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Copyright, Peer-to-Peer File Sharing & Plagiarism


Briar Cliff strives to create an environment where the dignity of each person is recognized. Accordingly, integrity in relationships and work is supported and rewarded, and honesty in academic matters is expected of all students. Actions which are contrary to the spirit of academic integrity will not be tolerated. Any attempt to misrepresent someone else’s work as one’s own, receive credit for assignments one did not do, obtain an unfair advantage over other students in the completion of work, or aid another student to do the above will be considered a breach of academic integrity. These include:

  • Obtaining, disseminating or using unauthorized materials for the completion (by oneself or another student) of an examination, paper or assignment;
  • Unauthorized collusion with another student in completing an assignment;
  • Submitting as one’s own the work of another student or allowing one’s work to be submitted or credit by another;
  • Copying from another student’s paper or allowing one’s paper to be copied;
  • Computer theft which includes unauthorized duplication of software, unauthorized access into accounts other than one’s own and the use of university resources (computer facilities, networks, software, etc) for financial gain;
  • Plagiarism: the representation of another’s ideas, statements or data as one’s own. Plagiarism includes copying, paraphrasing or summarizing another’s work (even if that work is found on the Internet) without proper acknowledgment (footnotes, in-text credit, quotation marks, etc.). For a more detailed explanation of what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it, the student is referred to The Little Brown Handbook, which is available in the university bookstore and the Bishop Mueller Library.

The policy of Briar Cliff University is that for an individual’s first offense, the student’s instructor or work supervisor will determine an appropriate penalty, with a possible penalty of “F” for the course or termination of employment. For a second offense, the instructor or supervisor and the Vice President for Academic Affairs will determine an appropriate penalty, up to and including dismissal from the university. For an offense after the second, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will determine an appropriate penalty, up to and including dismissal from the university. Depending on the nature and severity of the offense, the university reserves the authority to exact maximum penalty even in the case of a first offense.

In all cases of alleged academic dishonesty, the faculty member or work supervisor shall, in writing, notify the student of the specific charges and circumstances and a copy of the notice shall be sent to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. If the student wishes to deny the allegations or appeal the penalty, he/she must, within 10 working days, file with the department chairperson or the work supervisor’s immediate superior, a written intent to appeal. If the instructor is the chairperson of the department, the appeal shall be directed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The person to whom the appeal is made will weigh the evidence presented (in writing or at an oral hearing) by both the student and the instructor or work supervisor and make a judgment. If the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, faculty member, or supervisor, the appeal process will continue to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, whose decision will be final. If a student is found in violation of the University’s policy on academic honesty, the student may be subject to disciplinary review that may include an appropriate penalty, up to and including dismissal from the University. Depending on the severity of the offense, the University reserves the authority to exact maximum penalty even on the first offense.

All material and information relative to any violation of academic integrity shall be kept by the Vice President for Academic Affairs in a special file during the period in which the student is enrolled at Briar Cliff University, serving only as a statement of record if the student is subsequently charged with a violation of academic integrity. In case of an appeal, the file will be destroyed if the student is found not guilty of the offense. If the student is found guilty, the file remains until the student’s graduation from Briar Cliff University or three years after the student’s last date of enrollment.

In order to support the academic integrity statement, faculty members are expected to administer, monitor and evaluate tests and other assignments in a fair and consistent manner.