Academic Integrity

Academic Honor Code

Gavilan College is a safe, nurturing community committed to teaching and learning.  We expect faculty, staff and students to act with integrity and honesty.  Therefore incidents of academic dishonesty and inappropriate conduct are taken very seriously.


Academic Honesty   Education Code Section 66300, BP 5500, AP 5500

Academic honesty depends upon the integrity of students and faculty.  The District itself is defrauded if faculty and/or students knowingly or unwittingly allow dishonest acts to be rewarded academically. Faculty may take appropriate action if student dishonesty is suspected.

Students at Gavilan College have the right to know what constitutes academic honesty at the college and in each course in which they are enrolled.

  •  Faculty members will highlight ethical standards required in their courses and the permissible procedures in class work and examinations.
  • The course outline/syllabus and/or individual examinations will refer to this policy.
  • Students will be informed of the consequences of violating these standards, their rights of appeal, and the procedures to be followed in the appeal.


Academic Honesty Procedures Reference: AP 5500

This procedure expands, clarifies, and sets forth clear levels of authority and disciplinary protocols in response to violations of the Standards of Student Conduct (BP 5500), specifically as it relates to academic honesty. These procedures guarantee due process rights extended to students by state and federal constitutional protections. The procedures will be used in a fair and equitable manner, and not for purposes of retaliation.


Definition of Academic Dishonesty

The act of deliberately exhibiting a set of unacceptable behaviors that defy ethical and scholarship standards. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Purposely allowing another student to copy from one’s work during a test.
  • Giving homework, term paper or other academic work to another student to plagiarize.
  • Having another person’s work submitted in one’s name.
  • Lying to an instructor or college official to improve a grade.
  • Altering graded work after it has been returned, then submitting the work for re-grading (without knowledge of the instructor).
  • Removing test(s) from classroom or any other place without instructor’s approval.
  • Stealing tests or keys to tests
  • Forging signatures on drop/add slips or other college documents


Definition of Cheating

The act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for academic work through any dishonest, deceptive, or fraudulent means.  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Unauthorized obtaining or retaining partial or whole copies of examination, tests, or quizzes before these are distributed for student use; 
  • Using notes, textbooks, or other information in examinations, tests, and quizzes, except as expressly permitted; 
  • Obtaining unauthorized confidential information about examination, tests, or quizzes other than that released by the instructor;
  • Securing, giving or exchanging information during examinations;
  • Presenting data or other material gathered by another person or group as one’s own;
  • Falsifying experimental data or information;
  • Having another person take one’s place for any academic performance with-out the specific knowledge and permission of the instructor;
  • Unauthorized collaboration with another to do one or more of the above;
  • Using a substantial portion of a piece of work previously submitted for another course or program to meet the requirements of the present course or program without notifying the instructor to whom the work is presented; and/or
    Presenting falsified information in order to postpone or avoid examinations, tests, quizzes, or other academic work.

Definition of Plagiarism:

The act of incorporating the ideas, words, sentences, paragraphs, or parts thereof, or the specific substance of another’s work without giving appropriate credit, and representing the product as one’s own work. An example can include, but is not limited to: Representing another’s artistic/scholarly works such as musical compositions, writings, computer programs, photographs, paintings, drawings, scriptures,  or similar works as one’s own.


Reporting Procedures

It is an instructor’s responsibility to take the following steps when he/she has reason to believe, and has evidence to substantiate, that the behavior of a student or students falls within one or both of the above sets of definitions:

  1. Arrange an office conference with the student and at that time advise the student of the allegations and make him or her aware of the supporting evidence and the probable consequences. Any classroom confrontation should be as discreet as possible.  If, as a result of this meeting, the instructor believes that the student’s response is insufficient to offset the charge of academic dishonesty to the extent that the student may be excused, the instructor will inform the student of the sanctions to be recommended or assessed in accordance with this policy.
  2. At the discretion of the instructor, a written report of the infraction and the sanction taken may be submitted to the Vice President of Academic Affairs with a copy to the appropriate area dean.
  3. When a student, who has been informed of an impending conference to discuss the alleged dishonesty, fails to attend, or when the apparent dishonesty is detected near the end of the semester and the instructor makes a good faith effort to contact the student but is unable to do so, the instructor may impose the recommended sanctions and file a written report to the area dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs without a conference.  In either case, the student’s right to appeal is preserved.


There shall be two major classifications of sanctions that may be imposed for Academic Honesty violations:  Academic and Administrative. The imposition of one variety of sanction (Academic or Administrative) will not preclude the addition of the other.

  • Academic sanctions will be defined as those actions related to coursework and grades. Faculty are responsible for the type of academic sanction to be applied to students involved in incidents of cheating or plagiarism.  Usually a form of “grade modification” will be employed.
  • Administrative sanctions concerning a student’s status on campus and are acted on by the Vice President of Academic Affairs.


Faculty Discretion

Cases involving the careless or inept handling of quoted material but falls short of the definitions of the acts of cheating and/or plagiarism as defined in this policy, may be dealt with at the discretion of the faculty member concerned.

Academic Sanctions

Before sanctions can be employed, the faculty member must have verified the in-stance(s) of academic dishonesty by personal observation and/or documentation. In all cases the violation should be reported to the area dean.  A student may be:

  1. Reprimanded orally.  A student may be referred for counseling but cannot be required to seek counseling.
  2. Failed on test, paper, exam.
  3. Given a lowered grade.
  4. Referred for administrative sanctions.  A faculty member may choose to refer a student to the Vice President of Academic Affairs for disciplinary action in lieu of any academic sanction or in addition to the academic action the faculty member has taken.

Administrative Sanctions

Cheating or plagiarism in connection with an academic program at a campus may warrant expulsion, suspension, probation or a lesser sanction.  (Cal Admin. Code Sanction 4.301).  The Vice President of Academic Affairs is responsible for reviewing incidents of academic dishonesty and will notify faculty members involved when action has been taken (Student Discipline Procedures, AP 5520). The Vice President of Academic Affairs will respond to:

  1. Referrals from the faculty;
  2. Flagrant violations of academic standards; and
  3. Repeat violations as brought to his/her attention by the faculty or through the student reports filed with the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
  4. In the case of repeat violations, the case may be referred to the Vice President of Student Services as a conduct issue.

Protection of Rights

Students have the right to be informed of the charges, the nature of the evidence supporting the charges, and to have a meeting with the faculty member, Vice President of Academic Affairs, or other decision-makers. Students have the right to appeal any decision resulting from such a meeting.

  • Academic sanctions may be appealed through the Vice President of Academic Affairs in accordance with the Students’ Problem Resolution Process
  • Administrative sanctions resulting in disciplinary suspension or expulsion can be appealed through the Student Discipline Procedures. (Student Discipline Procedures, AP 5520) (Education Code 66017).


Students' Problem / Grievance Resolution Process 

Reference: AP 5530 (Pending Board Approval) 

Conflict and miscommunication are, unfortunately, a fact of life. Choosing how we deal with difficult issues becomes a personal choice we all must make. However, working through difficult issues civilly and respectfully is expected. Occasionally, students and a District employee (faculty/teacher/instructor, support staff, or administrator) may have a problem which needs clarification and resolution. 

Additionally, there may be times when the problem/ resolution must follow laws determined by the Federal Office of Civil Rights. These situations include alleged discrimination or harassment around race/ethnicity, sexual harassment, disability, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, color, national origin and age. 

The Students' Problem / Grievance Resolution Process applies to specific situations on campus. If you feel you have experienced discrimination based upon any of these actions, contact the Equal Opportunity Officer located in Human Resources or call 408-848-4753. Introduction This procedure is intended to ensure that any alleged violation of a your rights will be reviewed and that appropriate action will be taken. Gavilan College’s goal is to ensure an equitable and fair resolution of the grievance. 

This grievance procedure applies to any issue involving your rights at the District. In the event that it becomes necessary to resolve a grievance under this policy every effort shall be made to maintain confidentiality at each level of the procedure; however, complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. It is the student’s responsibility to follow the process.

Informal Resolution of Grievance: Informal meetings and discussions between persons directly involved in a grievance are essential at the outset of a dispute and should be encouraged at all stages.

An equitable solution should be sought before persons directly involved in the case have stated official or public positions that might tend to polarize the dispute and render a solution more difficult. At no time shall any of the persons directly or indirectly involved in the case use the fact of such informal discussion, the fact that a grievance has been filed, or the character of the informal discussion for the purpose of strengthening the case for or against persons directly involved in the dispute or for any purpose other than the settlement of the grievance.

Any student who believes he or she has a grievance shall file a Statement of Grievance with the appropriate Grievance Officer: for Student conduct related issues this is the Vice President of Student Services; for instructional related issues, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, and for issues regarding safety/ security and harassment (of any kind), the Vice President of Administrative Services. 

A Statement of Grievance is to be filed within thirty (30) calendar business days of the incident on which the grievance is based, or thirty (30) calendar business days after the student learns of the basis for the grievance, whichever is later. The Statement of Grievance must be filed whether or not the student has already initiated efforts at informal resolution, if the student wishes the grievance to become official. 

Within two (2) days following receipt of the Statement of Grievance, the Grievance Officer shall advise the student of his or her rights and responsibilities under these procedures, and assist the student, if necessary, in the final preparation of the Statement of Grievance. If at the end of fifteen (15) calendar business days following the student’s first meeting with the Grievance Officer, there is no informal resolution of the complaint which is satisfactory to the student, the student shall have the right to request a Grievance Hearing.


Formal Grievance Process:

Step 1: Within ten (10) days of the informal process outlined above, confer with the faculty member, administrator or staff person directly involved in the facts giving rise to the grievance. You may bring another person of your choice (i.e., staff, friend, student) to the meeting. This person is not to speak for you, but can provide support. If you are dissatisfied, you must notify the staff person that you will be taking the problem to the next step, Step 2. 

Step 2: Within ten (10) school days of Step 1, you must meet with the department chairperson or supervisor of the person with whom you have the problem. The department chairperson or supervisor can ask you,your supporter, and the staff member to meet together, or may meet separately with you and the staff person with whom there is a problem. The department chairperson/supervisor can meet with you again to discuss the problem, review what occurred at the previous meeting (Step 1), and discuss your proposed resolution. You may bring to the meeting the same individual from the first meeting. If you are still dissatisfied, you will move to Step 3 of the process.

Step 3: You must meet with the dean of the related area within ten (10) school days of Step 2. This meeting will include you, the department chairperson/supervisor, and the dean of the related area. During this meeting the outcomes of prior discussions will be reviewed and proposed resolutions discussed. If you are still dissatisfied, you will move to Step 4 of the process.

Step 4: Within ten (10) school days of Step 3, you must meet with the appropriate Grievance Officer (Vice President of the area as noted in INFORMAL RESOLUTION OF GRIEVANCES section). During this meeting the outcomes of prior discussions will be reviewed and proposed resolutions discussed. If you are still dissatisfied, within five (5) school days, you must notify the Grievance Officer with whom you met in Step 4, that a hearing committee review is requested to resolve the issue. This request will be forwarded to the Superintendent/President who, within five (5) school days from receiving the request, will convene a hearing committee at a time to be determined by the Superintendent/ President. If you are still dissatisfied, you will move to Step 5 of the process. 

Step 5: Within five (5) school days after receiving a request, the Superintendent/ President will request that the appropriate Grievance Officer Vice President convene a committee to hear the issue.

This committee will be composed of:

• One (1) student appointed by the ASGC

• One (1) faculty member from an unrelated discipline appointed by the District’s Academic Senate

• One (1) faculty member appointed by the Counseling Department chairperson

• One (1) member classified staff member from an unrelated discipline appointed by the District’s classified/support staff (CSEA) president

• One (1) area dean or vice president from an unrelated area appointment by the Superintendent/President.

• The department chairperson or supervisor from the area involved.

The Hearing Committee will conduct the hearing in private. They will call you or related personnel if they think it will help resolve the problem. The committee will make recommendations for a win-win resolution and forward these recommendations to all the involved parties and the Superintendent/President. If either you or the District member is not satisfied with the Hearing Committee’s recommendations, you may appeal and proceed to Step 6. You must request an appeal within five (5) school days after the Hearing Committee’s recommendations were received by the student and the related District member. Otherwise, the resolution process is closed and there is no appeal. 

Step 6: You may appeal to the District Superintendent/President. This step requires that you or the staff member involved write a letter outlining the action taken so far and the hoped-for resolution. The Superintendent/President will review this letter and the recommendations from the Hearing Committee. The Superintendent/President will schedule and hold a private meeting with you or the staff member to discuss and, hopefully, resolve the problem. If you or the staff member does not feel satisfied with the Superintendent/President’s resolution, a last, final step may be taken. 

Step 7: A written appeal may be made to the District’s Board of Trustees. The Board must respond in writing within thirty-five (35) school days of receiving the written appeal. This is the last step in the District’s Problem Resolution Process. Decisions at this level are final.