Student Handbook

Academic Integrity

Definition and Guidelines for Penalties | Sanctions and Further Impact

Definition and Guidelines for Penalties

The following guidelines define for the Skidmore community a context of values within which individual and institutional decisions on academic integrity can be made. The guidelines, developed by the Integrity Board and reviewed by the Honor Code Commission, Appeals Board, the faculty at large, and the President’s Office, reflect Skidmore’s serious commitment to academic honesty. No set of guidelines can, of course, define all possible types or degrees of academic dishonesty; thus, the following descriptions should be understood as examples of infractions rather than an exhaustive list, and the recommended penalties are presented as guiding examples, as well. The guidelines are intended as touchstones for complainants and for the judicial boards of the College, and as a deterrent to potential offenders. Individual faculty members and the judicial boards will continue to judge each case according to its particular merits and demerits. It is every student’s responsibility to become familiar with the standards of academic integrity at the College. Violations of the academic Honor Code will be reported on law school applications, transfer applications, etc., and are likely to render the student ineligible for membership in any Skidmore-sponsored academic honor societies, for participation in the First Year Experience as a Peer Mentor, and for academic and some leadership prizes awarded by the College.


Presenting as one’s own, the work of another person (for example, the words, ideas, information, data, evidence, organizing principles, or style of presentation of someone else). Plagiarism includes paraphrasing or summarizing without acknowledgment, submission of another student’s work as one’s own, the purchase of prepared research or completed papers or projects, and the unacknowledged use of research sources gathered by someone else. Failure to indicate accurately the extent and precise nature of one’s reliance on other sources is also a form of plagiarism. The student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources, the appropriate ways of acknowledging their academic, scholarly, or creative indebtedness, and the consequences for violating the Skidmore Honor Code THE JUDICIAL BOARDS OF THE COLLEGE WILL NOT REGARD CLAIMS OF IGNORANCE, OF UNINTENTIONAL ERROR, AND OF ACADEMIC OR PERSONAL PRESSURES AS AN ADEQUATE DEFENSE FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE HONOR CODE.

Minor offenses: e.g., failure to acknowledge the source(s) of a few phrases, sentences, or an idea (though not an idea of importance to the thesis or central purpose of the paper or project).

More serious offenses: e.g., failure to acknowledge the quotation or paraphrase of a few longer, paragraph‑length sections of a paper, failure to acknowledge the source(s) of a major idea or the source(s) of important pieces of evidence or information, or the source(s) for an ordering principle central to the paper’s or project’s structure.

Major offenses: e.g., failure to acknowledge the source (quoted, paraphrased, or summarized) of major sections or passages in the paper or project, the unacknowledged use of several major ideas or extensive reliance on another person’s data, evidence, or critical method; submitting as one’s own, work borrowed, stolen, or purchased from someone else.

Penalties for Plagiarism

All offenses observed by faculty or students must be reported to the Associate Dean of the Faculty (ADoF) with responsibility for student academic affairs or the Director of Academic Advising. The ADoF will keep a confidential record of the offense, the evidence, and the penalty. The Associate Dean or Director of Academic Advising will also make certain that the student understands their rights, the nature and importance of academic integrity, and the probable consequences of a second violation.

In the case of minor offenses (as defined above), the instructor might make any one or a combination of the following responses:

In the case of more serious offenses and major offenses (defined above), the instructor might impose one or more of the following:

Be aware that some faculty maintain a zero-tolerance policy on plagiarism and will fail a student for the course regardless of the level of offense.

Cheating on Examinations

Giving or receiving unauthorized help before, during, or after an examination. Examples of unauthorized help include collaboration of any sort during an examination (unless specifically approved by the instructor), collaboration before an examination (when such collaboration is specifically forbidden by the instructor), the use of notes, books, or other aids during an exam (unless permitted by the instructor), looking upon someone else’s exam during the examination period, intentionally allowing another student to look upon one’s exam, and the passing of any exam information to students who have not yet taken the examination. While the exam is ongoing, students may not discuss test items with any student, including those not enrolled in the course. Any talking during an exam, or other mode of communication (including use of cell phones), constitutes a violation of the Honor Code. The content of the conversation does not matter; the act of communicating violates the Honor Code.

Penalties for Cheating on Examinations

The great variety of exam situations and procedures makes it difficult to outline different degrees of infractions. However, in determining an appropriate sanction, instructors and judicial boards might take the following into account:

Penalties will generally include one or more of the following:

Other Forms of Academic Dishonesty

Multiple Submission

The submission of substantial portions of the same work for credit more than once (including high school work), without the prior explicit consent of the instructor(s) to whom the material is being (or has in the past been) submitted.

Penalties Recommended


Forging another person’s signature on academic or other official documents (e.g., the signing of a faculty advisor approval, or the misuse of attendance sign‑in sheets).

Penalties Recommended


The deliberate destruction, damaging, or theft of another’s work or working materials (including art works, lab experiments, computer programs, term papers, or projects).

Penalties Recommended

Theft, Damage, or Displacement of Library Materials

The effort to remove uncharged library materials from the Library, defacing or damaging library materials, intentional displacement and hoarding of materials within the Library for one’s unauthorized private use, the abuse of reserve‑book privileges. These and related offenses constitute an abuse of the College community’s central resource for the advancement of learning. In certain cases, the failure to return materials to the Library in a timely way when these materials are needed by other members of the Skidmore community may be treated as an academic integrity infraction.

Penalties Recommended

Computer Abuse and Fraud

Includes the abuses defined in these guidelines under “plagiarism,” “multiple submission,” “sabotage,” “unauthorized collaboration,” “falsification,” and “alteration.” Members of the Skidmore community are expected to observe the highest standards of academic and social integrity as they use computers for class, office, and individual projects. Such offenses as computer plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, entry of another person’s computing directory, data theft or unauthorized alteration, inappropriate use of the electronic mail, and other malicious or dishonest computer activities will be treated as serious infringements of integrity. The official “Code of Ethics for Academic Computing” is available from Skidmore’s Computer Center. 

The College recognizes the following EDUCOM policy statement:

“Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. This principle applies to works of all authors and publishers in all media. It encompasses respect for the right to acknowledgment, right to privacy, and right to determine the form, manner, and terms of publication and distribution. Because electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced, respect for the work is especially critical in computer environments. Violations of authorial integrity, including plagiarism, invasion of privacy, unauthorized access, and trade secret and copyright violations, may be grounds for sanctions against members of the academic community.”

Software Piracy: The College forbids the unauthorized duplication of copyrighted software. Even if a program does not contain copy protection to prevent unauthorized duplication, it is illegal to copy commercial software for your own use or by others. Likewise, knowingly accepting or using copies of “pirated” software violates the Skidmore College Honor Code.

Penalties Recommended

Unauthorized Collaboration

(Closely related to plagiarism or cheating): student collaboration on projects, papers, or other academic exercises which is regarded as inappropriate by the instructor(s). The most common faculty assumption is that work submitted for credit is entirely one’s own; however, standards on appropriate and inappropriate collaboration vary widely among individual faculty and the different disciplines. Students who want to confer or collaborate with one another on work receiving academic credit (e.g., homework assignments, lab reports, exam preparations, research projects, essays, etc.) should make certain of the instructor’s expectations and standards.

Penalties Recommended


The misrepresentation or purposeful mishandling of material or fabrication of information in an academic exercise, academic process, or academic assignment (e.g., the falsification of experimental or computer data, the construction of false documents or the misleading alteration of documents, the false or misleading citation of sources, the purposeful mishandling or misappropriation of registration materials, etc.)

Penalties Recommended


Altering material without the instructor’s knowledge or consent in negotiation for a higher grade.

Penalties Recommended

Multiple or Subsequent Violations of Academic Integrity

When a student violates the Honor Code on more than one academic exercise (whether those infractions occurred during the same or different periods of time, or in the same or different courses), Skidmore regards the offenses as an especially serious subversion of our educational mission. The issue becomes even more egregious when the student has been confronted with the first infraction before the second is committed or discovered.

Whenever the Associate Dean receives information on a multiple offense, the Associate Dean may request a hearing before a judicial board or initiate an Administrative Hearing. The Associate Dean may also request a hearing for a single but especially serious academic offense. The student’s social integrity record may be considered at the hearing along with the academic integrity record. Generally in cases of multiple infractions, or an especially serious single offense, the judicial board will consider recommending to the Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs a one‑semester suspension or dismissal from the College, depending on the severity of the violation(s) and other aspects of the individual case.

Other Consequences

Violations of the academic Honor Code will be reported on law school, transfer, study abroad, and similar applications when requested by external organizations. Further, academic integrity violations make the student ineligible for the Dean’s List (for the period of the sanction), membership in Skidmore and national academic honor societies, Skidmore academic prizes (including those awarded at Honors Convocation and at graduation), College Honors, Department and Program Honors, some leadership awards, and participation in the First Year Experience as a Peer Mentor. For details of this and other academic integrity policies, please consult with the Associate Dean of the Faculty with responsibility for student academic affairs.

Academic Integrity Conduct Process 

Faculty are required to report suspected academic integrity violations of the Honor Code to the Associate Dean of the Faculty or Director of Academic Advising. When a student acknowledges responsibility for a violation, the ADoF or Director administers institutional sanctions in an Administrative Conference as prescribed by faculty legislation and described in the Academic Integrity Handbook (link); the instructor retains authority over the grade consequence. Most cases alleging academic integrity violations are resolved between the ADoF, the student, and the instructor but any party may bring the case to an Administrative Hearing Board (AHB). The AHB is particularly important when a student contests the charge itself. If the student is found responsible, the AHB cannot reduce or set aside sanctions imposed by the ADoF or Director or modify a grade penalty determined by the instructor. The Academic Integrity Handbook describes further impacts of academic integrity violations and describes grievance procedures and the limited forgiveness policy. Questions about academic integrity may be directed to the ADoF or to the Director of Academic Advising.

The process governing the proceedings of an Administrative Hearing Board follows the procedures on page 29 in the Student Handbook with the following exceptions:

  1. The Associate Dean of Faculty serves as the Conduct Administrator;
  2. The Administrative Hearing Board must include at least one member of the faculty;
  3. Suspension is considered as an appropriate outcome for multiple violations or an especially egregious single violation;
  4. Appeals are directed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty.


The Academic Honor Code: Sanctions and Further Impact

This document, summarizing legislation passed by the Skidmore faculty in October 1995 and revised by the faculty in March 2000, describes the record-keeping and reporting implications for students who have violated the Academic Honor Code. The decision of the faculty applies to all current and future Skidmore students. The sanctions described here are in addition to those presented in the Student Handbook and the New Student Advising and Registration Guide; they are also in addition to any sanctions imposed by the Student Conduct process and officers of the College. Members of the Skidmore community may seek clarification of any Academic Honor Code issue from the Associate Dean of Faculty with responsibility for student academic affairs.

This document differs from older print versions of the New Student Advising and Registration Guide in that it clarifies the following points: (1) students admitting to or found responsible for an academic integrity violation may be withdrawn from national and Skidmore honor societies at the discretion of the honor society, (2) the reporting and eligibility implications of an infraction cannot be set aside or modified by Student or Administrative Conduct Boards, except in the special case of first-year students where the level of offense determines the eligibility implications, (3) the Committee on Academic Standing considers academic integrity violations during its review of students who do not meet minimal standards for continuation, and (4) academic integrity is a factor influencing a student’s eligibility to study away and to participate as a Peer Mentor in the First Year Experience.

STUDENT RECORDS IN GENERAL: every effort is made to keep records of Academic Honor Code violations confidential so that the student found responsible for an infraction can move on successfully with their academic, co-curricular, and personal life at Skidmore. An Honor Code conviction can become a temporary or permanent part of the student’s official file (that is maintained in the Office of the Registrar) only through action taken by a judicial board or by the Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs, the Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the President of Skidmore, or their designees. The Student Conduct process of the College and its procedures are described in this handbook. Important exceptions to the general principle of confidentiality are described below.



1) Effects on honors and prizes: violations of the Academic Honor Code will, with few exceptions, make a student ineligible for the following prizes, distinctions, and honors:

  1.  The Dean’s List for the period of the sanction (which will generally mean the semester in which the infraction occurred, unless a longer period of “probation” or “warning” has been imposed)

  2. Honors at graduation (cum laude distinctions, departmental honors, etc.); academic prizes awarded at the Honors Convocation or at Commencement; Periclean Scholar Awards; some leadership awards; membership in the Periclean Honors Forum and in national academic honor societies; membership in Phi Beta Kappa (in the case of Phi Beta Kappa, the Skidmore chapter will determine eligibility after a report has been made by the Associate Dean of Faculty). Students already inducted in Skidmore or national honor societies at the time of the infraction may have their membership revoked at the discretion of the society or chapter.

Exceptions to the eligibility impacts described above are as follows:

The Associate Dean of the Faculty (ADoF) with responsibility for student academic affairs, at their discretion, will not report, for internal purposes, minor and moderate-level academic infractions committed by first-year students: in other words, in these cases, the eligibility and reporting consequences described in the paragraphs above will not affect the first-year student who has committed one minor or moderate offense. This policy is in keeping with Skidmore’s educational mission and recognizes that some students may take longer than others to develop an academic and ethical understanding commensurate with the standards of higher education. Although this limited forgiveness policy will be in effect for first-year students, the ADoF will report on all “multiple or subsequent violations” (see the Student Handbook) and on all more serious offenses committed by first-year students. All academic Honor Code violations committed by sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be reported and will incur the Skidmore eligibility consequences described in the paragraphs above. (Note that Phi Beta Kappa requires the reporting of all infractions without exception, including minor offenses committed by first-year students.)

2) Effect on letters of reference and recommendation: when requested by appropriate external organizations, violations of the Skidmore Honor Code will be reported to law schools and to bar examiners, to other graduate schools as requested, on recommendations for transfer to another college, and to other organizations or agencies authorized to check a student’s record of integrity. In the reporting process, the ADoF (or their designee) will provide an appropriate context so as not to unduly jeopardize the student’s academic opportunities before and after graduation.

3) Effect on academic standing: the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS) considers academic integrity violations when reviewing the profiles of students who do not meet minimal standards for continuation at Skidmore. Academic integrity infractions may influence whether the CAS disqualifies a student from further study or grants a one-semester waiver so that the student can improve their academic record.

4) Effect on study away: the CAS, along with the Office of Off-Campus Study and Exchanges, considers a student’s academic integrity record when determining eligibility to study away.

5) Other effects: academic integrity violations make a student ineligible to participate in the First Year Experience (FYE) program as a Peer Mentor.



1) In conformity with the faculty legislation of October 1995 and March 2000, and within the framework and spirit of the Honor Code, the ADoF will decide whether the further impacts described in this document will be enforced. The ADoF’s decision will be communicated to the student. The ADoF’s determination of further impact may be appealed within five working days of notification to the Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs as noted in the Student Handbook. The student must make clear in writing the grounds for the appeal. The Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs may not consider the guilt or innocence of the student or similarly broad integrity issues (this is the role of judicial boards), but only whether the ADoF’s decision regarding the further impact of the Honor Code violation is in line with the policies adopted by the faculty. This process will offer the student and the academic community in general, protection against any arbitrary or misinformed judgment made by the ADoF. 

2) If a student wants to challenge the Honor Code charge itself, the student must request a formal hearing. Skidmore’s Student Conduct process is described in The Student Handbook. Note that a hearing board may impose or recommend additional sanctions beyond those described in this document, “The Academic Honor Code: Sanctions and Further Impact.” A hearing board may not, however, set aside any of the eligibility and reporting consequences described above unless the hearing board finds the student not responsible for an Honor Code infraction. (In the case of freshman-year infractions, a hearing board might modify the internal eligibility and reporting implications for a first-year student by determining that the infraction was of a “minor or moderate” nature, in keeping with the faculty legislation.) 

3) Further appeal process for first-year students: students who have committed violations of the academic Honor Code during their first year of college (i.e., during the freshman year), at a time when they have not become fully integrated into the academic community, will have an additional opportunity to appeal the violation’s impact on their eligibility for Skidmore prizes, honors, and memberships (except for membership in Phi Beta Kappa, which is determined solely by the Skidmore chapter of Phi Beta Kappa). Such students may appeal the early infraction directly to the Dean of the Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs and the ADoF, who will decide together whether to forgive the early violation of the Honor Code. This consideration will take into account the severity of the original offense and the student’s subsequent academic and integrity record at Skidmore. The ADoF and the Dean of the Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs may decide to sustain the original decision and its impact, or to reduce or eliminate the impact on the student’s eligibility for prizes and honors. The appeal cannot be initiated before the first semester of the student’s junior year. The student themself is responsible for initiating this further appeal, in writing, within the designated time frame. The appeal process does not pertain to letters of reference and recommendation, the effect on academic standing, the effect on eligibility to study away, or the effect on eligibility to participate as a Peer Mentor in the FYE as described in #2-5 above.                                                                                                                                                           

Revised 07/2016

For the full Academic Integrity Handbook: