Reporting Academic Misconduct
For a PDF version of the information below, please see PDF filePursuing a Suspicion of Academic Misconduct.
(This is a summary from a decision maker's perspective. Please see PDF filePolicy 60: Academic Integrity, PDF filePolicy 60: Academic Integrity Procedures and PDF filePolicy 60: Academic Integrity Guidelines for a full description of the policy and procedures.)
The fundamental values of Academic Integrity (AI) are to foster and uphold the highest standards of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. These values are central to the development and sharing of knowledge. All members of the university community, including faculty, students, graduate assistants, and staff, have a responsibility to adhere to and uphold these in their teaching, learning, evaluation, scholarly research and creative activity. This includes a responsibility to take action if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that academic misconduct may have occurred.
One of the central values of PDF filePolicy 60: Academic Integrity is recognizing that the university has a role in fostering academic integrity by providing students and faculty with information and learning opportunities about the nature and importance of academic integrity. As faculty involved in applying this policy, you are asked to keep this emphasis in mind at all stages of the process as described in the policy, procedures and guidelines.
If there is a reasonable belief that misconduct may have occurred, the concern should be registered with the Academic Integrity Office using our Automated System:
When registering the concern you have two or three options:
- Facilitated Discussion (FD), which is a conversation between you, the student, and a neutral party from the AIO
- Non-Facilitated Discussion (NFD), which is a conversation between you and the student
- Refer the concern to a Designated Decision Maker (CUPE 1 & 2 only).
- A student cannot drop a course in which they are under suspicion of academic misconduct. If they attempt to do so, they will automatically be re-enrolled.
- If final marks are due and you have not yet met with the student or have not yet issued your decision, see PDF fileGuidelines, Section 3.1 "Implications to grading roster while investigating a suspicion of academic misconduct.", opens in new window In most cases, you are to assign a grade of DEF (deferred) until a decision is made. Please be sure to follow up on the DEF and submit the appropriate grade to Student Records after the matter is resolved.
- If you choose an NFD the student has the right to request an FD (as per PDF filePolicy 60).
- All Graduate Student discussions must take place as FDs.
- All group discussions must take place as FDs.
If you experience login issues attempting to access the automated system, please try to clear the cache of your browser (as outlined below).
- in Chrome, go to the upper right hand side of the screen > More tools > Clear Browsing Data > Cached Images and Files
- in Firefox, go to the upper right hand side of the screen > Options > Cookies and Site Data > Clear Data
- in Safari, go to the upper left hand side of the screen > Preferences > Privacy > Remove all Website Data
Please use this URL from now on: https://prod.apps.ccs.ryerson.ca/academicintegrity/instructor/
If you have an existing bookmark, please update it to the above URL.
If you continue to encounter issues, please contact email@example.com.
Facilitated Discussions (FDs)
After you register the concern, the AIO will:
- Issue the notification to the student, which will include the date, time, and location of the Facilitated Discussion as well as the summary of the concern.
- Send a calendar invite to all parties.
- Inform Student Records to place a temporary DEF on the student's record (to prevent the student from dropping until the matter is resolved).
- Review any documents/evidence provided, redact as needed (per FIPPA), and distribute the files to the student.
- During the FD, the facilitator will explain the process, discuss possible outcomes, take notes of the conversation, and support both parties with respect to Policy 60.
When you register the concern:
- In the summary field, please avoid using other students' names and refrain from language suggesting that you've already made a decision.
- Before uploading evidence, review the documents for information that should be redacted (per FIPPA).
- An automatic email will be generated after you click "submit." Please review the text of the email for errors before sending.
- Sending the email to the student will also inform Student Records to place a temporary DEF (to prevent the student from dropping the course until the matter is resolved).
- During the NFD please explain the process to the student and take notes of the discussion.
*Please note that while you may choose an NFD, per PDF filePolicy 60, Section 6.2.4, the student may instead request an FD.
Preparing for the Discussion
The purpose of the discussion is to:
- Present the concern to the student and ask questions
- Give the student an opportunity to respond, ask questions of their own, and share any supporting documents
- Educate the student on how to be successful and avoid these issues going forward.
The meeting is not to be adversarial. The student may be accompanied by a support person and/or a RSU/CESAR student advocate. Students are, however, expected to speak on their own behalf, whenever possible.
When participating in a discussion, please consider the following:
- The details of the discussion must be documented on a Summary of Discussion Form by the Academic Integrity Office facilitator, in the case of an FD, or by the instructor, in the case of an NFD. All parties will be provided with a copy of this form.
- Allow the student time to answer the questions.
- Even if you believe that the student is not being truthful, do not accuse them. You can listen to what they say without agreeing with them. You will have time to make your decision after the discussion.
- Come prepared to discuss the details of the suspected misconduct.
- No decisions related to the suspected academic misconduct shall be made or communicated during a discussion. After the discussion, review the notes, take time to reflect, and submit the decision via the automated system.
Not sure what questions to ask during the discussion? Please see the AIO's "Investigating a Suspicion of Academic Misconduct: Asking the Right Questions."
According to Policy 60, Academic Misconduct is: "any behavior that undermines the University's ability to evaluate fairly students' academic achievements or any behaviour that a student knew, or reasonably ought to have known, could gain them or others unearned academic advantage or benefit" (Policy 60, Section 3.1).
Decisions are made based on a balance of probabilities. After considering the evidence and the discussion, if it's more likely than not that the student violated Policy 60, there should be a finding of academic misconduct.
When you enter your decision in the automated system, whether there is a finding of academic misconduct or not, you'll have the option to assign educational activities (SLLS workshop(s) and/or the Fundamentals of Academic Integrity quiz). We encourage you to do so, as the intended spirit of Policy 60 is education.
If there is a finding of academic misconduct, there must be an associate academic penalty assigned.
For undergratuate students, the minimum penalty is a reduction on the assignment up to and including 100% off (PDF filePolicy 60, Section 7.1, opens in new window).
For graduate students, the minumum penalty is a "zero" on the assignment (PDF filePolicy 60, Section 7.2, opens in new window).
Please review the Academic Integrity Office's google docPenalty Guidelines, external link, opens in new window for more information.
In addition to the academic penalty, a Disciplinary Notation (DN) will be placed on the student's record (not transcript). The DN is used to identify patterns of academic misconduct. Two or more DNs (a.k.a. findings of academic misconduct) trigger Progressive Discipline (PDF filePolicy 60, Section 9, opens in new window). DNs are removed upon graduation.
CUPE 1&2 instructors may refer a suspicion of academic misconduct to a Designated Decision Maker (DDM). To request a DDM, register the concern on our automated system.
The Chair of the Designated Decision Makers’ Council (DDMC), in conjunction with the AIO, will assign a DDM who may subsequently contact you to request additional information or to clarify the document(s) you provided. The DDM may also request a recommendation regarding the appropriate penalty, should there be a finding of academic misconduct.
Once you refer the suspicion to a DDM, all decision-making authority rests with the DDM both in terms of determining if academic misconduct has occurred and what the associate penalties will be. You may not appeal either the decision of the DDM or any penalty or consequences assigned or recommended by the DDM. You may, however, still be called as a witness in the event of an appeal.
If the DDM decides not to proceed with formally registering a suspicion and, after the fact, further information relevant to the matter is discovered, you can forward this to the AIO. A DDM will be assigned (the same or another) to re-assess the matter and proceed if warranted.
If the DDM decides to proceed with formally registering the suspicion, they will then arrange a facilitated discussion (FD) with the student and continue through the process. You will be informed (cc'ed) on the decision that is emailed to the student.