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Academic Misconduct

The University expects students to operate with the highest standard of integrity in all facets of the collegiate experience. Broadly defined, academic misconduct is any unethical self-serving action in the performance of an academic activity, deliberate or unintentional, that affords a student an unfair, unearned, or undeserved advantage. (Excerpt from the WKU Student Handbook, 2016)

The maintenance of academic integrity is of fundamental importance to the University. Thus it should be clearly understood that acts of plagiarism or any other form of cheating will not be tolerated and that anyone committing such acts will be held accountable for violation of the student code of conduct.

Students who commit any act of academic dishonesty may receive from the instructor a failing grade in that portion of the course work in which the act is detected or a failing grade in a course without possibility of withdrawal. The faculty member may also present the case to the Office of Student Conduct.


Such as cheating, plagiarism, misrepresenting of oneself or an organization, knowingly furnishing false information to the University, or omitting relevant or necessary information to gain a benefit, to injure, or to defraud is prohibited.


No student shall receive or give assistance not authorized by the instructor in taking an examination or in the preparation of an essay, laboratory report, problem assignment or other project which is submitted for purposes of grade determination.


To represent written work taken from another source as one's own is plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious act. The academic work of a student must be his/her own. One must give any author credit for source material borrowed from him/her. To lift content directly from a source without giving credit is a flagrant act. To present a borrowed passage without reference to the source after having changed a few words is also plagiarism.


Examples of Areas Where Academic Misconduct Most Likely Occurs

 “Essentially, students are expected to do work that is assigned to them and submit products that represent personal and individual effort only.”

In an exam setting

  1. Presenting as your work, test answers that are not your work, including the following:
    1. Using resources other than those specifically allowed by the instructor (e.g., notes or another person)
    2. Copying from another student’s test
    3. Using notes from any source during a test when notes are not allowed
    4. Using materials that the instructor is not making available to the whole class (Exception: students with disabilities needing accommodations
    5. Recycling an assignment that has been used in another course (unless approved by the instructor)
    6. Acquiring a copy of the exam without permission
    7. Providing answers for or soliciting answers from another student with or without permission of the other student (Note: This may either be an attempt to help or harm the targeted student)

On a written assignment

  1. Presenting as your own work duplicated work that you did not create:
    1. Purchasing written work from an external source
    2. Copying work from a free external source (online or otherwise)
    3. Presenting as your work something another person has created
    4. Altering text from another source
    5. Altering select words of some original text in order to conceal plagiarism

Academic dishonesty that is possible in various settings

  1. Providing money or favors in order to gain academic advantage
  2. Falsely stating that work was given to the instructor at a certain time when it was not
  3. Correcting the responses of a graded assignment and presenting them to the instructor as incorrectly graded material
  4. Pretending to be someone you are not; taking the place of another
  5. Or any other behavior that violates the basic principles of integrity and honesty

(Excerpt from the Academic Integrity Statement Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Academic Integrity in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, 2012) 


When Violations Occur

Academic misconduct is a violation the Code of Student Conduct and must follow:

  1. Procedural due process: (WKU Student Handbook, College Handbook, Syllabi)

    1. May choose to assign a failing grade on the assignment
    2. May choose to assign a failing grade for the class without an option to withdraw
    3. Suspension or Expulsion may occur at the recommendation of the University Disciplinary Committee
  2. Faculty member or reporting staff should meet or communicate with the offending student to inform of the policy violation
    1. Procedures must conform to those outlined by the Faculty Handbook, Student Handbook, and syllabus
    2. Inform of intentions consistent with procedural due process the violation with an opportunity to give a response
    3. Inform of intent to refer to The Office of Student Conduct
    4. Notify The Office of Student Conduct using the incident report form. Reports should be submitted at the time of the incident.


Role of the Office of Student Conduct

The Office of Student Conduct will review for any additional action. Faculty members are strongly encouraged to report policy violations to The Office of Student Conduct so that we may assist the student in correcting the behavior, hold student’s accountable for their actions, track violations, and to stop serial violators

  1. Following the referral and submission of supporting documentation via Maxient an incident report is generated within the Office of Student Conduct. Submit the report and supporting documentation to https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?WesternKentuckyUniv&layout_id=5
  2. The Office of Student Conduct staff will meet with the student:
    1. Determine whether additional sanctioning is necessary
    2. Connect student to other campus resources (safety net)
    3. The Office of Student Conduct according to the procedures outlined within the guidelines of FERPA will permit limited disclosure of conduct outcomes, and maintains records related to cases involving violations

Appeal Process

A student who believes a faculty member has dealt unfairly with him/her in a course involving academic dishonesty may seek relief through the Student Complaint Procedure.


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 Last Modified 4/23/24