AJC Ruling on Academic Misconduct in the Computer Programming for CS Course

On January 25, 2016 the Ashesi Judicial Committee (AJC) ruled in a case of plagiarism involving a student from the Class of 2018. The AJC concluded that the students is guilty of copying information from the internet for an assignment.

As stated in Ashesi’s student handbook,

Academic dishonesty includes plagiarism, unauthorized exchange of information or use of material during an examination, unauthorized transfer of information or completed work among students, use of the same paper in more than one course, unauthorized collaboration on assignments, and other unethical behavior. Disciplinary action will be taken against perpetrators of academic dishonesty. – Section 7.4.

The case, which would have been treated as an informal resolution had it been a first infraction, was escalated to the AJC. After deliberating, the AJC came up with the following sanctions:

  • The student will fail the course
  • The student will submit a reflective essay to the AJC regarding Ashesi’s values, and how they should be upheld

The Committee encourages the Community to consider how a lack of ethics and integrity affects the wider community. The AJC would especially like to advise the Ashesi community of the following:

  • Take the time to fully understand plagiarism, and how it applies in both writing courses and computer science courses. If students use others’ work, they should know how to cite a code, so that the lecturer can easily distinguish between students’ original work, and others’ work.
  • Students should manage their time such that they do assignments far enough in advance to seek assistance from faculty and other resource people. This reduces the sense of desperation, and the temptation to plagiarise.
  • If students receive an Informal Resolution they should consider it a warning to take exceptional care in maintaining integrity. In a case where a student has a pre-existing Informal Resolution case, a second infraction, whether minor or major, will result in the case being escalated to the AJC level immediately.
  • The minimum sanction that the AJC issues a student found guilty, is a failing grade for the course.