Policy on the General Academic Environment
The general mission of the GSD is to promote the development of design excellence through teaching, learning, and research. Successful pursuit of this mission is predicated on the considerate behavior and integrity of all members in the academic community. Student membership in the GSD community is a privilege conditional upon ethical conduct in academic matters. In addition, all students share in the GSD’s responsibility to maintain an environment conducive to intellectual freedom and the pursuit of knowledge.
The GSD seeks to maintain a learning and working environment characterized by academic integrity and fair access to educational resources. The GSD expects all students to honor these principles. Actions that violate these principles include the following, and may be the basis for disciplinary action:
• Cheating on examinations, either by copying the work of other students or through the use of unauthorized aids:
• Fraudulent presentation of the work of others (either written or visual) as one’s own work (plagiarism); notwithstanding the academically acceptable tradition of incorporating assistance, which is freely offered by GSD classmates, in the final thesis presentation (although the assistance must be acknowledged):
• Simultaneous or repeated submission without permission of substantially the same work (either written or visual) to more than one course:
• Alteration or misrepresentation of academic records.
Cases of academic misconduct adhere to the Guidelines described below.
Guidelines for Communicating and Dealing with Issues Related to Academic Misconduct
Students are expected to be familiar with and abide by the school’s standards for academic honesty and conduct. Cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration or paid assistance, deliberate interference with the integrity of the work of others, fabrication or falsification of data, and other forms of academic dishonesty are considered serious offenses for which disciplinary penalties will be imposed. Following are suggestions for communicating expectations of academic conduct and for dealing with infractions.
During the first week of classes, instructors should explain expectations on items listed below. If relevant, the following should be discussed:
• Basic expectations for papers and exams. Specify what resources are permitted (including internet resources).
• If students are collaborating on projects, some general assumptions about group work.
• Submission of coursework for one or more courses simultaneously.
• Use of outside copy editing services (as opposed to content editing).
• There are some helpful resources available to students at the GSD—please convey them to your class. The library’s Write and Cite website is excellent. This guide offers information on writing resources, citation style guides, and academic writing expectations and best practices. The high level of academic writing at the GSD may be a difficult transition for some. Students who need additional information about these issues should inquire at Student Services in 422, where assistance such as the Language Resource Center is coordinated.
Dealing with Violations
Course and studio instructors must report all suspected cases of plagiarism, cheating, or other sorts of academic dishonesty to the Dean of Students. This notification should include a written statement explaining the basis of suspicion. If plagiarism is suspected, the statement should include a copy of the source of the plagiarism and the plagiarized material. The contents of the statement will remain confidential to protect the student’s privacy since the facts will not yet have been determined. The instructor may wish to meet with the student at this time to informally discuss the suspicions. The Dean of Students will meet with the instructor to discuss the statement, and then the Dean of Students and the instructor will meet with the student to present the statement and to seek the student’s account of the events. If it is determined that the student has plagiarized or cheated, one of the following should be imposed:
1. Having to redo the assignment
2. Failing the assignment
3. Failing the course
4. Referral to Academic Misconduct Panel
Additional and/or alternative remedial steps may be imposed.
Often the first three measures are made in cases where it is apparent that the student did not fully understand his or her obligations or if the offense is considered not severe enough to warrant a hearing with the Academic Misconduct Panel. If the student does agree to the settlement, a written record describing the offense and the settlement is signed by the Dean of Students, the faculty member and the student, and is filed in the Dean of Students’ office. As a follow up to the settlement, the student will meet with the Dean of Students to review the GSD’s policies. The student is then informed that, if another case of misconduct occurs, the subsequent case will move directly to the Academic Misconduct Panel. At any point in pursuing the foregoing steps, the Dean of Students may consult with the Chair of the Academic Misconduct Panel.
Referral to Academic Misconduct Panel
A case will go to the Academic Misconduct Panel if:
1. The finding of academic misconduct is not the first offense.
2. The severity of the misconduct warrants direct review by the Academic Misconduct Panel.
3. A resolution cannot be reached among the student, instructor and Dean of Students.
4. The student wishes to appeal the instructor’s decision.
Academic Misconduct Panel
Composed of a standing three-person committee drawn from those appointed to the Review Board, the
Academic Misconduct Panel will be convened only in cases of academic misconduct (See section I.C. on
Academic Integrity). An alternate will be picked from the Review Board when a member of the Academic
Misconduct Panel is a complainant in the case. The Dean designates a Voting Faculty member to serve as Chair. The term of appointments to the Panel is the length of the Review Board appointments. The responsibilities of the Panel are to investigate claims of academic misconduct in accordance with the policies and procedures outlined below. A letter will be sent to the student from the Dean of Students notifying him/her that it has been determined that the case will go to the Academic Misconduct Panel.
Academic Misconduct Panel Review
The registrar will staff the Panel and will initiate disciplinary proceedings by sending a letter to the student including:
1. A copy of the instructor’s written statement of alleged misconduct.
2. The composition of the Academic Misconduct Panel.
3. A copy of the School’s Policy on Academic Integrity and its Academic Misconduct.
4. A copy of documents related to student’s prior cases of academic misconduct with the statement that, ‘The review will take into account prior instances of academic misconduct.’
5. The student’s right to respond within seven days from receipt of the charge by submitting response to the registrar who is staffing the Panel.
6. The registrar is available to discuss process with student with the caveat that the registrar will be providing staff support to the Panel, but is not a voting member.
Either the student or instructor may challenge participation by any member of the Panel reviewing the case in question, by written petition to the registrar. For good cause, as determined by the Dean of the Faculty of Design, the challenged Panel member shall be replaced by an alternate member.
Copies of all the materials above (including the letter to the student) will be sent to the members of the
Academic Misconduct Panel. As noted in #5 above, the student has the right to submit a written statement to the Panel and to offer any evidence bearing on the matter. The student is encouraged to meet with his/her academic advisor, another faculty member, or administrator to review this statement or to discuss the situation.
The Panel will meet as soon as possible but not more than 30 days following receipt of the student’s written response, or within 30 days of the deadline that a student has to submit a response. The student has a right to meet with the Academic Misconduct Panel as part of the review. A student may be accompanied by a designated advisor (chosen by the student) from within the GSD community. Since the hearing process is not a legal proceeding, legal counsel may not be present. The respondent must notify the registrar of the name of the designated advisor at least 24 hours prior to the meeting with the Panel. The Panel will make a finding as to whether or not academic misconduct has occurred and, if it has, determine which sanctions if any are appropriate. Formal sanctions, those that become part of the student’s official record, that may be imposed in cases of misconduct are described below:
Admonition: A formal reprimand that becomes part of the student’s official record but does not appear on the transcript (minor sanction).
Probation: Conditional permission to remain at the GSD (minor sanction).
Separation: Temporary separation from the GSD for a specified period of time, after which the student is ordinarily reinstated, or may be required to request permission to be reinstated, sometimes under probation (minor sanction).
Requirement to Withdraw: Reason for withdrawal is not specified on transcript. The requirement to withdraw normally is effective immediately upon the vote of the Review Board. A student who is required to withdraw, for whatever reason, is not in good standing until readmitted. The student must apply for readmission and the decision will depend upon the University’s judgment (major sanction).
Dismissal: An action taken in serious disciplinary cases that ends a student’s connection with the University and requires a two-thirds vote by the Student Sanctions Committee (of which 7 of the nine Committee members must be present). The Student Sanctions Committee is composed of nine voting faculty members appointed by the Dean. The final action of the Committee shall be communicated to the parties in writing within 15 days. A summary of the case, and the final action taken by the Committee will be reported to the full voting faculty at its next meeting.
The sanction of ‘dismissal’ does not necessarily preclude a student’s return to the GSD. A dismissed student may petition for readmission and be readmitted only upon a two thirds vote in favor by members of the Student Sanctions Committee of which 7 of the 9 Committee members must be present. A dismissed student is not in good standing until readmitted (major sanction).
Expulsion: Reason for expulsion is not specified on transcript. Student may not reapply (major sanction).
The Academic Misconduct Panel shall send a copy of its findings and decision to the student. Decisions of the Panel are final, except for those recommending dismissal or expulsion, which require a two-thirds vote by the Student Sanctions Committee (of which 7 of the 9 Committee members must be present). When a disciplinary case is referred to the Student Sanctions Committee for a vote of dismissal or expulsion, the Chair of the Panel will present the facts of the case in a written report to the Committee. If the Committee fails to accept by two-thirds vote a recommendation by the Academic Misconduct Panel for withdrawal, dismissal, or expulsion, the case shall be returned to the Panel for reconsideration of an alternate sanction. The final action of the Committee shall be communicated to the parties in writing within 15 days. A summary of the case, and the final action taken by the Committee will be reported to the full voting faculty at its next meeting.
All findings, sanctions, or other decisions are subject to appeal from the Review Board. An appeal may be directed to the dean within 30 days of the decision in question. Appeals will generally be granted only on the basis of new evidence or significant procedural error. The dean’s ruling on the appeal will be made within 30 days and is final. In cases where the appeal pertains to dismissal or expulsion, and the result of the appeal is a recommendation by the dean for a change in sanction, a new vote of the Student Sanctions Committee is required. All parties in a case will be notified in writing of the final decision.
Respect for Others and Their Property
Behavior should be respectful of the rights, privileges, and sensibilities of other people, whether or not they are members of the academic community, and their property, whether or not it is university property. Intimidating, threatening, or hostile behavior toward others is a violation of this policy and may subject the offender to school and university sanctions. Likewise, willful destruction, theft and vandalism of the work or possessions of another student or group of students or of any educational resource (including computers and library materials) and unauthorized use of property are unacceptable and may also subject the offender to sanctions.
Willful behavior that endangers the personal safety of others, whether or not they are members of the GSD, is a violation of school policies and may subject the offender to sanctions. Riots, violent intimidation or threats, use of weapons, physical assault, and any other acts that endanger the physical well-being of individuals are violations of this policy. As discussed below, the GSD has adopted the University-wide Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy (“University Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy”).
Protests and Demonstrations
Freedom of speech and assembly, including spontaneous and organized protests and demonstrations, is an essential part of both academic life and the culture of the United States. However, protesters and demonstrators are obliged to respect the rights of other individuals and especially to ensure personal safety for all participants. Although peaceful demonstrations are a matter of civil rights, it is a violation of this policy for any member of the GSD community to prevent or disrupt university functions, such as lectures, seminars, reviews, meetings, and other public events; and administrative, study, design, research, interview, and other nonpublic activities.
Anyone who has reason to believe that a student has engaged in conduct that violated the school’s policies on academic integrity, respect for others and their property, personal safety, or protests and demonstrations should report the matter to an appropriate faculty member or program director, or to any officer of the administration. Anyone wishing to report a violation of the University Policy should begin by contacting the Harvard University Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution (“ODR”) or the relevant School or unit Title IX Coordinator. In the event that the first GSD officer to whom someone reports an alleged violation of the University Policy is not the appropriate Title IX Coordinator, it is that GSD officer’s responsibility to forward the matter either to ODR or to the appropriate Title IX Coordinator.