Academic Integrity and Classroom Conduct


[Adapted (with permission: 6.13.2006) from the Westmont College Plagiarism Policy]

Vanguard University is a community of Christian scholars. When students join our university community, they are expected, as apprentice scholars, to search for truth with integrity and accuracy. This quest requires humility about our abilities, respect for the ideas of others, and originality in our thinking. Since Vanguard University is a Christian community, the integrity of our scholarship is rooted in the integrity of our faith. We seek to be followers of Christ in the classroom, in the library, and at the privacy of our computers. Academic dishonesty is considered a serious breach of trust within the Vanguard community, as it both violates the regard for truth essential to genuine learning and Christian consistency and disadvantages those students who do their work with integrity. It demonstrates a deep disrespect for fellow students, the faculty, the University, and one’s own commitment to the integrity that should mark the life of the practicing Christian. Academic dishonesty may consist of plagiarism, cheating, or falsification. The Office of the Provost is to be notified immediately of instances of academic dishonesty, via a report on Faculty Central


Students have a responsibility to understand plagiarism and to learn how to avoid it. They should refuse to allow fellow students “to borrow” or to use an assignment without proper citation, encourage fellow students to do their own work, and refrain from completing assignments for their fellow students. If a student helps another plagiarize in these or other ways, he or she is equally guilty of academic dishonesty.


To plagiarize is to present someone else’s work—his or her words, line of thought, or organizational structure—as our own. This occurs when sources are not cited properly, or when permission is not obtained from the original author to use his or her work. By not acknowledging the sources that are used in our work, we are wrongfully taking material that is not our own. Plagiarism is thus an insidious and disruptive form of dishonesty. It violates relationships with known classmates and professors, and it violates the legal rights of people we may never meet. Another person’s “work” can take many forms: printed or electronic copies of computer programs, musical compositions, drawings, paintings, oral presentations, papers, essays, articles or chapters, statistical data, tables or figures, etc. In short, if any information that can be considered the intellectual property of another is used without acknowledging the original source properly, this is plagiarism.

At Vanguard University, we define three levels of plagiarism:

  1. Minimal plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, doing any of the following without attribution:

    1. inserting verbatim phrases of 2-3 distinctive words;

    2. substituting synonyms into the original sentence rather than rewriting the complete sentence;

    3. reordering the clauses of a sentence;

    4. imitating the sentence, paragraph, or organizational structure, or writing style of a source;

    5. using a source’s line of logic, thesis or ideas.

  2. Substantial plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, doing any of the following without attribution:

    1. inserting verbatim sentences or longer passages from a source (including work produced by artificial intelligence);

    2. combining paraphrasing with verbatim sentences to create a paragraph or more of text;

    3. repeatedly and pervasively engaging in minimal plagiarism.

  3. Complete plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, doing any of the following without attribution:

    1. submitting or presenting someone’s complete published or unpublished work, including work produced by artificial inelligence (paper, article, or chapter);

    2. submitting another student’s work for an assignment, with or without that person’s knowledge or consent;

    3. using information from a file of old assignments;

    4. downloading a term paper from a web site;

    5. buying a term paper from a mail order company or web site;

    6. reusing or modifying previously submitted work (e.g., from another course) for a present assignment without obtaining prior approval from the instructors involved.


Minimal plagiarism. When instances of minimal plagiarism are detected, the instructor can use these situations as an educational opportunity to discuss with the student the nature of plagiarism and the values of a scholarly, Christian community. At the professor’s discretion, assignments may be rewritten and resubmitted, with or without a grade penalty. Repeated instances of minimal plagiarism may, at the professor’s discretion, be treated as substantial plagiarism.

Substantial plagiarism. For a first offense, the student typically receives a failing grade on the assignment that has been plagiarized, and a Report of Academic Dishonesty is submitted to the Associate Provost/Dean of the College. For a second offense, the student typically receives a failing grade in the course, and a Report of Academic Dishonesty is submitted to the Associate Provost/Dean of the College. For a third offense, the student typically is recommended for expulsion from the University. The final appeal in all student academic matters is to the Provost, who serves as the chief academic officer of the University.

Complete plagiarism. For a first offense, the student typically receives a failing grade in the course, and a Report of Academic Dishonesty is submitted to the Associate Provost/Dean of the College. For a second offense, the student typically is recommended for expulsion from the University. The final appeal in all student academic matters is to the Provost, who serves as the chief academic officer of the University.


Cheating is obtaining or helping another to obtain credit for work accomplished by deceptive means. Cheating includes, but is not limited to:

  1. talking or communicating through signals with another student during a quiz or exam;
  2. using unauthorized materials such as electronic devices or cheat sheets to obtain information for a quiz or exam;
  3. copying or sharing information during a quiz or exam;
  4. taking, using, sharing or posting an exam or answers to a quiz or exam (before, during or after the quiz or exam);
  5. leaving during a quiz or exam in order to obtain information;
  6. claiming credit for work not accomplished personally (including work produced by artificial intelligence);
  7. giving false data about the procedure used to take a quiz or exam or complete an assignment.


Falsification is the alteration of information, documents, or other evidence in order to mislead. Examples of this form of academic dishonesty include but are not limited to:

  1. fabrication or falsification of data, analysis, citations or other information for assignments, exams, speeches or any other academic work;
  2. forgery or unauthorized alteration of official documents, credentials, or signatures;
  3. misrepresentation of one’s academic accomplishments, experiences, credentials, or expertise;
  4. withholding information related to admission, transfer credits, disciplinary actions, financial aid, or academic status;
  5. submitting the same work in more than one class without the authorization of the instructors.


  1. If a student has been dishonest in any way in completing an academic assignment, the student typically receives a failing grade in the exercise and a Report of Academic Dishonesty is submitted to the Office of the Provost (via Faculty Central). 
  2. The above is understood to be a minimal degree of discipline. A faculty member may, if he or she has announced the policy, give the student an F in the course for any type of academic dishonesty.
  3. A second violation or instance of dishonesty in the same or different course may result in expulsion from the university.
  4. A student who feels that he or she has been unfairly accused or unjustly treated may appeal to an ad hoc committee comprised of the Dean of the related School or College, the Chair of the Department of the student’s major, and an additional resident faculty member of the student’s choosing.  The final appeal in all student academic matters is to the Provost, who serves as the chief academic officer of the University.

Computer Usage: Student Guidelines 

(Excerpted from the Vanguard University Student Handbook)

General Use Guidelines

As an educational institution, VU is firmly committed to the discovery of truth, the life of the mind, and the free interchange of ideas. The University recognizes that in order for the best learning to take place, students will be exposed to hostile, offensive, and even subversive ideas, so that the students can confront and wrestle with the whole range of ideas and philosophies in the intellectual marketplace. It is therefore the position of the University that students should use maturity and self-discipline in accessing potentially offensive material. At the same time, VU is more than just an educational institution: it is a spiritual community committed to nurturing its members, providing them with good values and an atmosphere as positive and wholesome as possible. The Information Technology (IT) Department, therefore reserves the right to regulate or prohibit the access (such as by way of the Internet) to obscene, pornographic, and unlawful materials and the distribution of such materials over the campus network. Students using University computing and network resources are required to use them in a manner consistent with the University’s standard of conduct. The framework of responsible, considerate, and ethical behavior expected by the University extends to cover the use of campus facilities and network resources and networks throughout the world to which electronic access has been provided by the University. Computing and network resources and user accounts are owned by the University and are to be used for university-related activities only. Computer equipment and accounts at VU should be used for legitimate instructional, research, and administrative or other approved purposes. In addition to these guidelines members of the VU community are expected to abide by all other published technology use policies.

Student Computing and Network

VU makes available computing and network resources for use by the University’s students. As a VU student, you have certain privileges. They include:

  1. Use of Campus LAN and Wireless
  2. E-mail
  3. Use of Internet
  4. Priority over non-VU users and/or guests when using campus computer labs
  5. Use of computers and printers in the campus computer labs
  6. Use of electronic library resources

Student Responsibilities

To protect the quality and reliability of computing and network resources students must observe the following responsibilities. The list is not comprehensive, but it includes some of the responsibilities which you accept when you choose to use the University’s computing resources and/or network which the university provides:

  1. Student use of the campus network, the Internet, and e-mail will be consistent with the mission and character of VU. VU’s information technology resources may not be used for any unauthorized purposes or for any activity that is harmful, illegal, obscene, or harassing.
  2. Applying for a user ID under false pretenses is prohibited. Once you have received a user ID for access to the VU network, e-mail and computer systems on that network, you are solely responsible for all actions taken while using that user ID.
  3. Sharing or using another person’s user ID, password or e-mail account is prohibited. Never leave your terminal or PC logged on and unattended for more than a few minutes. Never write down your user ID and password. Change passwords frequently.
  4. You must not intentionally seek information about, browse, copy, or modify a file belonging to another person, whether at VU or elsewhere, unless you have been granted explicit permission by the owner of the file.
  5. You are authorized to use only computer resources and information to which you have been granted access. If you encounter or observe a gap in system or network security, you should immediately report the gap to the manager of that system. Abuse of a discovered gap rather than reporting it can result in disciplinary action.
  6. If you are not certain you have permission to copy, compile or manipulate software or data, assume that you do not have permission.
  7. The University’s policies on harassment apply equally to electronic displays and communications as they do to more traditional means of display and communication. You must not display or transmit images, sounds or messages that could create an atmosphere of discomfort or harassment for others.
  8. Messages, sentiments, and declarations sent as electronic mail or postings must meet the same standards for distribution or display as printed documents.
  9. You are not permitted to send spam e-mail to faculty or staff on campus. Email regarding official VU business or events must receive approval through the IT Department and be routed through the division or department sponsoring the event.
  10. Use of your network folder is a privilege for academic purposes. You are expected to stay within the space limits posted in the main lab.
  11. You must not degrade computing or network performance in any way that will prevent others from meeting their educational or university business goals. Academic work by students takes precedence over personal usage.
  12. You must not create or willfully disseminate computer viruses. You should be sensitive to the ease of spreading viruses and should take steps to ensure your files are virus-free.
  13. You must not install any additional software on VU computer equipment.
  14. Equipment and supplies for VU labs should be treated with care. These items are purchased with student fees for lab use only. Anyone who abuses equipment or takes supplies from the labs will lose lab privileges and be charged the cost of repair or replacement. Anyone who steals equipment will be prosecuted under the law.
  15. Members of the VU University Community are expected to observe federal, state and local laws which govern computer and telecommunications use, as well as the University’s own regulations and policies as outlined in the Student Handbook.
  16. Students are required to utilize their Vanguard email account for all university business including communicating with professors and staff.

Computer Dishonesty


There are three forms of plagiarism involving the use of computers and electronic storage of text.

  1. Printing two or more copies of the same research paper which are used to fulfill the requirements for more than one class without the consent of the professor(s). Some professors permit multiple submissions of papers, but others require that a paper be unique and original for each course. Submitting a paper previously used in another class, submitting a duplicate copy of a paper being used in another class or revising a paper used in an earlier class or used in another class during the same semester is unacceptable, unless you have obtained the express permission of your professor(s). If you are not sure about your professor’s policy on the use of papers for more than one class, be sure to ask rather than turn in your work based upon an assumption of what will be accepted.
  2. Using material from another student’s paper. Block copying allows the transportation of whole sections or paragraphs of one paper to be merged into another paper. Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s words or ideas without crediting that person, with or without the permission of the original writer to use his/her ideas. All material borrowed verbatim must be put in quotation marks and credited appropriately, regardless of the source. All ideas borrowed and turned into your own words must also be credited appropriately. You are prohibited from transporting whole sections of text from one student’s paper into another student’s paper, regardless of how much revision is done to the copied material.
  3. Two or more students handing in copies of the same research paper or assignment, with each student claiming individual credit for the work. To avoid the accusation of collaboration in plagiarism, a student should not lend his/her disks to another student, who might copy an assignment from the disk.

Violation of Copyright

Copyrighted programs and printed documentation may not be copied, distributed to others, or used on any machine outside of the computer labs, unless permitted under the terms of the software licenses between VU and the software manufacturers. Unauthorized copying is theft. Moreover, students with personal computers on campus are expected to not participate in software pirating or use pirated software.

Invasion of Privacy

The files and programs of other people are private property. It is unethical for you to read, alter, or copy such private programs or files, unless you have explicit permission to do so by the owner.

Disciplinary Procedures

If you violate any of the above guidelines, disciplinary action will be taken. The University reserves the right to monitor traffic on the network, including contents, and to examine files on the system which are connected to the network. Depending upon the seriousness of the offense, the following procedure will be followed:

  1. You may be required to perform community service.
  2. You may be required to pay a designated fine. If computer equipment is damaged, you will be required to pay for replacing the damaged equipment.
  3. You may have your computer privileges temporarily or permanently revoked.
  4. You may lose credit for the assignment, test, or even the entire course.
  5. You may be dismissed from the University.
  6. In serious cases, your name and a description of the violation(s) may be reported to the police. California Penal Code Section 502 makes certain computer abuses a crime, and penalties can range up to a $10,000 fine and up to three years in prison.

You may appeal any decision to the Student Conduct Committee.

Internet Material

All members of the VU community are encouraged to practice discretion and restraint in the materials that they access over the Internet. Obscene, pornographic, or unlawful materials accessed over the Internet are neither educationally nor spiritually purposeful and therefore should be avoided. Student use of the Internet is a privilege which can be revoked for cause.


All students have the right to learn without interference from others.  Faculty members have the authority to protect this right by creating and maintaining an environment that is conducive to learning. Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is respectful of all others and does not disrupt the learning experience of others. Should an instructor determine that a student's conduct is disruptive, the instructor may impose the student's immediate removal from the classroom. The student may be referred for disciplinary action.  The student may appeal to the Department Chair, and, if necessary, to the Dean of the College, and finally to the Provost.