Cases and Hearings

Cases and Hearings before the Academic Integrity Committee

The committee may review the case without a formal hearing (a Paper Review by the Academic Integrity Committee) under the following circumstances: 

  1. it is agreed upon by the student who has signed the Academic Integrity form
  2. the student is aware of the charge(s) and sanction(s) but has refused to sign the form
  3. the level of the sanction is considered severe enough by either party to warrant a review of the case.

The review by the Academic Integrity Committee shall be conducted at a face-to-face meeting by the AI hearing committee as described above.  

For either a review by the Academic Integrity Committee or a formal hearing, the Academic Integrity Committee

  1. should provide a timetable to the faculty member and student for receipt of documentation
  2. must be provided with documentation in a timely manner consistent with allowing both sides to prepare (See 1 above.)

All documentation received by the Committee must be provided to the faculty member and student/s involved in the case.

'Documentation' refers to 

  1. The paper or exam that includes or embodies the violation of academic integrity 
  2. written statements from the faculty member, accused student/s, and other individuals as requested 
  3. other materials as appropriate to the incident.

  The Academic Integrity Committee reserves the right to request additional statements from individuals who may have relevant information.

Hearings before the Academic Integrity Committee

The hearing should be scheduled expeditiously, but after allowing reasonable time (e.g., five business days) to inform the student and faculty member of such a hearing, and allowing the student reasonable time to prepare.

If a formal hearing is required, it is the responsibility of the chairperson to

  1. direct the hearing process 
  2. rule on the admissibility of evidence
  3. rule on the relevance of information being presented 
  4. maintain procedures and performance that would be considered non-capricious and non-arbitrary.
  5. vote only in case of a tie.

The burden of proof shall be guilt by clear and convincing evidence.

There shall be no lawyers present at this  hearing.

Testimony shall be heard from the principals of the case and any witnesses for either side that have relevant information to present.

A University-related advisor may be present at the request of the student.

Audiocassette recording of the proceeding is an option, but any such recordings are Penn State University property and shall be forwarded to Judicial Affairs along with case materials. No other recordings are permitted. The student may make notes from the recordings (refer to Judicial Affairs for procedures).

The student shall have the right to 

  1. prior review of available evidence and documentation 
  2. waive reasonable time and proceed as permitted 
  3. be present throughout the hearing and hear all evidence 
  4. be absent from the hearing 
  5. provide testimony as defense 
  6. question accusers and witnesses present 
  7. review the written report of the committee.

The faculty member shall have the right to

  1. be present throughout the hearing and hear all evidence 
  2. present the allegation of academic dishonesty to the committee.

The AI hearing committee may use Appendix A  Precedent Guidelines as a general guide, but may also consider the following in recommending a sanction:

  1. ethical or special reasons for sanctioning above or below precedent 
  2. the likelihood that the consequences will reduce the probability of repeat acts 
  3. how the sanctions will serve the student and community needs 
  4. opportunity for student growth

The AI hearing committee will meet immediately following the hearing to draft the report.  The AI hearing committee must make a determination of innocence or guilt and recommend an appropriate sanction.  The AI hearing committee then makes a request of the Associate Dean who will forward the report to Judicial Affairs (see appendix B). The Associate Dean will check with Judicial Affairs to determine if there have been any previous violations of Academic Integrity prior to the implementation of academic sanctions.  If the student has previous violations, the recommended sanction may be reviewed and changed.  

If a student is found to have violated Academic Integrity, the report becomes part of the student?s formal educational record.  (If the committee finds no violation to have occurred, the written report shall be filed with Judicial Affairs and handled in a manner consistent with University procedures.)

The student and faculty member shall be formally informed of the result of the review. 

The decisions of the AI hearing committee are final. 

The case must be referred to Judicial Affairs for formal review or hearing if University Disciplinary sanctions are to be considered. This action must be taken prior to any fact finding. (This includes possible assignment of the XF grade.)

Committee composition for hearings

If a hearing before the Academic Integrity Committee is required for any incident a minimum of five members of the Academic Integrity committee will hear the case. Each member should be objective. (If a conflict of interest may occur, the committee member should excuse him or herself and be replaced.)

The AI hearing committee must consist of a majority of faculty, one of whom shall chair the hearing. In addition one student and at least one representative from the College?s Associate Dean Office or Student Affairs Office shall also be present. 

The faculty members should first be chosen from the regularly appointed members of the committee and then from the alternates, if necessary.

Similarly the student should be selected from the regular committee membership. If the regularly chosen student member of the committee is not available, an alternate may be selected from a pool of student alternates.