As the opening statement in the Siena College Catalog makes clear, the concept of academic integrity – an honest pursuit of knowledge - is fundamental to the school's mission as a liberal arts college with a Franciscan tradition.  Indeed, the College’s mission statement defines the Siena educational experience as one which is designed to foster “not only the intellectual growth of its students, but their spiritual, religious and ethical formation as well.”

Since a sound ethical credo is central to academic integrity, Siena students are expected to recognize and accept that the idea and ideal of academic integrity is a principal aim of their college endeavors.  Without such a recognition, the entire Siena academic enterprise of nurturing a salutary intellectual and moral growth is gravely compromised.  Students must be concerned about avoiding even the appearance of academic impropriety.  This can be accomplished by a strict adherence to the highest values of academic work:  honor, honesty, and responsibility.

The following information is intended to promote a precise understanding of how the premises of academic integrity may intentionally or unintentionally be violated.  It is necessary for each Siena student to be thoroughly familiar with the substance of these precepts; alleging ignorance of these rules will not be considered a valid explanation or excuse.  Academic dishonesty cannot and will not be tolerated under any circumstances.  In the interest of justice and fairness, students are encouraged to report known violations of academic integrity.

The most serious - though not the only - breaches of academic integrity include but are not limited to:  cheating; plagiarism; computer misuse; and, as mentioned above, failure to report known instances of academic dishonesty.  Cheating, plagiarism, and computer misuse are defined in turn below.


In its broadest terms, cheating involves a willful and fraudulent act on a student's part.  That is, information is falsified or fabricated or work to be evaluated by an instructor is submitted by a student as original and unaided, when in fact an unauthorized source has been employed.  

  1. Copying answers from another student’s quiz or test sheet.
  2. Allowing another student to copy answers from a test sheet.
  3. Oral communication of answers during testing periods.
  4. Transmitting answers during testing periods through non-verbal signals.
  5. Use of crib notes or other unauthorized written materials in a test.
  6. Gaining prior access to test questions or answers without the instructor's permission.
  7. Violating test and assignment procedures and restrictions established by the instructor.
  8. Unauthorized assistance (collaboration with others, proscribed written materials) in completing work for academic credit, including but not limited to:  take home exams, tests, or quizzes; lab reports; and homework assignments.  Unless expressly allowed to do so by the instructor, students must be aware that they cannot use any aids in such situations.  If a student is unaware of an instructor’s expectations, s/he must consult with the instructor.
  9. Reproducing work done in another class or for another context and submitting this reproduction as original work.  Reproductions may be allowed, but only with the express approval of the instructor(s) evaluating the work in question.
  10. Purchasing a paper from another source and submitting it as one’s own work.
  11. Falsifying/omitting data in research.


Plagiarism takes place when someone "leads his reader to believe what he is reading is the original work of the writer when it is not" (Martin, 1958, p. 178).  The academic community depends on sharing, exchanging, and incorporating information and ideas.  The contribution of any individual, group, or institution to this process can only be measured accurately by giving credit where it is due.  Therefore, any derivation that does not explicitly indicate its debt to another source or authority constitutes intellectual stealing, or plagiarism.

Note on paraphrasing:  Paraphrasing is a confusing concept for many students.  Condensing the statements of other writers into abbreviated passages (the essence of paraphrase) is both necessary and desirable in academic discourse; however, simply replacing words with synonyms, or repeating old ideas in slightly different words is not original writing.  If direct quotations are omitted, and if the source of information contained in the paraphrase is not cited via a footnote or endnote, then an act of plagiarism on the part of the paraphraser is the result.  This is an academic sin of omission, no matter the intentions of the paraphraser.

Specific forms of plagiarism can include:
  1. Directly copying/submitting part or all of another’s work as one’s own;
  2. Using unique terms or phrases from another source without proper citation; and,
  3. Paraphrasing or quoting without proper citation.

Items of conventional wisdom do not require documentation (e.g., "Christopher Columbus came to America in 1492").  However, students with any doubts about sections of their work that might be construed as potential cases of plagiarism should request further explanation from their instructor. In addition, students may wish to consult the helpful resources guide provided by the library at

Computer Misuse

Besides cheating and plagiarism, computer misuse also poses a serious threat to the concept of academic integrity.  Computers are routinely used by students, faculty, and staff members for numerous research and work-related projects.  Many of these projects are sensitive in nature and require absolute confidentiality of data for the successful fulfillment of the project's purpose.  This is particularly true for assignments and tests entered within an instructor's files but also true for student accounts as well.  Unauthorized access into student files also opens up the distressing possibility of computer plagiarism.

By agreeing to Siena College’s Computing Use Policy, students understand that violations of the policy could include but are not limited to these actions (see the Siena College Computing Use Policy and the Computer Ethics section in the Siena College Catalog, pp. 34-35):

  1. Possession of unauthorized passwords or use of another person’s account (with or without the owner’s permission).
  2. Reading, printing, altering, or deleting information from another account without permission of the owner.
  3. Damaging, modifying, replacing, transferring or copying any files, programs, or services (portions or whole).
  4. Misuse of computer account.
  5. Creating illegal accounts.

Any student engaging in these (or comparable) computer misuses is in violation of Siena's academic integrity code.

 Martin, H.  (1958).  The logic and rhetoric of composition.  New York:  Reinhart & Company.