What happens if your professor suspects or accuses you of academic dishonesty?
Firstly, it is not appropriate that the professor or TA simply assigns you a mark of zero, although minor infractions can result in automatic grade reductions.
Senate Policy specifies the steps a professor must take. The first step, which is optional, may be a preliminary meeting with you to discuss the matter. If this meeting does not resolve the matter your professor will forward the information to the Undergraduate Program Director in the department which will arrange for an exploratory meeting. Often professors will proceed straight to the exploratory meeting without having any preliminary meeting with you.
The exploratory meeting may have one of four outcomes:
- the professor and the Undergraduate Program Director (or designate) who conducts the meeting are convinced that you have not breached the academic honesty policy in any significant way and the matter is dismissed
- you agree that you have breached the academic honesty policy and following further discussion you agree to accept a proposed academic penalty
- you agree that you have breached the academic honesty policy but following further discussion you do not agree to accept a proposed academic penalty
- you do not agree that you have breached the academic honesty policy but the professor and the Associate Dean remain convinced that the evidence shows you have
In outcome 2, the agreement reached must be ratified by the Committee on Examinations and Academic Standards (CEAS). In outcome 3, a panel of CEAS must meet to decide the penalty, and you are able to present your proposed penalty along with reasons. In outcome 4, a panel of CEAS must meet to hear the evidence and decide whether or not you have breached the academic honesty policy. If they decide you have breached the policy the panel will also receive penalty recommendations and then decide a penalty.
Senate Policy specifies two other important effects resulting from a finding that a student has breached the policy. One is that a confidential note is added to the student’s record on the Student Information System barring the student from dropping a course in which they have been found to have breached the policy. This means the course always remains on the student’s academic record. Secondly, the University keeps a confidential file of the matter (held in the Office of the Dean).