Information for Students
The information presented here helps students understand the university's policies and procedures regarding acts of academic dishonesty (in particular, plagiarism).
All new students are provided instruction concerning plagiarism at Kent State University as part of the Destination Kent State/First Year Experience course (US 10097). If you did not take that course or otherwise want to review the information presented during that session, consult our Plagiarism Education page.
The university's policy on student cheating and plagiarism (3342-3-01.8 in the policy register) addresses the procedure when a student is accused of plagiarizing. The outline below summarizes the steps in that process (there are also flowcharts that diagram the process for Kent Campus and Regional Campus students):
What Happens if You are Accused of Plagiarism?
If you are accused of plagiarizing, you should expect the following:
- Your instructor informs you verbally or in writing that he/she suspects you of plagiarizing.
- Your instructor provides you with an opportunity to explain orally or in writing why you believe you did not plagiarize. Since you may be taken aback by the unforeseen accusation, you may be tempted to simply argue with the instructor rather than trying to understand why you are being accused of plagiarizing and writing out a response to the charge.
- If your instructor still believes you plagiarized, he/she may impose 1 of these 3 sanctions:
- Refuse to accept the work for credit (the student would have to do the work over from scratch in order to have it count towards his or her final grade).
- Give an F or zero to the student for that assignment.
- Fail the student for the entire course
- The instructor has discretion in determining the most appropriate response for the violation. He or she will decide how severely to penalize the student.
- The instructor will fill out the online Cheating/Plagiarism Sanction Form, which gets sent to the Office of Student Conduct. That office will contact you, the instructor's chair or regional campus dean, and the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled to communicate the sanction applied by the instructor. The form also serves to inform you of your right to appeal the sanction.
- The instructor might also recommend to his or her chair or regional campus dean that additional academic sanctions (sanctions affecting your ability to complete a degree) be applied.
- If the instructor's chair or regional campus dean agree, the charge will be forwarded to the dean of the college in which you are enrolled or the vice provost for regional campuses for consideration of one of the following degree-related sanctions:
- Revocation or recommendation to decertify or not to certify.
- Rejection of the thesis, dissertation or work.
- Recommendation for revocation of a degree.
- If your instructor or dean believes that the academic sanctions listed above are not sufficient, the charge could be forwarded to the Academic Hearing Panel. If that happens and it is determined that more action is needed, the penalties could increase and you could be dismissed from the university.
- Students who commit their first, usually less-egregious act of plagiarism are sometimes asked to attend "Plagiarism School."
The Student's Right to Appeal a Sanction ...
It is extremely important for you to realize that at the point you are informed in writing of the sanction chosen all decisions have been made by your instructor. If you believe that you have been unjustly sanctioned or believe that the sanction applied by the instructor was too severe, the ONLY course of action is to appeal.
Appeals must be made within 15 class days (days are defined as days in which the university holds classes, except for weekends) of receiving the written notice of sanction. If you decide not to appeal or wait longer then the 15 days allowed, you are stuck with the sanction. If you do appeal, you must write a letter to the Office of Student Conduct (119 Twin Towers P.O. Box 5190, Kent, OH 44242). The appeal will be forwarded to the Academic Hearing Panel (AHP), which will facilitate the following process:
- A hearing will be scheduled where the instructor must demonstrate that you plagiarized (the instructor's accusation is not enough to retain the sanction; there must be evidence).
- You and the instructor can call witnesses and cross-examine each other (although this is a quasi-judicial process, neither side can be represented by legal counsel).
- The AHP will make a final decision and send it to the parties within 15 days of the conclusion of the hearing.
The policy does allow you to appeal a decision made by the AHP. That appeal must be made in writing within 7 calendar days of the date of the AHP decision to the Provost (Executive Offices, 2nd Floor Library, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242). Such appeals are limited to the following reasons:
- The decision was not in accordance with the facts presented.
- The decision was reached through a procedure not in accordance with this rule.
- New information is available which suggests modification of the decision.
- To determine whether the sanctions imposed were appropriate for the conduct violation which the student was found to have committed.