Policy of Academic Honesty

The educational programs of California Lutheran University are designed and dedicated to achieve academic excellence, honesty and integrity at every level of student life.  Part of CLU’s dedication to academic excellence is our commitment to academic honesty.  Student’s, faculty, staff and administration share the responsibility for maintaining high levels of scholarship on campus.  Any behavior or act which might be defined as “deceitful” or “dishonest” will meet with appropriate disciplinary sanctions, including a grade of “F” in a course, suspension, or dismissal from the University.

Definition of Academic Dishonesty

A general definition of academic dishonesty is “any behavior or act that implies an intent to make someone believe what is not true, as by giving a false appearance.”  Since intellectual honesty is central to the academic enterprise, students and faculty must accept and respect the principle of acknowledging information, ideas and language that have been borrowed from someone else.  Plagiarism (any failure to document sources), cheating, unethical computer use, and facilitation of academic dishonesty are examples of behavior which will result in strict disciplinary sanctions.


Plagiarism occurs whenever a source of any kind has not been acknowledged.  Every student must understand the correct procedures for acknowledging and identifying sources of borrowed material.  The basic rule is this:  Give credit where credit is due.  In other words, if you include any material which is beyond your firsthand experience, and which is not common knowledge of scholars in your field, you must cite your source in a way that your reader can:

  1. find the source from the information in your reference and
  2. immediately determine which information is your source’s contribution to scholarship and which is yours.

    1. If you quote directly, even if you use no more than a word or phrase, you must place quotation marks around the quoted material.
    2. If you paraphrase (rephrase in your own words), you must still cite your source, including a full documentation of reference; the best procedure is to acknowledge that you are paraphrasing.
    3. If you present material that may be common knowledge, but your arrangement or discussion of that material is borrowed, you must cite that source in a reference. 
    4. If you have any questions about proper ways of documenting sources in footnotes or bibliography, consult the department in which the course is taught.  Departmental assistants, the Learning Resource Center and the Writing Center are prepared to assist students in proper documentation forms.

Cheating covers a wide range of academically dishonest behaviors.  It includes, but is not limited to, turning in someone else’s work as your own, giving another student your work to pass off as his/her own, copying another student’s answers in an exam setting, distributing material unauthorized by the course instructor about any exam or assignment, fabricating or falsifying information in order to complete an academic exercise or laboratory experiment.

Unethical Computer Use

Unethical computer use includes use of computer software (programs, documentation, data bases) in violation of copyright law.  It also includes unauthorized use of computer software or hardware, such as use for private business, breaking access codes, and pranks resulting in damage to software or hardware, breach of privacy or confidentiality, or violation of copyrights.

Facilitating Academic Dishonesty

Facilitating academic dishonesty includes intentionally helping students commit acts of academic dishonesty.  As part of a community engaged in the academic enterprise of searching for truth, students and faculty are expected to report incidents of academic dishonesty to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Procedure for Disciplining Student Dishonesty

Whenever a member of the faculty or other university official has reason to believe that a student has committed a breach of academic honesty, the faculty member or official will confront the student, allowing the student an opportunity to speak on his or her behalf.  If, in the opinion of the faculty member, a breach of academic honesty as defined above has clearly occurred, the faculty member or official must file a Report of Academic Dishonesty form with the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  The form will be placed on file.  This procedure should be completed as soon as is reasonably possible.

First Offense.  If the Vice President for Academic Affairs determines this is a first offense, the disciplinary action will be handled by the professor.  Possible sanctions may include an “F” on the assignment with no possibility of repeat, or an “F” in the course.

Second Offense.  If the Vice President for Academic Affairs determines this is a second offense, in addition to the sanctions imposed by the professor, the Vice President for Academic Affairs may choose to impose additional sanctions, such as academic probation or suspension from school.

Third Offense.  A third report of academic dishonesty will automatically result in the student’s suspension or dismissal from the University.

Appeals.  An allegation of cheating or an imposed sanction may be appealed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who will then constitute a special evaluation committee using the same procedures identified for grade challenges.  Such a committee will be composed of three faculty:  one appointed by the dean of the school/college, one appointed by the chair of the Faculty Affairs and Development Committee, and the third appointed by the Dean of Student Affairs.  The committee will choose its own chair.  The committee will solicit written statements from all concerned parties and evaluate all available evidence.  The committee will report its recommendation to the Vice President for Academic Affairs whose decision is final.