Concordia University

What you need to know now about academic integrity

At exam time, something as simple as a forgotten cellphone can mean a failing grade
April 10, 2017
By Sara DuBreuil


Academic dishonesty — plagiarism, cheating or any other form — is taken very seriously at Concordia.

The Academic Code of Conduct is the university policy that outlines academic integrity and its related procedures.

A lot of offences under the code can happen at exam time. These include obvious transgressions, such as copying answers or stealing exam questions in advance.

But the code also covers lesser-known offences including tampering with exam booklets, taking any part of an exam from the examination room, being in possession of cellphones or any other electronic devices during an exam or bringing notes into an exam, whether or not they are used.

Other offences unrelated to exams include handing in the same assignment to more than one class, falsifying research facts or data and lending work to another student who may copy it or hand it in as their own.

Some offences can occur accidentally or may even seem like harmless behaviour. That’s why Raja Bhattacharya, coordinator of the Student Advocacy Office, offers this advice: take the time to read the code carefully. 

“Academic misconduct has a broad ambit,” Bhattacharya says. “Knowingly or unknowingly, if you become a part of this unfortunate exercise, you will be charged under the code.”

The consequences

Students charged with plagiarism, cheating or other forms of academic dishonesty will have to attend an interview with the dean or faculty code administrator to explain what happened and why.

After the interview, the administrator will decide whether to uphold the charge, and if so, depending on the nature of offence(s), what the consequence(s) will be. The sanction can be anything from a reprimand, grade reduction or failing mark to suspension or even expulsion from the university.

Need help?

Bhattacharya says that the code, which was updated in 2015, should help students understand academic misconduct. But he adds that the Student Advocacy Office is there to offer assistance if you need it.

“If anyone is struggling with understanding a specific provision of the code, they can come see us. We will be more than happy to explain it.”

They will also support students who find themselves charged under the code.

An updated code

A review committee made up of faculty and student representatives, chaired by Melodie Sullivan, legal counsel for Student and Administrative Affairs, held a comprehensive review of the Academic Code of Conduct from January 2012 to August 2014.

The review resulted in a few important updates to the code, including an introductory statement stressing the importance of honest and responsible conduct for students, instructors and administrators alike.

It also clarifies that any form of dishonest behaviour, cheating or plagiarism is considered an offence, whether intentional or not. And the articles were rearranged to follow the same procedural order that a student would experience if charged with academic misconduct.

The updated Academic Code of Conduct went into effect May 4, 2015, the first day of the 2015-16 academic year.

Learn more about Concordia's Academic Code of Conduct.



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