Furman chapel during sunrise, from the trees

Academic Integrity

Furman’s academic integrity pledge is designed to provide a foundation for a healthy and productive learning environment. It offers an overview of the university’s academic expectations and outlines the rights of students as members of our community. It also ensures that all Furman students maintain high standards of academic integrity and honesty.

Integrity Pledge

It is the desire of Furman University to unite its members in a collective commitment to integrity. In so doing, Furman University strives to teach its members to live lives of humility, respect, and responsibility. Therefore, it is the expectation that all members of the Furman University community will conduct themselves with integrity in all endeavors. In honoring these values and ideals as Furman University’s foundation, it is with utmost faithfulness and dignity that I will subscribe to them.


“Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.”
Knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.”
— Samuel Johnson
“It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.”
— Mark Twain

The healthy functioning of the undergraduate learning community depends upon the five fundamental values of academic integrity: honesty, trust, respect, fairness, and responsibility (The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity brochure, published by The Center for Academic Integrity, Duke University, October 1999). These principles serve as the cornerstones of intellectual life in and out of the classroom at Furman. As an institution committed to excellence in higher education, as well as the development of personal responsibility, Furman expects all members of the community to uphold and comply with the highest standards of academic conduct. Violations of the ethical standards of the institution will have severe consequences.

As a student at Furman, you have a serious responsibility to uphold academic integrity:

  • First and foremost, you must behave honorably in your own academic work. This means you must be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct (see below for some examples).
  • If you are uncertain of what is permissible for a particular assignment, it is your responsibility to ask your instructor for clarification. If you have a doubt, ask!
  • Read all materials available to you regarding academic integrity (including all links on the “Student Overview” portion of this web site). Ignorance of what constitutes academic misconduct is not an acceptable defense for violating the community standard.
  • Commit yourself to promoting academic integrity among your peers. Set the standard for honesty and encourage others to do the same.
  • If you suspect that a fellow student is cheating, notify the professor immediately.

Below are some examples (not an exhaustive list) of academic misconduct. Remember to ask your course instructor to clarify what is permissible. Don’t assume that what applies in one course automatically extends to another!


  • Using unauthorized notes or study aids (such as test files), or information from another student or student’s paper on an assignment or examination.
  • Representing someone else’s work as your own.
  • Fabricating or falsifying data.
  • Turning in the same assignment in two different classes without the express permission of the instructor.
  • Turning in a new version of an assignment completely previously (in high school or college) without the express permission of the instructor.


  • Representing someone else’s ideas, words, expressions, statements, pictures, graphs, organizational structure, etc., as your own without proper acknowledgment or citation. Please note that this applies to material drawn from any source, including the Internet. You should consult with your instructor about the proper citation format for Internet sources.
  • Copying word for word from another source without proper attribution.
  • Paraphrasing another’s written ideas and presenting them as one’s own.

Unacceptable collaboration

  • Submitting as one’s own work the product of collaboration with another student or students.
  • Working with other students on an assignment intended to be done individually.

Facilitating misconduct

  • Providing material or information (e.g., term papers, data, answers to questions, information about a test already taken) to another person, either deliberately or inadvertently, with the knowledge that these materials or information could be used improperly.

Other types of misrepresentation

Important Reference Documents

Avoiding plagiarism

What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the act of representing someone else’s ideas, words, expression, statements, pictures, data, graphs, organizational structure, computer code, etc., as your own without proper acknowledgment or citation. If you plagiarize you are taking credit for what is not yours. Plagiarism is academic dishonesty because it is an act of both theft and fraud.

It is appropriate (even necessary, in many cases) for you to consult secondary sources and refer to the ideas and contributions of others in your college assignments. After all, the pursuit and expansion of knowledge have always been done in the context of an existing body of facts, ideas, and theories. But it is essential that you draw clear lines between your work and that of others through appropriate acknowledgment and citation. You do not need to cite facts that are considered general knowledge and not specific information that would not be commonly known. (The Declaration was edited by committee; approximately 2400 Americans died at Pearl Harbor).

How can I avoid plagiarism?

  • Take the initiative to understand what constitutes plagiarism. Educate yourself about appropriate citation styles (see below). Consult with your course instructor if you have doubts about whether you are acknowledging your sources appropriately. Test yourself by taking the online plagiarism tutorial (courtesy of Indiana University).
  • Start your assignment well in advance. Waiting until the last minute can lead to sloppiness, or worse, a bad decision to take a short cut.
  • Devise a careful method for organizing you research notes. Include citations along with your notes so that you can quickly identify the quote with the source. Similarly, organize your computer files in a logical way so that you do not mistakenly submit a draft document (which might not include all citations) as a final version of your assignment.
  • Do not download an Internet source directly to your desktop. This can lead to cutting and pasting errors which might result in inadvertent plagiarism (which is still a violation of Furman’s academic integrity policy).
  • Be careful not to mimic an author’s organizational structure.
  • Do not paraphrase an author’s words without citation.

Where can I find information on proper citation?

There are a number of sources available to help you understand proper citation. Below are a few links and references to help you get going. Remember, your course instructor is also an excellent resource, as well as the consultants in the Writing and Media Lab located in the Center for Academic Success in the Library.

What is Turnitin.com? I have heard that faculty use this to detect plagiarism.

Turnitin.com is an online plagiarism detection and prevention service. A number of Furman faculty have opted to use this tool to enforce academic integrity standards in the classroom. By submitting papers or portions of papers to the Turnitin database, faculty receive an originality report highlighting overlap between student assignments and documents found on the Internet of the Turnitin database. Of course, not all highlighted portions indicate plagiarism but the report does assist faculty in identifying plagiarism or confirming that it has occurred.

Turnitin also has a feature that allows students to submit their own work to check for overlap. Ask your course instructor about the possibility of using Turnitin in this way.

For more information, see www.turnitin.com.

Plagiarism and Citation Resources

  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Citation Styles. This resource describes several styles for the
    humanities, social sciences, sciences, and history. Consult your
    instructor if in doubt about which style you should use.
  • Lipson, Charles. Doing Honest Work in College. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2004. Here is an on-line Citation FAQ.
If you are suspected of student academic misconduct

No one wants to believe that a student might have violated Furman’s academic integrity policy. However, all course instructors are obligated to investigate any irregularity that appears in their students’ coursework or any report that a student has behaved dishonestly. If the matter cannot be dismissed after investigation, the faculty member will confront the student and present him/her with the “Academic Integrity Violation Form” (AIVF). The form outlines the two options available to the student:

  • Admit to the charge and accept the penalty in the course. Additional penalties, such as suspension or expulsion, could be added by the Academic Discipline Committee. This committee, which consists of five faculty members and two students, plays an important role in adjudicating academic integrity disputes and potentially adding penalties for violations of the policy (see policy 190.6). If you have violated the policy, it is much better to admit it immediately. Lying, which is also a violation of policy, will only exacerbate the gravity of the situation.
  • Dispute the charge. This triggers a review by the Academic Discipline Committee.
    If you dispute the charge, you should:

    • Request a hearing by the Academic Discipline Committee by so indicating on the AIVF;
    • Consult with the Associate Academic Dean about the hearing process and procedures;
    • Gather all information and evidence supporting your case and submit it to the Associate Dean, who will forward it to the committee.

You will receive at least five days’ advance notice of the time and place of the hearing, which will take place as soon as possible.

If you are found responsible for academic misconduct, a confidential file will be held in the Office of the Associate Academic Dean, where it will reside for five years or you graduate whichever comes first. You may also petition for early expungement of your academic discipline records once they have been on file for three semesters after the infraction.

If you are found not responsible for academic misconduct, the record of the hearing will be retained for the same period of time.

Students are not permitted to change their registration status in a course (by withdrawing from the course or declaring it pass-no pass) while a charge is pending or if they are found responsible for academic misconduct in the course. In addition, the Academic Discipline Committee may revoke pass-no pass status if the student is found responsible for violating academic integrity in that course.

If you suspect another student of misconduct

Students who attempt to cheat are seeking an unfair advantage over their classmates. As The Helmsman states, “A violation of academic integrity in any form is a fundamental offense against the integrity of the entire academic community and is always a threat to the standards of the college and to the standing of every student.” While academic integrity is essential to all members of the campus community, students are the ones who are most threatened when academic dishonesty goes unchecked. The health of the learning environment depends on the adherence of all students to the principles of academic integrity, and the appropriate sanctioning of those who choose to violate them. Furman policy does not require students to report any cheating they observe or suspect. However, the policy does encourage and empower students to help defend academic integrity by reporting suspected infractions to the appropriate faculty or staff member. If you have reason to believe that another student has cheated, you should communicate this in a discreet and timely way. If after investigation the faculty member decides to pursue a charge of academic misconduct, you may be asked to appear before the Academic Discipline Committee in a confidential hearing.

If you have any further questions about a suspected violation of academic integrity, consult with the Associate Academic Dean.

To quote The Helmsman once again, “Honesty within our academic community is not simply a matter of rules and procedures; it is an opportunity to put personal responsibility and integrity into action. When students accept the implicit bonds of trust within an academic community, they liberate themselves to pursue their academic goals in an atmosphere of mutual confidence and respect.”

Faculty responsibilities
  • Academic integrity at Furman is governed by the university’s academic integrity policy (121.5). Faculty should take appropriate steps to promote and protect academic integrity, as well as to deter violations from occurring. Suggestions for doing so are found on this web site.
  • Faculty who suspect a student has violated the academic integrity policy have certain obligations (121.5 and 190.6). Specifically, they should investigate the matter, gather evidence, and, if necessary, seek advice from the Associate Academic Dean and the department chair. If, after investigation, the faculty member believes a violation has occurred, he/she should confront the student using the designated form and report the matter to the Associate Academic Dean.
  • Furman students are not required to report suspected violations of academic integrity, but they are encouraged and empowered to do so by the policy.
  • Disputed allegations of academic integrity are adjudicated by the Academic Discipline Committee (see 190.6). This committee consists of five faculty members and two students.
  • The professor has the authority to determine the grade penalty for violations of academic integrity. The Academic Discipline Committee (ADC) has the authority to impose penalties for violations beyond the grade in the course, such as revocation of pass-no pass status, suspension, and/or expulsion from the university. The course instructor retains authority over the grade in the course, however.

In short, faculty should:

  • Promote academic integrity orally, in writing, and by example;
  • Attempt to deter violations from occurring;
  • Clarify expectations within the specific course and invite students to ask for clarification;
  • Investigate all suspected violations of the policy and confront the student if it seems “more likely than not” that a violation has occurred;
  • Consult with the department chair and/or Associate Academic Dean as needed;
  • Report suspected violations to the Associate Academic Dean.