Section 600: Student Affairs

Effective: February 12, 2001
Revised: March 2007
Review Date: March 2009
Responsible Party: Dean of Students

The faculty, administration and students of Montana State University-Northern believe that academic honesty and integrity are fundamental to the mission of higher education. The University has a responsibility to promote academic honesty and integrity and to assure the highest ethical and professional standards and behavior in the classroom. Accordingly, the University has developed procedures that address instances of academic dishonesty. Students who violate these standards commit academic misconduct and will be subject to academic and/or disciplinary sanctions.

Academic misconduct includes cheating; plagiarism; forgery; falsification; facilitation or aiding academic dishonesty; multiple submissions; theft of instructional materials or tests; unauthorized access to, manipulation of or tampering with laboratory equipment, experiments or computer programs without proper authorization; alteration of grades or files; misuse of research data in reporting results; use of personal relationships to gain grades or favors; or otherwise attempting to obtain grades or credit through fraudulent means.

A description of some forms of academic dishonesty and some examples are provided to help students understand their responsibilities for academic honesty:

Cheating: giving, using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids or other devices in any academic exercise including unauthorized communication of information. Examples of cheating include copying from another student's paper or receiving unauthorized assistance during a quiz, test or examination; using books, notes or other devices such as calculators, during a quiz or test, unless authorized; acquiring without authorization copies of tests or examinations before the scheduled exercise, copying reports, laboratory work or computer programs or files from other students.

Plagiarism: presenting the work of another as one's own without proper acknowledgment. Examples of plagiarism include submitting as one's own work the work of another student, a ghost writer or a commercial writing service; directly quoting from a source without acknowledgment; paraphrasing or summarizing another's work without acknowledging the source; using facts, figures, graphs, charts or information without acknowledging the source. Plagiarism may occur orally or in writing and may involve computer programs and files, research designs, distinctive figures of speech, ideas and images or any other information that belongs to another person and is not acknowledged as such. Inadvertent or unintentional misuse or appropriation of another work (such as relying heavily on source material that is not expressly acknowledged) is still considered plagiarism.

Falsification: the invention or unauthorized alternation of any information or citation in an academic exercise. Examples of falsification include inventing or counterfeiting data or research procedures to give the appearance of results being achieved from procedures that were not undertaken; the false citing of a source of information; altering the record of, or reporting false information about practicum or clinical experiences; altering grade reports or other academic records; submitting a false excuse for absence or tardiness; altering a returned examination paper and seeking a better grade.

Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: giving assistance or attempting to assist another in the commitment of academic misconduct.

Multiple Submissions: submitting the same paper or oral report for credit in two courses without the instructor's permission; making minor revisions in a paper or report for which credit has already been received and submitting it again as a new piece of work.

Tampering: interfering with, altering or attempting to alter University records, grades, assignments, laboratory experiments or other documents without authorization. Examples of tampering include using a computer or false-written document to change or affect the grade recorded for a student; forging the signature of a University official on a drop/add sheet or other official University record; erasing records or information of a student; unauthorized access to a University record by computer; unauthorized entry into an office or file; obtaining information from the University without proper authorization.

Other Academic Misconduct: other examples of academic misconduct include allowing another student to copy from one's paper during an examination or test; distributing test questions or substantive information about the material to be covered on a test before the scheduled exercise; collaborating on work with the knowledge that the collaboration is not authorized or will not be reported. Taking an examination or test for another student or signing a false name on an academic exercise.


The following sanctions may be imposed for academic misconduct:

1. Academic Sanctions:

a) Oral reprimand
b) Written reprimand.
c) An assignment to repeat the work, or an alternate assignment.
d) A lower or failing grade on the particular assignment or test
e) A lower or failing grade in the course
f) A grade of "PF" which is recorded on the student's transcript with the notation "failure due to academic dishonesty."
g) Removal of the student from the course.


If an instructor has reason to believe that a student has engaged in academic misconduct, the following procedures apply:

1) Informal meeting: The instructor should personally and privately advise the student there is reason to believe that the student has committed an act that constitutes academic misconduct. The student should be allowed a reasonable opportunity to respond or explain.

If, after the hearing the student's response (is any is provided), the instructor continues to believe the student engaged in academic misconduct, he or she will inform the student of his or her determination and of any intended sanctions.

An instructor is limited to imposing sanctions within the scope of academic activity. Those sanctions are set out in the academic sanctions above. The instructor will prepare the Academic Misconduct Notification form and submit a copy to the student, the appropriate chair/dean and the vice chancellor for finance and administration/student affairs.

2) Appeal Rights: If the student disagrees with the sanction(s) imposed by the instructor, he/she has the right to appeal that decision to the chair/dean. The chair/dean shall review the instructor's decision, gather relevant evidence, interview the student and instructor, interview other appropriate parties, and make a decision. The chair/dean shall have 10 working days to make a decision on the appeal.

The chair/dean's decision may be appealed, by either the student or the instructor, to the Admissions and Standards Committee. That Committee's decision shall be the final decision of the University.

If a chair/dean is the instructor who has reason to believe that a student has engaged in academic misconduct, another chair/dean at Montana State University-Northern will complete the appeal procedures described in this subsection. That chair/dean will be selected by a process of elimination, the student having the first veto and the instructor having the second veto. The provost will oversee the selection process.

3) The "PF" grade: The "PF" symbol may be removed and permanently replaced with a grade of "F". A student may initiate such a change by filing a petition with the Admissions and Standards Committee. The petition should only be approved in exceptional circumstances. Such a petition may not be granted if the student has been found responsible for any other disciplinary offense. If granted, all other student records pertaining to academic dishonesty will be voided in accordance with these procedures. No student with the "PF" grade on the transcript will be permitted to represent the University in any extra-curricular activity or run for or hold office in any recognized student organization.

2. Disciplinary Sanctions:

a) Removal of the student from a major program or college.
b) Withdrawal of a degree or academic credit previously bestowed.
c) Any sanction that may be imposed for violation of the Student Conduct Code, including disciplinary probation, suspension or expulsion from the University.

1) Referral by the Instructor: In addition to the imposition of the academic sanctions, an instructor or chair/dean may request, in writing, that the vice chancellor for finance and student affairs file a charge against the student for violation of the Student Conduct Code, Policy 601.3. If the student is found in violation of the Student Conduct Code, only the disciplinary sanctions above may be imposed, in addition to the Academic Sanctions.

2) Recurrence of Academic Misconduct: A student who has been sanctioned by instructors more than once at Montana State University-Northern will be charged with a violation of the Student Conduct Code and subject to additional disciplinary sanctions.

Academic Misconduct Notification Form

The Academic Misconduct Policy at Montana State University-Northern requires that an instructor complete this form if he/she decides to impose academic sanctions against a student because of a violation of the policy. The instructor should complete the following information, keep the original in his/her files, and give a copy to the student, the appropriate chair/dean and the vice chancellor for finance and administration/student affairs:

1) Students Name: _____________________________________________________

2) Semester when misconduct occurred: Fall / Spring / Summer (circle one)

Year: ________________

3) Class in which misconduct occurred:

Course Prefix and Number: __________________________________________
Course Name: ____________________________________________________

4) Date when the misconduct occurred, or date when the misconduct was discovered by the instructor:

Date: ___________________________________________________________

5) A description of the facts surrounding the incident of academic misconduct. Please attach additional pages, if more room is needed.


6) The academic sanctions imposed on the student for this incident. Please see section I of the policy for permissible sanctions.


7) Name of instructor: ______________________________________________________

8) Date: ________________ 9) Signature: ______________________________________