Wilfrid Laurier University Undergraduate Academic Calendar - 2005/2006
Canadian Excellence

Procedures for Investigation and Discipline in Cases of Allegations of Academic or Research Misconduct by Undergraduate Students

The president has delegated to the deans and to the vice-president: academic the authority to impose discipline in cases of academic or research misconduct, hereafter referred to as academic misconduct. Sanctions up to and including failure in a course may be imposed at the departmental level, except in the Faculty of Music where such sanctions may be imposed by the dean (in the School of Business & Economics the associate dean (or designate) will serve as the chair of the Department of Business). Any sanction that is imposed must be such that participation in academic misconduct is a high-risk activity. The risk of cheating must be significantly greater than any potential reward. At any point in the procedures outlined below the student being accused of academic misconduct may choose to be accompanied by a member of the university community to any disciplinary proceeding.

Action by the Instructor

1. (a) It is the responsibility of instructors and supervisors to investigate incidents of suspected academic misconduct in their courses, or course sections. If an instructor or supervisor believes an incident of academic misconduct has occurred, the instructor or supervisor should meet with the student as soon as possible. The student is to be informed of the allegation and the facts that bear on the suspicion of misconduct. The student must be given a full opportunity to provide an explanation of the incident. If the instructor is satisfied that the incident was unintentional, the appropriate response may be a warning by the instructor. If the instructor decides there was no misconduct, the matter will be closed and no further action will be taken.
(b) If more than one student is involved in the misconduct, the instructor must meet with either each student separately or, if appropriate, students as a group. Sanctions imposed on students may vary, depending on their degree of involvement in the incident.

2. (a) If, following this meeting, the instructor believes a sanction should be imposed, the instructor must consult with the department chair to determine the appropriate sanction. The department chair must determine, through consultation with the dean, if the student has a prior record of academic misconduct. If the student has a prior record, the student must be notified that the case will be referred to the dean for further investigation.
(b) If the department chair is the instructor, the Department-in-Council will select another member of the department to serve as department chair for this case. If the dean is the instructor, the department chair will serve in the manner prescribed in this document. If, subsequently, the case is referred to the faculty dean, an associate/assistant dean will be appointed to take the place of the dean in the proceedings outlined below.

3. If there is no prior record the instructor, in consultation with the department chair, will determine the sanction. The sanction may be the allocation of a zero for an assignment, project, test, exam or other activity, which counts toward the final grade in the course. The student may be given the opportunity to repeat the assignment, project, test, exam or other activity. The most severe sanction that may be assigned at the departmental level will be a failure in the course. This requires the agreement of both the instructor and the department chair. Any additional sanction must be recommended to the dean.

4. Any sanction which does not go beyond failure in the course in question must be communicated to the student in writing with a copy to the dean of the faculty in which the incident took place, the dean of the faculty in which the student is registered (if different), and, as appropriate, the registrar. The letter to the student will identify the incident, summarize the facts that bear on the case, and inform the student of the sanction(s) being imposed.

5. The student shall have a right to appeal the sanction to the faculty petitions committee. The decision of the faculty petitions committee is final and binding.

6. Disciplinary procedures may also be initiated against a student who, while not registered in the course where the alleged academic misconduct took place, is alleged to have assisted in the misconduct.

Action by the Faculty Dean

7. If the student has a prior record of academic misconduct, or if the recommended sanction is more severe than a failure in the course, the instructor and department chair will together notify, in writing, the dean of the faculty in which the incident has taken place. The dean may also be informed of an incident of academic misconduct by another source, such as the registrar, with respect to misconduct in final examinations.

8. (a) The dean must meet with the student, must inform the student of the allegation, must provide the student with a summary of the prior record of academic misconduct as appropriate, and must provide the student with a copy of all relevant documentation and a copy of these procedures. The dean must offer the student an opportunity to respond in writing to the complaint and allow the student at least three days to prepare the written statement. Where warranted by the circumstances the dean has authority to extend the period for a written response.
(b) If the student refuses or declines to meet with the dean, it will be assumed that the student does not dispute the charge and will accept the sanction deemed appropriate by the dean.

9. Following receipt of the written statement the dean will, within one week, inform the student of the sanction to be imposed. If the student admits the allegation and does not dispute the recommended sanction the dean will notify the vice-president: academic. The dean may impose sanctions up to but not including suspension from the university. If the student at this stage denies the allegation and/or disputes the recommended sanction, the dean will inform the student that a Committee of Inquiry will be established.

10. The Committee of Inquiry will be established by the vice-president: academic and will consist of three faculty members who have not been directly involved in the case. The Committee of Inquiry will:
(a) solicit any other relevant information and invite other parties to present relevant information which is needed to make a decision, and provide the student with full details of that relevant information;
(b) invite the student to present, in writing, within two weeks of receipt of the invitation, all documents which he or she considers relevant to the case. The student will also be requested to indicate whether he or she contests the allegation and/or the recommended sanction, and whether he or she wishes to appear before the committee;
(c) report to the vice-president: academic within two weeks following the response from the student that:

  1. there is no substance to the allegation and the file should be closed and destroyed; or
  2. there is evidence that the act constitutes academic misconduct, including the degree of severity of the act and the degree of intent, and that a specific sanction should be imposed.

Action by the Vice-President: Academic

11. The vice-president: academic will, following receipt of the report from a dean or from the Committee of Inquiry, notify the student that a recommendation for a specific sanction has been received, and will provide the student with an opportunity to meet before accepting or rejecting the recommendation. Following the meeting with the student, the vice-president: academic will make a decision and will notify the student in writing.

12. The student may appeal the decision, in writing, to the president who may arrange to meet with the student. Except as provided below, the decision of the president is final.

13. If the conduct is, on the recommendation of the vice-president: academic, deserving of suspension or expulsion, the president will make the decision. Decisions of the president to suspend a student for more than one semester, or to expel a student, may be appealed to the Executive and Governance Committee of the Board of Governors, whose decision will be final.

14. All discipline matters will be investigated and decided fully and fairly and in a timely manner.

In all cases where the student's credibility is in issue, it is essential that the student be given an opportunity to be heard and to call evidence if he or she wishes, on the issue of credibility.

Cases involving allegations of research misconduct by students involved in research not related to courses for which the student is registered will follow the procedures outlined in the Graduate Studies Calendar under the heading Procedures for Investigating Allegations of Academic or Research Misconduct.