Academic Integrity And Academic Offenses in Labs

The following is a brief summary of the University policy on Academic Offenses and Plagariasm. Please make sure to review the information provided on the University’s Senate site as well as the information available here.

Per University policy (University Senate Rules 6.3), students shall not plagiarize, cheat, or falsify or misuse academic records. Students are expected to adhere to University policy on cheating and plagiarism in all courses. The minimum penalty for a first offense is a zero on the assignment on which the offense occurred. If the offense is considered severe or the student has other academic offenses on their record, more serious penalties, up to suspension from the University may be imposed.

Plagiarism and cheating are serious breaches of academic conduct. Each student is advised to become familiar with the various forms of academic dishonesty as explained in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Complete information can be found on the Ombud’s website. A plea of ignorance is not acceptable as a defense against the charge of academic dishonesty. It is important that you review this information as all ideas borrowed from others need to be properly credited.

Senate Rules 6.3.1 states that all academic work, written or otherwise, submitted by students to their instructors or other academic supervisors, is expected to be the result of their own thought, research, or self-expression. In cases where students feel unsure about a question of plagiarism involving their work, they are obliged to consult their instructors on the matter before submission.

When students submit work purporting to be their own, but which in any way borrows ideas, organization, wording, or content from another source without appropriate acknowledgment of the fact, the students are guilty of plagiarism.


Plagiarism includes reproducing someone else’s work (including, but not limited to a published article, a book, a website, computer code, or a paper from a friend) without clear attribution. Plagiarism also includes the practice of employing or allowing another person to alter or revise the work, which a student submits as his/her own, whoever that other person may be. Students may discuss assignments among themselves or with an instructor or tutor, but when the actual work is done, it must be done by the student, and the student alone.

When a student’s assignment involves research in outside sources or information, the student must carefully acknowledge exactly what, where and how he/she has employed them. If the words of someone else are used, the student must put quotation marks around the passage in question and add an appropriate indication of its origin. Making simple changes while leaving the organization, content, and phraseology intact is plagiaristic. However, nothing in these Rules shall apply to those ideas, which are so generally and freely circulated as to be a part of the public domain.


According to the University Senate Rules 6.3.2 cheating includes, but is not limited to, the wrongful giving, taking or presenting of any information or material by a student with the intent of aiding himself/herself or another student on any academic work that is considered in any way in the determination of the final grade. The fact that a student might not have benefited from an action is not by itself proof that the action does not constitute cheating.

You are hereby notified that the Department of Chemistry and the University of Kentucky considers cheating and plagiarism as very serious offenses and that we will do everything possible to prevent them in this course. Sanctions imposed may include punishments up to suspension, dismissal, and expulsion from the University.

This is a warning and a reminder to all students that cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated.

  1. All students are expected to do their own work independently of other students, their lab partners, and other lab reports.
  2. Any material that is paraphrased or quoted from another source, including another student and the lab manual, should be properly referenced.
  3. If you have old lab reports that you are using for “review”, as a “template”, or as a “guide”, I suggest you discard them immediately.
  4. Likewise, if you have been sending your lab reports to another student to “help” them, realize that you may also be subject to punishment if that student copies your work.
  5. Lab reports will be kept on file for comparison in future semesters.
  6. If your computer breaks and you use another student’s, they may copy from your document, no matter how careful you think you are.

Students have received an E in this course because of an academic offense. Plagiarism is wrong and will be punished. The recent cases of plagiarism were blatant copying from other students and not for incorrect referencing of a quote or incorrectly paraphrasing a sentence from the lab manual. Issues concerning incorrect paraphrasing or quotations when an attempt, albeit incorrect, has been made to reference the material will continue to be used as opportunities to help students learn the correct way to use reference material.

If you paraphrase someone else’s work, you must change both the words and the sentence structure.  If you quote (i.e. use someone’s exact words), you must use quotation marks around the text.  In either case, you must reference the source of the material both within your text (in-text) and give a full citation on your Works Cited page.  If you are unsure how to go about giving a citation, please see Chapter 2 of the lab manual, a MLA style manual, or ask your TA or the lab supervisor.

The following policies are applied in CHE 111 & 113 in regards to academic integrity and academic offenses:

  1. A summary of our academic offense policies is signed by students on the first meeting day of labs. An electronic copy of this form is available on the course Canvas site and is submitted signed to Canvas for record keeping.
  2. Lab reports will be electronically scanned and compared to reports submitted from the current and previous semesters. If you copy from another student, the lab manual, or a website, you will be caught.  Students are responsible for seeking out help, if needed, to complete any assigned work in this course.
  3. The complete rules of the University Senate, including those regarding academic offenses (section 6.3), may be found at
  4. Some examples of academic offenses are listed below. Additional information and examples are included in the PowerPoint below.
      1. Submitting falsified documents for obtaining an excused absence for a missed exam, assignment, or class.
      2. Failing to clear your calculator memory prior to taking an exam regardless of whether you get caught using the information or not.
      3. Submitting work from a previous semester or submitting work based on data from a previous semester, regardless of whether it is your own work or someone else’s.
        1. If you are retaking this course, we consider the resubmission of your old lab reports to be an academic offense. While it is important to learn from your previous mistakes, you should discard your old lab reports so you will not be tempted to resubmit them. Please remember, retaking the course is an opportunity to do better. Turning in work you submitted in a previous semester can be seen as you not wanting to take full advantage of the opportunity the University is affording you.
        2. Retaking a course is an opportunity for you to succeed, which you cannot do if you repeat the same mistakes of prior semesters, even if you liked those grades and it is not fair to students who are taking the class for the first time.
      4. Submitting someone else’s work as your own, either in whole or in part (Including, but not limited to, text, samples, data, graphs, equations, tables, etc of any kind). This includes copying text directly from the lab manual without using quotation marks and proper in-text citations.
      5. Submitting a report that contains the same text as another student, even if the other student is your lab partner.
      6. Giving another student your report to edit and they copy off of your report. “Peer reviews” are to be done in class only. If you missed a peer review, please see your TA for assistance. This is to protect you from an academic offense.
      7. Providing another student access to your lab report whether intentionally or unintentionally (ex. using their computer when yours breaks, leaving your computer open and logged in without your supervision, allowing another student to borrow your computer, asking another student to “peer review” your report outside of class).
      8. Failure to reference sources, including your lab manual and textbook, used in writing your lab report.   Lack of knowledge is not an excuse for plagiarism. You are responsible for seeking help to correctly reference your sources.
      9. Changing quantitative or qualitative data to improve the outcome of the experiment, whether accuracy and/or precision are part of the grade or not.
      10. Graphs, tables, and/or equations copied from another student even if it is from your lab partner and the numbers are the same.
      11. Copying and pasting images, reactions, equations, and/or mechanisms from lecture notes, websites, or other sources when the intent is for you to create these items yourself.
      12. Bringing unauthorized material to exams.
      13. Discussing exam material with students who have not taken the exam.
  1. A message about plagiarism from the Academic Ombud is available at
  2. The purpose of Experiment 1 – Academic Integrity is to educate you about academic integrity, proper citations, and what is appropriate writing for college level classes as well as this class. You are responsible for this information when writing lab reports and for your exams.


Discretion is given to the instructor in assigning a penalty. For a first offense in the General and Organic Chemistry labs, the minimum penalty is a zero on the assignment. This experiment cannot be used as your dropped experiment, nor can you redo the assignment, complete extra work to avoid punishment.  University Senate Rules state that if you are found to have committed an academic offense in a course you cannot withdraw to avoid the penalty (Section 6.4.3.A.6).  If you withdraw, you will be reinstated.

For more serious offenses, even if it is a first offense, the instructor can assign an E or recommend a penalty of XE for the course.  A second offense will receive a harsher penalty as outlined in Senate Rule 6.4, which include suspension, dismissal, and expulsion from the University.  The penalty for a second or subsequent offense will depend on the penalty of the previous offense(s), regardless of when or where the prior offense occurred.

Penalties can be given to both the student committing the offense and any other student who is an accessory to the offense (i.e. intentionally or unintentionally giving them access to the lab report, data, or product) regardless of intent.

Letters regarding academic offenses will be held as part of your permanent record in the Registrar’s office.  If you are found guilty of a minor offense (i.e. penalty less than an E in the course) and you do not have additional academic offenses, the letter of warning will be revealed only to parties outside the University if:

  1. A court-ordered subpoena seeks your entire academic record (not just your transcript) or when it is specifically sought records of academic offenses, or
  2. When the student authorizes the release of his or her record to a third party and that party requests the entire academic record (not just the transcript) or specifically requests the student’s academic offenses

It is not worth having a letter on file with the Registrar’s office permanently in order to avoid a zero on one assignment (which you can drop!).  You will have more integrity and it have less effect on your future if you take one zero than risk having to explain to an employer after you graduate why the letter is part of your academic record.