Information for Faculty & Staff
Office of Community Standards
Office of Community Standards
Faculty and staff members’ interactions with students on campus are typically professional and often cordial. Some interactions can be challenging, but we recognize that as part of the natural growth and development of any young adult.
In rare cases, however, a student’s behavior may cross the line and become disruptive — possibly violating UAlbany’s student code of conduct, the Community Rights & Responsibilities. In those cases, the student would be subject to a formal Student Conduct Referral through the Office of Community Standards.
Additionally, faculty and staff members can volunteer with Community Standards. Serving on a Student Conduct Body is an excellent opportunity for professional development and for supporting our campus community.
If you’re unsure if a student has violated the code of conduct, or would like to explore the various ways to resolve a situation, please contact our staff and request a consultation:
Our staff will advise you on next steps, such as a Student Conduct Referral and/or a Student Care Report. We can also work with you to develop a group training or presentation.
If you are dealing with an emergency, immediately call the University Police Department by dialing 911 on a campus phone or 518-442-3131 on a cell phone.
If you believe a student has violated UAlbany’s student code of conduct, the Community Rights & Responsibilities, you may formally refer the student to Community Standards for investigation and, if necessary, adjudication.
To refer a student, you must send a detailed, written description of the incident — including the specific behavior(s) leading to the referral — to [email protected].
Once we receive your report, our staff will then work with you to identify whether the code of conduct was allegedly violated. This conversation can take place over the phone, via email or in person.
We encourage students to explore UAlbany's resources and guidance for maintaining academic integrity.
Instructors are required to report violations of academic integrity by using the forms below:
Instructors cannot refer students directly to Community Standards for violations of academic integrity. The Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or the Vice Provost for Graduate Education will review the VAIR.
If it is the student’s first reported violation, they will decide whether a referral is appropriate.
If it is not the student’s first reported violation, they are required to refer the student to Community Standards.
Please review the information below for detailed procedures and instructions.
As a community of scholars, UAlbany has a special responsibility to integrity and truth. By testing, analyzing, and scrutinizing ideas and assumptions, scholarly inquiry produces the timely and valuable bodies of knowledge that guide and inform important and significant decisions, policies, and choices. Our duty to be honest, methodical and careful in the attribution of data and ideas to their sources establishes the foundations of our work. Misrepresenting or falsifying scholarship undermines the essential trust on which our community depends. Every member of the community, including both faculty and students, shares an interest in maintaining academic integrity.
When the entire University community upholds the principles of academic integrity, it creates an environment where students value their education and embrace experiences of discovery and intellectual growth. In this environment, grades and degrees are awarded and applauded as the recognition of years of learning, achievement, discipline, and hard work. Maintaining the highest standards of academic integrity ensures the value and reputation of our degree programs; these standards represent an ethical obligation for faculty intrinsic to their role as educators, as well as a pledge of honor on the part of students. If a violation of academic integrity occurs, faculty, deans, and students all share in the responsibility to report it.
Violations of trust harm everyone. The academic community needs to trust that its members do not misrepresent their data, take credit for another's ideas or labor, misrepresent or interfere with the work of other scholars, or present previous work as if it were new. Acts of academic dishonesty undermine the value and credibility of the institution as a whole and may distract others from important scholarship or divert resources away from critical research. In particular, students who plagiarize or falsify their work not only fail to adhere to the principles of scholarly inquiry and fail their peers by taking undeserved credit or reward, but they also fail to demonstrate their learning.
These guidelines define a shared context of values to help both students and faculty to make individual and institutional decisions about academic integrity. Every student has the responsibility to become familiar with the standards of academic integrity at the University. Faculty members must specify in their syllabi information about academic integrity and may refer students to this policy for more information. Nonetheless, student claims of ignorance, unintentional error, or personal or academic pressures cannot be excuses for violation of academic integrity. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the standards and behaving accordingly, and UAlbany faculty are responsible for teaching, modeling and upholding them. Anything less undermines the worth and value of our intellectual work, and the reputation and credibility of the University at Albany degree.
Students should consult syllabi, their instructors, and in relevant circumstances their advisors for information about specific policies on academic integrity in courses or other academic exercises such as comprehensive/qualifying examinations, theses, and dissertations.
The course instructor is responsible for determining when a student has violated academic integrity in a course.
When a faculty member determines that a student has violated academic integrity, they should inform the student and impose an appropriate sanction. Faculty members must respond in a manner most appropriate to the particular infraction and the circumstances of the case in question, according to their best judgment.
Penalties for violations of academic integrity may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Warning without further penalty, or with a requirement that an assignment be redone without a breach of academic integrity and resubmitted
Lowering of an assignment/exam grade
Assigning a failing grade on a paper containing plagiarized material
Assigning a failing grade on any examination in which cheating occurred
Lowering a course grade
Giving a failing grade in a course or other academic exercise
In addition, faculty members encountering a violation of academic integrity in their courses are required to complete and file a Violation of Academic Integrity Report (VAIR), using the links above.
The VAIR should indicate the sanction imposed and a brief description of the incident. Faculty filing a VAIR will submit copies to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, as appropriate, and to the student.
If a faculty member informs the student that they will receive a failing grade for the course as a whole or for a component of the course as a result of academic dishonesty, the student receiving such a penalty will not be permitted to withdraw from the course, or to change the grading basis of the course from A-E to S/U.
Students engaging in other academic activities — such as qualifying or comprehensive examinations, theses, dissertations — must also adhere to the standards of academic integrity outlined in this policy. In these cases, academic advisors, as well as department, school or college officials responsible for a student's program of study, are charged with determining if a student has violated academic integrity.
If the Director of Libraries or Chief Information Officer learns of theft, damage or misuse of facilities and/or resources or a violation of University policies, they will forward all such cases to Community Standards for review and disposition, which can include suspension or expulsion from the University.
The Director of Libraries or Chief Information Officer may, in individual cases, limit access to the Libraries or Information Technology Services (ITS) resources pending action by Community Standards.
In all other cases, when academic dishonesty comes to the attention of any faculty member, staff member or student, they should consult the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or the Vice Provost for Graduate Education. In addition, the University Police Department may elect to pursue the breaches, consistent with their policies.
Community Standards was established by the governing bodies of the University at Albany and is administratively the responsibility of the Vice President for Student Affairs. Any questions about the procedures of Community Standards may be secured by inquiry to that office.
Students who feel they have been erroneously penalized for an academic integrity infraction, or who think that a penalty is inappropriate, may make use of the grievance procedures, beginning with the Department and the College/School where the course was offered.
Each College/School of the University has procedures for students who seek to dispute grades assigned or penalties imposed for academic infractions. Copies of the procedures are maintained in the College/School Deans' Offices or on their respective websites.
If a student is cleared of wrongdoing through the grievance process, the student will not be subject to any penalties and the Violation of Academic Integrity Report (VAIR) associated with the case will be destroyed.
A violation confirmed by admission on the part of the student — by the student's acceptance of the charges and penalties outlined in the VAIR, or through the grievance process — will result in the enforcement of the penalty determined by the faculty member reporting the incident.
Under either of the following two conditions, a violation may be forwarded to Community Standards for further adjudication and, potentially, further sanction:
The faculty member reporting the incident has determined that the violation is serious enough to merit a failing grade in the course and would like to have the case formally adjudicated at this higher level.
A faculty member or the dean responsible for the academic program in which the offense has occurred deems it to be a particularly egregious case of academic dishonesty, regardless of the penalty imposed by the instructor, and would like to see the case formally adjudicated at this higher level.
In these circumstances, the faculty member or dean may request that the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, as appropriate, forward the case to Community Standards.
However, the following circumstance will automatically result in the case being forwarded to Community Standards for adjudication:
A previous VAIR on the student. When a student violates academic integrity in more than one academic exercise, whether those infractions occurred during the same or different periods of time, or in the same or different courses, the University regards the offense as an especially serious subversion of academic integrity. The matter becomes particularly severe when the student has been confronted with the first infraction before the second is committed. Whenever the Office of Undergraduate Education or the Graduate School receive a second VAIR on a student, the appropriate Vice Provost will request a hearing before Community Standards.
If a case is referred to Community Standards, that office will act in accordance with its standard procedures to determine the final disposition of the case, which may include revoking a student's scholarship or fellowship, or teaching or research assistantship, as well as or in addition to disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion. If a hearing is held and a student is found "not in violation," no punitive action may be taken against the student and the Violation of Academic Integrity Report associated with the incident will be destroyed.
A copy of the VAIR associated with any incident in which the student is not cleared of wrongdoing (through the grievance process or by Community Standards) will be retained in the Office of Undergraduate Education or the Graduate School, as appropriate.
The Office of Undergraduate Education or the Graduate School will maintain a copy of such reports for periods in accordance with SUNY student record retention policies: three years beyond the academic year in which the violation occurred, in the case of minor code violations (a single offense resulting in a sanction or sanctions short of a failing grade in the course), and seven years beyond the academic year in which the violation occurred, in the case of major code violations (a failing grade in the course, or any offense referred to and confirmed by Community Standards).
A student's record of violations of academic integrity may be communicated to graduate or professional schools or employers who request such information about applicants who have attended the University at Albany.
The following is a list of acts considered to be academically dishonest and therefore unacceptable. Committing such acts is a breach of integrity and is subject to penalty.
No such list can, of course, describe all possible types or degrees of academic dishonesty. Therefore, this list should be viewed as a set of examples, rather than as an exhaustive list.
Individual faculty members, Deans of Schools and Colleges as appropriate, and Community Standards will continue to judge each breach according to its particular context.