The Cost of Academic Dishonesty

By Jambar Contributor

Courtney Hibler

An academic career filled with dishonesty can cause a student to lose credibility, and in some cases, can lead to suspension from the university.

According to Youngstown State University’s student code of conduct, all forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

One form of academic dishonesty is plagiarism.

Kelly Beers is associate director for student conduct. She is responsible for overseeing and managing any type of student misconduct.

“I would say a third of our cases [are] … plagiarism in the traditional sense,” said Beers.

Many steps are taken when a student is accused of academic dishonesty.

Jennifer Pintar, associate provost, handles academic dishonesty cases.

“There is an academic integrity form that is required to [be filled] out,” Pintar said. “If a student agrees to the sanction then it is signed and done with.”

The accused student can accept the penalty they are given or they can request a hearing.

“If you are a student accused of academic dishonesty and you disagree with it, then your choice is to not sign that form and … request a hearing,” Pintar said.

During the hearing, the student sits before a panel that consists of six faculty members and students from each college. The accused individual is allowed to have a witness during this panel, but that witness is not allowed to speak.

“Last year there were roughly 76 cases of academic integrity. Sixty-two were resolved with students signing off on the form while 14 of them went to a hearing,” Pintar said.

When student Trasa Rossi was accused of plagiarism, she requested a hearing.

“During a class we were asked to have someone we trusted peer review our paper and the person stole my paper and used it as their own,” Rossi said. “The professor was no help.”

Rossi contacted Pintar through the help of her academic advisor. The process of the hearing began.

“The process itself was extremely long and took two months when it was originally supposed to be two weeks,” Rossi said. “In the end, I was extremely happy because the trial ended up going in my favor.”

If a student is found in violation of university policy in a plagiarism case, a professor might lower the student’s grade or assign a different type of punishment.

“With really big cases, it can go all the way up to suspension from the university,” Beers said.

When a student chooses a hearing, it allows them to present their side of the case, Beers said. If they are still found in violation, they receive whatever punishment is suggested.

Students caught committing academic dishonesty for a second time will answer for their actions in a different way, Pintar said.

“The second time one of these forms comes through, it causes a meeting to be conducted with the student,” Pintar said. “This is not to yell at the student, but to simply figure out what is going on and try to eliminate the occurrences of this dishonesty.”