Processes Handling Academic Integrity Violations
Academic integrity violations result in academic penalties and disciplinary actions. Disciplinary actions will be determined by the Academic Integrity Committee according to the process that follows. The reporting faculty has full authority to deal with an academic integrity violation within the context of his/her course to determine the appropriate response and the grade penalty. However, since academic dishonesty impacts the entire community, faculty should report all suspected violations of The American University in Cairo's (AUC) Code of Academic Ethics to the Academic Integrity Office (AIO). In addition, any member of the AUC community should use the online reporting form to report all suspected violations of academic integrity to the AIO. All investigations are carried out with utmost discretion.
Alleged Students Violations
- Faculty, students, and staff should
- Reporting faculty must inform and discuss alleged violations, including any evidence demonstrating/establishing/proving possible violations with the student, before submitting an incident report to the AIO. Under normal circumstances, reporting faculty should submit the incident report within five working days after disclosure with the student.
- Reporting faculty should know that students with pending academic integrity cases are not permitted to drop the course.
- Reporting faculty must inform the department chair when filing a report with the AIO.
- Reporting faculty may handle less serious violations (resulting from student inexperience) for first-year students as teaching opportunities. Although no case will be filed, they must still report these violations to the AIO to ensure that multiple less serious violations committed by a particular student do not go unreported.
- Reporting faculty must submit all evidence through the online reporting form for all other violations. Evidence provided after a case submission will not be accepted except under extenuating circumstances.
- All investigations will be carried out in a confidential manner.
Any reporting questions should be sent by email.
- The AIO notifies the student respondent via email (the email address that is on record on Banner) within five business days of receiving an incident report. The notice must include the alleged violation(s).
- The AIO investigates the report and may contact the reporter, the respondent, and any witness to request additional information.
- The AIO prepares a report of its investigation and submits it to the Academic Integrity Committee (AIC) within ten business days of the date of the report.
- The AIO schedules a hearing on the incident report with the student and the AIC. The hearing shall be scheduled at least two business days before the hearing.
- If a student fails to attend a scheduled hearing, the AIC may issue a decision based solely on the evidence presented.
- The AIC reaches the decision based on a preponderance of the evidence. The AIC notifies the student respondent of its decision, rationale, and any sanctions via email.
- The AIC also notifies the reporter, the department chair, the dean of students, and an office that will implement its decision.
- The respondent has five business days to file an appeal to the AIO based on the grounds specified in section 1.4.
The University has identified four levels of violations and their corresponding sanctions (Sanction Matrix), from which the AIC chooses the appropriate sanction. However, in certain cases, the University reserves the right, at its discretion, to impose more stringent or lesser sanctions depending on the mitigating or aggravating factors related to a particular case. Possible sanctions can range from warning letters to expulsion.
Failing to comply with the terms of any case-related directives, interim measures, or sanctions is a further violation of the Code of Academic Ethics. It may result in additional disciplinary action and/or the placement of a registration hold on a student’s University Banner account. Suppose a student withdraws or takes a leave of absence from the University before the completion of the sanctions. In that case, the student must complete all sanctions to be eligible for re-enrollment or reapplication to the University.
1.4 Appeals Process after Academic Integrity Committee Decision
Once a case is decided, the decision is final. Appeals may be considered if submitted within five business days of the date of the notice of the outcome of the AIC decision only on the following grounds:
- Unreasonable conclusion: The decision made by the AI Committee has no logical basis in the evidence in the record.
- Procedural error: The adjudication process did not conform to prescribed procedures. The error must have substantially impacted the outcome.
- Disproportionate sanction: The sanction imposed is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the violation or has a disproportionate impact due to the unique circumstances of the particular student respondent.
- New evidence: clear information that was not available at the time of the investigation or hearing, which would have substantially impacted the case outcome.
The process is as follows:
The Appeals Committee decides appeals based on the initial proceedings' record and written submissions from any of the parties involved: the accused student, complainant, or the Chair of the AIC. Consideration of an appeal does not include meetings with any of the parties. Incident reporters have no right to appeal.
- The student must submit an appeal request using the appeal link in the decision letter that includes the following:
- A summary of the case
- The AIC outcome
- The grounds of the appeal
- A brief explanation of the expected outcome of the appeal
- The AIO director shares the appeal request with the Appeals Committee, which decides whether to accept or reject it based on the submitted statements, any new evidence and all the above-mentioned grounds.
- If the decision is to reject the appeal, the Appeals Committee notifies the student via email and the initial decision is affirmed.
- If the decision is to accept the appeal, the Appeals Committee makes a judgment by majority vote. This could be:
- Affirming the finding, but the sanction is modified
- Affirming both the finding and the sanction
- Remanding the case to be re-heard by the AIC. This is limited to appeals based either on an arbitrary conclusion or new information that was previously unavailable or unknown at the time of the initial decision, which would have impacted the decision.
- The Appeals Committee provides a statement and the rationale for its decision to both the AIC and the AIO Director, who then notifies the student via email within twenty business days from the appeal date.
- Students can appeal to the Provost any sanction involving suspension or expulsion. The provost determines the final decision and notifies the student and all parties involved via email.
- The appeal process is concluded, and the final decision is implemented. Sanctions are not implemented until all appeal options are exhausted.
Alleged Faculty Violations
The Code of Academic Ethics applies to all members of the AUC community. However, the processes for handling alleged faculty violations vary from those for student violations. This section in the Faculty Handbook of University Disciplinary Procedures contains all detailed related processes and steps.
Alleged Staff Violations
The Code of Academic Ethics applies to all members of the AUC community. However, the processes for handling alleged staff violations vary from those for student violations. Both entities should be kept posted whether the incident is reported to the Office of Human Resources or the Office of Academic Integrity. In most cases, the legal office does the investigation, which decides the appropriate sanction in alignment with the labor law. The Office of Academic Integrity director should be updated with the decision, rationale, and sanction once a case is finalized. According to labor law, a letter with the decision confirmed by the legal office is handed to the staff member who acknowledges signing it. The Council for Academic Integrity could review the Labor law sanctions and suggest educational/corrective sanctions for the Office of Human Resources to use.