Your instructor is obligated to pursue this through the Office of Undergraduate Studies. If they haven’t indicated that we've been contacted then you need to contact us. Normally, after an instructor brings a charge to our office, we contact the student to set up a meeting. Once you see the evidence, you have the choice of accepting responsibility (i.e., you did it) and accepting the consequences, or you can request a hearing and supply a rebuttal to the charges. We will walk you through the process step by step. If you request a hearing, the hearing board will determine whether the evidence is strong enough to constitute a violation of the academic integrity policy. There is no appeal to their decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
These questions and answers are intended to help you understand the issues associated with undergraduate academic integrity in your courses, your responsibilities, and the expectations of your instructors.
Send additional questions to UGSintegrity@clemson.edu.
What are the penalties for violating the academic integrity policy? Does it appear on my transcript?
If you are found in violation for your first offense, the instructor sets the penalty, up to a maximum of an F in the course. If you are found in violation for a second offense (or higher) the penalty is set by university policy: an F in the course (for graded courses) and suspension for one or more semesters, or possible dismissal. There is no designation on your transcript that an F or a suspension is from academic dishonesty.
I was accused of cheating. What happens now?
My instructor accused me of cheating, and now won’t talk with me about it. Why is that?
Once a charge is filed, it is best that you and the instructor do not communicate, as that tends to raise the emotional level of the situation. We will help you through the process, and we'll help you proceed in a professional manner. Things will get resolved quicker and with fewer problems with this approach.
I want to use a paper I wrote last year for an assignment in a class this semester. That’s not plagiarism since I’m using my own work right?
Unless you have explicit approval from your instructor that it's okay to re-use your paper, this is in fact plagiarism. Ask your instructor what the rules would be for you to use your older paper. Remember that in your new class, the idea is for you to create something based on what you're learning now. This will alter the nature of the paper you create. Most instructors will allow the use of previous sources, but typically want you to do completely new work for their class. Get permission first.
I always paraphrase stuff from my sources. Why am I being charged with plagiarism?
Paraphrasing without direct citation is plagiarism. It does not suffice to list the source at the end of your paper. Since you took someone else's ideas and rearranged their words, you need to give credit specifically to that source (using a footnote or other citation method approved by your instructor). Some students think that they are "writing" when all they are doing is changing words or phrases from someone else's written material. See our Plagiarism page for a more thorough discussion of plagiarism.
Can I bring a lawyer to my hearing?
Yes, you can have anyone as an advisor during the hearing (a faculty member, a parent, a lawyer), but that person cannot address the hearing; they can only talk to you. They cannot address the hearing board or ask questions. You can also bring material witnesses (people who were involved) but not character witnesses.
What type of students tend to cheat?
Usually around 50 percent of the cases each semester are from freshman students. But it's not uncommon to have up to 20 percent of the cases be seniors found in violation each semester. There does not seem to be a correlation with GPA.
My friend asked to see my lab report to check their formatting. It’s okay to email a copy, right?
No. Many cases happen when a student thought they were just doing another student a favor, but then that student turned in an assignment with copied work. Even if you think you didn't intend to cheat you violated the integrity policy, by providing unauthorized information to your friend. It probably never occurred to you that your friend would steal your work, but it happens all too often. Just refer them to the instructor or the instructor's description of the assignment to get the "format." That way they won't be tempted to borrow your hard work.
For our project, my group decided to break up the work so that each of us does just one part, then we share it with others in the group. That seems very efficient. Is this a violation?
Yes. Unless your instructor explicitly approved for you to divvy up the work in the group, this is a violation. If you turn in an assignment with your name on it, but three quarters of the work came from others, this is inappropriate. If the instructor says the work should be individual, this would be academic dishonesty. Remember that the actual goal is for you to demonstrate that you know all the ideas, not just a portion.
I got charged with plagiarism, but the paper was only a draft and didn’t include my sources. I forgot to turn in the final copy. I’m innocent right?
The instructor can only grade what is turned in for the assignment. You could ask for a hearing, particularly if you have the final copy and can prove you completed it before the deadline.
My lab partner needed the graphs for our experiment, so I sent him my finished lab report. Now I’ve been accused of academic dishonesty. What should I have done differently?
By providing your work to another student, you are in violation of the academic integrity policy. If the graphs were something that you both worked on, you should have made a new file that contained only the graphs, but none of your other work.
I’m supposed to graduate this semester, and now I’ve been charged with academic dishonesty. I’ll still graduate right?
It will depend on the penalty. If it's your first offense, and you're found to be in violation, the instructor sets the penalty. If their penalty is an F in the course you won't graduate if it's a required course. If it's your second offense (or higher), the minimum penalty is an F and a suspension, in which case you won't be graduating this semester.