Student Academic Misconduct / Disciplinary Procedures

Table of Contents

View sample letter to student [DOC]
View sample letter to Dean of Students [DOC]

UWS 14.01 Statement of Principles.

The board of regents, administrators, faculty, academic staff and students of the University of Wisconsin system believe that academic honesty and integrity are fundamental to the mission of higher education and of the University of Wisconsin system. The University has a responsibility to promote academic honesty and integrity and to develop procedures to deal effectively with instances of academic dishonesty. Students are responsible for the honest completion and representation of their work, for the appropriate citation of sources, and for respect of others' academic endeavors. Students who violate these standards must be confronted and must accept the consequences of their actions.


UWS 14.03 defines academic misconduct as follows:

  • Academic Misconduct Subject to Disciplinary Action
    • Academic misconduct is an act in which a student:
      • Seeks to claim credit for the work or efforts of another without authorization or citation;
      • Uses unauthorized materials or fabricated data in any academic exercise;
      • Forges or falsifies academic documents or records;
      • Intentionally impedes or damages the academic work of others;
      • Engages in conduct aimed at making false representation of a student's academic performance; or
      • Assists other students in any of these acts.

See UWS Ch. 14.03(2) for examples of academic misconduct

Investigation Process

If it appears that a student in your class may be guilty of academic misconduct, as defined by UWS 14.03, you must promptly ask the student to meet with you informally to discuss your concerns.*

  • Your request to meet with the student should indicate that you have questions about whether academic misconduct has occurred.
  • During this meeting, explain why you believe the student may have committed academic misconduct and share the evidence you have.
  • Remember this is an investigation and you should maintain an open mind. Give the student time during the meeting to respond and provide their perspective on the matter.
  • If you conclude that no misconduct occurred or that no penalty is warranted, this meeting will end the matter.
  • If you conclude that the student is guilty and that a penalty is warranted, you may choose from the following range of sanctions (See 'Sanctions'). You may impose more than one penalty.
  • If the semester is ending and grades are due when 1) you have not completed your investigation, or 2) before the student's 10 day period to request a hearing has expired, or 3) when a student has requested a hearing but it has not yet occurred, give the student an "I" (incomplete) until the matter is closed and final.

NOTE: Even if the recommended sanction is "removal from the course", students should continue in class and take all exams pending the decision of the hearing body.

*If students not enrolled in your class are involved, or if you have reason to believe the student may have been involved in other incidents, or if you feel you could not give the student a fair hearing, you should contact the Dean of Students Office and ask for an Investigating Officer to be assigned to the case.


UWS Ch. 14.04(1) lists sanctions as "a" through "j." They are assembled by level of severity and procedural process as follows:

  • Group A
a. An oral reprimand
b. A written reprimand presented only to the student
c. An assignment to repeat the work, to be graded on its merits
  • Group B
d. A lower or failing grade on the particular assignment or test
e. A lower grade in the course
f. A failing grade in the course
g. Removal of the student from the course in progress
h. A written reprimand to be included in the student's disciplinary file
  • Group C
i. University disciplinary probation
j. Suspension or expulsion from the University


UWS Ch. 14.05 & 14.06

  • Group A: Sanctions "a" through "c"

You can privately reprimand the student, either orally or in writing, and/or ask the student to repeat the work in which the misconduct occurred. Under the latter option, you must grade the work on its merits without making a deduction for the previous misconduct. No permanent record is made of the incident. The student does have the right to contest any penalty you impose, including the lower level sanctions. You must inform the student of the right to request a hearing within 10 days (See 'Students Right to a Hearing') and you should keep some notes about the incident.

  • Group B: Sanctions "d" through "h"
If you choose a sanction in this group, you must prepare a written report, (see example below) summarizing the reasons for your belief that misconduct occurred, proposing one or more sanctions, and notifying the student that he/she has the right to request a hearing within 10 days (See 'Students Right to a Hearing'). You must send or give a copy of your report to the student and also send a copy of the report to the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students may recommend an additional disciplinary sanction of probation or suspension if the student has committed academic misconduct more than once or if the student is in a professional or graduate program.

          View sample letter to student [DOC] Put in word format

  • Group C: Sanctions "i" through "j"
If you conclude that disciplinary probation, suspension or expulsion is warranted, the incident must be referred to the Dean of Students Office. Your report to the Dean of Students Office should include a description of the incident and specification of the sanction recommended. Send or give a copy of this report to the student. The Investigating Officer will consult with you and will also meet with the student. A hearing will automatically be scheduled for these sanctions unless the student waives this right.

          View sample letter to the Dean of Students [DOC] Put in word format

*The letter to student is used for sanctions "d" through "h" only, addressed to student and copy given to the Dean of Students Office. The letter to the Dean of Students [DOC] is used only for sanctions "i" through "j", is addressed to the Associate Dean, and a copy is given to the student.

  • The typical report is comprised of the following sections:
    • Explanation of the facts supporting instructor's conclusion
    • Disciplinary sanction being recommended
    • Notification of the student's right to a hearing
    • Notice of filing with the Associate Dean of Students

The report may either be delivered to the student in person or be mailed to his/her current local address.

Student's Right to a Hearing

UWS Ch. 14.08

If the student wishes to contest any part of your report, he or she may request a hearing before the Student Disciplinary Hearing Committee. Requests must be made within 10 days of the instructor's oral or written decision. If the sanction you propose is probation, suspension, or expulsion from the University, the case will go to hearing automatically, unless the student waives this right. In cases where the recommended sanction is suspension or expulsion, the student may choose to have the hearing before either the Student Disciplinary Hearing Committee or before a single Hearing Officer designated by the Chancellor.

The instructor's role in the hearing will be that of a witness; you are not obliged to "prosecute" the case. At the hearing, the instructor, the Investigating Officer (if there is one), and the student will each be asked to present evidence and make a statement. The Student Disciplinary Hearing Committee or Hearing Officer will listen to the evidence and arguments and decide whether academic misconduct has occurred and what the appropriate sanction should be. The Student Disciplinary Hearing Committee or Hearing Officer is not limited to the sanction recommended by the instructor.

If the Student Disciplinary Hearing Committee or Hearing Officer prescribes suspension or expulsion, the student can appeal to the Chancellor, who will review the record of the case. Ordinarily, campus decisions are final except that the Board of Regents may, at its discretion, grant a review of the record.

For More Information

For assistance with implementing the academic misconduct policies and procedures, please contact the staff of the Dean of Students Office at 715.232.1181 or e-mail the Dean of Students Office at To refer a case of academic misconduct to the Dean of Student Office, please contact Dean of Students Joan Thomas.

Click here to view information provided to students regarding Chapter 14 Academic Misconduct.

*Adapted from UW-Madison Dean of Students-Academic Misconduct Guide