Academic integrity is a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. From these values flow principles of behavior that enable academic communities to translate ideals into action.
All activities at AUC, from teaching to administrative and support functions, serve the process of learning. Together, the University’s faculty, staff and students form a cohesive academic community, which shares the Code of Academic and Professional Ethics outlined below:
Statement of Intent
The American University in Cairo affirms its commitment to the guiding principles of academic integrity. Academic integrity matters. It is important not just for an institution of higher education and the members of that community but has an impact on how the institution is perceived by society and how it trains its future citizens and leaders of society, and the global community. The American University in Cairo's faculty, students, administrators and staff are committed to the highest standards of academic integrity throughout the university.
Statement of Values
The American University in Cairo encompasses a community of scholars and students who are engaged in the enterprise of learning and are supported in this process by administrators and staff. The process of learning requires an open exchange of ideas between scholars and students, and can only be based on trust in each other. This trust does not necessarily come naturally to everyone engaged in the learning process, and faculty, students and staff need to constantly re-establish and confirm it. It allows participants in the academic community to feel that their ideas will be respected, discussed, and evaluated in an atmosphere free of prejudice and bias. It also makes a moral demand on every participant in the academic community: that the ideas which they have expressed verbally, in writing, in papers, books and lectures are their own, or that if they are someone else’s, they be honestly and clearly acknowledged.
By committing ourselves to the highest standards of academic integrity at AUC we also reaffirm our commitment to the larger communities of Egypt and the world, so that it can be said that the entire AUC community is respected for its honesty and integrity.
In order to cultivate such a community founded on trust, academic integrity and social responsibility, AUC needs to:
promote an atmosphere of academic integrity by constantly reaffirming its value in all the forums of interaction at the university, involving students, faculty, administrators, staff, and parents.
clarify the responsibilities of each member of that community.
- promote an understanding of the seriousness of violating the principles of academic integrity as a violation of the AUC community.
- make it clear that violations of academic integrity will not be tolerated, and that the punishment for such infractions will be appropriate to the act committed.
- clarify exactly what constitutes a violation of academic integrity.
The sacredness of a community based on trust and social responsibility is reflected in cultures and religions:
“Whoever cheats us, is not one of us”
(saying of the Prophet Muhammad)
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much"
(from the Bible - Luke 16:10).
The Ethics of Academic Integrity
Academic integrity is a part of our ethical stance in life. Our conduct in an academic setting at AUC can foster an atmosphere of truthfulness and trust; or foster doubt and suspicion, and a desire for success at any cost, even personal integrity. The AUC Code of Academic Ethics reminds members of AUC of their commitment not only to their own personal integrity, but to that of the entire AUC community and their countries and the world. The implications of that commitment are:
We learn early in life that ethical people tell the truth and keep promises, and that lying, cheating or stealing are dishonorable. We know, however, that everyone can be tempted, and that the fear of failure and the prospect of comfort or future success can lead us to betray principles of truth, honesty and integrity. We also know that social pressures, pleasures, or personal problems can compromise our values. Thoughtless acts can cost us our integrity.
Codes and promises cannot change who we are, but adherence to them can help to ensure every decision we make is one that upholds those values. Conscience and character are shaped and maintained by decisions and actions. Clear commitments regularly reaffirmed keep the need for ethical behavior present in our minds. Honesty, integrity and truth are not just values, they are decisions that we make and must continue to make despite temptation and the lure of the "easy way out."
The Code of Academic and Professional Ethics emphasizes that students, faculty, administrators and staff are citizens at AUC, and that civic responsibility here, as anywhere, means going beyond a purely personal concern for ethical behavior. The commitment to ethical conduct at AUC is not just an individual matter but a social contract; a consensus in support of academic honesty is the minimum requirement for accomplishing the aims we share.
So the Code of Academic Ethics requires opposing what we know is wrong. This may mean, for example, speaking out against plagiarized papers or prohibited cooperation, or advising an instructor not to reuse an earlier year's exam, or advising a colleague not to take advantage of the university's resources for personal use. It surely means considering dishonesty openly, talking about it with others, informally or in class.
There are instructors unaware of cheating in their classes, and there are courses so oversubscribed and understaffed that adequate evaluation is difficult and the resultant temptation to cheat is high. It could be that university policies, procedures and services are not applied consistently by certain administrative officers. Better information about such incidents will help faculty, deans, students and administrative officers reduce the opportunities for dishonesty, and will identify patterns that urgently require corrective action.
The community as a whole needs to be more alert to whatever problems exist. If members of the AUC community tell the appropriate person responsible when cheating or a policy infringement is occurring, then all of us can know how widespread the problems are and whether they are getting worse or better. This knowledge is essential if we are serious about trying to achieve a more honest community.
The Code of Academic and Professional Ethics charges members of the AUC community to rely on their conscience to communicate directly with anyone they have strong reason to believe has acted dishonestly. This is the most demanding requirement of the Code; yet it also holds the greatest promise of promoting academic integrity across the whole university.
What one should say to dishonest friends, classmates or colleagues is not prescribed by the Code. When improper conduct is identified in this way, violators will know that they have been observed and that to continue will result in serious repercussions -- knowledge that, by itself, could effect immediate constructive change.
The requirement to confront others about their acts of dishonesty may trigger violators to re-evaluate their decisions. Not every person will feel comfortable with confronting a fellow member of AUC, be s/he a student, faculty, adminstrator or staff, about academic and professional misconduct; but consider that corporations, government agencies, and small businesses all depend on the willingness of their people to recognize and take a stand against all breaches in ethical conduct. Employees who do not confront wrongdoing within their organizations tacitly condone behavior that could ultimately compromise their own positions and security.
The Code of Academic and Professional Ethics emphasizes the choice that witnesses to violations always face -- whether to inform the appropriate authorities. To weigh that choice means to think about the costs of dishonesty both to individuals and to the morale of the community. It means, as well, to think about individuals who lie, cheat, or steal, and whether facing disciplinary action might help them come to terms with what they are doing.
There are never good reasons for ignoring dishonest acts and the harm they do to an educational institution. Communicating directly to those who act dishonorably will sometimes be sufficient. But there will be times when conscience requires you to do more.
(The preceding section on “The Ethics of Academic Integrity ” has been adapted with the permission of Duke University, May 2003)
Academic fraud and dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, the following categories: cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, multiple submissions, obtaining unfair advantage, unauthorized access to academic or administrative systems, aiding and abetting, impersonation, threatening harm, and copyright infringement.
1. Cheating: using unauthorized notes, aids, or information on an examination; altering a graded work prior to its return to a faculty member; allowing another person to do one's own work and submitting it for grading.
2. Plagiarism: submitting material that in part or whole is not one's own work; submitting one's own work without properly attributing the correct sources of its content.
3. Fabrication: inventing or falsifying information, data, or citation; presenting data gathered outside of acceptable professorial guidelines; failing to provide an accurate account of how information, data or citations were gathered; altering documents affecting academic records; forging signatures or authorizing false information on an official academic document, grade, letter, form, ID card, or any other university document; submitting false excuses for absence, delay or illness.
4. Multiple Submissions: submitting identical papers or course work for credit in more than one course without prior permission of the instructor.
5. Obtaining Unfair Advantage:
- gaining or providing access to examination materials prior to the time authorized by an instructor;
- stealing, defacing, or destroying library or research materials which can deprive others of their use;
- unauthorized collaboration on an academic assignment;
- retaining, possessing, or circulating previously used examination materials without the instructor's permission;
- obstructing or interfering with another student's academic work;
- engaging in any activity designed to obtain an unfair advantage over another student in the same course;
- offering bribery to staff or any university employee to effect a grade change, or gain unfair advantage over other students
6. Unauthorized Access: viewing or altering in any way computer records, modifying computer programs or systems, releasing or distributing information gathered via unauthorized access, or in any way interfering with the use or availability of computer systems/information.
7. Aiding and Abetting: providing material, information, or other assistance, which violates the Standards for Academic Integrity; providing false information in connection with any inquiry regarding academic integrity.
8. Impersonation: impersonating or allowing to be impersonated by another individual during classes, examination or other university activities.
9. Threatening Harm: threatening, effecting, or encouraging bodily, professional or financial harm to any faculty, staff, administrator or student who has witnessed or reported a violation of the Code of Academic Ethics.
10. Misconduct: behaving in a manner that violates or adversely affects the rights of other members of the AUC community (disrupting class activities, unruly behavior, etc.)
11. Copyright Infringement: using copyrighted materials (print, electronic, or multimedia) in a manner that violates international copyright laws.
(The preceding section has been reproduced and adapted with the permission of Belmont University, May 2003)
Professional fraud and dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, the following categories: disclosure of confidential and private information, improper exercise of authority and conflict of interest, improper use of organizational assets, inconsistent application of the policies, nepotism, impersonation, fabrication, unauthorized access, aiding and abetting, threatening harm, misconduct, and copyright infringement.
1. Disclosure of confidential and private information: leaking out information of a confidential nature in one’s custody or using it for personal advantage; violating the privacy of information pertaining to others.
2. Improper exercise of authority and conflict of interest: taking decisions on the basis of private interests; using one’s position for personal advantage; accepting or offering bribes or gratuities in exchange for service; providing paid or unpaid service in conflict with the best interests of the university.
3. Improper use of organizational assets: using the university’s physical resources (buildings, equipment, and supplies) or human resources and office hours for one’s personal advantage
4. Inconsistent application of policies: obtaining or providing unfair advantage in terms of services, benefits, or information etc.. to certain colleagues or relatives on a preferable basis.
5. Nepotism: giving unfair advantage to a relative to obtain a job, maintain a job even when performing below standards, or assist in obtaining a promotion unfairly.
6. Impersonation: impersonating or allowing to be impersonated by another individual at the university clinic, hospitals, pharmacies or at any other university office.
7. Fabrication: inventing or falsifying information, data, or certificates; altering documents affecting records; forging signatures or authorizing false information on an official document, letter, form, ID card, or any other university document; submitting false excuses for absence, delay or illness.
8. Unauthorized Access: viewing or altering in any way computer records, modifying computer programs or systems, releasing or distributing information gathered via unauthorized access, or in any way interfering with the use or availability of computer systems/information.
9. Aiding and Abetting: providing material, information, or other assistance which violates the above Standards for Academic Integrity; providing false information in connection with any inquiry regarding academic integrity.
10. Threatening Harm: threatening, affecting, or encouraging bodily, professional or financial harm to any faculty, staff, administrator or student.
11. Misconduct: behaving in a manner that violates or adversely affects the rights of other members of the AUC community (disrupting meetings or activities, unruly behavior, etc.).
When a case has been referred to the Academic Integrity Committee and determined what class of violations has been determined, it can apply a wide range of sanctions available to be determined on case-by-case basis. Possible sanctions include but are not limited to:
- Permanent expulsion
- Loss of scholarships, financial aid
- Suspension of one to two years
- Academic integrity class required
- Referral to authorities outside AUC for prosecution
- Restitution, including legal fees
- Social probation
- Reduction of credit hours allowed during next semester
- Suspension up to one year
- Service to AUC community up to 120 hours
- Recommending a grade reduction to the faculty of the course in which violation occurred (e.g., a grade of F in the course)
- And other possible sanctions or penalties
The University has identified three classes of violations and the corresponding sanctions for each type:
Class A Violations and Sanctions
Class B Violations and Sanctions
Class C Violations and Sanctions