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Plagiarism Regulations - Academic Integrity of Students

Reference: USF Regulation USF 3.027 - The following is the portion of the Regulation pertaining to graduate students. To read the entire regulation, go to:

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1. Fundamental Principles

Academic integrity is the foundation of the University of South Florida system’s (University/USF) commitment to the academic honesty and personal integrity of its University community. Academic integrity is grounded in certain fundamental values, which include honesty, respect and fairness. Broadly defined, academic honesty is the completion of all academic endeavors and claims of scholarly knowledge as representative of one’s own efforts. Knowledge and maintenance of the academic standards of honesty and integrity as set forth by the University are the responsibility of the entire academic community, including the instructional faculty, staff and students.

2. General Policies

The following policies and procedures apply to all students, instructional faculty and staff who participate in administration of academic classes, programs and research at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and the USF system. This regulation asserts fairness in that it requires notice to any student accused of a violation of academic integrity and provides a directive for discussion between the instructor and student to seek a fair and equitable resolution. If a fair resolution is not accomplished in this discussion, this regulation allows the student continued rights of due process under the academic grievance procedures based upon the preponderance of the evidence. The policies described below are the only policies and procedures that govern violations of academic integrity at the University and supersede any previous policies or regulations.

3. Violations of Academic Integrity: Undergraduate and Graduate

Behaviors that violate academic integrity are listed below, and are not intended to be all inclusive.

(a) Cheating


Cheating is using or attempting to use materials, information, notes, study aids, or other assistance in any type of examination or evaluation which have not been authorized by the instructor.


  1. Students completing any type of examination or evaluations are prohibited from looking at or transmitting materials to another student (including electronic reproductions and transmissions) and from using external aids of any sort (e.g. books, notes, calculators, photographic images or conversation with others) unless the instructor has indicated specifically in advance that this will be allowed.
  2. Students may not take examinations or evaluations in the place of other persons. Students may not allow other persons to take examinations or evaluations in their places.
  3. Students may not acquire unauthorized information about an examination or evaluation and may not use any such information improperly acquired by others.
  4. Instructors, programs and departments may establish, with the approval of the colleges, additional rules for exam environments and behavior. Such rules must be announced in advance in a course syllabus or other advance written notice to students.

(b) Plagiarism


Plagiarism is intentionally or carelessly presenting the work of another as one’s own. It includes submitting an assignment purporting to be the student’s original work which has wholly or in part been created by another person. It also includes the presentation of the work, ideas, representations, or words of another person without customary and proper acknowledgment of sources. Students must consult with their instructors for clarification in any situation in which the need for documentation is an issue, and will have plagiarized in any situation in which their work is not properly documented.


  1. Every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks or appropriate indentation and must be properly acknowledged by parenthetical citation in the text or in a footnote or endnote.
  2. When material from another source is paraphrased or summarized in whole or in part in one’s own words, that source must be acknowledged in a footnote or endnote, or by parenthetical citation in the text.
  3. Information gained in reading or research that is not common professional knowledge must be acknowledged in a parenthetical citation in the text or in a footnote or endnote.
  4. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, the use of papers, reports, projects, and other such materials prepared by someone else.

(C) Fabrication, Forgery and Obstruction


Fabrication is the use of invented, counterfeited, altered or forged information in assignments of any type including those activities done in conjunction with academic courses that require students to be involved in out-of-classroom experiences.

Forgery is the imitating or counterfeiting of images, documents, signatures and the like.

Obstruction is any behavior that limits the academic opportunities of other students by improperly impeding their work or their access to educational resources.


  1. Fabricated or forged information may not be used in any laboratory experiment, report of research, or academic exercise. Invention for artistic purposes is legitimate under circumstances explicitly authorized by an instructor.
  2. Students may not furnish to instructors fabricated or forged explanations of absences or of other aspects of their performance and behavior.
  3. Students may nor furnish, or attempt to furnish, fabricated, forged or misleading information to University officials on University records, or on records of agencies in which students are fulfilling academic assignments.
  4. Students may not steal, change, or destroy another student’s work. Students may not impede the work of others by the theft, defacement, mutilation or obstruction of resources so as to deprive others of their use.
  5. Obstruction does not include the content of statements or arguments that are germane to a class or other educational activity.

(d) Multiple Submissions


Multiple submissions are the submissions of the same or substantially the same work for credit in two or more courses. Multiple submissions shall include the use of any prior academic effort previously submitted for academic credit at this or a different institution. Multiple submissions shall not include those situations where the prior written approval by the instructor in the current course is given to the student to use a prior academic work or endeavor.


  1. Students may not normally submit any academic assignment, work, or endeavor in more than one course for academic credit of any sort. This will apply to submissions of the same or substantially the same work in the same semester or in different semesters.
  2. Students may not normally submit the same or substantially the same work in two different classes for academic credit even if the work is being graded on different bases in the separate courses (e.g. graded for research effort and content versus grammar and spelling).
  3. Students may resubmit a prior academic endeavor if there is substantial new work, research, or other appropriate additional effort. The student shall disclose the use of the prior work to the instructor and receive the instructor’s permission to use it PRIOR to the submission of the current endeavor.
  4. Students may submit the same or substantially the same work in two or more courses with the prior written permission of all faculty involved. Instructors will specify the expected academic effort applicable to their courses and the overall endeavor shall reflect the same or additional academic effort as if separate assignments were submitted in each course. Failure by the student to obtain the written permission of each instructor shall be considered a multiple submission.

(e) Complicity


Complicity is assisting or attempting to assist another person in any act of academic dishonesty.


  1. Students may not allow other students to copy from their papers during any type of examination.
  2. Students may not assist other students in acts of academic dishonesty by providing material of any kind that one may have reason to believe will be misrepresented to an instructor or other University official.
  3. Students may not provide substantive information about test questions or the material to be tested before a scheduled examination unless they have been specifically authorized to do so by the course instructor. This does not apply to examinations that have been administered and returned to students in previous semesters.

(f) Misconduct in Research and Creative Endeavors


Misconduct in research is serious deviation from the accepted professional practices within a discipline or from the policies of the University in carrying out, reporting, or exhibiting the results of research or in publishing, exhibiting, or performing creative endeavors. It includes the fabrication or falsification of data, plagiarism, and scientific or creative misrepresentation. It does not include honest error or honest disagreement about the interpretation of data.


  1. Students may not invent or counterfeit information.
  2. Students may not report results dishonestly, whether by altering data, by improperly revising data, by selective reporting or analysis of data, or by being grossly negligent in the collecting or analysis of data.
  3. Students may not represent another person’s ideas, writing or data as their own.
  4. Students may not appropriate or release the ideas or data of others when such data have been shared in the expectation of confidentiality.
  5. Students may not publish, exhibit, or perform work in circumstances that will mislead others. They may not misrepresent the nature of the material or its originality, and they may not add or delete the names of authors without permission.
  6. Students must adhere to all federal, state, municipal, and University regulations or policies for the protection of human and other animal subjects.
  7. Students may not conceal or otherwise fail to report any misconduct involving research, professional conduct, or artistic performance of which they have knowledge.
  8. Students must abide by the University’s policies on Misconduct in Research where applicable, which can be found in the University’s Policies and Procedures Manual at the General Counsel’s website.

(g) Computer Misuse


Misuse of computers includes unethical, or illegal use of the computers of any person, institution or agency in which students are performing part of their academic program.


  1. Students may not use the University computer systems in support of any act of plagiarism.
  2. Students may not monitor or tamper with another person’s electronic communications.

(h) Misuse of Intellectual Property


Misuse of Intellectual Property is the illegal use of copyright materials, trademarks, trade secrets or intellectual properties.


Students may not violate state or federal laws concerning the fair use of copies.

Sections 4 and 5 of the USF system Policy on Academic Integrity is not reprinted here. For those sections, refer to the whole policy as cited above.

6. Violations and Sanctions for Graduate Students

The Office of Graduate Studies holds academic integrity in the highest regard. Graduate students are responsible for being aware of and complying with University Regulations and Policies and must conduct themselves accordingly. Sanctions for Academic Dishonesty will depend on the seriousness of the offense and may range from the receipt of:

Graduate students who are assigned an "FF" grade will be academically dismissed from the University and will not be eligible to apply to any graduate program within the USF system . Procedures regarding Academic Dishonesty and Academic Dismissal may be found on the Office of Graduate Studies’ website: .

7. Additional Graduate Guidelines for Academic Dishonesty

  1. If a graduate student who has been accused of academic dishonesty drops the course, the student’s registration in the course will be reinstated until the issue is resolved.
  2. Any assigned grade may be changed to an "FF", "F", or other grade depending on the instructor’s decision or the ultimate resolution of an academic grievance procedure. This includes any instance of academic dishonesty that is not detected until after the student has dropped or completed the course.
  3. Notification to the graduate student of the "FF" grade and the option of appeal concerning the alleged academic dishonesty and academic dismissal remains with the instructor and/or department chair (refer to the University Academic Grievance Procedures).
  4. Dismissal for reasons of academic dishonesty will be reflected on the student’s transcript with the formal notation: Dismissed for Academic Dishonesty.
  5. More serious violations of academic integrity may be referred to the Office of Student Affairs as a student conduct violation.

8. Appeals

Once the initial violation of the academic integrity regulation has been documented and fairly discussed by the student and the instructor, the student may appeal the instructor’s decision that a violation has occurred. At that point the student will follow the procedures outlined in the USF system's Academic Grievance Procedure Policy. For academic integrity violations that are reviewed at the department and college levels, the respective committees will consider all evidence available to determine if the instructor’s decision was correct. The student’s ability to proceed within an academic program while an Academic Grievance is in process will be determined by the individual academic program chair/director.

Authority: Art. IX, Sec. 7, Fla. Constitution and Resolutions issued by the FL Board of Governors History-New 12-11-08.

Note: These policies apply to graduate students (students admitted to a graduate degree program or graduate certificate, and/or non-degree seeking students taking graduate courses). Undergraduate students should refer to Sections (4) and (5): Violations and Sanctions for Undergraduate Students.

Disruption of Academic Process

Reference: USF Regulation USF 3.025:

(1) Disruptive students in the academic setting hinder the educational process. Although disruptive student conduct is already prohibited by the University of South Florida (USF system) Student Code of Conduct, the purpose of this regulation is to clarify what constitutes disruptive behavior in the academic setting; what actions faculty and relevant academic officers may take in response to disruptive conduct; and the authority of the Office of Student Affairs to initiate separate disciplinary proceedings against students for disruptive conduct.

(2) Disruption of the academic process is defined as the act, words, or general conduct of a student in a classroom or other academic environment which in the reasonable estimation of the instructor:
(a) Directs attention away from the academic matters at hand, such as noisy distractions, persistent, disrespectful or abusive interruption of lecture, exam, academic discussion, or general University operations, or
(B) Presents a danger to the health, safety or well-being of self or other persons.

References to classroom or academic area include all academic settings (live or online, including field experiences). References to Instructor include the course instructor, USF system faculty, administrators, and staff.

Misconduct occurring in other campus areas on University premises or which adversely affects the University community and/or the pursuit of its mission is already prohibited by the Student Code of Conduct and will be handled by those procedures.

Academic discussion that includes disagreement with the course instructor during times when the instructor permits discussion is not in itself disruptive behavior and is not prohibited.

Some disruptive students may have emotional or mental health disorders. Although such students may be considered disabled and are protected under the Rehabilitation Act/ADA, they are held to the same standards of conduct as any student.

The following applies to all institutions of the University of South Florida system; however, non-substantive procedural modifications to reflect the particular circumstances of each institution are permitted. Information concerning these procedures is available through the Student Affairs office at each institution.

(3) Procedures for Handling Disruption of Academic Process.

(a) General Guidelines for Instructor:

1. If a student is disruptive, the Instructor may ask the student to stop the disruptive behavior and/or warn the student that such disruptive behavior can result in academic and/or disciplinary action. Alleged disruptions of the academic process will be handled initially by the instructor, who will discuss the incident with the student whenever possible. It must be noted that the Faculty Senate considers the traditional relationship between student and instructor as the primary means of settling disputes that may arise.

2. The instructor is authorized to ask a student to leave the classroom or academic area and desist from the disruptive behavior if the instructor deems it necessary. If the instructor does this, s/he will send an Academic Disruption Incident Report within 48 hours simultaneously to
(a.) the department chair (if applicable),
(b.) the Assistant/Associate Dean of the College (as determined by the College),
(c.) the Office of Student Affairs, and
(d.) the student.

If the situation is deemed an emergency or circumstances require more immediate action, the instructor should notify the appropriate law enforcement agency, Student Affairs and other authorities as soon as possible. Any filed Incident Report can, and should, be updated if new information pertinent to the situation is obtained.

3. An instructor may also further exclude the student from the classroom or other academic area pending resolution of the matter. If the instructor recommends exclusion (temporary or permanent) from the classroom pending resolution, the student must be informed of the exclusion before the next scheduled class (either by phone, email or in person). That notice must:

(a.) inform the student of the exclusion, and
(b.) inform the student of his/her right to request an expedited review of the exclusion within two days to the Chair of the Department (if applicable) or to the appropriate Dean or Dean's designee in the College.

If such academic exclusion occurs, and if the student requests a review, the Chair of the Department (or College designee) shall review the exclusion within two days of the date the student requests the review and decide if the student can return to the specific class and/or any academic setting. This decision may be appealed in writing by the student within two days to the Office of Graduate Studies (or institutional designee as appropriate) for review and decision within two days. Any decision rendered at that point must be in writing and will serve as the final and binding academic decision of the University.

Each academic decision or sanction must be communicated to the Office of Student Affairs as soon as possible.

(b) Possible Academic Sanctions and Grading Guidelines:

Authority of an instructor and the appropriate Chair or Assistant/Associate Dean’s office may result in any of the following sanctions:

(c) Documentation and Academic Disruption Incident Report:

Instructors should be aware that notes of the dates, times, witnesses and details of the incidents of disruption and the impact of the disruption on those present may be important in any future proceedings which may be necessary. Referrals to the Office of Student Affairs or designated office require written documentation containing factual and descriptive information. The student is entitled to see this documentation.

The Academic Disruption Incident Report must be submitted by hard copy or scanned and sent by email to the student's USF email address simultaneously within 48 hours to:

(a.) the department chair (if applicable),

(b.) the Assistant/Associate Dean of the College (as determined by the College),

(c.) the Office of Student Affairs and

(d.) the student.

The form can be downloaded from the designated website in Student Affairs or completed by way of memorandum containing the following information:

(d) Possible Disciplinary Sanctions for Conduct by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities:

Upon receipt of the Academic Disruption Incident Report or other academic referral for disruptive conduct, the Office of Student Affairs may initiate the disciplinary process resulting in the imposition of any of the following sanctions in addition to any academic sanctions imposed (in section b):

When an incident is being reviewed by Student Affairs for possible disciplinary sanctions, current provisions affecting the student’s academic status (temporary or otherwise) will be communicated by the Office of Student Affairs to the instructor and appropriate academic administrators/instructors responsible for the student’s current academic standing as soon as possible, but within two weeks of the reported incident. Only final disciplinary sanctions that affect the academic status of the student will be communicated to the Instructor(s) and appropriate academic administrators after the disciplinary process is complete.

Specific Authority: Art. IX, Section 7, Fla. Constitution and Resolutions issued by the FL Board of Governors, 1006.60, 1006.61 F.S. History – New 12-11-08; amended (technical) 11-28-11.

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