Standards of Academic Integrity
Pomona College is an academic community in which all members are expected to abide by ethical standards both in their conduct and in their exercise of responsibilities towards other members of the community. The College expects students to understand and adhere to basic standards of honesty and academic integrity. These standards include but are not limited to the following:
- In projects and assignments (including homework) prepared independently, students never represent the ideas or the language of others as their own.
- Students do not destroy or alter either the work of other students or the educational resources and materials of the College.
- Students neither give nor receive assistance with examinations.
- Students do not represent work completed for one course as original work for another or deliberately disregard course rules and regulations.
- In laboratory or research projects involving the collection of data, students accurately report data observed and do not alter or fabricate data for any reason
Reporting Violations of the Academic Honesty Policy
When the College’s standards of academic integrity have been breached, violations should be reported.
When an instructor encounters a possible instance of academic dishonesty and wishes to determine whether or not College standards have been violated, the instructor may consult with their department chair, with a colleague(s) or with the Dean of Students before reaching a conclusion.
In so far as possible, when consulting with the chair, the Dean, or another colleague, the instructor should protect the anonymity of the student(s) involved and should take steps to protect the security and integrity of the evidence.
Violation of confidentiality shall not be grounds for dismissal of the case. When an instructor concludes that standards of academic honesty have been violated, the instructor will consult with the student about the case. If the student is unavailable, the instructor may leave the grade as IP until the case is resolved. After reaching a conclusion that academic dishonesty has occurred but before consulting with the student, the instructor should ask the Dean of Students if there have been previous instances of academic dishonesty involving the student.
If the student acknowledges that they are responsible for an act of dishonesty in a course and the Dean of Students reports that there have not been other instances of academic dishonesty involving the student, the instructor should impose a penalty proportional to the severity of the dishonesty. The sanction must be course-specific—such as a failing grade on an assignment or in the course. Once assigned, the violation and the sanction must be reported to the Dean of Students.
If the instructor believes that the first infraction is so serious that a course specific sanction is insufficient, the instructor may indicate that special circumstances are present (e.g. the action jeopardizes another student’s work, the action occurs as part of another violation of the Student Code). In this case, the procedures followed will be the same as those for a second violation of the Academic Honesty Policy (see below).
Upon receiving an instructor’s report of a first instance of academic dishonesty and the penalty imposed, the Dean of Students shall write to the student describing the violation, evidence of the violation, and summarizing the penalty. The student must notify the Dean within 5 school days of the date of the letter if they wishe to dispute the charge. If the student disputes the charge, the case will be referred to a Board for Academic Discipline. (See below.)
If the student disputes the charge of dishonesty, the case will be referred to a Board of Academic Discipline for resolution— determination of whether the student has committed an act of dishonesty and, if so, determination of the penalty. The penalties the Board can consider in a first instance of academic dishonesty are limited to those affecting the class in which the act of dishonesty occurred unless the instructor alleges that special circumstances merit consideration of a more serious penalty.
In cases in which a hearing panel is to be convened, the Dean of Students shall notify the Dean of the College.
Reporting a Second or Additional Instance of Academic Dishonesty
If, upon receiving a report of academic dishonesty, the Dean of Students finds that the accused student has been responsible for a previous violation of the College’s Academic Honesty Policy, the case must be referred to the Academic Discipline Board for a hearing.
In all cases when a Board of Academic Discipline is convened, the Dean of Students shall prepare a written statement of charges and present them to the student. The student is encouraged to have an advisor present during this initial meeting with the Dean and during the hearing.
The student may select as an advisor any member of the faculty, staff or student body of the Claremont Colleges who is neither an attorney nor a member of the Academic Discipline Board or the Student Judiciary Council. If the student does not have an advisor, one can be suggested from an advisor pool consisting of faculty and staff who have been trained for the role. A person may not serve both as an advisor and witness in the same case.
Procedures for Academic Dishonesty Hearings
- If the case is not resolved between the instructor and the student, if it involves special circumstances, or if it represents a second instance of academic dishonesty, the case will be referred to a Board of Academic Discipline.
- The instructor or the Dean of Students shall notify the student that the case has been referred to a Board of Academic Discipline. Additionally, the instructor shall provide the Dean with a written account of the violation.
- The Dean of Students shall prepare a comprehensive written charge sheet specifying the portions of the Academic Honesty Policy that the student is alleged to have violated and outlining the evidence of dishonesty. The Dean will meet with the student to present and discuss the charge sheet. All charges must be brought within one year of the occurrence of the alleged violation.
- Prior to the initial meeting with the student, the Dean of Students shall inform the student of their pre-hearing rights. The student’s rights include:
- Being provided with a comprehensive, written charge sheet.
- Being provided with a copy of the Student Handbook if the student does not have one.
- Being informed that the Academic Honesty Policy and the student’s rights under that policy are outlined in the Student Handbook.
- Being informed that the student has the right to have an advisor present in meetings with the dean and in the hearing.
The full Academic Discipline Board consists of eight faculty members and seven students.
- The faculty members shall be drawn from the membership of the Academic Procedures Committee and the Faculty Grievance Committee. The non-voting chair shall be the chair of the Academic Standards Committee. The Chair must be a tenured member of the faculty.
- The student members shall include the Academic Affairs Commissioner, two student members of the Student Affairs Committee (to be appointed by the Student Affairs Committee) and four student members of the Judiciary Council (to be appointed by the Chair of the Judiciary Council and the Dean of Students). The Dean of Students (or an Associate Dean of Students) shall sit on all Board hearings as an ex-officio, nonvoting member.
- A hearing panel for each case shall consist of the faculty chair who votes only in the event of a tie, three additional faculty members, and three student members chosen randomly by the Chair from the full Academic Discipline Board.
- A hearing panel shall be convened as soon as possible after a charge sheet has been presented to a respondent, normally within 60 days.
Convening Hearings of the Academic Discipline Board
- The Chair of the Board shall convene the hearing, notify the committee members, respondent, complainant, and witnesses of the time and place of the meeting, and conduct the hearing. If the Chair is unable to serve, the Dean of Students shall designate a tenured faculty member of the Board to serve as the hearing panel chair.
- The respondent may challenge one faculty and one student member of the hearing panel, excluding the Chair. These challenges shall be made in writing by the respondent at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled hearing. The Chair will replace challenged members.
- The Chair shall summon those individuals whom the instructor and/or the respondent requests as well as other faculty, staff, and students of Pomona College who have relevant information to offer the Board.
- The Chair may appoint, to assist the panel, a neutral faculty expert from the discipline in question who is not a faculty member at Pomona College.
- Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as evidence for consideration by the hearing panel at the discretion of the Chair. All such material must be approved by the chair 72 hours prior to the start of the hearing. The student respondent and instructor have the right to review such evidence at least 48 hours prior to the start of the hearing. The Chair shall exclude evidence that does not meet College standards. Evidence shall be limited to:
- Facts pertinent to the charge.
- Arguments addressing the applicability of the regulation on which the charge is based to the facts of the case.
- Circumstances or attitudes that might affect the severity of any sanction imposed.
- Physical and/or electronic evidence associated with the violations (exams, papers, lab reports, etc.)
- All information upon which the determination of responsibility for violating the Academic Honesty Policy is to be based shall be introduced into evidence in the presence of the respondent at the hearing.
Academic Discipline Hearings Procedures
- The Chair presides at hearings and shall conduct the hearing to ensure the fair presentation of all pertinent evidence and witnesses. As the hearing begins, the Chair shall:
- Describe the procedures under which the hearing will be conducted.
- Read the charges and remind the respondent of their rights.
- Indicate the order in which evidence and testimony will be presented.
- Discuss the standard of judgment to be applied to the case, ensuring that all panel members understand the College’s standard of clear and convincing evidence and presumption of innocence in contested hearings.
- Indicate that all decisions must be based solely on information presented at the hearing.
- The members of the hearing panel shall not discuss the case outside of the hearing. Likewise, statements of the instructor, student respondent(s), and witnesses, whether written or oral, are confidential and may not be used or quoted for any purpose outside of the hearing.
- Hearing shall be conducted in private. Persons who are appropriately present at all hearings are: The student respondent, the instructor bringing the complaint, the Chair, the hearing panel members, the Dean of Students (or an Associate Dean), and the advisor to the student respondent.
- The advisor to the student respondent is prohibited from addressing the hearing panel and may speak only to the student respondent.
- The Chair may authorize the attendance of persons who are not normally authorized to attend the hearing, order the hearing room cleared, or order any person to leave. A majority vote of panel members present may overrule a decision of the Chair.
- A single recording shall be made of all hearings during the time that witnesses and other pertinent information are being presented. Deliberations about whether or not the Academic Honesty policy has been violated or about sanctions shall not be recorded.
- The recording of the hearing will be kept in the Office of Student Affairs. If the case is appealed, the student, the instructor bringing the complaint, the student’s advisor, the Chair, the President, the chair of the appeal hearing and the appeal board members, and the Dean of Students may listen to the tape. Only the named individuals have the privilege of hearing a tape recording of a Pomona Board of Academic Discipline hearing.
- The recording is the property of Pomona College. Those authorized to hear the recording must do so in the Office of Student Affairs or in an area arranged by the Office of Student Affairs. No one may copy the recording or receive copies of it. The recording will be kept for one calendar year following the end of an appeal.
- As the hearing begins, the Chair will call on the instructor bringing the complaint to make a statement and present evidence of the violation of the Academic Honesty Policy.
- The student respondent shall then have the opportunity to make an opening statement and address questions to the instructor bringing the complaint.
- Panel members, the panel Chair, and the Dean or Associate Dean of Students, the instructor bringing the complaint and the student respondent are entitled to question the instructor bringing the complaint, student respondent and all witnesses.
- Witnesses shall appear one at a time in an order determined by the Chair.
- The student respondent shall have the opportunity to make the final statement in the hearing.
- The hearing panel may recess at any time, upon the decision of the Chair, for the purpose of gathering additional information or to provide a break in the hearing or the deliberation.
- The student respondent or their advisor may ask the Chair for a recess at any time during the hearing in order for the advisor to ask a question of the Chair or consult with the respondent.
- After the hearing has been concluded, the panel and Chair shall go into closed deliberations to determine whether the respondent has violated the Academic Honesty Policy and, if they are found to have violated the Policy, what sanctions should be imposed. This phase of the proceedings shall not be recorded. All witnesses, the instructor bringing the charge, the student respondent and advisor shall not be present for deliberations.
- The hearing panel shall first consider the question of whether the student respondent has violated the Policy. A majority of four of the six voting members, (or four of seven if the chair votes to break at tie), is required for the panel to reach a finding. The panel will find that the student has committed a violation if the information presented in the hearing provides clear and convincing evidence of such violation.
- A respondent’s previous Academic Conduct Record shall not be made available to the panel until after the decision concerning whether or not the respondent violated the Policy has been reached.
- If a respondent is found responsible for a violation of the policy, this panel shall then review relevant precedents and consider sanctions. The respondent’s previous academic conduct record shall be considered in assessing a sanction. That record will be provided to the hearing panel by the Office of Student Affairs. A majority of four of the six voting members (or four of seven if the chair votes to break a tie) is required for the panel to assign a sanction.
- If a respondent is found not responsible for a violation of the policy, all records associated with the charges and hearing shall be destroyed, with the exception of exams, papers, or other assignments that the student asks to be returned.
- The Chair shall inform the student respondent, the instructor who brought the complaint, and the Office of Student Affairs of the results of the hearing. The chair shall prepare a written opinion for the Vice President and Dean of Students which summarizes the findings of the panel and the sanction(s) assigned, if any, and explains the reasons for the decision. The Office of Student Affairs shall issue an official letter of notification to the respondent.
- If the respondent is found not responsible for a violation, they shall have the option of not returning to the class in which the alleged violation occurred. The student may complete the course under the supervision of another faculty member by finishing all course assignments and examinations in a comparable time frame. Alternatively the student may withdraw without penalty from the course (the withdrawal shall not be recorded on the student’s transcript). Selection among alternatives shall be arranged by the Dean of Students or the Chair of the Hearing panel. A written record of the resolution shall be filed with the Office of Student Affairs and the office of the Dean of the College.
- When the hearing is concluded the Dean of Students shall inform the Dean of the College of the outcome.
- The Office of Student Affairs shall maintain a permanent, public precedent file which consists of case abstracts specifying charges, facts, case disposition and sanctions, if any. The precedent file shall be furnished to Boards of Academic Discipline prior to the point in the hearing at which sanctions are discussed.
- When assigning sanctions, the hearing panel shall consider the severity of the offense, precedent, the attitude of the respondent, the respondent’s previous academic conduct record, and the conditions under which the offense was committed.
- Sanctions that may be imposed include:
- Academic Sanctions:
- Lower grade on an assignment
- Loss of credit on an assignment
- “F” on an assignment
- “F” in the course
- Assignment of make-up or additional work
- Other Sanctions:
- Suspension from the College
- Loss of College honors
- Expulsion from the College
A student respondent may appeal a decision of a Board of Academic Discipline to the Dean of the College. Such a request must be filed with the Dean of Student’s office within five days of the date of the letter providing official notification of the sanction.
After reviewing the case, the Dean of the College may uphold the Board’s decision, or remand the decision to the Board and may include comments or issues to be consider further by the Board. After further deliberation about the Dean’s concerns, the Board shall reaffirm or alter their decision. At this point, the decision of the Board is final.