The concept of academic integrity lies at the very heart of any college. This is particularly true of Siena with its strong Franciscan tradition and its dedication to fostering sound moral growth. In such an environment, academic dishonesty cannot be tolerated. Students who commit such acts subject themselves to sanctions as severe as dishonorable dismissal from the College.

Academic dishonesty can take different forms, including, but not limited to: cheating [dishonesty in a test situation], plagiarism [dishonesty in the pre­sentation of materials in a paper or report], and failure to report known instances of academic dishonesty.If a student is unsure of what constitutes academic dishonesty, it is the student’s responsibility to ask his or her instructor for clarification. It is also the student’s responsibility to be familiar with the Academic Integrity Policy and related information.

The Siena Academic Integrity Committee hears cases of alleged academ­ic dishonesty, reviewing all evidence regarding the alleged violation. If the student is found responsible, the committee will determine the appropriate sanction(s), which may include failure of the course, suspension from the College, or permanent dismissal. 

Alleging ignorance of what constitutes academic dishonesty or of the College’s policy on the subject will not be considered a valid explanation or excuse.


If an incidence of student academic dishonesty is suspected, faculty members are encouraged to submit an Academic Integrity Violation Accusation Form (AIVAF)

Because this may not be the student’s first violation, handling the situation by oneself (without reporting) may not be an appropriate response.  In order for the policy to function as a deterrent, students must know that all violations will be reported, and they are not starting anew in each course.

Committee Membership

The Academic Integrity Committee (AIC) is composed of three full-time students (in good academic and social standing and appointed by the Student Senate) and three full-time faculty members, one from each School, elected for a three-year term by the respective School faculty. The chair of the committee, appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, is normally the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs (or designee).

Committee Meetings

The committee will be convened by the chair who has no vote. The committee will be convened in the event that:

  1. a faculty member submits an Academic Integrity Violation Accusation Form (AIVAF) and requests that the committee review the case;
  2. a student appeals a faculty sanction; or
  3. an AIVAF is submitted that represents the second accusation against a student.

The hearing will normally occur within two weeks of any of the above events unless determined otherwise by the chair.(1) If a student misses the meeting and does not provide a reason for the absence that is acceptable to the committee, the student may not appeal the accusation or sanction. The committee will meet as frequently as necessary until all the evidence has been reviewed and all the witnesses have been interviewed. After a complete review, the committee shall arrive at a decision using a standard of "more likely than not." A finding requires a two-thirds majority of the committee. Imposition of sanctions likewise requires a two-thirds majority.

Once the AIC meets to deliberate on a case it has several options. It may:

  1. Uphold the appeal/overrule faculty sanction. In this case all records will be destroyed. 
  2. Deny appeal/uphold faculty sanction. If student appeal is denied, the student may appeal directly to the VPAA if he or she believes a significant procedural error has occurred. 
  3. Take additional steps and create an additional sanction, for example, if a pattern is revealed either during the appeal process or separate from it. If an additional sanction is implemented, the student may appeal to the VPAA.(2) 

In the case of repeat offenses or of particularly egregious offenses, the committee may impose other sanctions including suspension for one term, suspension for one year, or dismissal from the College. The precise sanctions to be invoked will be determined at the discretion of the committee.The AVPAA will notify the student in writing via his/her Siena email account of the committee's decision.

Committee meetings and hearings are closed. Legal counsel may not participate in any way during the hearing. All correspondence and procedures of the committee will be treated with and held in strict confidentiality.

Academic Integrity Sanctions

Depending on the nature of the offense, sanctions can range from a mandated workshop on plagiarism, to a failing grade on the assignment or for the course, to suspension or expulsion from the College. These are only examples, and sanctions are at the discretion of the course instructor and/or the AIC, as appropriate. In any case in which a failing grade for the course is assigned as a sanction, a student may not drop or withdraw from the course; the College will process the administrative grade change at the semester's close. The student may repeat the course, and as with any student repeating a course, both grades will appear on the student's transcript, but the lower grade will not count in cumulative totals.

First Violation:

The instructor determines an appropriate sanction, records it on the AIVAF, and submits the form to the AVPAA with any supporting documentation. The instructor notifies the student and/or the AIC, as appropriate. The student will receive an email to his/her Siena account from the AVPAA that an AIVAF has been filed in the Academic Affairs Office. Students will be required to meet with the AVPAA to review the accusation and to discuss the importance of academic integrity. A written summary of the conversation during that meeting will be placed in the student's file. 

Second Violation:

The AVPAA will review the AIVAF from the faculty member as well as any supporting documentation. The student will receive a notice from the AVPAA that an AIVAF has been filed in the Academic Affairs Office. This notice will inform the student that s/he will be automatically suspended from the College. It will outline the procedure to appeal. This suspension will go into effect immediately on the date of the letter. If the student makes an appeal to the committee, the suspension will be temporarily lifted pending outcome of the appeal. If the Committee finds the student responsible and votes to reinstate the suspension, the suspension would normally be for the length of one or nearly one full semester.

Record Keeping

Files will ordinarily be kept in the office of the AVPAA for five years or until one year after graduation. The files will be consulted only if a subsequent AIVAF has been filed by a faculty member.

Final Appeal

If the student is found responsible by the AIC, he or she may appeal to the Vice President for Academic Affairs within ten working days for reversal of the decision or for mitigation of the sanction(s) if he or she believes that a significant procedural error has occurred. There is no appeal beyond this point. If the Vice President for Academic Affairs should reverse the finding or mitigate the sanction(s), the reasons must be explained either in writing to the Committee or in person before the Committee.

(1) If the event concerns a graduating student in close proximity to graduation, a determination shall be made as expeditiously as possible, and the student will be allowed to take part in commencement activities, but the granting of a diploma will be placed on hold until all reviews and proceedings have been concluded.

(2) See Final Appeal