SJSU Policies: Plagiarism


1.0 Definitions of Academic Dishonesty

1.1 Cheating

At SJSU, cheating is the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for academic work through the use of any dishonest, deceptive, or fraudulent means. Cheating at SJSU includes but is not limited to:

1.1.1. Copying, in part or in whole, from another’s test or other evaluation instrument including homework assignments, worksheets, lab reports, essays, summaries, quizzes, etc.;

1.1.2. Submitting work previously graded in another course unless this has been approved by the course instructor or by departmental policy;

1.1.3. Submitting work simultaneously presented in two courses, unless this has been approved by both course instructors or by the department policies of both departments;

1.1.4. Using or consulting, prior to, or during an examination, sources or materials not authorized by the instructor;

1.1.5. Altering or interfering with the grading process;

1.1.6. Sitting for an examination by a surrogate, or as a surrogate;

1.1.7. Any other act committed by a student in the course of their academic work which defrauds or misrepresents, including aiding or abetting in any of the actions defined above.

1.2 Plagiarism

At SJSU plagiarism is the act of representing the work of another as one's own without giving appropriate credit, regardless of how that work was obtained, and/or submitting it to fulfill academic requirements. Plagiarism at SJSU includes but is not limited to:

1.2.1 The act of incorporating the ideas, words, sentences, paragraphs, or parts of, and/or the specific substance of another's work, without giving appropriate credit, and/or representing the product as one's own work;

1.2.2 Representing another’s artistic/scholarly works such as musical compositions, computer programs, photographs, paintings, drawing, sculptures, or similar works as one's own.

2.0 Notification of Standards of Detecting Plagiarism

2.1 SJSU or its faculty may subscribe to and/or use plagiarism detection services.

2.2 Any plagiarism detection service with which SJSU contracts must ensure the anonymity of all submitted work to third parties.

2.3 Except for the stated purpose of storing submitted work in databases and/or using the database solely for the intended purpose of detecting plagiarism, any plagiarism detection service with which SJSU contracts shall agree that to the fullest extent possible, ownership rights of all submitted work shall remain with the work's author and not with the plagiarism detection service.

3.0 Evaluation and Reporting

When a faculty member suspects and has supporting evidence to substantiate that the behavior of a student or students fall(s) within one or both of the above sets of definitions, it is the faculty member’s responsibility to take the following steps:

3.1 Any classroom confrontation should be discreet. Faculty members should not discuss specific charges of cheating, plagiarism, or any other violations involving specific individuals in the classroom before other members of the class.

3.2 Communicate with the student concerning the alleged infraction; arrange for a conference to present documentation. Advise the student of the allegations and make them aware of the supporting evidence and the probable consequences. As a result of this conference, if the faculty member believes that the student's response is insufficient to offset the charge of violating the Academic Integrity Policy, the instructor will inform the student of the sanctions to be assessed or recommended in accordance with section 3.0.

All notes and/or discussions between the student and the faculty member will be kept confidential except as may be relevant in subsequent disciplinary proceedings or any subsequent legal actions.

3.3 Report the alleged infraction and the academic action taken to the Office of Judicial Affairs on the reporting form for violations to the Academic Integrity Policy. A copy of the supporting documentation must be attached to the reporting form.

3.4 The instructor may impose the recommended penalty and make the report called for in section 3.3 without a conference when a student fails to attend a scheduled conference to discuss the alleged dishonesty, or when the apparent dishonesty is detected only near the end of the semester and the faculty makes a good-faith effort to contact the student but is unable to do so. In either case, the student's right to appeal is preserved.

4.0 Sanctions

There shall be two major classifications of sanctions that may be imposed for violations of this policy: Academic and Administrative. Academic sanctions are those actions related to the coursework and/or grades which are the province of the faculty. Administrative sanctions are concerned with a student's status on campus and are acted on by the Office of Judicial Affairs. The imposition of either an academic or administrative sanction will not preclude the additional imposition of the other.

4.1 Academic Sanctions

Faculty members are responsible for determining the type of academic sanction to be applied to students involved in incidents of cheating or plagiarism. Faculty may find it helpful to consult with their department chair, senior faculty, and/or the Chief Judicial Affairs Officer in consideration of appropriate academic sanctions. Such sanctions shall be proportional to the offense against the Academic Integrity Policy that has occurred. Usually a form of "grade modification" will be employed. Before sanctions can be employed, the faculty member must have verified the instances of academic dishonesty by personal observation and/or documentation. In all cases, the violation must be reported to the Office of Judicial Affairs on the reporting form for violations to the Academic Integrity Policy. A student may be:

4.1.1 Reprimanded orally.

4.1.2 Failed in the evaluation instrument (paper or exam).

4.1.3 Reduced in course grade.

4.1.4 Failed in the course.

4.1.5 Referred for administrative sanctions. A faculty member may choose to refer a student to the Office of Judicial Affairs for disciplinary action in addition to the academic sanction the faculty member has taken.


Cases involving the careless or inept handling of quoted material but which fall short of the definitions of the acts of cheating and/or plagiarism as defined in Items 1.1 and 1.2 of this policy may be dealt with at the discretion of the faculty member concerned. The faculty has the discretion to deal with any other act committed by a student in the course of their academic work with defrauds or misrepresents, including aiding or abetting other students who violate this policy.


For violations of sections 1.1.5 and 1.1.6, the student must be referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs for administrative sanctions as outlined in 4.1.5

For violations of other sections of this policy, the instructor should choose between sanctions 4.1.1 through 4.1.4 based on the severity of the infraction.

4.2 Administrative Sanctions

As stipulated in the California Administrative Code, Section 41301, cheating or plagiarism in connection with an academic program may warrant expulsion, suspension, probation or a lesser sanction. Administrative action involving academic dishonesty at SJSU is the responsibility of the Office of Judicial Affairs.

The Office of Judicial Affairs will respond to:

1) referrals from the faculty;

2) violations of the Academic Integrity Policy;

3) repeat violations as brought to attention by the faculty or through the centralized reports filed in the Office of Judicial Affairs.

Faculty members will be notified by the Office of Judicial Affairs when action has been taken. The Office of Judicial Affairs shall maintain a record of students who have been reported for violating the Academic Integrity Policy. The information in this record will be used to identify and discipline students who have been reported.

5.0 Protection of Rights

Nothing in this policy is intended to deny students who come within its scope appropriate "due process," including the right to be informed of the charges, the nature of the evidence supporting the charges, and to have a meeting with the faculty member, the Office of Judicial Affairs or other decision-makers, at which time statements and evidence on behalf of the student may be submitted. Nor is it intended to deny the right to appeal, through appropriate university channels, any decision resulting from such a meeting.

5.1 Academic sanctions may be appealed through the Ombudsman in accordance with University Policy S83-7, and ultimately to the Student Fairness Committee.

5.2 When an administrative sanction is being considered, Executive Order 628, Student Disciplinary Procedures for the California State University, stipulates that a student is entitled to a hearing to determine whether violations of conduct and/or conduct-related regulations have occurred.

6.0 Threats

Any threats against any member of the faculty as a consequence of implementing this policy on academic integrity will be cause for disciplinary action under Section 41301, Title 5, California Code of Regulations, in addition to civil and criminal liabilities.