Changes in academic dishonesty criteria

By Corinne Doubek

Ashland University’s Academic Integrity Policy is not to be taken lightly. According to Section I of the policy in the student handbook, “…academic integrity is to be revered, honored and upheld…” by all students enrolled at AU. Recently, the policy has undergone some changes.

Academic dishonesty takes form in many different ways. For example, plagiarism, fabrication and cheating are the most common. Students do have the option of going through a hearing to refute any allegations against them.

Previous to the Fall 2012 semester, a student who had performed academic dishonesty twice was able to have a hearing, plead guilty or not guilty and go through the process as if it were their first offense. However, one specific change to the policy was made that could cause some serious damage to students’ transcripts.

Kathy Hall, Ashland University Registrar, and numerous faculty members were concerned with how many students withdrew from their classes after receiving notice of their dishonesty rather than dealing with the consequences. In turn, they decided to move forward with changing the policy for second offenders.

“We ramped up the seriousness of these offenses,” Hall said.

The Faculty Senate met and decided what the punishment would be for those students who committed a second offense.

This punishment will not only affect their grade for the course, but will also be visible on permanent records.

Instead of receiving a “W” for withdrawing from a course, students will now receive a “WF,” or Withdraw/Fail.

When a second offense occurs, the student under scrutiny may make the choice to withdraw.

However, this does not exclude them from the WF punishment.

The very purpose of this policy change is to enforce the idea that dishonesty is an absolute wrong.

In addition, instead of these changes only applying to those by which the catalog resides, like a class title change for registration, they will affect everyone currently enrolled at AU.

Hall has added an addendum to the current student handbook stating this fact in the event that any one may contest it.

Senior AU Marketing student Erika Winkler said she hopes this new policy will change students’ perspectives on academic dishonesty.

“These changes are serious,” she said, “and hopefully students see how it can affect their future.”