Academic dishonesty is not tolerated, and students must avoid it

Thursday, July 25, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Academic dishonesty is not tolerated at MU. If you are caught cheating, plagiarizing or sabotaging, you can be subject to sanctions through the university.  

According to the MU Standard of Conduct Guidelines, cheating includes: 

  • Using or providing unauthorized help on tests, quizzes or exams. 
  • Using unauthorized aids on other assignments.
  • Receiving or giving out old tests or other materials that belong to a faculty member 

Plagiarizing includes:

  • Paraphrasing or quoting works without proper citations. 
  • Using a company that produces and sells term papers or other materials.  
  • Using materials produced through collaboration without written permission from collaborators. 

Sabotage includes destroying, interfering or modifying another person's work or intellectual property. 

Professors who notice or discover an instance of academic dishonesty have 10 days to notify the student that they are going to report it to the Provost's Office. One of two situations can happen:

  • Option A, Discussion Agreement: The student and professor meet and discuss the situation and agree to a sanction, such as a grade reduction or failure of the course. Unless this is the second or greater instance, the Provost's Office may not need to take disciplinary action.  
  • Option B, Academic Integrity Violation Report: The professor can skip the discussion with the student and file a report directly with the Provost's Office.  

How to avoid cheating

Rigel Oliveri, Provost's Faculty Fellow for Academic Integrity and associate dean at the MU School of Law, believes student can take a number of steps to avoid doing anything that could be considered cheating.

The most common mistake students make is not reading the syllabus provided at the beginning of the semester, she said.

"Many times they will have expectations for individual assignments," Oliveri said.  

She also encourages students to communicate with their professors and teaching assistants early in the semester if they have questions about a particular assignment or how group work should be completed. 

Learning time management is also important to being successful in school, and Oliveri says she has seen many instances of cheating tied to procrastination. Students will have hefty assignments due on the same day and begin to feel the pressure when they wait until the last minute. 

"They cut corners by cheating," she said. 

Besides seeking help with academic trouble, reaching out in situations regarding health and family issues is also important to prevent academic dishonesty. 

"Many students suffer in silence and feel they need to cheat or plagiarize to get the work done," she said. 

Oliveri points to the Disability Services and the Counseling Center as intermediaries between instructors and students who may need accommodations. 

"I wish I could go back in time and help those students get the resources they needed," she said. 

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