It is important to recognize that even when instances of academic misconduct seem murky or open to interpretation, the guiding principles for resolving these situations are clear. There are a set of universally accepted values that institutions uphold as the foundation of their academic integrity policies. These values are honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. A simple solution for dealing with the ambiguity that is sometimes associated with academic integrity is to ask yourself if your actions will give you an unfair advantage over others. If it seems unfair or if you are unsure, seek clarification from someone who has the authority to know – an instructor or teaching assistant are obvious choices.
It is equally important to recognize that, even if getting caught seems improbable, the risk and stress associated with being caught far outweigh any perceived benefits of taking a few shortcuts.
Some points to remember:
While rationalizing minor indiscretions is a common occurrence in society, rationalizing academic misconduct is risky and unacceptable.
While Google and Wikipedia are great starting points for doing research, the information on the web, or from any other source, is not free to use unless properly cited.
Many minor acts of academic misconduct, when counted together, contribute not only to the devaluation of your own personal integrity but also the integrity of the university and your future profession.
There are risks associated with academic misconduct. In addition to informal and/or formal procedures, you risk losing the trust and respect of your instructor and classmates; being directly questioned by your instructor; having a record of your misconduct kept on file in your College; being subject to a range of grade penalties, and even being expelled.
The next section covers what your rights and responsibilities are if you are faced with an allegation and will introduce you to the University of Saskatchewan's Policies and Procedures when misconduct is suspected.