Academic Code of Conduct

Thomas Edison State College is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence and honesty. The College expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Thomas Edison State College students are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of their professions; keep official records updated; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner.

Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal and/or a hold on academic records. All members of the community are responsible for reviewing the academic code of conduct policy and behaving in keeping with the stated principles.

Purpose
The purpose of this policy is to define and advise students of the academic code of conduct, and to identify violations and their consequences. It also provides an appeals process for students who believe they have been incorrectly accused of violating the standards of academic integrity.

Violations
The College considers any violation of this Academic Code of Conduct to be a serious breach of trust that threatens the academic environment of the entire community. Community members are in violation of the Academic Code of Conduct when acts of academic dishonesty occur. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Cheating
  • Fabricating information or citations
  • Falsifying documents
  • Falsifying information about test proctors
  • Forgery
  • Gaining unauthorized access to examinations
  • Making up or changing data for a research project
  • Plagiarizing
  • Submitting credentials that are false or altered in any way
  • Tampering with the academic work of other students
  • Using words and ideas from others without appropriate attribution.

Disciplinary Process
Allegations of violations of the Academic Code of Conduct may be initiated by mentors, staff or students enrolled at Thomas Edison State College. Specific allegations of a violation of the Academic Code of Conduct must be submitted in writing to the appropriate dean’s office. In cases of violations that result from inappropriate behavior in courses, the appropriate dean is the dean of the School that offers the course. In all other cases, the appropriate dean is the dean of the School in which the student is enrolled.

First Time Plagiarism Offenses
First time incidents of academic dishonesty concerning plagiarism (as defined in the Advisement and Degree Planning Handbook) may reflect ignorance of appropriate citation requirements. Mentors will make a good faith effort to address all first time offenses that occur in courses. In these cases, the mentor may impose sanctions that serve as a learning exercise for the offender. These may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites or any other reasonable learning tool including a lower grade when appropriate. The mentor will notify the student by e-mail.

Second Plagiarism Offenses and All Other Violations
Decisions about the sanctions applied for subsequent plagiarism offenses or other violations will be made by the appropriate dean’s office, with the advice of the mentor or staff person who reported the violation. The student will be notified via certified mail of the decision. Options for sanctions include:

  • Lower or failing grade for an assignment
  • Lower or failing grade for the course
  • Rescinding credits
  • Rescinding certificates or degrees
  • Recording academic sanctions on the transcript
  • Suspension from the College
  • Dismissal from the College

The College reserves the right to review all credits, degrees and certificates. If any academic misconduct is revealed, those credits, degrees and certificates also may be rescinded. Records of all Academic Code of Conduct violations will be maintained in the student’s file.

In extreme or emergency circumstances, any officer of the College at the vice president or higher level may immediately suspend a student from access to College premises, activities or electronic sites pending disciplinary action. Such action will be reported to the vice president and provost.

Hearing
If a hearing is requested, such hearing will be convened at Thomas Edison State College, Trenton, N.J., within 10 business days after the request is received by the College. Students unable to travel to Trenton may attend the hearing telephonically via conference call. In these circumstances, every effort will be made to adhere as closely as possible to the procedures further outlined in this section.

  • The student shall have the opportunity to testify and present evidence and witnesses. A list of witnesses must be submitted to the College at least seven days prior to the hearing.
  • The student may have a nonparticipating advisor present for the proceedings.
  • The committee shall hear and question witnesses.
  • The student may suggest questions for witnesses to the committee.
  • The hearing will be audio recorded. All records and/or audio or video recordings of the hearing will be kept in the custody of the College. Records or recordings may not be reproduced without the specific authorization of the president of Thomas Edison State College.
  • All expenses incurred by the student and any witness will be borne by the student.
  • If a student (with notice) does not appear at the hearing, the committee shall decide whether to proceed in the student's absence.
  • An audio recording of the hearing (not deliberations) shall be made and maintained by the College.

The Academic Integrity Committee will review all reports and evidence regarding the misconduct decision and the grounds for appeal. A written decision will be issued by the chairperson, Academic Integrity Committee, within 10 business days of the hearing or receipt of the written appeal, to the vice president and provost. A certified copy will also be sent to the student concerned. In its decision, the Academic Integrity Committee will determine the appropriate sanction.

Appeal Process
The student shall have the opportunity to appeal any decision involving disciplinary action. An appeal must be submitted in writing to the vice president and provost within 10 business days after receipt of the report of the hearing decision. The appeal must specify the grounds on which it is made. Allowable grounds for appeals are limited to the following:

  • Evidence of procedural irregularity
  • Evidence of mitigating circumstances or facts that could not have been presented to the dean imposing the sanctions
  • Evidence of undue severity of sanction
  • Evidence of bias on the part of the dean’s office
  • Evidence that the decision of the dean’s office is arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable and that the evidence does not support the charges

The vice president and provost will issue a decision within 10 business days and may require that the previosuly imposed sanction be:

  • Affirmed and executed
  • Suspended, set-aside or rejected
  • Modified or adjusted as warranted by circumstance

The decision of the vice president and provost is final.