Student Conduct Code: Academic Integrity and General Misconduct

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
Teachers College, Columbia University
Printer-friendly Version
Teachers College, Columbia University Logo
Policy Library

Teachers College Policy Library

Student Conduct Code: Academic Integrity and General Misconduct

Owner: Vice Provost for Student Affairs

URL: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/policylibrary/Student Conduct Code: Academic Integrity and General Misconduct

Student Conduct Code:  Academic Integrity and General Misconduct

Owner:  Vice Provost for Student Affairs

INTRODUCTION 

Teachers College (TC or the College) expects students to observe traditional norms of scholarly discourse, academic integrity and fairness.  All students should engage in responsible social conduct and model good civil conduct and citizenship.  Thus, activities which disrupt the regular and essential operations of the College or Columbia University are not permitted.

Members of the College community may charge students with violating these standards of conduct.  Students found responsible for violating these standards may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action ranging from reprimand to disciplinary probation, suspension and/or expulsion from the College.

When students are accused of gender-based misconduct including but not limited to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, the Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and Procedures for Students found at: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/policylibrary/diversity-and-community-affairs/gender-based-misconduct-policy-for-students/ is the student conduct code.  All other academic and general misconduct involving students falls under this student conduct code.

Nothing in these standards of conduct shall replace professional codes of ethics applicable to students in various programs.

 

1.  DEFINITIONS AND ORGANIZATION OF THE DISCIPLINARY SYSTEM 

1.1 Student:  For purposes of this Code, any person currently enrolled in a degree program as a matriculated student and any person currently enrolled in a non-degree program in a for-credit course (including an online course) at Teachers College is a student. 

Non-credit offerings may be instructional programs or stand-alone courses that do not require extensive assessment or examinations and do not offer academic credit.  Non-credit programs are a series of non-credit courses that may lead to a culminating non-credit certificate of attendance.  Non-credit courses are usually offered as a 1 or 2-day course, workshop or conference.  For purposes of this Code, any person currently participating in a non-credit program at Teachers College is a student.  Any person currently participating in a non-credit course is not considered a student. 

1.1.1 Students who also serve as TC employees may be subject to separate disciplinary proceedings by virtue of their employment status.  TC has other policies that relate to staff and faculty as well as policies that apply to all members of the community.  All TC policies may be found in the Policy Library.  Nothing in this Code shall prevent an investigation or discipline under other applicable College policies.

1.1.2 If an accused student is also enrolled at another institution, that student may be referred to that student’s primary institution at the discretion of TC.

 1.2 Jurisdiction:  This Code addresses misconduct committed by students including:

1.2.1 Any alleged violation that is committed by a student that adversely affects the safety and security of the College (or Columbia University), College (or Columbia University) property or an individual member of the College (or Columbia University) community;

1.2.2 Any alleged violation that is committed by a student that substantially disrupts the functions or operations of the College (or Columbia University).

1.3 Vice Provost for Student Affairs: The Vice Provost for Student Affairs has overall responsibility for overseeing proceedings and all matters related to the enforcement of this Code.  The Vice Provost for Student Affairs may identify a designee to carry out these responsibilities. 

1.3.1 The duties of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs include: determining whether to resolve complaints by voluntary agreements, whether complaints warrant referral to the Student Conduct Committee (SCC), bringing charges of violations to the SCC for disciplinary hearing, monitoring and enforcing the fulfillment of sanctions imposed, maintaining records of all disciplinary matters, providing administrative support for all aspects of the disciplinary process (including hearings), preparing reports, and compiling statistics.  In cases of admission fraud, the Vice Provost for Student Affairs will work with the Office of Admission and other offices as necessary to discipline those who violated the College’s admission certification of accuracy statement

1.4 Student Conduct Committee (SCC):  The SCC is responsible for conducting hearings related to alleged violations of this Code.

1.4.1 The jurisdiction of the SCC extends to both areas of the TC disciplinary system: Academic Integrity and General Misconduct.

1.4.2 The SCC shall be comprised of three students, three professional staff members and three faculty members.  Its members shall serve staggered terms to ensure continuity as members of the SCC rotate on and off the Committee.

1.4.3 SCC hearings are conducted by a three-member panel of the SCC convened by the Vice Provost for Student Affairs or designee.

1.5 Complainant and Respondent.  Any member of the TC or Columbia University community who alleges an academic or general misconduct violation is called a complainant.  Students accused of academic or general misconduct violations under this Code are called respondents.

1.6 Advisors:  Advisors can assist students involved in disciplinary proceedings to understand the disciplinary process, respect and comply with the provisions of this Code, and manage all aspects of the process.

1.6.1 An advisor may accompany any complainant or respondent to a meeting regarding a disciplinary complaint.  Advisors also may accompany complainants or respondents at hearings, and in both cases, may quietly advise but may not participate in such meetings or hearings.

1.6.2 An advisor must be either a TC faculty member, staff member or student and must be in good academic and disciplinary standing.

1.6.3 Generally, the student must select an advisor whose schedule allows attendance at the scheduled hearing dates and times.  Delays will not be allowed due to advisor scheduling conflicts.

1.7 Any member of the TC or Columbia University community may bring a complaint about student conduct to the attention of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.  Doing so in no way limits the complainant’s rights or obligations to bring such matters to the attention of College offices, officers or resources, including the Office of the Ombuds or to seek recourse outside TC through civil or criminal legal proceedings.

 

2.  ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

2.1 TC is an academic community whose most fundamental purpose is the pursuit of knowledge.  High principles of academic integrity are essential to the functioning and continued growth of this community.  Students, as well as faculty, are responsible for adhering to these principles, and TC will not tolerate failure to adhere to the College’s principles of academic integrity.  Students who intentionally or recklessly submit work either not their own or without clear attribution to the original source, fabricate data or other information, engage in cheating, misrepresent academic records or other violations noted below are subject to charges.  Those who engage in academic misconduct should expect sanctions up to and including dismissal from TC.

2.2 Responsibilities of Community Members:  Every member of the TC academic community is responsible for upholding the standards of academic integrity declared in this Code.

2.2.1 If a student is unsure whether actions might constitute academic misconduct, the student has the responsibility to consult with the instructor in advance about any ambiguities. 

2.3 Academic misconduct includes but is not limited to:

2.3.1 Cheating:  using or attempting to use unauthorized assistance, material or study aids in examinations or other academic work;

2.3.2 Plagiarism:  using the ideas, data or language of another without specific or proper acknowledgement;

2.3.3 Fabrication:  submitting contrived or altered information in any academic exercise such as making up data, citing nonexistent articles, contriving events and sources of information;

2.3.4 Duplicate submissions: submitting any work submitted to fulfill another assignment without appropriate revision to meet the instructional goals of the current course.  In cases of uncertainty or ambiguity, a student should check with the student’s instructor;

2.3.5 Misrepresentation of academic records or attempting to tamper with transcripts of any portion of a student’s academic record;

2.3.6 Facilitating academic dishonesty by knowingly helping another student to engage in academic misconduct;

2.3.7 Unfair advantage through attempting to gain unauthorized access to examination or other course-related materials or obstructing another student’s efforts.

 

3.  GENERAL MISCONDUCT

3.1 Violations of general misconduct include but are not limited to:

3.1.1 Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, TC procedures and activities, or other authorized activities;

3.1.2 Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion or other conduct that may endanger the health and/or safety of others.  This includes threats of violence against another person and physical or verbal intimidation that unreasonably impairs the security or privacy of another person;

3.1.3 Discrimination and harassment.  Please see the TC Policy on Protection from Harassment;

3.1.4 Unauthorized entry or use of TC facilities or unauthorized possession or use of TC property of others;

3.1.5 Disorderly conduct or highly offensive conduct or expression;

3.1.6 Forgery, alteration or misuse of TC documents, records or identification, furnishing false information to TC or Columbia University or possession of any false identification or identification belonging to another person;

3.1.7 Identity theft: possessing or using another person’s name, address, Social Security Number (SSN), bank or credit card account number, or other identifying information without that person’s knowledge and/or with the intent to commit fraud or other crimes;

3.1.8 Theft or other abuse of computer facilities and resources including but not limited to:  any violation of TC or Columbia University Computer Use Policy, using computing facilities and resources to send offensive or abusive messages or other unauthorized use of computing facilities and resources;

3.1.9 Violations of copyright law by unlawful copying, distributing, sharing or storing copyright-protected information or material, including but not limited to music, film and internet video;

3.1.10 The unlawful manufacture, possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs, unlawful drug paraphernalia and alcohol.  Please see the TC Drug-Free Campus Policy;

3.1.11 Failure to comply with authorized directions of or furnishing false information to TC or Columbia University officials or representatives of the SCC acting in performance of their duties;

3.1.12 Failure to engage in responsible social conduct and to model good civil conduct and citizenship;

3.1.13 Violations of any other TC or Columbia University policy, rule or regulation, or of federal, state or local law that reflect upon or are related to the Student’s activities or status as a Teachers College student.

 

4.  INFORMAL PROCEDURES

4.1 When an issue arises involving the academic or general misconduct of a student, the Code provides informal avenues by which the complaint may be resolved.

4.2 Personal Resolution:

4.2.1 Academic Integrity:  A faculty member or other instructor who believes that a student has engaged in academic misconduct will apprise the student of the suspected academic misconduct and refer the student to the Student Conduct Code and the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.  The instructor shall also provide the student with the opportunity to meet with the instructor to discuss the nature and validity of the allegations and the possible institutional responses.  After a discussion with the student, the instructor will decide whether the alleged violation was intentional or unintentional.  The instructor will then propose a resolution to the student and discuss possible sanctions with the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, as appropriate.

4.2.2 General Misconduct:  A complainant may wish to communicate directly with the person against whom the complaint is being made in order to address the issues involved.  However, a complainant may bypass personal resolution if the complainant would feel uncomfortable or unsafe doing so.  In particular, individuals who believe that they were threatened or who were injured by a student are encouraged to speak with the Vice Provost for Student Affairs or visit the TC Ombuds to seek assistance before pursuing personal resolution.  Such an individual may wish to pursue other options such as a facilitated conversation, mediation or to file a request for a formal resolution.

 4.3 Facilitated Conversation:

4.3.1 TC encourages a facilitated conversation whenever practical and appropriate.  A facilitated conversation may take place only if the complainant and respondent both agree to participate.  A matter is resolved through a facilitated conversation only if all parties agree on the resolution.

4.3.2 Academic Integrity: If, after following the procedure for personal resolution above, a resolution is not reached, the instructor and student may approach the Program Director (or Department Chair if the instructor is the Program Director) following their discussion and decide to move forward with a facilitated conversation.  The Program Director or Department Chair may then facilitate a conversation between the instructor and the student to discuss the allegations and a possible resolution of the matter.  If as part of the facilitated conversation, a resolution is agreed to that involves the imposition of sanctions, these will be issued by the Program Director or Department Chair and should be communicated in writing to the student.

4.3.3 General Misconduct: In situations involving alleged general misconduct, any involved party may contact the Vice Provost for Student Affairs with a request for a facilitated conversation.  The Vice Provost for Student Affairs or a designee may then facilitate a conversation between the parties to discuss the allegations and a possible resolution of the matter.  If as part of the facilitated conversation, a resolution is agreed to that involves the imposition of sanctions, these will be issued by the Vice Provost for Student Affairs or designee.

4.3.4 Ombuds Office Mediation:  The parties may ask the TC Ombuds to mediate a dispute.  The mediation must be agreed to by both parties.  The TC Ombuds is independent from the College’s administration and determines the procedures under which the mediation will take place.

 

5.  FORMAL PROCEDURES 

5.1 If attempts at personal resolution, facilitated conversation or mediation fail or any member of the community wishes to bypass informal procedures and file a formal complaint, the complainant shall notify the Vice Provost for Student Affairs in writing.  The Vice Provost for Student Affairs or designee will then convene a Hearing Panel from the members of the SCC.  The Vice Provost for Student Affairs will provide notice of the hearing and a statement of the allegations to the complainant and the respondent within 7 calendar days of receipt in writing of the complaint by the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.

5.2 The statement of the allegations will identify the reasons for calling the hearing with sufficient particularity and rationale to insure the parties have an opportunity to prepare for the hearing.  The statement of the allegations also will contain the names of the proposed hearing panelists.  Either party should notify the Vice Provost for Student Affairs or designee of any hearing panelist that is known to them and/or who could present a conflict in the case.  The Vice Provost for Student Affairs will review the potential conflict and decide whether or not the hearing panelist should be replaced.  No member of the Hearing Panel who is otherwise interested in the particular case shall sit on the Hearing Panel for that case.

5.3 A hearing may be expedited in appropriate circumstances, including disciplinary matters involving students who have been placed on mandatory temporary suspension or conditional attendance, graduating students or students who are about to take a leave of absence or to leave campus to study elsewhere.

5.4 The SCC Hearing Panel will be comprised of one student, one professional staff member and one faculty member, one of whom will serve as Chair.  The Chair is, in consultation with the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, responsible for ensuring that the hearing process occurs in a timely fashion.

5.5 All members of the TC community are required to cooperate with these formal procedures.  Individuals who are interviewed or called as witnesses (including complainants and respondents) are obligated to provide honest and complete statements during the process.

5.6 Disciplinary hearings are not trials or legal in nature, and they are not governed by rules of legal procedure, evidence or judicial formality.  They are designed to encourage open discussion among the participants to promote the Hearing Panel’s understanding of the facts, the individuals involved and the circumstances under which the alleged incident occurred, the nature of the conduct, and the attitudes and experiences of those involved.  Information, including hearsay evidence, may be considered if it is relevant, not unduly repetitious and the sort of information on which responsible persons are accustomed to rely upon in the conduct of serious affairs.

       5.7 These procedures and standards apply to all hearings:

5.7.1 The complainant and respondent in the process may be accompanied by advisors as described in the section on advisors above.

5.7.2 No less than 3 calendar days prior to the hearing, the parties shall submit to the Vice Provost for Student Affairs or designee all documents to be submitted as evidence and the names and anticipated areas of testimony of any witnesses.

5.7.3 Witnesses: the Hearing Panel has the discretion to determine which witnesses, if any, they wish to interview during the hearing.

5.7.4 Both the complainant and the respondent may make opening and closing remarks of not more than five minutes each.

5.7.5 The Hearing Panel’s findings are based solely on the statements of the complainant, respondent and/or witnesses and any evidence submitted prior to or during the hearing.

5.7.6 The Hearing Panel will determine a violation of the Code by a preponderance of the evidence.

5.7.7 There shall be a single official record of all hearings.  The record shall be the property of TC.

5.7.8 If either the complainant or the respondent fails to appear at the hearing, proceedings will continue.  Evidence may be presented and considered even if a party is absent.

5.7.9 After the hearing concludes, the SCC Hearing Panel shall deliberate in private.

5.7.10 All findings of the Hearing Panel require a majority vote.  The SCC Hearing Panel will then promptly deliver a brief written statement and any recommended sanctions to the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.

5.7.11 The Vice Provost for Student Affairs will communicate to the respondent the Hearing Panel’s decision and any sanctions imposed.  The Vice Provost for Student Affairs will inform the complainant of the decision.  These communications will be in writing.

5.8 Appeals.  Both parties have the right to appeal.  The appeal must be submitted to the Vice Provost for Student Affairs within 14 calendar days following written notification of the decision from the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.  Grounds for appeal include: (1) procedural error and (2) new evidence and/or information not available at the time of the hearing.  Appeals must be in writing, must state the ground for appeal and must provide any evidence to support the appeal. 

5.8.1 The Vice Provost acts as the appellate officer.  The Vice Provost for Student Affairs will provide the Vice Provost with all information regarding the case.  After review, the Vice Provost will notify the appellant in writing of the appeal decision, which is final.

5.8.2 If the Vice Provost is the complainant, the appellate officer function will be discharged by the Provost and Dean of the College.  Subject to the special provision for emergency or other extraordinary situations, there shall be no change in the status of the respondent until the appeals process is complete.

5.9 In an emergency or other extraordinary situation, the Vice Provost for Student Affairs or designee shall take such interim disciplinary action as is necessary to appropriately manage an incident pending a hearing by the SCC or a decision on appeal, which shall take place as soon as practicable.

 

6. DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS 

6.1 Disciplinary sanctions may include, but are not limited to one or more of the following:

6.1.1 Reprimand: a verbal admonition and an official written warning, course or grade failure;

6.1.2 Restitution: repair or replacement of property when loss or damage is part of the offense;

6.1.3 Restriction: loss of privileges that are consistent with the offense and the rehabilitation of the student;

6.1.4 Disciplinary Probation: the student is no longer in good disciplinary standing for a specified period of time;

6.1.5 Suspension: dismissal from TC and/or its residence halls for a specified time.  Suspension, pending a hearing may be imposed when there is reason to believe the action is necessary to maintain TC operations and/or to protect the safety of individuals;

6.1.6 Expulsion:  permanent dismissal from TC and/or its residence halls;

6.1.7 Revocation: withholding or repealing admission, course credit or a degree award based on fraud or misrepresentation.

 

7.  COUNSELING, EVALUATION AND TREATMENT 

7.1 In some cases of misconduct, such as those committed under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, participation in an evaluation and/or treatment program by an approved counseling service may be a condition of readmission to TC or a condition of continued enrollment.

 

8. DISCIPLINARY RECORDS AND CONFIDENTIALITY

8.1. Records of disciplinary proceedings are mainained by the Vice Provost for Student Affaris. No record of the disciplinary proceedings will be entered in the student's official College file until a final decision and if appropriate disciplinary sanction is rendered and any appeals are condluded. 

8.2. All disciplinary proceedings, the identity of individuals involved in particular disciplinary matters, and all disciplinary files, testimony and findings are keps confidential to the extent possible. 

 

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY RULES OF CONDUCT 

Columbia University has separate Rules of University Conduct which apply to all those who visit its campuses or use its facilities.  Violations of these Rules can lead to sanctions including the eradication of permission to visit the Columbia University campuses or use of its facilities and suspension or dismissal from Columbia University courses in which a Teachers College student may be enrolled.

For more information please visit: http://www.essential-policies.columbia.edu/files_facets/imce_shared/TheRulesOfUniversityConduct.pdf

Responsible Office: Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Effective Date: 

Last Updated: September 2017