FAQ for Students on Academic Integrity

What is Academic Integrity?

All members of the University community share the responsibility for the academic standards and reputation of the University.  Academic Integrity is a commitment to the fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility all of which are central to the respect for academic principles and behaviours that support the University’s mission. For Students, adherence to these fundamental values is essential for earning academic credit in all courses, whether offered on- or off-campus, online, or as placements, practicums or internships. 

A degree from Lakehead University is a respected credential. The university protects the integrity of its degrees by ensuring each Student actually completes the work demonstrating the knowledge represented by that degree. Academic integrity is essential to Student learning and to the credibility of each degree. Lakehead University takes academic honesty and Academic Integrity seriously.

Does the Academic Integrity Code apply to me?

The Academic Integrity Code applies to Students currently or previously registered in undergraduate and graduate programs and those Students registered in non-degree programs and those participating in study-abroad or off-campus studies. Under certain circumstances – such as where it is alleged that a Student has been in violation of the Academic Integrity Code during the time of enrolment or as a means to gain admission or registration – the Academic Integrity Code may apply to a Student who has applied to Lakehead. The Academic Integrity Code may also apply to Students previously registered and have withdrawn or have graduated from the University. 

What is plagiarism?

The Academic Integrity Code defines plagiarism as presenting another’s ideas or phrasings as one’s own without proper acknowledgement. Examples include: copying and pasting from the internet, a printed source or other resource without proper acknowledgement; copying from another Student; using direct quotations or large sections of paraphrased material in an assignment without proper acknowledgement; submitting the same piece of work in more than one course without the permission of the instructor(s).

What is cheating?

Cheating is, of course, also prohibited by the Academic Integrity Code. There are many examples listed in the Academic Integrity Code as found under section 3. Some of the less obvious forms of cheating include:

  • Submitting the same original work in two or more courses (including a course you are repeating)
  • Collaborating with one or more individuals when collaborative work has not been expressly authorized by the instructor 
  • Falsifying or tampering with results in lab experiments or research assignments
  • Communicating with another Student(s) during an unsupervised online test
  • Bringing unauthorized electronic devices (e.g. cellphone, tablet, etc.) into an exam
  • Using someone else’s iClicker (or similar device) in a class where iClicker responses constitute a portion of the course grade

What are some other breaches of Academic Integrity?

  • Text messaging answers during exams
  • Sharing answers as a group – or unauthorized collaboration
  • Buying papers online
  • Selling/buying exam papers and answer sheets 
  • Taking someone else’s essay/paper and retyping it and submitting it as your own
  • Padding a bibliography with sources you did not use

Is collaborating cheating?

Under the Academic Integrity Code, working collaboratively is cheating unless the faculty member/ instructor has expressly authorized collaborative work. If you are unclear about whether or to what extent working with others is permitted, check with your instructor. (e.g. sometimes the faculty member/instructor allows Students to work together to talk about problems, but Students are expected to work on their solutions independently.)

What if I’m not sure whether something is plagiarism or cheating or a breach of Academic Integrity?

If you are unsure, it is your responsibility to consult with the instructor for guidance. Claiming that you weren’t sure is not an adequate defense for a charge of plagiarism, cheating or any breach of Academic Integrity.

What is the process if I have been accused of plagiarism, cheating or another breach of Academic Integrity?

Your instructor will notify you that you have been accused of an offence and will request a meeting to discuss the matter. The instructor’s role is to investigate an apparent case or a suspected breach of Academic Integrity. The investigation process will be handled as confidentially as possible. 

Please see full details around the process in the Academic Integrity Policy.

What if I don’t want to meet with the faculty member/instructor or my Dean?

You are not required to meet with the Faculty Member/instructor or the Dean (for those where the matter is referred to the Faculty Dean) but understand that, if you don’t attend a meeting or respond to the request to meet, the investigation and adjudication into the matter against you will proceed with or without your cooperation.

How do I give my side of the story to the faculty member/instructor or the Dean?

You have two opportunities to communicate your version of events before a decision is made. You will be provided with the opportunity to provide a written response to the Faculty Member/Instructor or Dean as you will also be provided a copy of all relevant documentation related to the alleged breach of Academic Integrity. You will also be afforded the opportunity to speak to the Faculty Member/instructor or Dean around the matter in the meeting.

What if I’ve been found guilty of breaches of Academic Integrity before?  

Sanctions are more severe if there are previous upheld breaches of Academic Integrity on record. In fact, if the Faculty Member/Instructor is informed by the Office of Student Affairs that there is a previous breach of Academic Integrity, the current allegation will be forwarded immediately to the Dean for investigation and adjudication and will not be left to the Faculty Member/Instructor to investigate or adjudicate. The sanction for an offence after a previous upheld offence may result in a period of suspension or even expulsion. 

Can I withdraw from my course?

While an investigation is underway for an alleged breach of Academic Integrity, you will not be permitted to withdraw from the course(s) in question or formally withdraw from the University or graduate from the University pending the outcome of the investigation. 

Can I appeal the decision?

Yes. You can appeal the decision of the Faculty Member/Instructor to the Dean by submitting Form 5- Academic Integrity Appeal Form (Appeal to the Dean) within ten (10) working days after you have been advised of the outcome of the investigation. The outcome is normally communicated by way of a letter called a "Declaration of Outcome" (Form 4).

A decision and/or sanction imposed by a Dean may be appealed to an Appeal Tribunal within fifteen (15) working days after you have been advised of the outcome of the investigation. For full details on the processes and procedures associated with an appeal to the Tribunal, please consult the Student Code of Conduct – Appeal Policy & Judicial Panel Procedures.

If I am found responsible for a breach of Academic Integrity, will this go onto my academic record or on my transcript?

If it is determined that you have breached the Academic Integrity Code a record of this will be kept on file in the Office of Student Affairs. Records will be kept for ten (10) years after you graduated or cease to be a Student.

If you have been suspended from studies for a period of time, your academic transcript will be updated with the notation of “Suspension”. It is your responsibility to request in writing to the Registrar to have the annotation removed after two years after the end of the academic year in which the suspension was imposed.

If you have been expelled, your academic transcript will be updated with the notation of “Expelled”. This will remain as a permanent annotation. 

Who can come with me when I have my meeting with the faculty member/instructor or the Dean?  

You are allowed to bring a Support Person – a person of the individual’s choice, normally a friend, Elder, another member of the University community, who acts in a supportive role but is not an active participant in the process. The role of support persons (apart from legal counsel at the appeal process) is to provide personal and moral support, accompanying a Student to any meeting. The Support Person does not have the right to speak in the meeting or act as an advocate and may not ask questions of anyone present at the meeting. You must notify the authority you are meeting with if you will be bringing a Support Person.  While you may not bring a lawyer with you to meetings with Faculty, Instructors or the Dean, you may bring a lawyer, with advance notice, to an appeal. 

If you have sought the assistance of the Ombudsperson, the Ombudsperson may also be present in any meeting in accordance with the policies established by the Ombudsoffice.

Will my parents be informed about my meetings or the outcome of my case?

Your file is confidential and information about your judicial matter will not be shared with your parents or guardians. If you wish for your parents or another person to know about the case you may sign a consent form to release information.  

Information related to disciplinary cases will be shared only with appropriate University authorities as necessary for each case. 

What is the burden and standard of proof in decision-making?

Since this is an administrative process, we rely on “balance of probabilities”, meaning that the information presented must demonstrate that it is more likely than not that the student breached the principles of Academic Integrity.

What if I admit that I’ve violated the Academic Integrity Code, will that change the process or the outcome?

Most often a meeting with the faculty member/instructor or the Faculty Dean will still take place. They will share with you the details around the complaint and will still provide you with opportunity to speak to the allegation. This is important information for the instructor or Dean to hear when determining an appropriate sanction.