Academic Integrity and Grievance Policy

The Academic Integrity and Grievance Policy was adopted by the UA Little Rock Faculty Senate on March 21, 1979, and revised on February 12, 1981, April 3, 1985, April 19, 1989, and November 19, 1993.

Please note that two (2) types of cases — grade appeals and accusations of academic offenses — are addressed in this policy and have separate procedures that must be followed.

General Information

Academic Integrity and Discipline

The university has developed certain regulations to make possible an orderly academic environment where all members of the community have the freedom to develop to the fullest extent. Academic dishonesty cannot be condoned or tolerated in the university community. Such behavior is considered a student conduct violation and students found responsible of committing an academic offense on the campus, or in connection with an institution-related or sponsored activity, or while representing the university or academic department, will be disciplined by the university.      Students may not gain undue advantage over their classmates by deceptive or dishonest means.

Throughout their education, students should be impressed with the facts that cheating, duplicity, unauthorized reproduction of classroom materials, and plagiarism are morally degrading and that such practices seriously interfere with learning and intellectual development. It is a responsibility of faculty members to make every effort to prevent dishonesty, protect honest students, and take appropriate action in instances of dishonesty.

It is the responsibility of the student not only to abstain from cheating, but in addition to avoid the appearance of cheating and to guard against making it possible for others to cheat. Courtesy and honesty require that any ideas or materials borrowed from another must be fully acknowledged. It is the obligation of each student to report all alleged violations of academic integrity to the dean of students or designee.

Students may not reproduce, in whole or in part, classroom lectures or study materials presented by a professor without specific advance approval by the professor. Publication of any such material shall only be with the express consent of the professor.

The determination that a student’s work was the result of dishonest action can be considered in the faculty member’s evaluation of that work and in the determination of the course grade. In addition, disciplinary action will be taken by the appropriate university official, e.g., dean of students, or by the Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee.

Faculty members shall adhere to university approved classroom policies and procedures and shall establish fair and reasonable standards in such matters as attendance, submission of assigned work, seating arrangements, class decorum, regular and make-up examinations and grading. Faculty members shall make their standards known to each class at the earliest opportunity. Grievances against these standards and alleged violations of university-approved classroom policies should not be brought to the Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee. They may be brought to the attention of the faculty member, department head, and if necessary, the dean of the college or school in that administrative order so that a continuing administrative effort may be made to ameliorate problems.

Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee

The Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee hears specific grade appeals and hears, on appeal and referral, cases involving certain alleged academic offenses.

The Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee comprises fifteen (15) faculty and three (3) faculty alternates to be appointed annually in the spring by the Committee on Committees, and fifteen (15) students and three (3) student alternates to be appointed no later than the beginning of the fall semester by the SGA. The term of office begins with the fall semester and continues for twelve (12) months. The purpose of the committee is twofold:

  1. It affords the student an opportunity to appeal a grade if he or she feels the grade was inequitably awarded in that it violated a faculty member’s own specified grading standards.
  2. It affords a student a hearing in cases where disputes over alleged cheating, plagiarism, collusion, and the like cannot be resolved, e.g., where the student does not admit that he or she violated an academic offense standard or that the student admits that he or she did violate an academic offense standard and the dean of students or designee refers the case for sanctioning.

Students and faculty members are urged, however, to make all attempts possible to resolve grievance before initiating formal appeal. The administrative officer shall assign two (2) faculty members and two (2) students to hear academic offenses by rotation according to alphabet if possible.

General Operating Policies of the Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee

  1. The Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee shall meet as soon as possible after it is formed and elect a chairperson from among the fifteen (15) faculty members. The chairperson shall serve as the chairperson of all grade appeal hearing panels.
  2. Quorum:
    1. A quorum to hear alleged academic offenses consists of the chairperson and three (3) committee members; of this number, one (1) must be a faculty member and one (1) must be a voting student member.
    2. A quorum to hear grade appeals consists of the chairperson, an ex officio member, two (2) faculty members, and two (2) students. On all grade appeals involving graduate or professional degree curricular matters, at least one (1) graduate faculty member and one (1) graduate student shall be included on the hearing panel. Of this number, all must be present.
  3. The SGA shall act as advocate for students in the grade appeal process. The term advocate in this sense means to advise the student of the steps in the formal grade appeal process, review and discuss the merits of the grievance in accordance with the established criteria for grade appeals, and, if requested by the student, accompany the student to the committee meeting as a non-participating party. The SGA resident or designee is not a member of the committee and is not considered as one of the two (2) non-participating representatives but may attend hearings as an observer.
  4. In cases of academic offenses, a decision shall be reached by a majority of those present. In cases of grade appeals, a decision to change or direct changes in students’ course grades requires a majority vote of the committee hearing an appeal; in case of a tie, the grade assigned by the faculty member shall stand. Only members of the committee who have been present during all of the meetings and who have heard all testimony relating to the alleged grievance may vote on the case.
  5. The associate vice chancellor for academic affairs shall be the administrative officer of the committee but shall not serve as a member of the committee. His or her duties shall include:
    1. Consulting with the Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee chairperson in making a determination which appeal procedure is appropriate, i.e., that of the Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee for grade appeals or that of the vice chancellor/provost for administrative action, and notifying the student of the decision.
    2. Assigning faculty members and students on a rotating basis and according to the alphabet when possible.
    3. Arranging the appropriate dates, times, and places of committee meetings and hearings.
    4. Informing in writing the parties to the appeal, their non-participating representatives, designated witnesses members of the hearing panel, and the SGA president of the dates, times places of committee hearings which they are requested to attend and supplying them with a statement of alleged grievances or offenses  (Allegation of Academic Offense Report Form or Grade Appeal Complaint Form).
    5. Securing and distributing to the committee written material appropriate to its consideration.
    6. Supplying and distributing to the committee and involved parties all relevant and required documents and written materials appropriate to its consideration within the designated time frames for the meeting/hearing, e.g., statement of charges, alleged grievances, incident/allegation reports, information to be presented at hearing, list of witnesses, etc.
    7. Arranging for a tape-recording of committee proceedings.
    8. Conveying in writing to the appropriate persons in grade appeals the decisions and the reasons for the decisions of the committee, within reasonable bounds of confidentiality and to the accused student in academic offenses the disciplinary action.
    9. Maintaining committee records of grade appeals for a period of two (2) years and forwarding academic offense records to the Office of the Dean of Students after the appeal deadline has expired;
    10. Providing secretarial assistance for the committee.
    11. The associate vice chancellor for academic affairs shall have the right to request copies of records pertaining to the proceedings from the Office of the Dean of Students.
    12. It must be clearly understood that the Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs has no subpoena power and that its duties with regard to witnesses shall end with the mailing of a letter, within two (2) working days of the party’s written request, notifying the witness of the date, time, and place scheduled for the hearing. Any further mailing of a letter, within two (2) working days, shall be the responsibility of the party calling the witnesses.
  6. Committee Membership:
    1. Any committee member may at any time disqualify himself or herself from consideration of any given case(s) because of a personal bias.
    2. Should a committee member be unable to hear a particular case, for any reason, an alternate shall be appointed by the chairperson to serve for the course of the particular grievance.
    3. Should the committee be involved in a specific case at the time of the return of the absent member, the replacement member shall continue as a member of the committee in all sessions dealing with that specific case until it is concluded. The returning member shall resume membership on the committee in any new cases brought before the committee.
    4. Should any member of the committee be unavailable, for any reason, to complete a term for which he or she has been appointed, one of the alternates shall fill the balance of the term. Resignations shall be submitted in writing to the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and the chairperson of the committee. The associate vice chancellor for academic affairs shall then immediately inform the president of the Faculty Senate/Assembly in the case of the faculty member resignation, or the SGA president in the case of a student resignation, of a vacancy, request the appointment of one of the alternates to fill the position, and request the appointment of a second alternate to fill the vacant alternate position until the next term.
    5. If the committee is involved in any specific case at the time of the expiration of the term of any member, that member shall continue to function as a member of the committee only in its dealings with that specific case until such time as the case is concluded. No newly elected member shall participate as a member of the committee in relation to any case that began before his or her term. He or she shall, however, serve as a member of the committee for all other matters, beginning with the first day of his or her designated term of service.
    6. Either party to a hearing may ask the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs the name of committee members assigned to hear the case. Either party may request in writing to the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and the chairperson that any member or members of the committee be excluded from the consideration of the case. Such a request must be for cause and be brought to the attention of the associate vice chancellor of academic affairs and chairperson within two (2) class days upon receipt of Notice of Hearing. If a member of the panel is challenged, an alternate must be selected, have all pertinent information regarding the hearing, and must be available at the hearing; if the member is disqualified by majority vote of the hearing panel from consideration of the case the alternate will be seated.
  7. The accused student may decide whether the hearing of an academic offense case will be opened or closed. Grade appeal hearings shall be closed. In either case, however, the dean of students or designee may attend. Where an open hearing is permitted, the chairperson has the discretion to determine when the space has been exhausted and no additional observers not privileged to attend may be admitted.
  8. The Faculty Senate/Assembly president and the SGA president may appoint temporary committee members during the summer months to hear cases in an emergency and only after the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs has made all attempts to contact committee members and alternates.
  9. The right to legal counsel at grade appeal cases is prohibited. Legal counsel is permitted at academic offense hearings. Legal counsel serves in a non-participating capacity and is restricted to the role of advisor.  Notwithstanding any time limits otherwise applicable, the person presiding at any hearing shall have discretion to terminate and reschedule such hearing should any unauthorized person attempt to attend such hearings or should any attorney appear, even when authorized, unless the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs shall have ten (10) class days prior written notice of intent to bring legal counsel.
  10.  The non-participating representative’s role: The non-participating representative, whether the person is legal counsel (in academic offense cases only), faculty member, family member, or friend, is restricted to the role of “advisor.” The representative can discretely counsel the student as long as it is not disruptive to the hearing. The chairperson can rule as to improper conduct of the hearing.
  11. In cases involving more than one (1) student which arise out of the same event or incident, the panel may hear such cases together, but in that event the panel shall make separate findings and determination for each student.