When I taught at an alternative school in Atlanta, I heard just about every conceivable excuse for bad behavior. These were students who were sent to our school because of drugs, fighting, or equally worrisome offenses. It was my first year teaching full time, so I was still learning how to respond to them in those moments when they were caught doing something they shouldn’t have been doing.
I remember being in awe of our principal as she calmly, but efficiently dispatched their excuses. “I didn’t know that was the rule,” they would say. She’d respond, “If I were stopped for speeding on the way here this morning, do you think the police officer would be satisfied if I told him I didn’t see the speed limit sign?” Simply put, not knowing is not an excuse. The same goes for your work here on campus. You can’t claim, for example, that you didn’t know it wasn’t okay to submit one essay to two different courses.
And besides, the University hired me to help you know the rules, what we call the Student Conduct Code. We even put it in a stylish little book and online version (super exciting, I know).
When it comes to academic integrity, we’re number 1! That is to say, academic integrity is the first issue addressed by the student conduct code. I think that says something about the importance CSU places on completing honest work.
Here’s the short version of how the Student Conduct Code addresses Academic Misconduct:
Cheating– providing or receiving unauthorized assistance
Plagiarism– using language, structure, images, ideas, or thoughts of another, and representing them as one’s own without proper acknowledgement
Unauthorized Possession– selling, purchasing, or stealing exams/papers or materials not authorized by teacher
Falsification– Any untruth, verbal or written, in academic work
Facilitation– knowingly assisting another to commit misconduct
So, if I were looking for a simple way to consolidate all of this, I would say: Do your own, honest work, every time.
We are going to talk more about the individual areas throughout the week, but for now, you can’t say you didn’t see the speed limit sign.