Academic Honesty and Dishonesty

A high standard of integrity is expected of students in all phases of academic work and college life. Academic dishonesty in any form is a fundamental offense against the integrity of the entire academic community and is always a threat to the standards of the College and to the standing of every student. While taking tests and examinations, doing homework, writing papers, or completing laboratory or studio work, students are expected to act with honor. In written and oral work for all college courses, students are responsible for knowing the difference between proper and improper use of source materials. When a student hands in a take-home exam, a paper, or homework, the assumption is that the work represents the student’s own effort unless other sources are acknowledged, including collaboration with fellow students. The improper use of source materials is plagiarism and, along with other breaches of academic integrity, is subject to disciplinary action.

All faculty members are responsible for creating an atmosphere in classrooms, labs, and studios that protects the integrity of the entire class and that ensures all students are assessed equitably. The following general procedures for dealing with problems of academic dishonesty have been established. Most notably, every case of academic dishonesty, no matter how minor the infraction, must be reported to the Associate Dean of the College before the determination of a consequence.


Plagiarism occurs when the student does not reference properly, quotes without quotation marks or without indicating sources, paraphrases improperly or without indicating sources, submits work as their own when it is not, or when there is a combination of these omissions or commissions in any academic exercise. All such behavior constitutes a theft of someone else’s ideas or words. All students will have a classroom discussion and an exercise on proper research, referencing sources, and paraphrasing techniques during the early part of their academic career at Centre. Students who do not understand proper research techniques or proper citation of sources should ask their instructors.

When a student submits a take-home exam, a paper, or homework, the assumption is that the work represents the student’s own effort unless other sources are directly acknowledged. Furthermore, it is expected that this work has been produced exclusively for the course in which it is submitted. Students should not use the same or substantially the same material in different courses without the prior approval of both instructors. Recent cases that have caused a great deal of concern have involved the persistent omission of quotation marks around quoted material, the persistent omission of references, improper paraphrasing using material too similar to the original, and handing in another student’s work as their own. Of particular concern is inappropriate use of electronic resources and disallowed collaborations among students taking the same course. In the case of a student who has handed in another student's work as his or her
own, it is crucial to find out who copied from whom. This can be challenging and calls for some cautious investigation. Prior to such an investigation, the faculty member should contact the Associate Dean.

The College subscribes to, an on-line resource that checks student papers against a database of the Internet publications and (for duplication) previously submitted student papers and other available source material. Faculty members are encouraged to use this service to guard against plagiarism or in the event they suspect plagiarism.

In-Class Academic Dishonesty

 Every faculty member is asked to create an atmosphere in classrooms, labs, and studios that protects the integrity of the entire class and that ensures all students are assessed equitably. Tests, quizzes, and exams should be monitored and seating during assessments should be dispersed as possible. Students should not use notes, texts, or special memory aids (including cell phones and smart watches) during an assessment, unless the instructor specifically permits these resources. Students who notice that a classmate is cheating or anything else unusual should tell the instructor immediately, so that the instructor can take action during the assessment. In particular, the instructor should intervene with a student right away if there is reasonable certainty that there is some cause for alarm. If a student has notes on their person or has access to disallowed resources (including cell phones and smart watches) while completing an assessment, these items should be confiscated.

In the case where a student appears to be copying from another student's paper, it is advisable to observe the student carefully and to intervene if necessary, to include asking them to move to a different location. It is important not to cast suspicion on someone who may be innocently looking away from their own paper just to reflect on the questions at hand. If, however, there has been any questionable behavior, the work submitted by the one suspected of cheating and the one copied from should be checked carefully. If there are sufficient similarities, particularly between incorrect responses, the faculty member should be in touch with the Associate Dean as soon as possible and before returning any work to the students.

Student Access to Tests and Testing Materials Outside of the Test Period

It is best not to give the same tests multiple times, particularly take-home tests and tests that have been returned to students. Even when students only have access to tests in the professor’s office, some questions and answers have become available to other students because of the relative ease of sharing information electronically. Likewise, as a rule it is unwise to have a student assistant type, photocopy, collate, or otherwise have access to test material.

Disallowed Collaboration

A student who helps another student cheat is also guilty of violating the principles of academic honesty. Instructors should let students know whether they can or cannot collaborate on any assignment, and students are responsible for knowing when they can and cannot collaborate. If they are not certain, the assumption should be that collaboration is not allowed until they clarify the guidelines with their instructor. Any collaboration should be acknowledged on submitted work.

A committee appointed by the Student Government Association made the following clarifications about academic honesty: (1) Anyone acting in the role of tutor, either in a paid or voluntary capacity, may work on specific homework problems as long as these problems will not be used by the instructor for grading purposes. Students should clarify ambiguous situations such as lab write-ups and computer programs with the individual professor before collaborating with others. (2) A proofreader may check for errors and misspellings. Also, proofreaders may check for problems in grammar, usage, diction, and agreement. The proofreader may identify the error, but not directly correct the mistake. In a general sense, the proofreader is free to discuss topics, ideas, and concepts in the paper. The reader may suggest alterations, but at no time may a proofreader actually write any phrase, sentence, or paragraph for another student.

Defacing Library Materials and Convocation Misconduct

Two other types of misconduct are treated as violations of academic dishonesty: the defacing of library materials and abuses of the Convocation system, including misconduct during a Convocation. Both are subject to disciplinary action by the Associate Dean and/or the Student Judiciary.

Maintaining Academic Honesty

Each of the three elements of the academic community—students, staff, and faculty— carries part of the responsibility for maintaining academic honesty. Every case of academic dishonesty, no matter how minor the infraction, must be reported to the Associate Dean of the College before a grade is determined.

Members of the faculty have a clear professional responsibility to minimize the opportunities for academic dishonesty. To meet this responsibility, the College Council has voted (November 11, 1981) to observe the following practices:
A. The instructor or a faculty colleague should actively monitor all exams, including make-ups and exams given early. Administrative assistants, student assistants, and other staff members should not be asked to give or monitor exams, with the exception of the staff in the Proctoring Center and those traveling with students for athletics or other approved trips.
B. Instructors should not leave the classroom during examinations.
C. Students should bring to the classroom only those materials necessary for taking the examination. All other books, notes and materials should be left outside the classroom, or in a common location within the room, including cell phones and smart watches.
D. Students should be separated and dispersed throughout the classroom as much as possible. If the instructor anticipates that the scheduled room will be too small to assure adequate dispersal, the instructor may contact the Registrar about the possibility of alternate arrangements.
E. Students ordinarily should not be permitted to leave the classroom during an assessment, unless it is administered in distinct parts that allow the student to take a break between having
access to those different parts. In cases where it is clearly necessary for a student to leave the room, the student should leave individually and the instructor should take reasonable precautions to prevent access to test-related materials.
F. Instructors with multiple sections of the same course should make separate examinations.
G. Students taking earlier exams or make-up exams should be given exams different from those given to the regular class.
H. Instructors should check footnotes and references. For this task, instructors may use, which reports internet sites containing material that corresponds to identified passages in a submitted paper.
I. Instructors should vary topics of written assignments to minimize the use of previously written papers. Students should not use the same or substantially the same material in different courses without the prior approval of both instructors.
J. Instructors should repeatedly emphasize the proper referencing of sources, recognizing that the style of referencing varies among academic disciplines. Instructors should provide resources to students who may need to learn or to refresh their understanding of guidelines for quoting, paraphrasing, and acknowledging other’s work.

Reporting Concerns about Academic Dishonesty

If the instructor has any concerns about a student's academic honesty, even if it is only a suspicion with no proof, the Associate Dean must be notified. Instructors are asked to speak with the Associate Dean before emailing or talking with the student about the concern. Students may report an instance of alleged academic dishonesty by speaking with the instructor, who should then be in touch with the Associate Dean. The instructor and the Associate Dean will consult and decide on a proper course of action, which may include questioning the individual(s) involved and/or other witnesses to the incident. Reasons for alerting the Associate Dean to all suspicions of academic dishonesty include:
A. A centralized handling of all academic dishonesty cases has been deemed advisable for the sake of fairness and equitable treatment for all students.
B. Second offenses of academic dishonesty merit more substantive consequences and are almost always referred to the Student Judiciary. The Associate Dean maintains records on all cases and checks whether a student has been in difficulty before.
C. The Associate Dean can consult with the instructor about ways of handling the situation.
D. The Associate Dean can help evaluate the evidence.
E. The Associate Dean will usually meet with the student to discuss the concern. Sometimes instructors meet with the student to discuss the concern, but only after first consulting with the Associate Dean.
F. For all offenses, the Associate Dean will decide, based on the case in relationship to other cases, whether it should be referred to the Student Judiciary. In all cases, the instructor and the student have the right to request a hearing with the Student Judiciary independent of the Associate Dean's decision.

Non-Judiciary Approaches to Handling Concerns (after consultation with the Associate Dean)

Some concerns about academic misconduct are handled administratively by the Associate Dean in consultation with the student’s instructor. Possible outcomes include:
A. The student may convince both the instructor and the Associate Dean that no problematic actions occurred. The case is closed and the student is cleared.
B. The grade can be adjusted to reflect the presence of a problem with the submitted work and/or student actions.
C. The student can be asked to complete the assignment again.
D. The student can be given a substitute assignment.
E. The student can be warned and informed that any subsequent case of academic honesty will result in more substantive consequences.
F. Some combination of these approaches as appropriate to the circumstances.
If a student objects to the determination and resulting consequences, they may appeal the case to the Student Judiciary.

Student Judiciary Process for Academic Cases

 The Student Judiciary arbitrates serious concerns of academic misconduct. The Associate Dean completes a citation form that states the charge and explains the student’s rights. The Associate Dean then sends that form to the chair of the Student Judiciary, who will determine a date, time, and location for a hearing. If cited to appear before the Student Judiciary, a student may not withdraw from the College prior to the completion of the judiciary process.

Ordinarily, the instructor is asked to appear at the hearing to discuss the evidence and how conclusions were reached, and the Student Judiciary will ask about the assignment. All of this occurs in the presence of the accused who is asked how they plead at the beginning of the hearing, and is then asked to comment, respond, explain, and make a closing statement. The Associate Dean is also asked to make a closing statement. The accused student and the Associate Dean must be present to receive the final decision. At the time the decision is rendered, the Student Judiciary shall provide both a concise written statement of the basis for its finding and information about the appeals process.

The final responsibility for determining the student's grade in the course rests with the instructor, except in cases in which the Student Judiciary recommends a lowering of the grade for punitive reasons. In cases where a student is suspended as a result of a Student Judiciary recommendation, the grade of "U" shall be recorded for that course.

In all cases brought before the Student Judiciary, the following procedures are observed:
A. The student shall receive a written citation of the charge of misconduct at least 48 hours before a judicial hearing.
B. The accused party and the person(s) bringing the charge shall have the right to obtain advice from anyone chosen from among students, faculty, and administrators at Centre College.
C. The accused party and the person(s) bringing the charge shall have the right to hear all testimony, to call witnesses, to question every person who testifies, and to produce evidence. Persons who testify at a hearing, except for the accused and the person(s) bringing the charge, cannot be present for testimony other than their own.
D. No person can be required to give testimony that would be self-incriminating.
E. Only the accused may decide to permit the presence of spectators at a hearing.
F. The hearing, except for the Judiciary’s private deliberations, will be recorded for the benefit of the Board of Review and the student in case of an appeal. The recording will be deleted if the accused does not appeal.
G. The accused may appeal the decision of the Student Judiciary to the Board of Review through the office of the Dean of the College, in writing with reasons specified and within 48 hours of the Judiciary's decision. If the student does not appeal, the recommendation of the Student Judiciary stands.
A decision of the Student Judiciary may be appealed by the accused student only if they believe that: (i) proper procedures were not followed; (ii) they received inordinate punishment; or (iii) they were denied a fair hearing. Appeals must be written to the Board of Review and hand-delivered to the office of the Dean of the College within 48 hours of the Judiciary’s decision.

For cases involving academic integrity, the Board of Review consists of the Dean of the College, the Dean of Student Life, and one member of the Student Judiciary who did not participate in the original hearing. The Board will not retry the case nor hear new evidence. If new evidence has appeared that could materially affect the decision, the case should be sent back to the Student Judiciary. In the absence of an appeal, all Student Judiciary recommendations are implemented by the instructor and Associate Dean.