Any violation of academic integrity is a serious offense and is therefore subject to an appropriate sanction or penalty. Academic integrity violations at Rutgers University are classified into two levels called nonseparable and separable. Nonseparable violations are less severe violations for which the possible sanctions do not include suspension or expulsion from the University; separable violations are more severe violations for which the possible sanctions include suspension or expulsion. Whether a given violation is classified as nonseparable or separable depends on a number of factors including: the nature and importance of the academic exercise; the degree of premeditation or planning; the extent of dishonest or malicious intent; the academic experience of the student; and whether the violation is a first-time or repeat offense.
Nonseparable violations are less serious violations of academic integrity. They may occur because of inexperience or lack of understanding of the principles of academic integrity and are often characterized by a relatively low degree of premeditation or planning and the absence of malicious intent on the part of the student committing the violation. These violations are generally quite limited in extent, occur on a minor assignment or quiz or constitute a small portion of a major assignment and/or represent a small percentage of the total course work. Below are a few examples of violations that are most often considered nonseparable, at least when committed by an undergraduate student as a first-time offense. This list is not exhaustive and classification of a given violation as separable or nonseparable is always heavily dependent on the specific facts and circumstances of the violation.
- Improper citation without dishonest intent.
- Plagiarism on a minor assignment or a very limited portion of a major assignment.
- Unpremeditated cheating on a quiz or minor examination.
- Unauthorized collaboration with another student on a homework assignment.
- Citing a source that does not exist or that one hasn’t read on a minor assignment.
- Making up a small number of data points on a laboratory exercise.
- Signing in for another student via attendance sheet or clicker in a course in which attendance counts toward the grade.
However, an alleged second nonseparable violation shall be treated as an alleged separable violation. Moreover, some violations that would be considered nonseparable for an undergraduate student may be treated as separable for a graduate student.*
Sanctions for nonseparable violations include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following, and do not include suspension or expulsion:
- Required participation in a noncredit workshop or seminar on ethics or academic integrity.
- An assigned paper or research project related to ethics or academic integrity.
- A make-up assignment that may be more difficult than the original assignment.
- No credit for the original assignment.
- A failing grade on the assignment.
- A failing grade for the course.
- Disciplinary warning or probation.
Separable violations are very serious violations of academic integrity that affect a more significant portion of the course work compared to nonseparable violations. Separable violations are often characterized by substantial premeditation or planning and clearly dishonest or malicious intent on the part of the student committing the violation. Below are some examples of violations that are most often considered separable. Again, the list is certainly not exhaustive and classification of a given violation as separable or nonseparable is always heavily dependent on the exact facts and circumstances of the violation.
- A second nonseparable violation.
- Substantial plagiarism on a major assignment.
- Copying or using unauthorized materials, devices, or collaboration on a major exam.
- Having a substitute take an examination.
- Making up or falsifying evidence or data or other source materials for a major assignment, including falsification by selectively omitting or altering data that do not support one’s claims or conclusions.
- Facilitating dishonesty by another student on a major exam or assignment.
- Intentionally destroying or obstructing another student’s work.
- Knowingly violating research or professional ethics.
- Any violation involving potentially criminal activity.
Sanctions for separable violations include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following, and may, but need not, involve suspension or expulsion:
- A grade of XF (disciplinary F) for the course.
- Disciplinary probation.
- Dismissal from a departmental or school honors program.
- Denial of access to internships or research programs.
- Loss of appointment to academically-based positions.
- Loss of departmental/graduate program endorsements for internal and external fellowship support and employment opportunities.
- Removal of fellowship or assistantship support.
- Suspension for one or more semesters.
- Dismissal from a graduate or professional program.
- Permanent expulsion from the University with a permanent notation of disciplinary expulsion on the student’s transcript.
The recommendations for sanctions at each level are not binding, but are intended as guidelines for the University community. For both nonseparable and separable violations, the severity of the sanction imposed should be proportional to the severity of the violation committed.
Sanctions for a given violation may be imposed differently on those with more or with less experience as students. Thus violations of academic integrity by graduate students* will normally be penalized more severely than the same violations by inexperienced undergraduate students. In particular, violations that would be considered nonseparable for an undergraduate student may be treated as separable for a graduate student.
Some professional schools or programs may have codes of professional conduct with customary sanctions for violations thereof that may be more severe than those recommended under this Policy. These schools or programs have the responsibility to educate their students about their profession’s code of professional conduct. Students are responsible for understanding the requirements of the code of professional conduct for the particular professional program in which they are enrolled and the penalties for violating that code.
* In this policy, the term graduate student refers to post-baccalaureate students pursuing advanced degrees of any type or enrolled in a graduate course or courses. The term also includes students in the advanced stages of a professional program that leads to a masters or doctoral degree without conferral of a baccalaureate degree.