Academic senate to vote on academic integrity policy

Concerned students and members of the A.S. Council have called into question the fairness of proposed changes to UCSD’s academic integrity policy, which the Academic Senate will vote on Oct. 29.

The proposed amendments made by the Committee on Educational Policy would change the process in which academic dishonesty cases are handled.

Currently, a faculty member accusing a student of academic dishonesty presents his or her case to the dean of the student’s college. The dean then attempts to make an informal resolution with the student. If the student does not accept the resolution, the case is presented to the Judicial Board of the student’s college in the form of a hearing. The Judicial Board hands its decision to the student’s dean, who administers sanctions to guilty students.

The process by which a case would be handled if the proposed amendments pass would involve a faculty member presenting his or her case to the student conduct coordinator. Faculty members proposed this change to simplify the process and make deliberations fairer for students across all six colleges.

Once the case is presented to the SCC, a board is selected to hear the case if the student denies the charges. The SCC can advise the faculty member on how to present the case, or the SCC can present the case for the faculty member. If the student is found guilty at the end of the hearing, the SCC administers the punishment.

The SCC’s centralization of power has created a debate over its fairness. Faculty members and administrators who support the changes argue that the changes are fair because they simplify the process and will make the process more efficient.

“”I think [the procedure] will work more efficiently,”” said Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph Watson. “”Hopefully, it will be fairer and more just and procedurally more clear for students as well as faculty and others.””

However, concerned students and members of the A.S. Council disagree that fairness efficiency will be increased.

“”The SCC is involved in multiple parts of the process,”” said David Goodwin, an at-large member of the Student Council at Eleanor Roosevelt College. “”Having the same person be involved in all of those parts of the process is totally a conflict of multiple interests, not to mention that is just a ridiculous amount of work for one person,”” he said.

“”If the whole reason to switch to this is to make it more efficient — that’s not going to happen if that is all one person.””

Goodwin, along with other concerned students and A.S. Council members, has lobbied faculty members to object to the proposed changes.

James Lynch, the presiding officer of the Revelle College Judicial Board, has worked on the lobbying effort and said that reactions from professors have been mixed, but said, “”I think they have all been willing to hear us out.””

Lynch will be the alternate for Halle Beitollahi, A.S. commissioner of academic affairs, at the Oct. 29 senate meeting because Beitollahi will be taking an exam.

Lynch has urged students who have concerns about this issue to attend the meeting.

The Oct. 29 meeting of the Academic Senate will be held in the Garren Auditorium in the Basic Sciences Building, located in the School of Medicine, at 3:30 p.m.