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Reporting Cheating*

Many instructors are hesitant to report incidents of cheating, either because they do not want to be bothered or think only the student who cheated is actually harmed. On the contrary, many individuals, as well as the institution, are harmed by dishonesty. This is an easy point to defend. More problematic is getting professors to report cheating. It is actually quite simple to report an incident. When reporting, the instructor has the choice of handling it him/herself or turning the case over to the Dean of Students for investigation and a formal hearing.

Often, instructors will give a student a failing grade for the assignment in which cheating occurred and report the student to the Dean of Students indicating that no further action be taken, or that the student should be scheduled for a hearing. How far you decide to pursue the case is up to you.

Regarding grades and discipline: At the conclusion of a hearing, the Conduct Committee does not advise instructors on grades. Many instructors, however, will not assign a final grade until the Committee makes its recommendation. You should also be mindful that if you fail a student who you suspect has cheated and the Committee exonerates her/him, this student may ask to be given her/his rightful grade.

Be aware that once a case is reported to the Dean's office for a hearing by the Conduct Committee, the Committee may recommend a sanction more severe than intended by the instructor.

The Student-Faculty Committee on Student Conduct, which hears charges of academic dishonesty, is NOT intended to terrorize students. It is not strictly adversarial, rather it is an educational vehicle through which the University is able to promote the values of integrity and honesty. Cheating is not taken lightly, however, and it is not uncommon for a first-time offender to be suspended from the University for one quarter for committing one act of cheating or plagiarism.

If you decide to handle the matter yourself, please let the Dean of Students Office know the name of the student. The Dean of Students keeps the name for future reference; students are informed of this with the intent of discouraging them from further dishonest behavior. Report forms are available from the Dean of Students Office (x4467).

Details of the student conduct and discipline process are in chapter six of the Campus Regulations Applying to Students, also available from the Dean of Students Office (x4467).

Most students, once they are caught, will confess to the offense and take their punishment. Others are less inclined to be forthright.


1.Confront the student with your accusation, allow him/her to explain.
2.If the offense is particularly serious or the student insists on innocence (against the evidence and/or your strong suspicion) report the case to the Office of the Dean of Students.
3.The Dean of Students will investigate and, if appropriate, set up a meeting with the Student-Faculty Committee on Student Conduct.
4.A hearing usually takes 30-60 minutes; reporting instructor and/or TA who discovered the alleged deception is asked to attend.
5.Graduate student TAs are asked to report any incidents to the instructor in charge of the class, who then files the complaint. TAs in charge of their own class (as in the foreign languages) make seek the advice of the department chair.


1.Allows us to confront the student and, with luck, stop the behavior.
2.Allows us to record the student's name for future reference and to identify repeat offenders.
3.Makes the community aware of the problem in general (all cases are strictly confidential; student's privacy is protected). Public reports may be published with the names removed or changed.
4.Allows us to gauge the depth of the problem

* Reprinted with permission. Navarro, J., Clark,D, and Halley, D. An Instructor's Guide to Academic Dishonesty at UCSB. Office of the Dean of Students. University of California, Santa Barbara 1989.


consultation contacts

George Michaelsexecutive director2130 Kerr Hall
lisa berrysenior instructional consultant1130 Kerr Hall
mindy colininstructional consultant1130 Kerr Hall
Mary Lou Ramos database and ESCI administrator1130 Kerr Hall
TBD ESCI assistant1124 Kerr Hall


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