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Frequently asked Questions . . . . . . . .



How can I prevent cheating from occurring in my classes?
While there are no fool proof methods for preventing all acts of dishonesty there are strategies that can diminish such opportunities for students.  Please refer to the Reference for Faculty publication.

In addition you may want to consult with the Associate Dean, Judicial Affairs who has over 20 years experience with academic dishonesty issues on several large university campuses, Sandra Rhoten, Associate Dean, TSU-235,

What if I think that a student is cheating during an examination?
If a student appears to be using unauthorized materials or collaborating with another student, have another proctor observe the behavior, if possible.  If another proctor is not available, observe the behavior from different positions in the room to confirm the observation.

When you believe a violation is occurring during the exam, discreetly stop the behavior (e.g., confiscate the notes, separate collaborators), and identify the involved student(s) for yourself, but allow the student(s) to complete the exam.  This is least disruptive to other students, and, if it is later determined that a violation did not occur, provides a basis for assigning a grade.

When a suspected violation concerns unauthorized materials, retain the materials as evidence.

What if I find plagiarism in a written assignment?
When material in a student’s paper appears plagiarized, attempt to locate the source text before meeting with the student.  Colleagues may be of assistance in identifying the source (the student’s identity should not be revealed).

Students increasingly use electronic means to locate and retrieve source materials.  Consequently, it may be worthwhile to perform a search of the Web using one of the popular search engines.  The Faculty Development Center also has the plagiarism detection service ( available to faculty.  Students submit their papers electronically, and then Turnitin compares those papers to their database and provides a report.

When material appears plagiarized but the source cannot be identified, question the student about the information in the paper.  Ask for the definition of terms used and for further explanation of ideas expressed.  Ask the student about his or her research for the paper, how reference materials were chosen, and from which library they were obtained.  Request that the student submit his/her rough draft and/or notes to you.

What if I need to submit a grade at the end of the semester and I haven't been able to speak to the student about the allegation?
If circumstances prevent consultation with a student, and the instructor does not feel he/she has enough information to make a decision, then he/she may assign a mark of “RP” pending the outcome of the matter.

What if more than one student is involved in a disciplinary matter?
In an incident in which there are multiple parties, you may determine that there are differing levels of accountability.  If so, assess grade sanctions accordingly to the students and refer the incident to Judicial Affairs.  You may also consult with the Associate Dean, Judicial Affairs X4436, prior to taking any action.

Is there an appeal process?
Yes, the university has established a procedure that affords the student an opportunity to challenge your charge of dishonesty through the Academic Appeals Policy.

What if I have a disruptive student in class?
If unacceptable behavior occurs, respond immediately.  This may mean employing informal action (such as standing near to students who are talking), reminding the class of the agreed standards for behavior, or directing specific comments to the involved student.  You may want to speak to the student after class and discuss expected behavior your class.

If the behavior continues, notify the student that he or she must leave the classroom if the behavior does not cease immediately, and that disciplinary action may result.  If the student does not respond appropriately, you may ask him or her to leave and to arrange to see you during office hours before the next class meeting.  You may wish to consult with the Department Chairperson or the Associate Dean, Dean of Students Office, Judicial Affairs, prior to the meeting.

If a student refuses to leave, notify him or her that University Police (Ext. 2515) may be contacted to remove the student and that disciplinary action will result from this.

It is appropriate to call upon University Police any time a disruptive behavior situation escalates, or when it is reasonable to interpret behavior (including oral statements) as threatening or harassing to you or other members of the class.

These recommendations are based on the expectation that students can and will be reasonable if they have adequate information, clearly understand parameters, and are treated with respect.

The expectation is that students can change their behavior.  However, if the student demonstrates unwillingness or an inability to change, than additional interventions including removal from the class, may be necessary.

What if I worried about a student in my class?
You may occasionally encounter an issue with a student that is neither specifically related to academic dishonesty nor disruption in the class, but is still cause for concern.  For instance, a student may be in distress concerning a personal matter unrelated to the course.

When addressing difficult or sensitive matters, you have several campus resources available for you for support and consultation.  Depending upon the issue at hand, it may be advisable to consult with the Assistant Dean in your College, the Dean of Students, or the Counseling and Psychological Services office.

Consultation with Judicial Affairs is another available resource, particularly if the situation involves possible disruptive or threatening behavior.

However, CSUF University Police should be contacted immediately regarding any situation in which you believe that a student may be in danger or pose a danger to self or others.

Why are the outlined steps of the discipline process necessary?
You may wonder why attention to the outlined procedures is necessary, particularly when it is obvious (at least to you) that a student cheated.

One reason is rooted in the consistent judicial interpretation of the guaranteed due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  An allegation of academic dishonesty is considered an assertion that a student has violated a University policy.  Whether or not that assertion is true is a fact to be established, not assumed, even when such an assumption seems quite reasonable.

Not surprisingly, courts have remained insistent that universities, at a minimum, follow their own disciplinary procedures.  Those in effect at CSUF have been designed to protect the interests of students, faculty members, administrators and the university.

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