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Academic Integrity Tutorial: Explore Rights and Responsibilities

Student Responsibility

As a University of Saskatchewan student, you are responsible for knowing and following the guidelines outlined in the policy document on student academic misconduct. Claiming ignorance of the rules is not an acceptable excuse and "there is an onus on every student to become informed about academic misconduct".1

The University of Saskatchewan's Regulations on Student Academic Misconduct (2022) is an extensive document that outlines       

  • The breaches of academic integrity (i.e. what academic misconduct is),
  • The processes by which misconduct is investigated,
  • The reasons and processes for appealing an allegation of misconduct, and
  • The possible penalties for acts of academic misconduct.

The handout below provides a summary of the regulations and is a useful tool to help you become familiar with the policies and procedures that govern academic misconduct. 

Dealing with an Allegation

When a student is suspected of academic misconduct, there are two ways of dealing with the infraction: formally or informally. Most infractions are dealt with informally. The instructor (or invigilator) will usually speak with the student personally to discuss the concern. This often leads to a mutually agreed upon resolution. If, however, the instructor believes that the cheating is of a serious nature, or the parties are unable to find a resolution, formal procedures are invoked.

The formal and informal procedures are summarized below. For a complete description of these procedures, please see the  Regulations on Student Academic Misconduct.

Informal Procedures

Informal Procedures are followed when an instructor feels that a student has cheated inadvertently or without intending to do wrong. Misunderstanding or carelessness are the main reasons that lead students to breach the academic misconduct regulations. When an infraction is suspected, the instructor or invigilator should, whenever possible, speak informally with the student(s) to discuss the matter and to consider an appropriate resolution. The informal resolution could be either a grade reduction appropriate to the severity of the infraction, a re-submission of the work in question, or both. When the student and the instructor agree to the informal resolution, both individuals sign the informal resolution of academic misconduct form. This form is kept by the student’s college or school for at least five years or until the student completes their degree.

 A student who disagrees with the allegation of cheating or with the penalty imposed may request a formal hearing.

Formal Procedures

When the allegation has not been resolved at the informal level or when the allegation is of a more serious nature, formal procedures are followed. This can be initiated by an instructor, another faculty member, academic administrator, staff member, student, or an individual outside the university who is directly affected by the alleged academic misconduct.

A formal allegation is made in writing and includes the name of the person making the complaint and the specific details of the complaint. The Academic Administrator then delivers the complaint to the student, the department head, the course instructor, and the University Secretary. A hearing is then scheduled according to the "Procedures of Formal Hearings" on page 10 of the Regulations.

The Academic Administrator has the power to dismiss a claim if, in their opinion, the matter was adequately resolved with an informal procedure or the "allegation is frivolous or vexatious".2 In the case of a guilty verdict, only the hearing board can determine the appropriate sanctions. An appeal must be made to a university appeal board and is only permitted on limited grounds (lack of jurisdiction of the hearing board, bias, failure to follow procedures, and/or new evidence not available prior).

The following flowchart summarizes the formal and informal procedures.

Student Rights

Fairness and respect are the underlying principles governing how all allegations of misconduct are dealt with. The university's regulations state that “[w]herever appropriate, the university will attempt to resolve complaints through informal processes before invoking formal processes, and wherever possible, sanctions will be educational rather than punitive and will be applied in accordance with the severity of the offence and/or whether it is a first or subsequent offence”.3 In the event that allegations escalate to a formal hearing, and in accordance with the principles of natural justice, a student who is suspected of academic misconduct is innocent until it is proven otherwise.

Students have a right to

  • A fair hearing before an impartial and unbiased decision maker
  • Challenge the suitability of any member of the hearing board if a reasonable sense of bias exists
  • Bring an advocate, which may be a friend, advisor, or legal counsel to a hearing, and to call witnesses
  • An appeal under certain conditions

For a comprehensive description of your rights if faced with an allegation, refer to section V on page 10 of the Regulations.

According to the Regulations, "the hearing board has the sole authority to determine whether the student has committed an act of academic misconduct"4 and "to determine the appropriate sanctions"5.

For details on what to expect if a formal complaint is made, see VII. Procedures for Formal Hearings

Finding Support

If faced with an allegation, get in touch with

Helpful Resources

The handouts below describe your rights and responsibilities, will help to consolidate what you have learned so far and will help you complete the learning activities and the quiz that follows.

1. "Academic Integrity and what to do when misconduct is suspected". 2022. The University of Saskatchewan Student Conduct and Appeals website.
2. "Regulations on Student Academic Misconduct". The University of Saskatchewan. 2022, p10.
3. "Regulations on Student Academic Misconduct". The University of Saskatchewan. 2022, p3.
4. "Regulations on Student Academic Misconduct". The University of Saskatchewan. 2022, p11.
5. "Regulations on Student Academic Misconduct". The University of Saskatchewan. 2022, p13.