Guidelines for Academic Dishonesty

Academic Misconduct

There are a number of different academic offenses that are listed in the Undergraduate and Graduate Calendars.  Please refer to the Regulations and Policies section under Academic Offenses in each calendar for more information. The following is taken from the UNBC Graduate Calendar under General Regulations and Policies:

24. Academic Offenses

Any conduct that violates the standards of the University as set out in the Graduate University Calendar, particularly those related to academic honesty, is a serious offense. The formal processes set out in these Regulations are to be followed.  The Senate Committee on Academic Appeals provides for impartial review of decisions made at lower levels as defined in these Regulations. Minimum sanctions for an academic offense include reprimands and reduction of grades; the maximum sanction is dismissal from the student’s academic program or suspension from the University (see Academic Regulation 26 (Academic Sanctions)). Such offenses include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Plagiarism: Plagiarism occurs when a student submits or presents work of another person in such a manner as to lead the reader to believe that it is the student’s original work; self-plagiarism is the submission of work previously submitted for academic credit without prior written and signed approval of the current course instructor. 
  2. Cheating: Cheating takes numerous forms and includes, but is not limited to, the following: copying from another student’s work or allowing another student to copy from one’s own work; obtaining a copy of an examination before it is officially available; misrepresenting or falsifying references, citations, or sources of information; knowingly recording or reporting false or invented empirical or statistical data; and possession of notes, books, diagrams or other aids during examinations that are not authorized by the examiner (See Regulation 39(a)).
  3. Submitting False Records: Knowingly submitting false medical or criminal records, transcripts, or other such certificates or information.
  4. Withholding Records: Non-disclosure of previous attendance at a post-secondary institution, and of the transcript of record pertaining thereto, or of other documentation required by the University.
  5. Misrepresenting One’s Own Identity: Impersonation or the imitation of a student in class, in a test or examination or class assignment. Both the impersonator and the individual impersonated may be charged.
  6. Falsification of Results: The falsification of laboratory and research results.
  7. Submission of False Information: The submission of false or misrepresented information on any form used by the University or an agent thereof.
  8. Aiding or Abetting any of the above academic offences.

25. Procedure on Suspicion of an Academic Offence

  1. An instructor, invigilator, or administrator who suspects plagiarism, cheating, or any other academic offence, and has evidence to support the accusation, will review the contents of the student’s file in the Office of the Registrar to determine whether the record indicates a prior academic offense, and will obtain a copy of the UNBC Report Form for Academic Misconduct.  The instructor or administrator then will contact the student to inform the student fully of the offence and to present the evidence for it. The student may request that a third party (for example another faculty member, a teaching assistant, a staff member, or the ombudsperson) be present at this or any subsequent meetings.
  2. If the issue is resolved at this level, the faculty member or administrator will fill in Part A of the UNBC Report Form for Academic Misconduct and forward it to the Office of the Registrar to be placed in the student’s file. Discussions with the Chair or Dean may be held at the request of either the faculty member or the student, and the Dean may also be brought in at any stage if requested by either party.
  3. If the matter is not resolved between the student and faculty member or administrator, it will be discussed by the student, faculty member, and the Chair of the program involved or, in the case of professional programs that have their own internal appeals committees, reviewed by those committees. After these discussions or reviews, the Chair and Dean will complete Parts B and C respectively of the Report Form for Academic Misconduct. Whether or not a penalty is imposed, a copy of the Report Form will be placed in the student’s file in the Office of the Registrar, and copied to the student.

26. Academic Sanctions

“Every student accepted for registration at the University of Northern British Columbia shall be deemed to have agreed to be bound by the regulations and policies of the University and of the Program in which that student is enrolled” (Academic Calendar notices, p.1).  A student not adhering to the University’s Regulations and Policies shall be subject to academic sanctions.

A range of penalties is described below:

  1. Reprimand: This is a written warning to a student from the Instructor, Program Chair or the Dean of Graduate Studies that the student’s behaviour is considered unacceptable to the University and that a record of the unacceptable behaviour has been placed in the student’s file in the Office of the Registrar.
  2. Reduction of Grade: A reduction of grade, including assigning a failing grade, may be applied to an examination, test, assignment or course to which an offense is relevant and will be decided upon by the instructor, in consultation as may be appropriate with the Chair or Dean of Graduate Programs.
  3. Suspension: The Dean of Graduate Programs may recommend suspension, either for a specified period or indefinitely, to the President.  On the recommendation of the Dean, the President may suspend a student from the University, either for a specified period or indefinitely. Prior to the President’s decision becoming final, the student will be informed in writing of the recommendation. The student will be given 15 working days following such notification to lodge an appeal before the President’s final decision becomes effective. Any such appeal must be made in writing to the Registrar and will be reviewed by the Senate Committee on Academic Appeals.  Once the matter of suspension is final and upheld, a permanent notation will be placed on the student’s transcript.

27. Academic Appeals – Definition

Academic appeals deal with the evaluation of a student’s academic work: course grades, grades assigned on research papers and other course work, the outcome of written and oral thesis examinations, the results of an assessment to determine if a student’s academic performance warrants continued enrolment in his/her Graduate Program, the outcome of a language examination, and any other academic assessment or evaluation that may be carried out within a Graduate Program.

28. General Procedure on Academic Appeals

  1. It is expected that, where appropriate and possible, a student will attempt to resolve a problem informally with the instructor or the appropriate person before initiating a formal appeal process.
  2. Appeals must be submitted in writing, within 15 working days of the action or decision being appealed.
  3. The person to whom the appeal is addressed will normally be a course instructor (for appeals of grades) or a supervisor (in the case of other appeals as listed in Academic Regulation 22 above). This person must acknowledge receipt of the appeal in writing within 10 days.
29. Appeals ProcessAll students have the natural and reasonable right to appeal grades given during the term, the final grade of a course, and other academic policies and decisions of the University. The Senate Committee on Academic Appeals is the final adjudicator in such matters. All formal appeals must be made through the Registrar, in writing and with necessary documentation, within 15 working days of the receipt of the decision in question. The student’s written appeal must state clearly the decision being appealed, the reason(s) why the decision is considered to be unfair, what decision would be considered fair, and why it would be fair. It is incumbent upon the student to advise the University, via the Office of the Registrar, of their current contact information. All written appeals to the Senate Committee on Academic Appeals should indicate whether an in-person hearing is being requested. Otherwise, cases are adjudicated on the basis of the written submissions.