Academic Integrity


Students are expected to maintain the highest standards of honesty in their college work. Forgery, cheating and plagiarism are serious offenses and students found guilty of any form of academic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary action.

Forgery includes the alteration of college forms, documents or records, as well as the signing of such forms or documents by someone other than the proper designee.  Students suspected of violating this policy will be reported to the Director of Academic Programs.  First offenses typically result in a warning.  Second offenses will be noted in the student’s permanent file.  Offenses beyond the second will result in an appropriate sanction, which could include suspension. 

Cheating is the dishonest or unauthorized use of materials for academic work.  Examples of cheating include:

*Copying another’s papers or notes during an exam
*Talking about a test or looking at another’s paper during an exam
*Altering a graded exam or paper without informing the instructor and resubmitting it for re-grading
*Gaining unauthorized access to past exams from a course
*Removing tests from a classroom or office without prior consent
*Discussing an exam you have taken with other students, either from your class or from another section of the same course, who have yet to take that exam
*Providing false or exaggerated excuses to postpone due dates
*Lying to an instructor or college official to improve your grade or to get special privileges
*Submitting work done in another class without prior permission of both instructors
*Having another person do your work for a course (including unauthorized collaboration)

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of another person’s work (words, ideas, data, etc.) in a graded or published piece or in a speech. The following are examples of plagiarism:

*copying all or parts of another person’s paper, article, or notes and representing it as your own
*submitting a paper copied in full or in part from one purchased from a paper writing service or obtained electronically
*failing to fully cite (author, article title, book or journal, page number, date of publication) each instance where you have incorporated another’s ideas or quoted words into your own written or oral work.

While instances of forgery and cheating are often clear cut, identifying cases of plagiarism can be more complicated.  Plagiarism can be intentional, as when a student submits as one’s own work a purchased paper, or a paper that was written entirely or in part by another student.  But plagiarism may also be the result of misuse of sources, which occurs when writers cite information incorrectly or incompletely. In this case, the author may make a good faith effort to acknowledge the sources, but because this is a learning process, a student author may make errors in documentation and integrating the quotes and paraphrases into their own work. While unintentional, misuse of sources is still considered plagiarism at Macalester.  It is very important, therefore, for students to make sure they understand how to properly cite sources, to take advantage of the research and writing assistance provided by the staff in the library and the MAX Center, and to confer with their instructors when they are unsure if they are using sources appropriately.  

Procedures and Sanctions related to Cheating and Plagiarism

When a faculty member suspects a student of cheating or of plagiarizing, the faculty member should first consult with the student about the suspected violation.  If a misunderstanding has occurred, then the matter can be settled amicably between the faculty member and the student.  If it appears to be a clear violation, the faculty member is responsible for gathering the pertinent and necessary information and reporting the violation to the Director of Academic Programs. 

In cases where the student admits to the violation, the Director will ascertain the appropriate sanction based on whether it is a first, second or third violation.  A first violation typically results in a grade of zero for the assignment in which the violation was found.  A second violation typically results in suspension for a semester, although in extreme circumstances, dismissal from the College is possible.  A third violation will result in dismissal from the College.  In addition, to these sanctions, an educational component will accompany a first violation of plagiarism.  Students found guilty of plagiarism are required to participate in the Academic Integrity Module developed by the library.  For additional information about this module see the associated link on the library’s website,  

Additional Information and Resources

Students can learn more about how to document sources and how to avoid plagiarism, from Writing at Macalester College: A Handbook for First Year Students, produced by the MAX Center and from Easy Writer, A Pocket Reference, which is available in the campus bookstore.

Faculty may find Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism:  The WPA (Writing Program Administrators) Statement on Best Practices, a useful resource in creating assignments and developing strategies to help students understand and learn to avoid plagiarism.  The statement is available at,