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Office of Student Conduct Division of Student Affairs

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Academic Dishonesty

Students: Tips for Avoiding Misconduct

Almost all problems with academic work can be avoided with the following advice:

  • Be honest at all times
  • Know the rules and expectations for each class
  • If you aren’t sure, ask first

The full policy, including the definition of Academic Misconduct, is available in our university manual.


  • Make sure all notes and books are away before the start of an exam
  • Be careful to keep your eyes on your own exam, the front of the classroom, or somewhere else that's not suspicious
  • Stop working when time is called
  • Don’t speak to other students. If you need something, notify the proctor
  • Don’t alter an exam in any way before submitting for a re-grade


  • Know what plagiarism is and avoid it. If you use words, images, or data you found elsewhere, clearly mark it as such and cite it
  • If you run short of time, it’s better to submit nothing that a paper with un-cited work
  • Never submit the same assignment in more than one class unless given specific permission from the instructor(s) to whom you are submitting the work

Working with others:

  • All your work must be done by yourself, unless you are given specific instructions to work with others
  • Don’t share or show your work to other students prior to grading
  • Do not use solution manuals or online copies of previous graded coursework unless advised by the instructor

In general:

  • Don’t make up false excuses if you miss something or need an extension
  • If you need help, ask for it. In addition to your instructor, Sac State has resources to help.

Faculty Information

The Office of Student Conduct is a resource to faculty:

  • Advise faculty who wish to incorporate academic honesty advice into syllabi and lesson plans
  • Strategize responses to suspected academic dishonesty
  • Respond to disruptive student conduct

Reporting Academic Misconduct to the Office of Student Conduct

When you suspect academic dishonesty:

  1. Review the Academic Misconduct Response Policy
  2. Notify the student after class, in-office hours, or by email of your concern; explain the reason why you have questions about the assignment, and offer them the opportunity to meet to explain what happened from their perspective. You don’t need to wait for a response from the student before reporting the matter to OSC
  3. If the student provides a satisfactory explanation, no further action is required
  4. If the student doesn’t respond or you believe that more likely than not the work contains academic dishonesty, you may inform the student of your decision and the grade penalty that will apply (if any)
  5. Notify the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) by reporting online using the Reporting Academic Misconduct Form

Advantages of Reporting

First, OSC maintains a central record of student issues. Maintaining a central point of contact for student misconduct ensures that patterns of misconduct are not mistaken for isolated events. Second, OSC encourages a uniform, educational response to student misconduct. OSC can provide students with support resources for writing skills, time management, stress management, and decision making. Finally, the conduct process is designed to reinforce the messages students receive from faculty and peers about the value of academic and personal integrity--lessons that support lifelong success.

There may be cases where you are unsure about determining the appropriate outcome; you’d like a second opinion; or the semester ends at the same time you are reviewing the questionable assignment. In those cases, it is appropriate to award a “RD” grade (Report Delayed) at the end of the semester and forward the case to OSC.

The process of addressing misconduct can occasionally raise complex questions of due process, grade appeals, and curriculum management. Faculty are encouraged to contact OSC to discuss the process, relevant policies, and individual cases.