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The Code of Academic Integrity

"Honesty, fidelity, truth, are praised for their immediate tendency to promote the interests of society; but after those virtues are once established upon this foundation, they are also considered as advantageous to the person himself, and as the source of that trust and confidence, which can alone give a man any consideration in life. One becomes contemptible, no less than odious, when he forgets the duty, which, in this particular, he owes to himself as well as to society."
 
David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, 1777.
Section VI, “Of Qualities Useful to Ourselves,” Part I.
Project Gutenberg, 5 January 2002 (official 31 August 2003).
 
1. Introduction
 
We, the academic community of Jacobs University Bremen, are part of the international academic community based on its members' trust in each other. Students at Jacobs University Bremen are, from their first day onward, considered future professionals and, hence, members of this community. To preserve this trust and maintain an environment conducive to personal and intellectual growth, all members must act according to the principles of integrity, honesty, trust, respect, and fairness. Students and instructors who breach this mutual trust thus exclude themselves from the academic community.
 
This code serves to provide a common understanding of what these fundamental principles are, to provide a foundation of a committee charged with promoting academic integrity and responding to actions that deteriorate the academic environment at Jacobs University Bremen, and to provide definitions of student and instructor infractions and their related procedures.
 
This code is in harmony with the “Guidelines to Ensure Good Academic Practice and for Handling Academic Misconduct in Teaching and Research” issued by Jacobs University Bremen. All members of the Jacobs University Bremen academic community are required to sign that they have read and understood this code.
 
1.2 What is Academic Integrity?
 
As members of the academic community at Jacobs University Bremen, we acknowledge and promote the following fundamental principles. 
Respect for one’s own academic work as well as respect for others’ work, including acknowledgment of others’ and own contributions to a project, paper, presentation, or any other academic product.
  • Ethical treatment of self and others in research and academic work.
  • Trust in one’s self and others’ to conduct work in an honest manner, including accurate and clear reporting of research, facts, and opinions.
  • Fair treatment of all members of the academic community in regards to all aspects of academic work.
  • Behavior in accordance to the principles stated above and actively promoting them by praising academic work completed in accordance to the principles of academic integrity and actively and appropriately handling cases of general academic dishonesty, plagiarism, falsification of results or research, and other forms of cheating.
  • Internalization and promotion of these principles and, in cases in which another member fails to adhere to these standards, bringing the incident to the attention of the person(s) involved and/or involving the Academic Integrity Committee when appropriate. Intentional ignorance to cases of academic dishonesty is unacceptable.
2. Responsibilities of Instructors
 
All instructional personnel at Jacobs University Bremen (including students working as Teaching Assistants), herein referred to as instructors, have the following specific responsibilities:
  • To provide an atmosphere conducive to learning, specifically to ensure that no student disturbs other students during lectures, seminars, tutorials, or exams or unfairly takes advantage of another student or instructor;
  • To inform students at the beginning of each course of the requirements for successful completion of the course, including the weight placed on each requirement;
  • To create an environment that promotes academic integrity and does not encourage or facilitate infractions of academic integrity. Instructors are responsible for:
  1. Designing exam settings and assignments that prevent cheating as much as possible
  2. Specifying the extent to which collaboration on assignments is acceptable in a course;
  3. To treat all students equally regarding:
  4. Academic deadlines;
  5. Evaluation of academic work;
  6. Class participation and opportunities for class input;
  7. Cases of suspected academic dishonesty of a student.
  8. Instructors are required to follow, upon evidence of infringements of the academic integrity, the procedure(s) laid out in this code.
  9. To treat all information regarding evaluation of course work confidentially.
3. Responsibilities of Students and Instructors
 
As members of the academic community, both instructors and students are responsible for the following:
  • To do their research and course work honestly. For example:
  • Not to engage in plagiarism and cheating;
  • To respect their peers, subordinates, and supervisors in academic work;
  • To acknowledge all assistance in all academic work;
  • To do their research work according to the rules established in the “Guidelines to Ensure Good Academic Practice and for Handling Academic Misconduct in Teaching and Research” issued by Jacobs University Bremen;
  • To treat team members and colleagues respectfully and appropriately in sharing work tasks, information, and responsibilities.
  • To respect the academic environment of the Jacobs University Bremen community.
  • For example:
  1. To avoid any disruption of research, teaching, and learning;
  2. To treat teaching and research materials and intellectual property with respect;
  3. To be honest with all members of the Jacobs University Bremen community;
  4. To protect confidential information.
  5. To actively promote the standards of academic integrity described in this document and to actively enact the necessary measures to sanction actions by students or instructors that degrade the quality of the academic environment at Jacobs University Bremen, specifically infringements of the responsibilities described in sections 2 and 3.
4. The Academic Integrity Committee
 
4.1 General Functions:
 
The Academic Integrity Committee, a joint committee of students and faculty, is responsible for promoting and carrying out activities that facilitate an environment of academic integrity. In addition, the Committee is responsible for providing support and advice to all members of the academic community regarding issues of academic integrity, including providing informal advice, mediating informal cases, and conducting formal hearings. This Committee shall be the primary forum for adjudicating issues of academic integrity at Jacobs University Bremen. The procedures regarding student infractions and faculty infractions are detailed in sections 5 and 6.
 
4.2 Committee Record:
 
The Committee is required to record accurate and detailed minutes of all meetings and hearings, which must be confirmed and corrected at the start of the following meeting. The minutes shall serve as a basis for an annual or semi-annual general report of its actions, projects, and problems to be submitted to the Academic Council for review.
 
4.3 General Procedures:
 
The Academic Integrity Committee consists of three regular faculty members and three regular student members, with three faculty substitutes and three student substitutes. Regular members have one vote. Substitutes may attend any activity of the Committee, and serve as replacements for regular members who are unable to attend a session, thereby obtaining a regular member’s voting right for that session. Voting procedures can only take place if two faculty and two student members are present.
 
The three faculty members of the Academic Integrity Committee and their three substitutes are elected in a joint faculty meeting of all schools. Likewise, the three student members of the Academic Integrity Committee and their three substitutes are elected by the student body. Students on academic probation may not be members of the Academic Integrity Committee. Regular members are the three faculty and three student members who receive the most votes in their respective election. In case of a tie in the election, the sequence will be determined by lottery.
 
The term of office for both student and faculty members is one calendar year; however it is recommended that faculty members serve for at least two consecutive years. Student members may only be re-elected for the duration of their studies at Jacobs University Bremen; both student and faculty members may only be re-elected for a maximum of six terms.
 
Once new members have been elected to the Committee, in their first session, the Committee elects a chairperson. In case of a tie, the chairperson has the tie-breaking vote.
 
Members of the Academic Integrity Committee may not serve in committee sessions in which they are involved as a party to the argument. If during the course of a proceeding a member becomes involved, that member must excuse herself or himself and be replaced by a deputy member.
 
The deliberations of the Academic Integrity Committee and of the Academic Council in matters of academic integrity must be conducted in private, and meeting minutes are confidential. The decisions of these organs may not be published except to their own members, to the Office of Academic Affairs, and to the parties involved in the case—plaintiffs, defendants, and witnesses. If a student is accused of an infraction of the code, the student's academic advisor may be informed. Every individual engaged in any of the work of the Academic Integrity Committee—members, plaintiffs, defendants, academic advisors, and witnesses—is honor-bound to maintain silence and confidentiality concerning its activities.
 
Issues of academic integrity are extremely sensitive and if handled improperly can lead to serious professional and personal damage to innocent people. All accused individuals are considered innocent either until they admit their guilt or until proven guilty.
 
5. Student Infractions
 
5.1 General
 
In all cases, the instructor must first approach the student prior to referring the case to the Committee. The Committee will not hear any case which has not been first addressed by the instructor and the suspected student.
 
If an instructor has reason to believe that a student has committed an infraction of academic integrity in relation to a course or otherwise against him/her, the instructor should gather evidence, confront the student, and suggest an appropriate sanction as soon as possible. If the student does not accept the sanction as appropriate, she or he has the right to discuss the incident and sanction with the instructor and an impartial third party present. Depending on the outcome of this hearing, the instructor may choose to preserve the course-related sanction or further refer the case to the Committee.
 
If a course-related sanction is imposed, the instructor of record must inform the Office of Academic Affairs of the infraction and the sanction. This record will not appear on the student’s transcript but will be maintained in a separate file.
 
In the event the instructor wishes to impose a sanction beyond his/her scope of control (anything outside grading of coursework), the case must be referred to the Academic Integrity Committee as soon as possible.
 
The Committee must request the Office of Academic Affairs to transfer all information of that student’s past infractions to the Academic Integrity Committee. Then, with all due speed, the Committee shall hold a hearing with both the student and the instructor, as well as any other parties involved (witnesses, etc.).
 
During the hearing, both sides present their cases, providing evidence when possible. The voting members of the Committee shall then make a decision (by majority vote), which takes the form of a recommendation to the Academic Council. A summary of the hearing must be written by a member of the Committee, approved as to its accuracy, and signed by those present at the hearing. That summary must be transmitted to the Office of Academic Affairs where it will be permanently stored.
 
Upon receiving the recommendation, the Academic Council may then decide whether to hold a hearing. In the event that it is decided a further hearing is not necessary, they shall inform the appropriate party to enact the sanction(s). The final decision of the Academic Council shall also be reported to the Office of Academic Affairs, which will then record it on permanent file.
 
5.2 Infraction Severity
 
The judgment of an infraction as minor and unintentional or as major and intentional can only be made after the accusing party has gathered sufficient evidence and confronted the accused party(ies). Any infraction that has been deemed as unintentional shall be treated as a minor infraction. Any infraction that has been deemed as intentional shall be treated as a major infraction. Any student who has been reported as having committed two or more infractions of any severity is considered to have committed repeated infractions.
 
5.3 Minor Infractions Committed by Students
 
Any infraction that has been deemed unintentional shall be treated as a minor infraction. Unintentional infractions include accidental and unpremeditated breaches of this code. Infractions that have been premeditated are major. Possible sanctions for minor infractions are a) written reprimand, b) reduced grade for the entire relevant work, and c) a failing grade for the entire relevant work.
 
5.4 Major Infractions Committed by Students
 
Intentional and premeditated breaches of the code shall be considered major infractions. Sanctions for major infractions include a failing grade for the relevant work, a failing grade for the course, forfeiture of scholarships, suspension from the course, suspension from the university with the possibility of readmission, expulsion from the university without the possibility of readmission, and forfeiture of the right to work as a Teaching Assistant.
 
5.5 Repeat Infractions Committed by Students
 
If a student has been guilty of violating the Code of Academic Integrity at least twice (infractions of any degree of severity), this is considered a repeat infraction. Possible sanctions for repeat infractions are probation, forfeiture of scholarships, suspension from courses, suspension from the university with the possibility of readmission, expulsion from the university without the possibility of readmission, and forfeiture of the right to work as a Teaching Assistant.
 
If the Office of Academic Affairs is notified that a student has committed an infraction, and if the record of the Office of Academic Affairs indicates that the same student has already committed one or more infractions of any degree of severity in the past, the Office of Academic Affairs shall transfer all information of that student’s past and present infractions to the Academic Integrity Committee. The Committee must with all due speed take up the case and hold a hearing, following the procedure laid out in section 5.1, with both the student and the instructor who reported the latest infraction. The Academic Integrity Committee must take into account all infractions committed by the student. It may affirm or reject the sanction proposed by the instructor who reported the latest infraction, or impose a different sanction.
 
Typically, a second minor infraction is sanctioned by probation. The probation terms must specify the duration of probation.
 

Table 1: Sanctions for Student Infractions of Different Degrees of Severity

Minor InfractionsSevere InfractionsRepeat Infractions
Reduced grade for the entire relevant workFailing grade for the entire relevant workProbation
Failing grade for the entire relevant workForfeiture of scholarshipsForfeiture of scholarships
Written reprimandSuspension from the courseSuspension from courses
 Suspension from the university with the possibility of readmissionSuspension from the university with the possibility of readmission
 Expulsion from the university without the possibility of readmissionExpulsion from the university without the possibility of readmission
 Forfeiture of right to work as a Teaching AssistantForfeiture of right to work as a Teaching Assistant
 
 
Note that some sanctions are not applicable to every case.
 
5.6 Right of Appeal
 
An accused student may appeal the instructor’s decision or the decision of the Academic Integrity Committee. If the student chooses to contest the instructor’s decision, the Committee must with all due speed hold a hearing, following the procedure laid out in section 5.1, with both the student and the instructor. The Academic Integrity Committee may overturn or affirm the decision of the instructor. The Committee may also impose a different sanction from that suggested by the instructor.
 
If either party disputes the Academic Integrity Committee’s decision, that party may appeal further to the Academic Council of the University. The Academic Council has the right to hear or to decline such appeals, based on the written documentation. If the Academic Council declines to hear the appeal, the decision of the Academic Integrity Committee remains in effect. If the Academic Council chooses to hear the appeal, it must do so with all due speed, preferably at its next regularly scheduled meeting. All relevant parties and at least one representative from the AIC must be in attendance. Either the student or the instructor may require that any other participants in an earlier hearing also be in attendance. Decisions of the Academic Council in such appeals are final. A record of the Academic Council’s decision whether to hear the appeal and a record of any decision concerning the case reached in Academic Council will be signed by the attending members of Academic Council and transmitted to the Office of Academic Affairs where it will be permanently stored.
 
6. Faculty Infractions
 
6.1 General
 
Students or other instructors who believe that an instructor has violated the terms of the CAI have the right to bring the case to the Academic Integrity Committee. The accusing party has the option to first discuss the case with the accused instructor, but this is not required. If no resolution is reached, or if the accuser wishes to bypass the option of private discussion, the accusing party may report the incident to the Academic Integrity Committee.
 
In case of such a report, the Academic Integrity Committee classifies the infraction as either minor or major in nature after gathering all relevant evidence. Any infraction that has been deemed unintentional shall be treated as a minor infraction. Unintentional infractions include accidental and unpremeditated breaches of this code. Intentional and premeditated breaches of the code shall be considered major infractions. Depending on the committee’s decision, either of the procedures outlined below will be followed. In the case that the suspected infraction violates German law or the terms of the Ethics Guidelines governing the accused instructor’s research, the case will be referred to the proper authorities.
 
In all cases, the Committee must attempt to protect the identity of the accusing party as much as possible, although anonymity cannot be guaranteed.
 
6.2 Procedures for Minor Infractions Committed by Instructors
 
In the case of a minor infraction, the Committee may decide to act as, or appoint, a mediator before opening a formal procedure. Mediation can involve a joint meeting with all parties, or private discussions with each party in which the accusing party may remain anonymous. A record of cases dealt with on an informal basis will be stored with the Committee.
 
Once a formal case is opened, the Committee will inform the accused instructor immediately and hold a joint hearing with both the accusing and accused parties. If the accused party is found guilty, the Committee may issue a written reprimand to the instructor. A summary of the hearing must be written by a member of the Committee and must be approved as to its accuracy and signed by the members of the Committee. If the instructor is found not guilty or guilty with no additional sanction recommended by the Committee, a summary of the hearing is transmitted to the Dean of the school to which the instructor belongs, where it will be stored and where it can be accessed by the Committee for future reference. If the instructor is found guilty and the Committee decides that additional sanctions or remedial action is warranted, the Committee shall transmit the summary of the hearing to the Academic Council including a proposal for the sanction or action recommended by the Committee.
 
In addition, the Committee must consult with the respective Dean about previous cases involving that instructor. If the same instructor has a previous record of breaching the standards outlined in this Code (see sections 1, 2, and 3), the case shall be treated as a major infraction.
 
6.3 Major Infractions Committed by Instructors
 
In the case of a severe infraction, the Committee shall immediately forward all information regarding the case to the Academic Council, who shall then hold a hearing with the appropriate parties and decide in due time the outcome and consequences of the case for the party(ies) involved. The sanctions and a record of the hearing shall be stored on permanent file with the Academic Council and with the respective Dean. The Academic Integrity Committee reserves the right to send a representative of the Committee to the hearing or any meetings involving the case.
 
6.4 Infractions of Ethical Standards and German Labor Law
 
Any faculty infractions of research ethics or violations of German Labor Law are not under the jurisdiction of this Code. Such infractions should be reported to the Academic Council for further investigation.
 
6.5 Right of Appeal
 
If the instructor disputes the Committee’s decision, he/she may request that the Academic Council hear the case. The Academic Council has the right to hear or to decline such appeals, based on the written documentation. If the Academic Council declines to hear an appeal, the decision of the Academic Integrity Committee remains in effect. If the Academic Council chooses to hear the appeal, it must do so with all due speed, preferably at its next regularly scheduled meeting. All relevant parties must be in attendance including at least one representative of the AIC. Both the accusing party and accused instructor may require that any other participants in earlier appeals also be in attendance. Decisions of the Academic Council in such appeals are final. A record of the Academic Council’s decision whether to hear the appeal and a record of any decision concerning the case reached in Academic Council will be signed by the attending members of Academic Council and transmitted to the Office of Academic Affairs where it will be permanently stored.
 
Author: Academic Integrity Committee. Last updated on April 13, 2005. © 2005 Jacobs University Bremen. All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction.