Guidelines Addressing Cheating and Plagiarism

Introduction
College of San Mateo Catalog states, “The principle of personal honor is the basis for student conduct. The honor system rests on the sincere belief that College of San Mateo students are mature and self-respecting, and can be relied upon to act as responsible and ethical members of society.”

Although instructors may hope that students will act responsibly and ethically at all times, situations will arise in which it is clear, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a student cheated or plagiarized. The following sections provide guidelines for such situations by providing specific definitions of cheating and plagiarizing, and addressing the related instructor responsibilities, student responsibilities and sanctions.

Definitions
“Cheating” refers to unauthorized help on an assignment, quiz, or examination as follows: (1) a student must not receive from any other student or give to any other student any information, answers, or help during an exam; (2) a student must not use unauthorized sources for answers during an exam, must not take notes or books to the exam when such aids are forbidden, and must not refer to any book or notes while taking the exam unless the instructor indicates it is an “open book” exam; and (3) a student must not obtain exam questions illegally before an exam or tamper with an exam after it has been corrected.

“Plagiarism” means submitting work that is someone else’s as one’s own. For example, copying material from a book or other source without acknowledging that the words or ideas are someone else’s, and not one’s own, is plagiarism. If a student copies an author’s words exactly, he or she should treat the passage as a direct quotation and supply the appropriate citation. If someone else’s ideas are used, even if it is paraphrased, appropriate credit should be given. Lastly, a student commits plagiarism when a term paper is purchased and/or submitted which he or she did not write.

(Note: the above two definitions are adapted from Tools for Teaching, by Barbara Gross Davis, Jossey-Bass, Inc., 1993, p. 300).

Instructor Responsibilities

  1. At the beginning of every semester, the instructor shall [should] ensure that students understand the above-stated definitions of cheating and plagiarism. Instructors should focus on those aspects of these definitions which will probably be most relevant in their particular courses. Issues of plagiarism will clearly be more relevant in classes which require students to write papers. Issues of cheating will probably be most relevant in classes which use multiple-choice and true-false type questions. Instructors are encouraged to make reference to these guidelines in their course syllabi.
  2. The instructor should minimize opportunities for cheating and plagiarizing (e.g., see Tools for Teaching, pp. 300 – 310, or other appropriate sources for specific examples.)
  3. Before applying sanctions, the instructor must be able to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the alleged incident actually occurred. For example, a student may admit to cheating or plagiarism, eyewitnesses may corroborate the instructor’s account, or an original source of ideas may prove that a student’s ideas and/or words are not original. Additionally, instructors must document the details of the alleged incident.
  4. The instructor should report the violation to the Division Dean and Vice President, Student Services for disciplinary action using the Notice of Student Violation of Guidelines Addressing Cheating and Dishonesty.

Student Responsibilities
Students are expected to complete assignments to the best of their ability without resorting to cheating or plagiarizing, as defined above.

Sanctions
Among academic sanctions an instructor may choose to utilize are the following:

  1. Warn the student, if the infraction is not intentional or flagrant, that any future violation will be dealt with in a more severe manner.
  2. Assign the student an “F” grade (no credit) on that exam or assignment. Students should also be warned that a more serious sanction will be applied should another violation occur in the future. 

The instructor shall report the violation to the Vice President, Student Services, whose office maintains such information. The instructor should complete the Notice of Student Violation of Guidelines Addressing Cheating and Dishonesty which includes the following: 1) name and identification number of the student, 2) the specific nature of the violation, 3) the date of its occurrence, 4) how the violation was determined, and 5) any additional comments that the instructor wishes to include.

The Vice President will determine the Collegelevel discipline that is appropriate based on the magnitude and severity of other documented reports related to the same student. Note that disciplinary actions are not part of the academic record, and disciplinary actions are not recorded on student transcripts. All disciplinary information is maintained only in the Office of the Vice President, Student Services, and is confidential in nature.

Nothing in these guidelines shall be construed to restrict a student’s right to appeal through the appropriate process described in the “Student Grievances and Appeals” section of the college catalog

Time, Place and Manner of Speech
Students, employees and members of the public shall be free to exercise their rights of free expression, subject to the requirements of this policy and College procedures on Time, Place and Manner of Speech. The Student Life and Leadership Manager and Vice President of Student Services or designee are responsible for adherence to the Time, Place and Manner of Speech policy and procedures.

College of San Mateo is considered a nonpublic forum, except for those areas that are generally available for use by students, employees or members of the public, which are limited public forums. Use of the limited public forums shall be regulated by the following procedures regarding time, place and manner of speech.

Individuals or groups wishing to make use of College space for making retail products or services available are subject to the On Campus Vendor Policy, available through the Center for Student Life & Leadership Development.

The College is a non-public forum, except for designated areas generally available to students, employees or members of the public as follows:

  • The areas generally available to students, employees or members of the public are designated public forums. The College reserves the right to revoke that designation for areas when they are no longer generally open to students, employees or members of the public and apply a nonpublic forum designation.
  • The College reserves the right to designate areas as not a public forum as necessary to prevent the substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the college. Areas of the college that are not a public forum include but are not limited to instructional and administrative buildings and outdoor instruction areas.

The use of areas generally available to students, employees or members of the public is subject to the following:

  • Persons using areas generally available to students, employees or members of the public and/or distributing material in the areas generally available to students, employees or members of the public shall not impede the progress and/or the ingress or egress of passersby, shall not block entrances and exists to campus buildings, nor shall they force passersby to take material.
  • No person using the areas generally available to students, employees or members of the public shall touch, strike or impede the progress of passersby, except for incidental or accidental contact, or contact initiated by a passerby.
  • Persons using areas generally available to students, employees or members of the public shall not use any means of amplification that creates a noise or diversion that disturbs or tends to disturb the orderly conduct of the campus or classes taking place at that time.
  • No persons using the areas generally available to students, employees or members of the public shall solicit donations of money, through direct requests for funds, sales of tickets or otherwise, except where he or she is using the areas generally available to students, employees or members of the public on behalf of and collecting funds for an organization that is registered with the Secretary of State as a nonprofit corporation or is an approved Associated Students Organization or club.

References:
Education Code Sections 66301 and 76120 SMCCC District Rules & Regulations Section 7.21

Guidelines for campus assembly procedures:

  1. Any public meeting, demonstration, or rally on campus will be governed by the regulations of the College of San Mateo as to time, place, and manner of speech.
  2. Students have the full right to express their views on any matter, subject to college regulations in regard to time, place, and manner of speech.
  3. Disruptive behavior is defined as any action which interferes with the functions or activities of the College to the point where such functions or activities can no longer effectively continue. Examples of such functions or activities are classroom activities, athletic events, administrative activities, approved assemblies, meetings and programs, and construction work. Examples of disruptive activities are blocking access to college facilities, disrupting classroom activities to the point where the instructor, in his/her opinion, is no longer able to continue the class, heckling an assembly speaker so that the speaker cannot continue talking, and unauthorized use of sound equipment.

Distribution of Materials
All persons using the areas of the college generally available to students, employees or members of the public shall be allowed to distribute petitions, circulars, leaflets, newspapers, and other printed matter. Such distribution shall take place only within the areas generally available to students, employees or members of the public. Material distributed in the areas generally available to students, employees or members of the public that is discarded or dropped in or around the areas generally available to students, employees or members of the public other than in an appropriate receptacle must be retrieved and removed or properly discarded by those persons distributing the material prior to their departure from the areas generally available to students, employees or members of the public that day. Placing fliers, leaflets, or other materials on vehicles parked in CSM parking lots is prohibited; violators will be charged with the costs related with cleaning such materials left in campus parking lots. (San Mateo City Ordinance 10.40.030)

Campus Posting
The College provides bulletin boards and other designated locations for use in posting materials. All materials shall conform to the guidelines set forth by the Campus Posting Instructions, available from the Center for Student Life & Leadership Development and included below.

General Posting Instructions – Applies to all on-campus posting

  • All materials posted on campus must clearly indicate the group or organization sponsoring the event, activity or service being advertised.
  • No items may be posted on doors, on painted or varnished surfaces, in restrooms, on lamp posts, or on any glass surfaces.
  • Posting is not permitted in the College Center (Building 10).
  • No posting is allowed on the outdoor bus stop or the Redi-Wheels stop.
  • Posting of lawn signs on grass or landscaped areas is prohibited.
  • Duplicates of the same posting in the same area are subject to removal.
  • Placing fliers, leaflets, or other materials on vehicles parked in CSM parking lots is prohibited; violators will be charged with the costs related with cleaning such materials left in campus parking lots. (City of San Mateo Ordinance 10.40.030)

College Posting Instructions – Applies to all college-affiliated groups, including departments, students groups, etc.

All general posting instructions apply. In addition:

  • All postings by college-affiliated groups must have a “Date to Be Removed” stamp from the Center for Student Life & Leadership Development before being posted.
  • Posting is allowed on all interior bulletin boards not designated for a specific purpose.
  • Posting is not allowed in the Theatre Lobby (Building 3), College Center (Building 10) or the Library (Building 9) without permission from the administrators in charge of those buildings.
  • Posting on outdoor railings or balconies is not permitted without permission from the administrators in charge of those buildings.

Community Posting Instructions – Applies to all postings by non-college affiliated groups and organizations

All general posting instructions apply. In addition:

  • Posting on any interior bulletin boards, including bulletin boards in classrooms, is prohibited.
  • Posting is only allowed on outdoor bulletin boards.

Exceptions
Exceptions to any of the above policies require the approval of the Administrator responsible for the specific location in question.