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Academic Honesty Policy | Policies | CSUSM

Academic Honesty Policy

Definition: Academic honesty policy delineates student, faculty, and administrative responsibilities in regards to academic honesty. The policy defines incidents of Academic dishonesty and the sanctions that can be applied.
Authority: The Cal State San Marcos Interim Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy as expressed in Executive Order 320.
Scope: The purpose of the Academic Honesty Policy shall be to define incidences of academic dishonesty and to delineate student, faculty, and administrative responsibilities.
Responsible Division: Academic Affairs
Approval Date: 05/13/2005
Originally Implemented: 05/13/2005
Signature Page/PDF: View Academic Honesty Policy


I. Introduction

Each student shall maintain academic honesty in the conduct of his or her studies and other learning activities at CSUSM. The integrity of this academic institution, and the quality of the education provided in its degree programs, are based on the principle of academic honesty.

The maintenance of academic integrity and quality education is the responsibility of each student within this university and the California State University system. Cheating and plagiarism in connection with an academic program at a campus is listed in Section 41301, Title 5, California Code of Regulations, as an offense for which a student may be expelled, suspended, put on probation, or given a less severe disciplinary sanction.

II. Student Responsibilities

A)  Students are responsible for knowing and understanding the rules of Academic Honesty as outlined in the university catalog, to include fabricating information and data, cheating, facilitating academic dishonesty, and plagiarizing.

B) Students are responsible for communicating with the professor if they do not understand how the policy applies to a particular class or assignment. Students are responsible for utilizing the library resources (e.g. the plagiarism tutorial, consulting a librarian, or referring to a style guide) on academic honesty and plagiarism to fully understand the differences between a citation, giving credit, original writing, and plagiarism.

III. Faculty Responsibilities   

A)  Faculty must report all incidents of Student Dishonesty and the actions taken to the Office of the Dean of Students.

The reporting must include:

  1. Student name
  2. Student ID number as it appears on the class roster
  3. Class Code, CRN, and Semester taken
  4. The actions or consequences taken by the professor

B) Each faculty should include a statement on Academic Honesty in their syllabi such as:

 Students will be expected to adhere to standards of academic honesty and integrity, as outlined in the Student Academic Honesty Policy.  All assignments must be original work, clear and error-free. All ideas/material that are borrowed from other sources must have appropriate references to the original sources.  Any quoted material should give credit to the source and be punctuated accordingly.

Academic Honesty and Integrity: Students are responsible for honest completion and representation of their work. Your course catalog details the ethical standards and penalties for infractions. There will be zero tolerance for infractions. If you believe there has been an infraction by someone in the class, please bring it to the instructor’s attention.  The instructor reserves the right to discipline any student for academic dishonesty, in accordance with the general rules and regulations of the university.  Disciplinary action may include the lowering of grades and/or the assignment of a failing grade for an exam, assignment, or the class as a whole.

C)  Faculty should keep accurate records and documents regarding the case and their own resolution and consequences for one year from the end of the term.

D)  Faculty should have a discussion of academic honesty, expectations, and consequences within the first two or three class meetings in order to maintain consistency and uniformity with all classes and students.

E)  Faculty are encouraged to include creative assignments that require original thought in order to reduce the incidents of student dishonesty.

F)  Faculty have the ultimate responsibility and discretion when grading students who have been dishonest in class; however, faculty also have the responsibility to be fair and equitable to all students within the same class. Therefore, consequences for like offenses must be similar.

G)  Grading Policy: It is suggested that each faculty member have a consistent grading policy which will be applied in all cases of academic dishonesty.  For example, if an assignment where a student is caught cheating is worth more than 15% of the grade, the student may receive a “FAIL” in the class.  If the assignment is worth less than 15%, then the assignment can be given a grade of “0.”


A)  Administrators are responsible for knowing and understanding the rules of Academic Honesty to include fabrication, cheating, facilitating academic dishonesty, plagiarism and to take administrative action where necessary.

B)  Administrators should facilitate a discussion of Academic Honesty at student orientation to ensure that all students are aware of the Academic Honesty issues on campus and how they will be dealt with.

C)  The Dean of Students shall provide a report each semester to the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate to include aggregated data for that semester which includes the number and type of cases reported and the disciplinary actions taken.


Student sanctions, imposed by the Dean of Students, for violations to the academic honesty policy can include any of the following:

  1. Warning
  2. Probation of Student
  3. Suspension
  4. Expulsion


Academic dishonesty is an especially serious offense. It diminishes the quality of scholarship and defrauds those who depend upon the integrity of the campus programs. Such dishonesty includes the following.

A.  Cheating: 

Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise.

  1. Faculty members are strongly encouraged to make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct. This includes adequate communication of expectations about what kinds of collaboration are acceptable within the course. Instructors should state in course syllabi their policies and procedures concerning examinations and other academic exercises as well as the use before examinations of shared study aids, examination files, and other related materials and forms of assistance.
  2. Students completing any examination should assume that external assistance (e.g., books, notes, calculators, conversation with others) is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the instructor.
  3. Students must not allow others to conduct research or prepare any work for them without advance authorization from the instructor. This comment includes, but is not limited to, the services of commercial term paper companies.
  4. Students who are required to do a paper in a course should assume that submitting the same or similar paper to different courses (regardless of whether it is in the same semester or in different semesters) is not permitted without the explicit permission of the instructors of both courses.

B.  Fabrication:  

Falsification or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise.

  1. "Invented" information may not be used in any laboratory experiment or other academic exercise without notice to and authorization from the instructor. It would be improper, for example, to analyze one sample in an experiment and covertly "invent" data based on the single experiment for several more required analyses.
  2. One must use/acknowledge the actual source from which cited information was obtained. For example, a student may not reproduce sections from a book review and indicate that the section was obtained from the book itself.
  3. Students who attempt to alter and resubmit returned academic work with intent to defraud the faculty member will be in violation of this section. For example, a student may not change an answer on a returned exam and then claim that they deserve additional credit.

C.  Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: 

Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.

  1. For example, a student who knowingly allowed copying from his or her paper during an examination would be in violation of this section.
  2. Providing information about the contents of an examination to a student who will later take the examination, or taking an examination on behalf of another student, are violations of academic honesty.

D.  Plagiarism: 

Intentionally or knowingly representing the words, ideas, or work of another as one's own in any academic exercise, including:

(a)    the act of incorporating the ideas, words, sentences, paragraphs, or parts thereof, or the specific substance of another's work, without giving appropriate credit, and representing the product as one's own work;

(b)   the act of putting one's name as an author on a group project to which no contribution was actually made; and

(c)    representing another's artistic/scholarly works such as musical compositions, computer programs, photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures, or similar works as one's own.

  1. Direct Quotation: Every direct quote must be identified by quotation marks, or by appropriate indentation or by other means of identification, and must be properly cited with author(s) name(s), year of publication, page number(s), footnotes and/or endnotes, depending on the citation style used. Proper citation style for academic writing is outlined by such manuals as the MLA handbook for writers of research papers, APA: Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, or Chicago manual of style.
  2. Paraphrase: Prompt acknowledgment is required when material from another source is paraphrased or summarized in whole or in part in one’s own words. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly, one might state: "to paraphrase Locke's comment..." and conclude with a citation identifying the exact reference. A citation acknowledging only a directly quoted statement does not suffice to notify the reader of any preceding or succeeding paraphrased material.
  3. Borrowed Facts or Information: Information obtained in one's reading or research which is not common knowledge among students in the course must be acknowledged. Examples of common knowledge might include the names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc.
  4. Material which contributes only to the student's general understanding of the subject may be acknowledged in the bibliography and need not be immediately cited. One citation is usually sufficient to acknowledge indebtedness when a number of connected sentences in the paper draw their special information from one source. When direct quotations are used, however, quotation format must be used and prompt acknowledgment is required.