What is the role of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (SCCS) in tackling academic dishonesty? Taking our lead from the faculty, SCCS sees academic dishonesty to undermine our academic community and we seek to support the faculty in ‘the intellectual venture in which we are all engaged’ which demands of us all the ‘highest level of personal and academic integrity’.
Why report incidents of academic dishonesty to SCCS? It is important to report academic misconduct so that we can challenge students to reason-through ethical challenges that they encounter as part of the learning process. Reporting academic misconduct is also important for promoting consistency, fairness and accurate record keeping, particularly when students are found to be repeat offenders.
How will reporting this incident impact the student? As it is a disciplinary process, a student found responsible for academic dishonesty will be subject to appropriate sanctions. However, the Dean’s Discipline process is also an educational one designed to challenge students to make better decisions and facilitate a broader understanding of the impact their behavior may have on the Columbia community.
Do I have to attend the hearing? Faculty members do not attend the hearing. Once SCCS receives from an instructor evidence alleging academic dishonesty, the hearing officers use this information, in conjunction with the student’s statement, to determine if a violation of policy has occurred. The student’s adviser attends in order to offer guidance and support.
Who conducts the hearing? For cases involving Columbia College or Columbia Engineering students, two staff members from the Dean of Student Affairs Office serve as the hearing officers. For cases involving students from General Studies, one staff member from SCCS and one staff member from the GS Dean of Students Office serve as hearing officers.
How is an outcome determined? The standard of proof used to make a determination of responsibility is that of “preponderance of the evidence”. This standard allows hearing officers to find a student responsible if the information shows that it is more likely than not that a violation occurred. If the student is found responsible, the degree of seriousness of the offense and the student’s previous disciplinary record, if any, will determine the severity of the sanction to be issued.
Will I be informed of the outcome? While a student’s educational record is protected the by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), any instructor who reports an academic dishonesty incident will be notified whether or not a student has been found responsible.