What can I do if I've observed misconduct?

What can I do if I've observed academic misconduct?

This page describes KPU’s academic integrity breach reporting process for instructors and university employees. This page does not replace the official Student Academic Integrity ST2 Policy and Procedure.

For Continuing & Professional Studies (CPS) courses, please visit CPS Policies for further information. 

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1. Academic Integrity Breach Report

If you suspect that a student has committed a breach of academic integrity and would like to address the breach with the student in an educative and non-punitive way through the informal process, you may do so if the student accepts responsibility for the breach and consents to the resolution proposed. 

If you would like to apply a grade penalty, if the student does not accept responsibility, or if you or the student do not wish to use an informal resolution process, you will need to submit a report to your Dean’s Office through the SharePoint Reporting Tool. Reports should usually be submitted within 15 business days of the discovery of the breach. In support of KPU's educative approach, please attempt to communicate with the student about the incident and let them know that you will be reporting it. For ideas on this, review the Communication Guide.

What to include in the report (from Policy ST2)

  • Student name, email, and student number
  • Course name and section
  • Incident date or date it was detected
  • Circumstances of suspected breach
  • Names and contact information of witnesses or others involved in the incident
  • Your proposed resolution(s)
  • Supporting documentation (such as a copy of the student’s assignment with potentially plagiarized sections identified along with screenshots or links to original sources, relevant assignment instructions)

*Please note that a copy of the report will be shared with the student, so if you have sensitive information that should not be shared (such as the names and contact information of others involved), you should include it as an attachment to the report or send it separately to the Dean’s Office.

**KPU does not sanction the use of unauthorized third party tools (such as plagiarism or artificial intelligence detectors) due to privacy issues around student data and intellectual property.

Proposed Resolutions
For most first breaches that have a grade penalty, the resolution is typically a grade of zero on the affected assignment, and for most second breaches that have a grade penalty, the resolution is typically a failure in the course; however, other educative consequences are possible and encouraged if appropriate. For example, if a student paraphrased incorrectly or omitted citations, you could propose that the student is given the opportunity to correct the issues and re-submit their assignment for partial marks. If you believe a different consequence would be appropriate, please include that proposal in the report. 

The resolution(s) will be determined by a number of factors, as indicated in the ST2 Procedures.

2. Notification

Once you submit the report to the Dean’s Office, the student will be emailed a notification of the report. The student will either be invited to meet with a university representative (a Dean, Associate Dean, or Academic Integrity Reviewer/Liaison) to discuss the report or they will be informed that they need to contact the Dean’s Office if they would like to meet.

If a student chooses not to meet with a university representative, the investigation will proceed without their participation. 

3. Meeting

Prior to the meeting, the university representative will review the report. They may contact you before or after the meeting for more information, if they have any questions, or to discuss alternatives to your proposed resolution(s).

During the student meeting, the university representative will have a conversation with the student around the circumstances of the alleged breach and listen to the student’s perspective. These meetings aid in determining if a breach has taken place, but they are also intended to be educative by helping students understand the importance of academic integrity. The university representative will often also identify and recommend some support resources for the student. A restorative justice approach may also be used.

4. Decision

The university supervisor (usually an Associate Dean or Dean) will decide if an academic integrity breach has occurred by reviewing the report and considering any information discussed in the meeting. If an academic integrity reviewer/liaison provided investigation support, they will review the recommendations and information provided to assist with decision making. They may also consult with you, other students involved in the incident, or other university support services. Their decision is based on a balance of probabilities where it will be determined that a breach has occurred if they consider that it is more than 50% likely that a breach has taken place.  

5. Resolutions

If the university supervisor upholds that a breach has taken place, they will then decide on the resolutions, taking your proposed resolutions into account. Resolutions are determined by considering the circumstances, severity, and impact of the breach. The university supervisor will also consider if there have been previous academic integrity breaches. If a restorative justice approach is being used, consequences and resolutions may be determined collaboratively with the student.

There are many different resolutions possible depending on the specific context of each breach. Resolutions might include educational resolutions such as writing a reflection paper, meeting with a Learning Strategist, attending a workshop, or correcting a plagiarized assignment with a partial grade reduction. When appropriate, other resolutions can include a mark of zero on the assessment in question (the typical grade-related resolution for most first breaches), a failing grade in the course (tye typical grade-related resolution for most second breaches), or recommendation of suspension to the President (typically reserved for third breaches or higher).

6. Decision Notification

You will be copied on an email to the student notifying them of the decision and resolution(s). If it is determined that a breach has taken place, the letter will also be sent to Student Records, where a record of the breach will be kept. The breach will not appear on the student’s official transcript.

If the academic integrity breach is not upheld, you will need to grade the assignment that was in question.

Decision letters also tell students that they can appeal the decision through the Senate Standing Committee on Appeals if they feel there has been procedural unfairness or because there is new information regarding the alleged breach.

Support Resources

We understand that receiving an academic integrity breach allegation can be stressful for students. You can direct students to the student section of this website for information on the process as well as links to support resources available to them. 

We know that observing and reporting academic misconduct can also be very challenging for you as an instructor. You may find it helpful to speak with your Associate Dean or Dean about the situation. There are also a variety of wellbeing supports for employees available through KPU’s Employee and Family Assistance Program.

Interested in taking a restorative justice approach? Explore our resources on the Academic Integrity SharePoint site.

If you have questions about the policy or procedures, you can email academic.integrity@kpu.ca and speak to a member of the academic integrity team. We also have resources on our Faculty Resource Shelf.

Dean’s Office Contacts

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