ACADEMIC Integrity

Academic Misconduct is any action that compromises the integrity of the scholarship pursued at the University. This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Cheating

  2. Impersonation

  3. Plagiarism

  4. Improper research practices

  5. Dishonesty in publication

  6. Dissemination of information without permission

  7. Abuse of confidentiality

  8. Falsification or unauthorized modification of an academic document/record

  9. Obstruction of the activities of another

  10. Encouraging, enabling or causing others to do or attempt any of the above

  • Read your course outline or the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty

  • Take an online Academic Integrity tutorial:

  • Attend an Academic Integrity workshop at Scott Library (also offered online)

  • Refer to the SPARK Academic Integrity checklist when completing your assignment:

  • If you’re worried that something might be academic misconduct, consult your professor/TA before you hand in your paper, assignment or lab. Asking afterwards is not good enough!

  • Opt-out of is a software program that many professors use to detect plagiarism in papers and assignments. Once submitted, your work is scanned and compared to other works found on public websites, academic journals, essay-writing services, and to other assignments concurrently or previously submitted to is able to detect matches of as few as 8 consecutive words, and checks for improper referencing and other forms of plagiarism. Sections of a submission are highlighted in an originality report provided to the course instructor, who can then decide to proceed with a charge of a breach of Academic Honesty. You have the right to opt-out of, and to be provided with an alternative system for assessing the authenticity of your work at the beginning of the course. This alternative system may include:

  • Submitting multiple drafts

  • Submitting a detailed annotated bibliography

  • Submitting photocopies of source documents

  • Taking an oral examination directed at issues of originality

  • Providing a written report concerning the process of completing the work

  • More than one of the above

  • Or even another system, approved by the Departmental Chair or Dean of the Faculty

Exploratory Meeting
If there is any concern that you may have breached Academic Honesty, you will be invited to attend an exploratory meeting. This is an informational meeting with your Course Director and another representative of the Department/Faculty, where you will be asked questions about the completion of your assignment, paper or exam, to determine whether or not there are any reasonable and probable grounds to proceed with a charge of academic misconduct.

  • You will be provided with at least 7 days notice of this meeting, along with a brief description of the reason for the meeting

  • You may be accompanied by a representative, should you so desire

  • Note: The meeting will proceed whether or not you decide to go!

  • Make sure to give enough notice ahead of time if you need to reschedule for any reason


  • Be honest and forthcoming; if you are certain there was no breach of academic honesty, then don’t feel guilty, and certainly don’t act guilty- but do remain calm, patient and respectful.

  • If you do wish to admit to academic misconduct then do apologize and show remorse.

Results of the exploratory meeting:

  1. It is agreed that no breach of academic honesty occurred—no records of the matter or the meeting would be retained.

  2. It is decided that sufficient grounds exist to proceed with a charge.

If you do admit to a breach of academic honesty and:

You agree with the penalty suggested by your Course Director

  • Signed admission and summary records, along with the penalty recommendation, will be forwarded to the appropriate Faculty Committee, who will either impose the suggested penalty, or call a formal hearing to determine an appropriate penalty. *If this is not your first charge, you will automatically have to attend a formal penalty hearing, regardless of agreement on a penalty with your Course Director. (Do expect a more severe penalty than in your first charge!)

You disagree with the penalty suggested by your Course Director

  • You have the right to contest your Course Director’s suggestion, in which case you will have to attend a formal penalty hearing to make your case for an appropriate penalty.

It is decided that sufficient grounds exist to proceed with a formal charge of academic misconduct, and you do not admit to the alleged breach (or do not attend the meeting)

  • a formal charge will be prepared with a statement of the facts, and submitted to the responsible Faculty Committee, who will then schedule a formal hearing, where you can make your case for your innocence.

Formal Hearing
This is a formal Faculty or Senate level hearing that works similarly to a court trial. 

  • The responsible Faculty, or Senate, will give you and all other relevant parties a copy of the charge, and of the materials submitted from the exploratory meeting, along with a copy of the procedures to be followed.

  • You will also receive a disclosure package of the Faculty’s case and evidence against you.

  • You will be given no less than 21 calendar days’ notice of the time and place of the hearing.

  • You have the right to representation (including YFS student advocacy services &/or a lawyer) if you so desire.

  • You may file a written response within 14 days of receipt of the charge, which will be sent to the faculty member and representative(s) concerned.

  • You may call witnesses, but you have to inform the committee of your intention to call witnesses and file their names at least 7 days before the hearing.

Should you decide to acknowledge the accuracy of the charges before the hearing, you may waive the right to a hearing by submitting a written statement that admits guilt and waives that right


  • You must suggest an appropriate penalty and give reasons.

    • If the faculty member who made the charge agrees with your penalty recommendation, a joint submission will be forwarded to the Committee, who will then decide whether they find the penalty appropriate, or whether a penalty hearing is warranted to determine the penalty.

    • If you and the faculty member do not agree on the penalty, you will separately submit your recommendations, to be considered at a penalty hearing (*If this is not your first charge, then you will automatically be required to attend a penalty hearing)

Can I bring in someone to support/represent me?
Yes, you do have the right to representation (which may include a lawyer) at the formal hearing.  

What if I don’t make it to the formal hearing?
The hearing will proceed with or without you, followed by a decision made and sanctions imposed, unless you can establish (BEFORE the hearing), that there are circumstances beyond your control that make an attending the set date and time impossible, or at least unfairly burdensome. *Tip: If you know that you won’t be able to make it to your hearing, reschedule as soon as possible! Faculty committees are usually quite accommodating. 

Will past offences come up?
After the exploratory meeting, no past offences will come up at the hearing unless and until you are formally charged with academic misconduct. Then, at the penalty hearing, the committee will be made aware of prior academic offences, as that would affect the severity of the penalty chosen.

What kind of penalty should I expect?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, penalties can range anywhere from a disciplinary warning, to failure in the course, to suspension or even expulsion from the university. Refer to Sections 2.2 and 2.3 of the Senate Policy for more details.

Can I appeal the Committee’s decision?
A finding of academic misconduct, and the subsequent penalty/sanction decision is considered binding.  However, an appeal can be filed on the grounds of new evidence, or evidence of procedural irregularity in the committee’s consideration of the case. These are the only grounds on which an appeal can be made.

Senate Policy on Academic Honesty Open in New Window
Click here to view the complete senate policy on academic honesty.