Academic Honesty Policy - Benjamin Franklin Institute Of Technology

Academic Honesty Policy

Academic dishonesty is a serious issue. Honesty in all academic work is expected of every student at all times. This means each individual does his or her own work without assistance from other sources on any assignment or exam unless otherwise directed by the instructor. You are unable to learn what you need to know if you do not do your own work.

A violation of academic honesty can include but not be limited to:

  • Plagiarism
  • Falsifying documents
  • Submitting the same assignment in multiple classes
  • Copying or sharing work from another student
  • Aiding and abetting cheating
  • Using any form of technology, i.e. cell phones, laptops, student S: drive, etc, as a tool for academic dishonesty

It is the responsibility of each student to understand BFIT’s expectations for academic honesty and to seek help in understanding the policy if necessary.

BFIT instructors are obligated to investigate concerns regarding plagiarism when: A student’s in-class work differs significantly from his/her outside work. For example an investigation may occur when one paper is noticeably different in fluency, style or syntax from others by the student, and/or, a paper obviously uses sources which are not cited or which are improperly acknowledged, and/or, work (papers, labs, exams) is submitted at a level of understanding and insight beyond that which a student has typically exhibited in his/her work.

To preserve the College’s reputation and integrity, cases of academic dishonesty will be reported and may face disciplinary action. Documentation of alleged violations, proceedings, and any resulting sanctions will be kept on file in the office of the Director of Student Life until a student has graduated from the college. This file may be utilized in the event of any further infraction of institutional rules or policies.

With any suspected act of dishonesty, the instructor will provide documentation of the incident and any supporting evidence to the Director of Student Life. Students will be contacted by the Director of Student Life to discuss the incident and methods of prevention for the future. Based on the student’s conduct history, the Director of Student Life may refer the case to the Student Conduct Board.

The range of sanctions and the procedures followed are outlined below; however implementation of sanctions will lie with the Hearing Officer or Student Conduct Board and may be adjusted. Faculty may be solicited for further information as well as appearing before the Student Conduct Board.

Procedures and Sanctioning

  1. A first violation of academic honesty will result in a meeting with the Director of Student Life and may result in a failing grade for the assignment as well as an educational component to allow the student to learn from the process. Educational sanctions may include online modules, research or reflection essays, meeting with the Director of Student Success, or other means to educate oneself or others on academic honesty.
  2. A second violation of the academic honesty policy, whether this be in the same or a different course, will result in a meeting with the Director of Student Life or the Student Conduct Board, and may result in a grade of F for the final course grade. Due to the repeat nature of the incident, the student may be subject to increased sanctioning including academic probation for a minimum of one semester and increased educational sanctions.
  3. A third violation of the academic honesty policy will result in an automatic F for the course in which the infraction occurred and may include further disciplinary action including suspension or expulsion from the college. All documentation and evidence will be placed in the student’s file and, in this case, may become a permanent record regardless of the student’s graduation status at the college. A mandatory meeting will take place with the Dean of Academic Affairs and the student will have the opportunity to bring one member of the college’s faculty or staff to serve as a support person. The support person will have the opportunity to speak on the student’s behalf at the student’s request.

*Note: If suspension is part of the sanction for a 3rd offense and a student is found responsible for another incident of Academic Honesty upon returning to the College, this may be grounds for automatic expulsion.

Students will receive written notification within one week after meeting with a Hearing Officer or the Student Conduct Board.

Appeal Process

To initiate the appeal process, students will submit their appeal, electronically, in writing to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (or designee). Appeals must be received within five (5) class days of the date of the outcome of the conduct meeting.

A student should submit a formal and well written appeal:

To appeal a “responsible” decision for one or all violations from the original verdict

To appeal the level sanctioning from the original hearing body

It is up to the student(s) appealing to be persuasive and professional in their appeal letter. Appeal arguments should detail any information that was not available at the time of the original conduct meeting, as well as any additional information that is provided by witnesses or character references.

The decision to proceed with the appeal submitted is up to the discretion of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and/or designee. If the decision is to proceed, then every effort will be made to schedule an appeal meeting within five (5) class days.

Within 48 hours of submission, students will be notified if their appeal meets the above criteria and will be scheduled for an appeal meeting or if their appeal does not meet the criteria and is denied.

Since the appeal officer is never an eyewitness, he/she may never have absolute proof of what really happened. The best the appeal officer/panel can do is to be persuaded of what probably happened. The preponderance of evidence is used to base a decision during the conduct system and can be defined as – the lowest level of proof which typically means more likely than not.

Since the original Conduct Officer has ruled on responsibility based on a preponderance of the evidence, the appeal is not a re-hearing of the original case. Instead, the student has the opportunity to present any new information which supports the reason for the appeal including, new information that was not previously, information regarding excessive or inappropriate sanctions, information to prove the finding was not supported by the evidence, and/or information regarding procedural errors. The appeal officer will then render a decision based on the information provided.

The decision by the appeal officer will be based any of the following criteria:

  • Procedural error
  • Finding not supported by the evidence
  • Excessive or inappropriate sanction
  • New evidence not previously available

 The Appeal Officer may make the following decisions:

  • Uphold previous decision/sanctioning
  • Revise previous decision/sanctioning
  • Overturn previous decision/sanctioning
  • Refer the case back to the original Hearing Officer for a rehearing (in case of procedural errors)

The appeal may never increase any sanctions or add charges. Students should be aware that any outcome of the appeal is final.

Students will be notified of the outcome of their appeal in writing within 48 hours of their appeal meeting. Students should be aware that during the appeal process, all sanctions and limitations are in effect unless otherwise noted.

*Note: if multiple violations of academic honesty occur within a timeframe prior to required meetings taking place, the violations will be still be treated as individual occurrences and subject to disciplinary action as outlined above.