Academic Integrity Case Standards

Understanding the standards that Student Rights & Responsibilities uses when investigating cases of Academic Integrity. Illustrated below are these standards. 

Violations Table

1st offense 2nd offense 3rd offense
Warning + Academic Integrity Seminar Suspension (1-3 Quarters) Expulsion


  • Copying during a midterm/final (less than 50% of an exam)
  • Submitting another person’s work as your own (or without proper citation)
    • Has to be less than 50% of a midterm/final
  • Unauthorized possession/purchasing/supplying of a non-midterm/final
  • Having someone sign someone else in for an attendance grade (ghosting)
  • Altering an exam/assignment to earn a better grade
  • Improper Use of Technology/Unauthorized Access to PolyLearn
  • Facilitating Academic Dishonesty of Others (other than suspendable offenses)
  • Submitting work from another course for current course (student’s own work)
  • Unauthorized Collaboration
  • Unauthorized use of Study Aids
1st offense 2nd offense
Suspension (1-3 Quarters) Expulsion


  • Having someone else write a paper/take a test (Ghosting)
  • Copying an entire test/final paper/midterm
  • Unauthorized possession/purchasing/supplying of a midterm/final
  • Plagiarizing over 50% of a midterm/final paper
  • Altering a midterm/final to earn a better grade
  • Premeditated cheating

Evidence Standard

Student Rights & Responsibilities uses a Preponderance of the Evidence standard, which means more likely than not. Student Rights & Responsibilities also uses a Reasonable Person standard, which means that the student's academic integrity is viewed from the perspective of what a reasonable, average student would do. Student Rights & Responsibilities takes into account the following for the Reasonable Person standard: 

  • Age
  • Year at Cal Poly
  • GPA
  • Major / Course

As an example, John Doe, 23, 5th-year Senior, Business Major, 3.8 GPA will be held to a different Reasonable Person standard than Jim Doe, 18, 1st-year, English Major, no GPA. 


Student Rights & Responsibilities has no academic expertise. Because of this, we defer to Reporting Faculty members in cases of Academic Integrity. If a student challenges a case on "technical" grounds (i.e., the student claims the alleged academic integrity was a reasonable mistake), Student Rights & Responsibilities does the following: 

  • Takes into account the Reasonable Person standard
  • Contacts Two faculty members with expertise in the core subject-matter area (e.g., someone in the College of Business)
  • Describes hypothetical situation to faculty members (the student's case) and asks whether a Reasonable Person would make this mistake
  • If the faculty members are in agreement, the reporting faculty member's allegation is either substantiated or unsubstantiated. If the faculty members are in disagreement, the Assistant Dean for Student Rights & Responsibilities goes back to the reporting faculty member, and they work together to reassess the Academic Integrity and continue the investigation


To maintain the integrity and confidentiality of the process, Student Rights & Responsibilities will not discuss specific student cases (with names) with non-reporting faculty members. Student Rights & Responsibilities will attempt to maintain an open-line of communication with the reporting Faculty member throughout the entire process and will defer to the reporting faculty member's expertise regarding the desired outcome of the process (in most cases). 

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