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Academic ethics code changing

By Cassandra Blombaum
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 9, 2005
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Appeal process now starts, ends in hearing with college dean

Students and faculty appealing the Code of Academic Integrity can expect a quicker appeals process this semester now that a new code has been implemented.

The new code will help the student appeals process to be done in a timelier manner and also saves time for faculty members involved in appeals, UA officials said.

Now, if a student is caught violating the code of ethics, that person will have a meeting with the faculty member like before, but if he or she chooses to appeal the faculty member's decision, the appeal will go directly to the dean, said Alexis Hernandez, associate dean of students.

"Before, when a faculty member suspected a student of violating the code, the student and the faculty member would meet and the faculty member would come to a conclusion," said James Shockey, the associate dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Instead of the student's appeal going to the department head of the instructor and then to a university hearing board, the dean of the student's college will now hear the case and make the ultimate decision.

"Whatever that decision is, is final," Hernandez said. "Most cases should be completed at the level of the dean, unless it involves a more serious sanction."

Before the new code of ethics came into effect, the appeals process was much more tedious, but now the process seems much more efficient, Shockey said.

"Part of it was to try to not have a whole lot of frivolous cases go all the way to the hearing board," Shockey said.

This means that once the dean has made the final decision, only students with the most serious circumstances can appeal their cases to the university hearing board, Hernandez said.

"It respects (students' and faculty's) time," Hernandez said. "I believe it's a fair process."

The changes will also be better for students who are concerned about privacy and efficiency, Hernandez said.

"I think that when I met with students in the past, it wasn't unusual for a student to say, 'I don't want anyone to know about this, I want it done in a hurry,'" Hernandez said.

Most of the changes in the code were instituted after faculty and students expressed concerns about the lengthy appeals process, Hernandez said.

The Faculty Senate, Associated Students of the University of Arizona, and the Graduate Professional Student Council were involved with the creation and approval of the code.

Nathan Bell, a computer science senior and former ASUA senator, said he also believes the changes in the code are better for the UA.

"My understanding is that, in years past, a single case of an academic integrity violation could take six to nine months to work its way through the entire appeals process," Bell said. "The appeals process has been restructured, and now appeals are expected to take much less time."

Bell said the appeals process is essential to students accused of violating the code of ethics.

"Many times these decisions determine whether or not the student needs to retake the course in which they have been accused of a violation, setting them back one, if not two, semesters and very often deterring their graduation plans for another year," Bell said.

Shockey said although the code is new, he has yet to hear any complaints, and he thinks most people will accept the changes.

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