Addressing Academic Misconduct
St. Clair College treats allegations of academic misconduct seriously and has procedures in place to ensure that students are afforded a fair process if claims of misconduct are made against them. The process provides the student with the opportunity to respond to allegations before penalties are issued against them as well as a right to formally appeal the matter at a hearing before an impartial hearing panel.
For a copy of the policy, refer to the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
Student Conduct Notifications
If you have received a Student Conduct Notification concerning academic misconduct, please review all information below.
Instructors who form the opinion that a student has violated the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities by committing academic misconduct report the incident by entering it into a database for reporting academic misconduct. When they do so, the student receives a Notification of Academic Misconduct.
If you have been accused of academic misconduct, you will receive a notification which is sent to your official College email address with the subject line "Student Conduct Notification".
The notification includes the following information:
- Reference: Notification of Academic Misconduct
- The course name and course code
- The instructor of the course
- The type of academic misconduct offence that is alleged
- Information concerning the misconduct that is alleged
- The academic penalty that may be imposed
- The weight of the assessment and degree of mark deduction, if applicable
Instructors are required to report suspected academic misconduct by recording the incident in the Student Conduct Database. This results in a Notification of Academic Misconduct to be issued to the student.
I have received a Student Conduct Notification of Academic Misconduct? What is this?
Student Conduct Notification of Academic Misconduct is issued when an instructor reports suspected academic misconduct by a student.
Notification of Academic Misconduct is not a final decision. It is a notification that provides you with the opportunity to respond to the claim of academic misconduct.
The notification provides information about what penalty the instructor will impose if this decision becomes final.
Penalties that an instructor can impose are known as academic penalties and include a warning (with no mark penalty), requirement to resubmit the assessment (with or without mark deduction, partial or full mark penalty without opportunity to resubmit, grade deduction, or failing grade in the course.
For more information about penalties, refer to Academic Integrity Violations & Consequences.
I have received a Student Conduct Notification of Academic Misconduct? What should I do?
The first step is to determine whether to respond to the notification. Any response at this point should be directly between you and your instructor.
Because no final decision has been made, you have the opportunity to provide any information relevant to a review or reconsideration by your instructor before a final determination of academic misconduct is made and a penalty imposed.
How much time do I have to respond to the notification for academic misconduct?
You have 5 days from the date the Student Conduct Notification of Academic Misconduct is issued to address the issue with your instructor.
How do I respond to the notification for academic misconduct?
If you wish to discuss the matter with your instructor, you should forward a copy of the notification to your instructor's St. Clair College email address.
Do not reply to the Student Conduct Notification email. The email you received was automatically issued because the incident was recorded in the Student Conduct Database. That email account is not monitored. The Student Conduct Notification email specifically tells you not to reply to that email.
How should I decide whether to respond to the notification?
If there is information that your instructor was not aware of that is relevant to a finding of academic misconduct, you have the opportunity within these five days to allow for a review of the issue in a manner that may provide for another resolution before the instructor's decision becomes final.
Although the student maintains the right to formally appeal the instructor's decision after the instructor's decision becomes final, you should avail yourself of the opportunity to address the issue directly with your instructor first.
What is relevant information when requesting reconsideration?
Information that is relevant includes any information that the instructor may not have been aware of, or is mistaken about, in determining you committed a form of academic misconduct.
What type of responses are not relevant to a request for reconsideration?
Promises to "not do it again" are welcome but are not relevant to whether an academic penalty should be imposed for academic misconduct. Instructors are required to report academic misconduct and so this will not change the outcome.
Similarly, personal issues and stress that may have led to make bad choices, or risk of failing the course and having to pay to take it again, are not relevant to whether the incident should be reported or whether an academic penalty should result.
What happens after I request review or reconsideration of the matter from my instructor?
An instructor may:
- Rely on the original finding and make no changes to the database concerning the incident
- Reconsider the type of offence and make that change in the database
- Reconsider the penalty and make that change in the database
- Reconsider both the type of offence and the penalty and make those changes in the database
- Withdraw the complaint from the database
Unless the complaint is withdrawn, you will receive a Student Conduct Notification of Academic Penalty with final decision.
This notification represents the instructor's final decision and is issued 10 days after the original notice. Although the Academic Penalty notification is the instructor's final decision, you maintain the right to formally appeal that decision.
A copy of the Academic Penalty notification is also sent to the Chair of your program.
If the complaint is withdrawn, no academic penalty notification is issued. The incident will not appear as part of your student conduct record.
How should I respond if I accept responsibility for academic misconduct?
If you accept the report as recorded by your instructor and the penalty that will be imposed, you can also choose not to respond at all.
Although it is also not a requirement, you can choose to communicate with your instructor that you acknowledge and take responsibility for the incident as reported.
Refer also to Learning With Integrity for strategies on how to avoid academic misconduct in the future.
What happens if I don't respond to the notification?
If no action is taken that may lead to a change in the recording of the incident, 10 days after original student conduct notification that you received (Notification of Academic Misconduct), you will receive a Notification of Academic Penalty.
The Notification of Academic Penalty signifies the instructor's final decision on the matter, as originally reported in the Notification of Academic Misconduct. As noted, a student has the right to formally appeal the academic penalty when it is issued.
In accordance with the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities, section 188.8.131.52 (3), a student who is the subject of a complaint process for academic misconduct may not drop the course before the matter is resolved. Further, subject to a successful appeal, a student loses the right to drop the course following an academic penalty.
A course drop after this point may be reversed.
Academic penalties are issued by an instructor to ensure that a student does not gain an unfair advantage in the assessment process. While the most common academic penalty for academic misconduct is a mark penalty (for example, zero grade on the assessment), academic penalties can range from a warning to a failing grade in the course, depending on the circumstances.
While the purpose of academic penalties is to ensure that a student does not benefit from academic misconduct in relation to their academic work, administrative penalties recognize that academic misconduct is a violation of the student's responsibilities as set out in the Code of Student's Rights and Responsibilities.
Administrative penalties may be issued in addition to academic penalties or independently, depending on the circumstances of the misconduct.
Administrative penalties for academic misconduct may be issued by an Academic Administrator, including the Chair/Dean of the student's program or the Vice President, Academic.
Administrative penalties may be appropriate where a student commits academic misconduct more than once but may also be issued in a first instance case where there are aggravating factors or circumstances.
For more information about administrative penalties for academic misconduct, refer to Academic Integrity Violations & Consequences.
If an Academic Administrator issues an administrative penalty, the student receives a Student Conduct Notification of Administrative Penalty.
Just as with academic penalties, the student has the right to appeal an administrative penalty within 5 days of notification.
The Student Conduct Database is an internal database for reporting incidents of misconduct.
Academic and administrative penalties may impact a student’s grade or academic standing, but these penalties are not noted on a student’s transcript.
The database is used internally to track data to inform continuous improvement to policies and processes, by Academic Administrators to reference a student’s prior record in determining the issuance of an administrative penalty, and by the Academic Integrity Administrator in relation to an appeal hearing.
Notification of Academic Misconduct is not a final decision so you should continue attending to your studies in the course.
If you receive a Notification of Academic Penalty (10 days after the Notification of Academic Misconduct) which issues a warning, resubmission, mark penalty or grade deduction, you should continue attending to your studies in the course.
If you receive a Notification of Academic Penalty and/or a Notification of Administrative Penalty that issues a failing grade in the course, your right to continue in the course ends 5 days after the notification (unless you file an appeal). If you file an appeal, your right to attend the course continues pending a final decision by the Appeal Panel.
If you have been issued a penalty for a failing grade in the course and have any questions about continuing to attend your course, email CAE@stclaircollege.ca.
If you receive a Notification of Administrative Penalty that issues a suspension or dismissal, the notification will provide you with specific information in your case, including your right to appeal the decision within 5 days of notification.
Yes. Whether you have been issued a Notification of Academic Penalty or Notification of Administrative Penalty, you have the right to appeal by filing an appeal within 5 days of notification of penalty.
Begin by reviewing the section on academic misconduct (section 7.1.6) of the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities.
To be successful at an appeal hearing, you will need to demonstrate sufficient or compelling reasons to question the finding of academic misconduct in your case.
Consider the following questions:
- Did the decision-maker (instructor or academic administrator) make a mistake in applying the policy that would make the decision invalid?
- Is there information concerning the academic misconduct incident that the decision-maker did not properly consider which may have resulted in a different decision?
- Were you misinformed or misled, through no fault of your own, such that you should not be held responsible for the incident?
If you are not able to answer "yes" to one of those questions, it will be difficult to demonstrate sufficient or compelling reasons to question the finding of academic misconduct.
Note that a student can be held accountable for academic misconduct even if they did not intend to deceive or did not know that what they were doing was academic misconduct. Based on this, even if there was no intention to cheat, consider whether the evidence is reasonably persuasive that the conduct amounts to academic misconduct as defined by the policy.
Reasons that are unlikely to result in a successful appeal:
- Other students did the same thing and did not get caught.
- You have done this before and were not reported for academic misconduct.
- You did not know it was academic misconduct.
- You think the policy is unfair or unreasonable.
- If the penalty remains in place, you may fail the course.
- You hope that the panel will reverse the decision if you explain that this will not happen again.
Lastly, be honest with yourself (as well as others) when reflecting on the situation. The academic integrity process is designed to require accountability from students as well as provide fairness to students. Fairness and accountability are valued principles that can apply side-by-side.
If you are considering appealing, or have decided to appeal, your student representative council has designated representatives who are knowledgeable about the policy and process. If you have questions or require assistance, contact them:
Appeals must be filed within 5 days of the Notification of Academic Penalty or Notification of Administrative Penalty.
If you have received both an academic penalty and an administrative penalty, you can appeal both decisions on the same form or submit them separately within the timelines of your notification.
Download a copy of the Academic Misconduct Appeal Form.
Carefully review the appeal form and complete all required sections.
Email the completed appeal form and any other information in support of your appeal, within 5 days of notification of penalty, to CAE@stclaircollege.ca.
You must file an appeal within 5 days of student conduct notification of penalty.
You do not have the right to appeal after the deadline has passed. However, in exceptional circumstances, the deadline may be extended to allow the filing of the appeal.
Requests for extensions, with reasons, should be sent by email to CAE@stclaircollege.ca.
The request will be reviewed by the Academic Integrity Administrator who will issue a decision in writing. The decision issued on whether to allow the extension for the filing of an appeal is final.
The hearing process is coordinated by the Centre for Academic Excellence (CAE).
A hearing date will be set, generally within 10 days of the filing of the appeal. You will receive email communications from the CAE to your official college email address, including notification of the date and time to attend the hearing. The issuer of the penalty (instructor or academic administrator) will also be notified to attend. The Chair of your program will also be notified and may attend the hearing.
In the proceeding, you may be referred to as "the appellant" (the person who has appealed).
Appeals are heard by the Academic Misconduct Appeal Panel. The panel is comprised of three members: the Academic Integrity Administrator, a faculty member and a student member. Members of the appeal panel are impartial and unbiased and do not have any connection to the issue before them at the hearing.
No less than 24 hours before the scheduled date/time of the hearing, the appellant, the instructor, the Chair of the program and the panel members will receive the appeal package. The appeal package will contain a copy of the student conduct notification(s), a copy of your appeal form and supporting documents, and any information/documentation provided by the instructor.
The Academic Integrity Administrator is the Chair of the panel and oversees the hearing process. They will introduce all the parties and outline the hearing procedure.
The Appellant may apply to the Chair of the Panel to have a support person sit next to the Appellant during the hearing to take notes, provide emotional support and advice. A support person may be a relative or friend but must not be a witness in the hearing.
If there are any witnesses, they will remain outside the hearing room until they are called upon.
You will have the opportunity to present information in support of your case at the hearing.
During the hearing, panel members may ask questions of you, the instructor or academic administrator, and any witnesses.
After all the evidence is heard, the hearing will be adjourned, and all parties dismissed. The panel members will remain in the room to deliberate.
The issue to be determined is whether you have demonstrated sufficient or compelling reasons for the hearing panel to question the finding of academic misconduct in this case.
The majority decision of the panel will be written by the Academic Integrity Administrator and a copy of the decision will be distributed to all parties, as well as to the Vice President Academic, by the CAE, within 10 days of the hearing.
The decision of the Appeal Panel is final.
The CAE is responsible to ensure that the record of the matter in the student conduct database is updated accordingly.
Your student representative council has designated representatives who are knowledgeable about the policy and process. They can also provide guidance on filing an appeal.
Reach out to them if you have any questions or require assistance:
Students who have been reported for academic misconduct and a penalty finalized will be required to participate in an Academic Integrity Workshop.
See Academic Integrity Workshop for more information.