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20.1.2 Honor System Rules

  • 20.1.2.1 INTRODUCTION

    "An Aggie does not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do."

    Texas A&M University is dedicated to the discovery, development, communication and application of knowledge in a wide range of academic and professional fields and assumes as its historic trust the maintenance of freedom of inquiry and an intellectual environment nurturing the human mind and spirit. Living in accordance with the Aggie Code of Honor is critical to these ideals, to the goal of assuming a place of preeminence in higher education, and to the development of the whole student.

  • 20.1.2.2 COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITY

    Academic integrity is an essential force in the academic life of a university. It enhances the quality of education and celebrates the genuine achievements of others. It is, without reservation, a responsibility of all members of the Texas A&M University Community to actively promote academic integrity. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of academic dishonesty is not a neutral act -- failure to confront and deter it will reinforce, perpetuate, and enlarge the scope of such misconduct.

    As such, a primary responsibility assumed by Texas A&M students is to promote the ideals of the Aggie Code of Honor. Various methods of encouraging integrity exist, such as setting an example for new students, education through student organizations, and student-to-student moral suasion. Students have the responsibility to confront their peers engaging in compromising situations, and if unsuccessful, to report the matter to the Aggie Honor System Office. Self-reporting is encouraged and may be considered a mitigating circumstance in the sanctioning phase of a particular case.

    Instructors are expected to take proactive steps to promote academic integrity. All syllabi shall contain a section that states the Aggie Honor Code and refers the student to the Aggie Honor System Rules and Procedures on the web. Instructors should have an open discussion about academic integrity with students in their courses early in the semester. Instructors and staff share in the responsibility and authority to challenge and make known acts that violate the Aggie Code of Honor. Additionally, instructors are expected to adhere to the policy pertaining to the reporting and adjudication of violations of the Aggie Code of Honor. Initiating formal procedures is a necessary and obligatory component of this shared responsibility.

    Collaboration and sharing information are characteristics of academic communities. These become violations when they involve dishonesty or are used in ways that give a student an unfair advantage. Instructors shall make clear to students their expectations about collaboration and information sharing. Students should seek clarification when in doubt. While Texas A&M values and affirms all cultures, it is important to recognize that only one standard of academic integrity will be tolerated; this is the Aggie Code of Honor.

    If the alleged misconduct meets the definition of "misconduct in research or scholarship" under System Regulation 15.99.03 - Ethics in Research and Scholarship and relates to federally funded research, either by an active federal research project or the use of data that was compiled in whole or in part with federal funds the procedures set out 15.99.03 and University Rule 15.99.03.M1 - Responsible Conduct in Research and Scholarship will apply.

  • 20.1.2.3 DEFINITIONS OF ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT

    Misconduct in research or scholarship includes fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, reviewing, or reporting research. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.

    Texas A&M University students are responsible for authenticating all work submitted to an instructor. If asked, students must be able to produce proof that the item submitted is indeed the work of that student. Students must keep appropriate records at all times. The inability to authenticate one’s work, should the instructor request it, is sufficient grounds to initiate an academic dishonesty case.

    Academic dishonesty includes the commission of any of the following acts. This listing is not, however, exclusive of any other acts that may reasonably be called academic dishonesty. Clarification is provided for each definition by listing some prohibited behaviors.

    • 20.1.2.3.1 Cheating:

      Intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids or other devices or materials in any academic exercise. Unauthorized materials may include anything or anyone that gives a student assistance and has not been specifically approved in advance by the instructor.

      Examples:

      1. During an examination, looking at another student's examination or using external aids (for example, books, notes, calculators, conversation with others, or electronic devices) unless specifically allowed in advance by the instructor.
      2. Having others conduct research or prepare work without advance authorization from the instructor.
      3. Acquiring answers for any assigned work or examination from any unauthorized source. This includes, but is not limited to, using the services of commercial term paper companies, purchasing answer sets to homework from tutoring companies, and obtaining information from students who have previously taken the examination.
      4. Collaborating with other students in the completion of assigned work, unless specifically authorized by the instructor teaching the course. It is safe to assume that all assignments are to be completed individually unless the instructor indicates otherwise; however, students who are unsure should seek clarification from their instructors.
      5. Other similar acts.
    • 20.1.2.3.2 Fabrication:

      Making up data or results, and recording or reporting them; submitting fabricated documents.

      Examples:

      1. The intentional invention and unauthorized alteration of any information or citation in any academic exercise.
      2. Using "invented" information in any laboratory experiment, report of results or academic exercise. It would be improper, for example, to analyze one sample in an experiment and then "invent" data based on that single experiment for several more required analyses.
      3. Failing to acknowledge the actual source from which cited information was obtained. For example, a student shall not take a quotation from a book review and then indicate that the quotation was obtained from the book itself.
      4. Changing information on tests, quizzes, examinations, reports, or any other material that has been graded and resubmitting it as original for the purpose of improving the grade on that material.
      5. Providing a fabricated document to any University employee in order to obtain an excused absence or to satisfy a course requirement; altering an official document such as a transcript.
      6. Other similar acts.
    • 20.1.2.3.3 Falsification:

      Manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.

      Examples:

      1. Changing the measurements in an experiment in a laboratory exercise so as to obtain results more closely conforming to theoretically expected values.
      2. Other similar acts.
    • 20.1.2.3.4 Multiple Submissions:

      Submitting substantial portions of the same work (including oral reports) for credit more than once without authorization from the instructor of the class for which the student submits the work.

      Examples:

      1. Submitting the same work for credit in more than one course without the instructor’s permission.
      2. Making revisions in a paper or report (including oral presentations) that has been submitted in one class and submitting it for credit in another class without the instructor’s permission.
      3. Representing group work done in one class as one’s own work for the purpose of using it in another class.
      4. Other similar acts.
    • 20.1.2.3.5 Plagiarism:

      The appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

      Examples:

      1. Intentionally, knowingly, or carelessly presenting the work of another as one’s own (i.e., without crediting the author or creator).
      2. Failing to credit sources used in a work product in an attempt to pass off the work as one’s own.
      3. Attempting to receive credit for work performed by another, including papers obtained in whole or in part from individuals or other sources. Students are permitted to use the services of a tutor (paid or unpaid), a professional editor, or the University Writing Center to assist them in completing assigned work, unless the instructor explicitly prohibits such assistance. If the student uses such services, the resulting product must be the original work of the student. Purchasing research reports, essays, lab reports, practice sets, or answers to assignments from any person or business are strictly prohibited. Sale of such materials is a violation of both these rules and State law.
      4. Failing to cite the World Wide Web, databases and other electronic resources if they are utilized in any way as resource material in an academic exercise.
      5. Other similar acts.

      General information pertaining to plagiarism:

      1. Style Guides: Instructors are responsible for identifying any specific style/format requirement for the course. Examples include, but are not limited to, American Psychological Association (APA) style and Modern Languages Association (MLA) style.
      2. Direct Quotation: Every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks or appropriate indentation and must be properly acknowledged in the text by citation or in a footnote or endnote.
      3. Paraphrase: Prompt acknowledgment is required when material from another source is paraphrased or summarized, in whole or in part, in one's own words. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly, one might state: "To paraphrase Locke's comment..." and then conclude with a footnote or endnote identifying the exact reference.
      4. Borrowed facts: Information gained in reading or research, which is not common knowledge, must be acknowledged.
      5. Common knowledge: Common knowledge includes generally known facts such as the names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc., basic historical information (e.g., George Washington was the first President of the United States.) Common knowledge does not require citation.
      6. Works consulted: Materials that add only to a general understanding of a subject may be acknowledged in the bibliography, and need not be footnoted or end-noted. Writers should be certain that they have not used specific information from a general source in preparing their work unless it has been appropriately cited. Writers should not include books, papers, or any other type of source in a bibliography, “works cited” list, or a “works consulted” list unless those materials were actually used in the research. The practice of citing unused works is sometimes referred to as “padding.”
      7. Footnotes, endnotes, and in-text citations: One footnote, endnote, or in-text citation is usually enough to acknowledge indebtedness when a number of connected sentences are drawn from one source. When direct quotations are used, however, quotation marks must be inserted and acknowledgment made. Similarly, when a passage is paraphrased, acknowledgment is required.
      8. Graphics, design products, and visual aids: All graphics, design products, and visual aids from another creator used in academic assignments must reference the source of the material.
    • 20.1.2.3.6 Complicity:

      Intentionally or knowingly helping, or attempting to help, another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.

      Examples:

      1. Knowingly allowing another to copy from one's paper during an examination or test.
      2. Distributing test questions or substantive information about the test without the instructor’s permission.
      3. Collaborating on academic work knowing that the collaboration will not be reported.
      4. Taking an examination or test for another student.
      5. Signing another's name on an academic exercise or attendance sheet.
      6. Conspiring or agreeing with one or more persons to commit, or to attempt to commit, any act of scholastic dishonesty.
      7. Other similar acts.
    • 20.1.2.3.7 Abuse and Misuse of Access and Unauthorized Access:

      Students may not abuse or misuse computer access or gain unauthorized access to information in any academic exercise. See Student Rule 22.

    • 20.1.2.3.8 Violation of Departmental or College Rules:

      Students may not violate any announced departmental or college rule relating to academic matters.

    • 20.1.2.3.9 University Rules on Research:

      Students involved in conducting research and/or scholarly activities at Texas A&M University must also adhere to standards set forth in University Rule 15.99.03.M1 - Responsible Conduct in Research and Scholarship.

  • 20.1.2.4 SPECIAL NOTE ON GROUP PROJECTS

    If someone in a group commits academic misconduct, the entire group could be held responsible for it as well. It is important to clearly document who contributes what parts of the joint project and to know what group members are doing and how they are getting the material they provide.

  • 20.1.2.5 OTHER TYPES OF CONDUCT CONCERNS

    Student rule violations outside of the academic classroom environment are reported through Student Conflict Resolution Services at http://studentlife.tamu.edu/scrs/ccironline.

    To report a behavioral concern on the part of a member of the student body, faculty, or staff, refer to the Tell Somebody Reporting process at https://tellsomebody.tamu.edu/reportingform.

    To report instances of suspected waste, fraud, or a suspected ethics violation, use the Texas A&M University Systems Risk, Fraud, and Misconduct Hotline at https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/en/report_custom.asp?clientid=19681.