changing of grades on an examination, in an instructor’s grade book, or on a grade report; or unauthorized access to academic computer records.
  3. Nondisclosure or misrepresentation in filling out applications or other University records in, or for, academic departments or colleges.

Students who engage in disruptive activities in an academic setting (e.g., classrooms, academic offices or academic buildings) are subject to disciplinary action in accordance with Section IV-Non Academic Misconduct-All Students. Such students are also subject to administrative actions in accordance with the NMSU Graduate and Undergraduate Catalogs.

C. Academic Discipline Process- General Cases

(For all undergraduate students and graduate students referred by the Dean of the Graduate School. See IIID)

1. Course or Departmental Level

For incidents that occur at the course or academic department level, the faculty member or department head must inform the student of the alleged offense within ten (10) working days of its discovery, and after an investigation and/or conference, will take one of the following actions:

  1. The allegation may be dismissed as unfounded
  2. The allegation may be dismissed for lack of evidence
  3. The student may admit guilt and a sanction will be imposed
  4. The Hearing Officer will determine guilt based on preponderance of the evidence and a sanction will be imposed
  5. The Hearing Officer will report the decision to the student and to the Coordinator of Student Judicial Services

2. Other Academic Misconduct

For those incidents involving academic misconduct not at the course level (e.g., falsification of academic records), the student’s Dean, or a designee, will serve as the Hearing Officer and will follow the same process as outlined above.

3. Appeal Process

  1. All possible levels of appeal should be exhausted before a case reaches a course Dean. The student must always be told the next level of appeal.
  2. A student who wishes to appeal an instructor’s decision may do so by writing to the course department head (course Dean if instructor is also department head) within five (5) working days. The appropriate hearing officer will consider both sides of the case and report the decision to the student, the course instructor, the student’s Dean (where applicable), and the Coordinator of Student Judicial Services within ten (10) working days. If extenuating circumstances prevent either party from meeting this time frame, an alternate schedule will be formulated by all parties involved.
  3. Either party may appeal a department head’s decision to the Dean of the college in which the course is taught (except in cases involving graduate students, the appeal will be made to the Dean of the Graduate School). However, a request for a formal hearing need not necessarily be granted. The following points will apply in all cases of appeal:
    1. The appeal must be made in writing to the appropriate appellate person or body within the specified period of time.
    2. The appeal must include the name of the individual making the appeal, the action that is being appealed, the date the action took place, and the grounds for appeal. Appeals must be made on the basis of one or more of the following grounds:
      1. Procedural or prejudicial error was committed.
      2. The finding of facts contained in the decision included inaccurate information.
      3. Specific evidence presented at the hearing is objectionable. Reason for the objection must be stated, i.e., why evidence should not be considered.
      4. Evidence not offered during the hearing is now available. Reason why the evidence was not offered during the hearing must be stated.
      5. The sanction imposed is excessive or inappropriate. Reasons for believing this must be stated.
    3. If warranted, the Dean shall convene the Academic Appeals Board to solicit its recommendation before making a decision.
  4. The highest level of appeal for academic misconduct is the Dean whose decision is final.

4. Academic Appeals Board Procedures

  1. If a decision is made to seek a recommendation from the Academic Appeals Board, the college Dean, or a designee, shall assemble case materials for the Board which will normally meet within three (3) weeks.
  2. The Dean, or a designee, will inform all parties of procedures to be followed.

D. Academic Discipline Process – Graduate Students

  1. Allegations regarding academic misconduct of graduate students shall be brought immediately to the attention of the Graduate Dean.
    1. The Graduate Dean shall conduct a preliminary investigation with the appropriate professional bodies within the University. At the Dean’s discretion, he/she may refer the case to the accused student’s instructor or Department Head. The instructor or Department Head will then use the same procedures in the academic disciplinary process outlined in IIIC for general cases.
    2. Should serious academic misconduct be suspected:
      1. The Graduate Dean shall notify the Provost.
      2. The Graduate Dean may consult outside experts in the professional field in which misconduct is suspected. The purpose of this consultation shall be to provide an evaluation of the alleged misconduct.
      3. In all cases where serious misconduct is suspected, the Graduate Dean shall convene a Misconduct Review Panel consisting of the chairperson of the Graduate Council, the chairperson of the Faculty Senate and/or the chairperson of the University Research Council, and an administrative officer of the unit in which the suspected misconduct occurred. This panel shall review the evidence and its evaluation, decide whether a formal charge is appropriate, and advise the Graduate Dean.
      4. If so advised, the Graduate Dean shall:
        1. Appoint an ad hoc committee.
        2. Issue a formal charge detailing the basis for the charge.
        3. Invite the accused to respond to the charge in writing and to appear before the ad hoc committee to discuss the charge and accumulated evidence.
      5. Following the hearing and upon receipt of formal, written advice of the ad hoc committee, the Graduate Dean shall decide upon the disposition of the case and, if appropriate, the imposition of sanctions.
      6. The Graduate Dean shall notify the accused, who shall have ten (10) working days to decide if he/she wishes to appeal the decision. The Graduate Dean will also report the decision to the Coordinator of Student Judicial Services.
  2. Appeal Process – The Graduate Dean’s decision may be appealed only in writing to the Executive Vice President and Provost whose review and decision, with the concurrence of the President, is final. The decision of the Provost will be rendered within ten (10) working days following receipt of the request for appeal and will be reported to the student, Graduate Dean and the Coordinator of Student Judicial Services.