Academic Integrity

This policy applies to cases of plagiarism and does not apply to exams and quizzes.  The St. Olaf Honor Code  applies to exams and quizzes.

I. Principles

As a community dedicated to the principled pursuit of knowledge and truth, St. Olaf College regards integrity and honesty as foundational to all aspects of its communal life, including and especially academic endeavors. We understand academic integrity in terms of five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. St. Olaf thus expects of its students, faculty, and staff:

  • Intellectual and personal honesty in learning, teaching, research, and service.
  • Mutual trust and the free exchange of ideas.
  • Fairness in the interactions of students, faculty, and administrators.
  • Respect of a wide range opinions, ideas, and persons.
  • Personal responsibility and the importance of action in the face of wrongdoing.

II.  Responsibilities

Student Responsibilities. St. Olaf expects integrity in all aspects of academic work and life from its students.  The ultimate responsibility for understanding and adhering to the Academic Integrity Policy lies with the student.

This policy applies to:

  1. Papers, presentations, or other individual projects.
  2. Collaborative projects – Students will exhibit integrity in their interactions with partners and members of groups assigned to a collaborative project.
    • Students will not present another author’s work as their own.
    • Students will properly attribute distinctive ideas or words obtained from other sources.
    • Students will follow all guidelines set forth by the instructor for an assignment (e,g., collaboration only when allowed).
  3. Off-campus programs, including internships and practicums – Students will exhibit integrity in fulfilling the requirements of the program or internship, including truthful reports of their activities.
  4. Reporting of academic dishonesty – Students will report instances of academic dishonesty that they observe to the instructor or supervisor of the course and/or Department Chair.

Faculty Responsibilities.  Faculty should recognize that academic integrity is greatly enhanced when viewed as a task shared by both students and faculty.

  1. Instructors and supervisors should provide clear access to the Academic Integrity Policy in course materials (e.g., by means of a link to the policy on the syllabus).
  2. Instructors and supervisors should discuss with students how the policy applies to their work in the particular course (or internship),  both in general terms and with respect to specific assignments.
  3. In order to ensure a fair and open process, instructors and supervisors shall follow the procedures outlined below when academic dishonesty is suspected.

III.  Violations and Penalties


  1. Cheating. The use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids, or other devices in any academic exercise.
  2. Plagiarism. The presentation of the work of another as one’s own.  Plagiarism may take the form of inadequate or misleading use of sources, or the presentation of a written assignment as one’s own when, in fact, a significant portion or all of it is the work of others.  Students must be especially vigilant in their use of electronic sources, as no distinction will be made between misuse of such sources and misuse of written, non-electronic sources.
  3.  Academic Integrity – Plagiarism
  4. Fabrication and Falsification.  Alteration or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise.  Examples of fabrication include the invention of data, research results, information or procedures in an academic exercise, or counterfeiting a record of internship or practicum experiences.  Examples of falsification include altering the record of data or experimental procedures or results, false citation of the source of information, or altering the record of or reporting false information about internship or practicum experiences.
  5. Multiple submission. Submission of substantial portions of the same academic work for credit more than once without authorization.
  6. Complicity in Academic Dishonesty.  Contributing to an act of academic dishonesty on the part of another; failure to report instances of academic dishonesty of which student is aware.

Penalties.  The appropriate penalty will be determined by the faculty member in consultation with the Dean of Students and will take into account the severity of the violation and the student’s prior history with academic dishonesty.  Violations that appear to result from negligence, carelessness, or work that falls short of the formal standards of the discipline will normally receive lesser penalties than violations that involve a clear attempt to deceive.  Punitive sanctions include the following:

  1. Formal Warning
  2. Reduced grade (including failure) for the specific assignment
  3. Reduced grade (including failure) for the entire course
  4. Suspension or expulsion (assigned only by the Dean of Students or Provost)

IV. Procedure (for examinations, see the Honor System)

  1. When an instructor or supervisor suspects academic dishonesty, he/she may meet with the student to discuss the concerns and allow the student an opportunity to explain his/her actions.
  2. If the matter is not resolved, or in cases where the instructor wishes to move directly to the formal process, he/she will fill out the Allegation of Academic Dishonesty Form and will consult with the Dean of Students Office to determine an appropriate penalty in light of any prior history of academic dishonesty.
  3. When there is significant prior history or especially egregious dishonesty, the case will normally be handled from this point by the Provost’s Office.
  4. Upon receipt of the Allegation of Dishonesty Form, the student will choose one of the following options:
    1. Resolution by Settlement. If the student accepts responsibility for the violation and agrees to the sanction, the student will indicate his/her assent by signing the appropriate statement on the Allegation Form.  This form will be placed in the Student Misconduct file in the Dean of Students Office, and retained until the student graduates.
    2. Resolution by Review.  If the student wishes to contest the allegation or the sanction, he/she will sign the corresponding statement on the Allegation Form, and the case will be put before a sub-committee of the faculty Student Life Committee, composed of both faculty and student members, for adjudication.
  5. A student may appeal a decision of the Student Life Committee to the Office of the Provost.
  6. If academic misconduct is suspected on an assignment graded after the end of the semester (i.e., the student is no longer on campus), the above procedure will be followed to the extent possible. If resolution is not possible, the case will be taken up at the beginning of the following term, with a change of grade as necessitated by the outcome.

Allegation of Academic Dishonesty Form (PDF)

Note: Normally, a student may not withdraw from the course, or change from graded to S/U, if he/she has been found responsible for an academic integrity violation; an exception may be made if the sanction for the violation involves no grade reduction.  A student may not withdraw or change the grading option while a case is pending.