Academic Standards

Academic Rights, Penalties & Appeal:

  • Statement on Academic Rights, Penalties, and Appeal

Academic Rights

  • Statement on Academic Rights

Definitions and types of academic penalties:

  • Penalties for Failure to Meet Academic Requirements or Standards
  • Penalties for Academic Dishonesty

appeals

  • General Information about Appeals
  • The Appeal Process

Probation & Suspension:

  • Undergraduate Academic Probation and Suspension Policy
  • Probation Procedures
  • Suspension Procedures
  • Duration of Suspension
  • Appeal of Suspension
  • Summer Enrollment for Students Suspended for Fall
  • Immediate Reinstatement after Suspension
  • Readmission after Serving Suspension

Academic Rights, Penalties, and Appeals

The policies described in this section are based on the West Virginia University (WVU) Board of Governors Policy 15, Student Academic Rights. This section expands the general policy to include procedures for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students at WVU (including the Potomac State and WVU Tech campuses).

A student, by voluntarily accepting admission to West Virginia University (WVU) or enrolling in a class or course of study offered by WVU, accepts the academic requirements and criteria of the institution. Normally students may finish a program of study according to the requirements under which they were admitted to the program. However, requirements are subject to change at any time with reasonable notice provided to students. It is the student’s responsibility to fulfill coursework and degree or certificate requirements and to know and meet criteria for satisfactory academic progress and completion of the program. Students are expected to adhere to academic requirements and standards in all academic settings, such as classrooms, laboratories, and clinics, and during any activities that are part of academic requirements. Further, WVU students are citizens of a broader academic community. As such, the University expects that every member of its academic community share its historic and traditional commitment to honesty, integrity, and the search for truth. To meet these standards, academic dishonesty is prohibited and is subject to academic penalties. Students who fail to meet academic requirements or standards, or who engage in academic dishonesty, may be subject to one or more of the academic penalties described in the Academic Penalties section.

Any question of interpretation regarding student rights and responsibilities, academic penalties, or appeal processes for final grades, charges of academic dishonesty, or academic penalties shall be referred to the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Health Sciences, or the divisional campus President, as appropriate, for final determination.

Any behaviors not academic in nature but related to student conduct should be referred to the Campus Student Code (see here) as stipulated in Board of Governors Policy 31. Although academic penalties are imposed on students who engage in academic dishonesty according to procedures described below, findings of academic dishonesty may also be taken into consideration with respect to disciplinary penalties and procedures described in the Campus Student Code.

Academic Rights

Each student at West Virginia University has the following academic rights (as well as others; see BOG Policy 15):

  1. Right to have their performance evaluated solely upon performance as measured against academic standards. The student shall not be evaluated prejudicially, capriciously, or arbitrarily. The student shall not be graded, nor shall their performance be evaluated on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, age, physical or mental disability, marital or family status, pregnancy, veteran status, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or gender expression (see BOG Policy 44), or other protected status.
  2. Right to appeal any final grade, charge of academic dishonesty, or academic penalty.
  3. Right to access a copy of the University catalog and program documents in which all current program requirements and standards are described (e.g. required courses, total credit requirements, time in residence requirements, special program requirements, minimum grade point average, probation standards, professional standards, etc.).
  4. Right to receive course syllabi with descriptions of content and requirements for any course in which they are enrolled (e.g., attendance expectations, special requirements, laboratory requirements including time, field trips and costs, grading standards and procedures, professional standards, etc.).
  5. Right to assigned grades issued from the instructor of each course to students enrolled in the course consistent with the academic rights set out in the preceding sections.

Definitions and Types of Academic Penalties

In this section:

Penalties for failure to meet academic requirements or standards

A student at West Virginia University who fails to meet academic requirements or standards will be subject to one or more of the following academic penalties:

  1. A lower final grade, including failure of a course. A lower grade or failure of the course can be imposed by the course instructor/coordinator. If a student appeals a final grade, the grade shall remain in effect until the appeal is completed.
  2. Exclusion of a student from further participation in class prior to any appeal proceedings requires that the course instructor/coordinator obtain approval of the dean of the college or school offering the course.
  3. Required repetition or revision of a program requirement, or termination of the student's participation in specific program-related activities.
  4. Failure of a program requirement or failure to meet academic standards. Program requirements and standards must be described in the catalog or other program documents provided or available to students. Program requirements may include such items as passing a qualifying exam, maintaining progress on research, developing required technical skills, or meeting professional standards of conduct (including the avoidance of academic dishonesty).
  5. Academic probation or suspension at the program, college, or school level for failure to meet program requirements and academic standards, or at the university level for failure to meet grade point average standards. More information concerning probation and suspension of undergraduate students at the university level is available in the Academic Standards section of undergraduate catalog. More information about probation and suspension of graduate or professional students at the program, college, or school level is in the Academic Standards section of the graduate catalog as well as in program documents. If a graduate or professional student appeals a penalty of program suspension, the dean of the college or school offering the student’s program will determine if the student shall be allowed to continue in the program until the case is determined.
  6. Dismissal from a program, college, school or the university. Dismissal is defined as termination of student status, including any right or privilege to receive some benefit or recognition or certification. A student may be academically dismissed from any program and remain eligible to enroll in courses in other programs at the institution, or a student may be academically dismissed from the institution and not remain eligible to enroll in other courses or programs at the institution, including other divisional campuses (BOG Policy 15). If a student appeals a penalty of program dismissal, the dean of the college or school offering the student’s program will determine if the student shall be allowed to continue in the program until the case is determined. Dismissal from a program, college, or school must be communicated to the Associate Provost for Undergraduate or Graduate Academic Affairs, the Health Sciences Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, or the divisional campus President once the time limit for a student appeal has expired or the appeal process has been completed. The Associate Provost, Associate Vice President, or divisional campus President submits a request to the appropriate office to change the student’s status to non-degree. Academic dismissal from the university requires consultation and approval from the student’s dean, the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs (Health Sciences students only), and the Provost’s or divisional campus President’s Office

penalties for academic dishonesty

The term “academic dishonesty” means plagiarism; cheating and dishonest practices in connection with examinations, papers, and/or projects; and forgery, misrepresentation, or fraud as it relates to academic or educational matters. In addition to the definitions and examples provided below, supplementary information about types and examples of academic dishonesty is available.

  1. Plagiarism” means the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment, including, but not limited to, the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another individual.
  2. Cheating and dishonest practices in connection with examinations, papers, and/or projects” include, but are not limited to, (i) giving or receiving of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, examinations, or any other assignment for a grade; (ii) depending upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor or supervisor in quizzes, tests, examinations, writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments; (iii) the acquisition or use, without permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the University faculty or staff; and (iv) engaging in any behavior specifically prohibited by a faculty member in the course syllabus or class discussion.
  3. Forgery, misrepresentation, or fraud as it relates to academic or educational matters” includes, but is not limited to, (i) wrongfully altering, or causing to be altered, any records; (ii) use of University documents or instruments of identification with the intent to defraud; (iii) presenting false data or information or intentionally misrepresenting records; (iv) furnishing the results of research projects or experiments for the inclusion in another’s work without proper citation; or (v) furnishing false statements in any University academic proceeding; and vi) providing false or misleading information to gain an academic advantage.

A student at West Virginia University who engages in academic dishonesty will be subject to one or more of the following academic penalties (see the previous section for full descriptions of those penalties that can also be imposed for failure to meet academic requirements or standards):

  1. Course-level academic penalties. When academic dishonesty occurs within the context of a course (including individually supervised courses), the course instructor/coordinator has the option of imposing the following academic penalties, including but not limited to:
    1. Change in assignment or test grade.
    2. A lower final grade, including failure of a course.
    3. A final grade of unforgivable failure (UF). The UF penalty can be recommended by the course instructor/coordinator but must be reported to the appropriate office by the dean of the college or school offering the course after the time limit for a student appeal has expired or the appeal process has been completed, upholding the UF penalty. The student may repeat the course, but the undergraduate D/F repeat process will not be applied to the UF.
    4. Required repetition or revision of the assignment or test.
    5. Exclusion from further participation in class, including laboratories or clinical experiences.
    6. Other course resolutions within the discretion of the course instructor/coordinator.
  2. Other academic penalties. If academic dishonesty occurs either in a course or within the context of program requirements, the academic penalties below may be imposed.
    1. Required repetition or revision of a program requirement, or termination of the student’s participation in specific program-related activities. When academic dishonesty occurs within the context of program requirements and expectations not associated with a specific course (including, but not limited to, completing qualifying exams, conducting research, performing duties associated with a graduate assistantship, performing required service or professional activities, etc.), the student’s program director, supervisor, or chair of an appropriate committee may impose these or similar academic penalties.
    2. Failure of a program requirement or failure to meet academic standards.
    3. Academic probation or suspension at the program, college, or school level for failure to meet program requirements and academic standards.
    4. Dismissal from a program, college, school, or the university.

Appeals

In this section:

General information about appeals

Students may appeal any final grade, charge of academic dishonesty, or academic penalty described above and imposed by a course instructor/coordinator, the institution, or its constituent academic units through the procedures described in this section of the catalog with the following exceptions:

  • Grades for individual course assignments cannot be appealed except in the context of a final grade appeal or a charge of academic dishonesty.
  • University, college/school, or program probation based on failure to meet minimum GPA standards may not be appealed. University suspension of undergraduate students based on GPA may be appealed as described in the Academic Standards section of the undergraduate catalog.
  • Disciplinary penalties imposed by the Office of Student Conduct, including but not limited to probation, suspension, or expulsion from the university, may not be appealed through this process. Refer to the Campus Student Code for procedures to appeal disciplinary penalties, including those for academic dishonesty

The primary purpose of the appeal procedure is to allow review of a final grade, charge of academic dishonesty, or academic penalty in cases where a student believes that due process was not followed or that the grade, charge, or penalty was imposed unfairly or inconsistently with course, program, and university standards and regulations. Students have the right to appeal a final grade, charge of academic dishonesty, or academic penalty that they believe reflects a capricious, arbitrary, or prejudiced academic evaluation, or reflects discrimination based on criteria listed in BOG Policy 44. Additional grounds for appeal may include: unreasonable severity of the penalty; demonstrable prejudice in the decision-making process; a belief that the evidence does not support the finding of responsibility (in the case of academic dishonesty) or the choice of penalty; or additional evidence or new information that was not considered in determining the penalty. Further guidance for students on preparing an appeal is available

If a student does not appeal a final grade, charge of academic dishonesty, or academic penalty, fails to follow the appeal procedures described below, or does not attend a scheduled meeting regarding the appeal, the final grade, charge of academic dishonesty, or academic penalty will be upheld, regardless of whether or not the student is still enrolled in the course or program

the appeal process

Steps in the Appeal Process:

The following is a summary of the steps in the appeal process. In addition, a detailed list of the steps involved in each type of appeal is available to assist students, instructors, and administrators in managing the appeal process.

  • Students are notified of final grades, charges of academic dishonesty, and other academic penalties.
    • Students are informed of final grades for courses at the end of each academic term through the WVU Portal.
    • The person making a charge of academic dishonesty must notify the student in writing via WVU e-mail of the charge and penalty within 10 class days* of discovering the infraction. This person must complete the Academic Dishonesty Form when when an academic penalty for academic dishonesty is imposed, regardless of whether or not the student plans to appeal the charge or penalty.
    • The individual or chair of the committee who imposed an academic penalty must notify the student in writing via WVU e-mail of the academic penalty.
  • Prior to filing an appeal, students are strongly encouraged (but not required) to contact the individual or chair of the relevant committee who reported a final grade, made a charge of academic dishonesty, or imposed an academic penalty to express their concerns and attempt to resolve the issue. The individual or committee chair, or another informed individual, must meet with the student to provide information and evidence forming the basis for the grade, charge, or penalty.
  • Level 1 appeal (for final grades, charges of academic dishonesty, and academic penalties):
    • The student may begin an appeal by submitting a written appeal via WVU e-mail to the Level 1 appeal reviewer named here within the time limit provided here. The student’s appeal must include the documentation and evidence forming the basis of their appeal. In the case of a charge and/or penalty for academic dishonesty, the student may appeal the charge, the penalty, or both.
    • The individual or committee that gave the grade, made the charge, or imposed the penalty must provide all relevant documentation (including the criteria for determining the student’s final grade in the case of a final grade appeal) to the Level 1 appeal reviewer upon their request.
    • The Level 1 appeal reviewer assesses the available evidence and makes a decision about the appeal based on that evidence. The reviewer communicates the decision in writing via WVU e-mail to the student and other individuals or committees that have been involved in the grade, charge, penalty, or appeal to that point. If the appeal involves academic dishonesty, the reviewer completes the Academic Dishonesty Form. The reviewer retains all documentation related to the appeal for 5 years.  In the case of a final grade appeal, the Level 1 appeal reviewer ensures that a grade modification is submitted if necessary.
    • If the student accepts the Level 1 appeal decision, the appeal is concluded.
  • Level 2 appeal (for final grades, charges of academic dishonesty, and academic penalties):
    • If the student does not accept the Level 1 appeal decision, the student may continue their appeal by submitting a written appeal via WVU e-mail to the Level 2 appeal reviewer named here within the time limit provided here.
    • The Level 1 appeal reviewer forwards all materials included in the appeal to the Level 2 reviewer. Both the student and other individuals or committees may provide additional information if they wish.
    • The Level 2 appeal reviewer assesses the available evidence and makes a decision about the appeal based on that evidence. The reviewer communicates the decision in writing via WVU e-mail to the student and other individuals or committees that have been involved in the grade, charge, penalty, or appeal to that point, including the Level 1 appeal reviewer. If the appeal involves academic dishonesty, the reviewer completes the Academic Dishonesty Form. The reviewer retains all documentation related to the appeal for 5 years. In the case of a final grade appeal, the Level 2 appeal reviewer ensures that a grade modification is submitted if necessary.
    • If the student accepts the Level 2 appeal decision, the appeal is concluded. If the appeal concerned a final grade, a charge of academic dishonesty without a penalty of program suspension or dismissal, or an academic penalty other than program dismissal, the appeal is concluded.
  • Level 3 appeal (for suspension from a program for academic dishonesty or dismissal from a program):
    • If the penalty is suspension from a program for academic dishonesty or dismissal from a program, the student may continue their appeal by submitting a written appeal via WVU e-mail to the Level 3 appeal reviewer named here within the time limit provided here.
    •  The Level 3 appeal reviewer may appoint and convene a Student Academic Hearing Committee (SAHC) to hear the case and review the appeal. In the case of an academic penalty of program suspension or dismissal based on academic dishonesty, a hearing is required. SAHC procedures follow.
      • Members are appointed to the SAHC at the discretion of the Level 3 appeal reviewer and shall comprise at least three faculty members. At least one SAHC member should be from the program offering the course or the student’s program; at least one should be from outside the program offering the course or the student’s program.
      • The SAHC holds a joint hearing with the student and any individuals involved in making the academic dishonesty charge or imposing the academic penalty and may also convene additional individual meetings or request additional materials to collect further evidence. The hearing is set outside of the student's scheduled classes; should the student choose not to appear, the meeting will proceed as scheduled.
      • The student may be accompanied to the hearing or meetings or be advised by a person of his or her choice from the institution. Likewise, the faculty member, academic officer, or committee recommending academic suspension (for academic dishonesty) or dismissal may have an advisor from the institution. Such advisors may consult with but may not speak on behalf of their advisees or otherwise participate directly in the proceedings, unless they are given specific permission to do so by the individual or committee conducting the appeal.
      • In addition, for cases involving program suspension or dismissal based on academic dishonesty, the student may be accompanied to the hearing or meetings by an attorney, who may question witnesses and make arguments on behalf of the student.
      • Witnesses may be called by any of the parties involved.
      • A record of the SAHC hearing shall be prepared in the form of summary minutes and relevant attachments and will be provided to the student upon request.
    • The Level 3 appeal reviewer assesses the available evidence, including the recommendation of the Student Academic Hearing Committee, when available, and makes a decision about the appeal based on the evidence and recommendation. The reviewer communicates the decision in writing via WVU e-mail to the student, and other individuals or committees that have been involved in the charge, penalty, or appeal to that point, including the Levels 1 and 2 appeal reviewers. If the appeal involves academic dishonesty, the reviewer completes the Academic Dishonesty Form. The reviewer retains all documentation related to the appeal for 5 years.
    • The appeal is concluded.
  • Disciplinary penalties for academic dishonesty: The individual or committee that charged the student with academic dishonesty, or the Level 1, 2, or 3 appeal reviewers may determine, in their judgment, that in addition to the academic penalty already assigned, the academic dishonesty rises to a level of significance warranting a potential disciplinary penalty of University probation, suspension, or expulsion. Examples of such cases and guidance in making this decision is available. In this case, they may refer the matter to the Office of Student Conduct. The Office of Student Conduct may also choose to pursue disciplinary penalties based on evidence of repeated instances of academic dishonesty by a student submitted via Academic Dishonesty Forms. The Office of Student Conduct shall then undertake student disciplinary proceedings consistent with WVU BOG Policy 31 and the Campus Student Code. These proceedings do not affect the academic penalty. If the disciplinary proceedings under the Campus Student Code result in a finding that the academic offense does not warrant additional disciplinary penalty, the case is closed and only any academic penalty imposed and upheld through the academic appeal process will apply.

Time Limits for Steps in the Appeal Process:

  • Level 1:
    • Final Grade Appeal
      • Student files initial or continuation of appeal 10 class days after grade is posted
      • Decision about appeal communicated to student 10 class days after student submits appeal
    • Academic Dishonesty Charge
      • Student files initial or continuation of appeal 10 class days after charge is sent to student
      • Decision about appeal communicated to student 10 class days after student submits appeal
    • Academic Penalty
      • Student files initial or continuation of appeal 10 class days after penalty is sent to student
      • Decision about appeal communicated to student 10 class days after student submits appeal
  • Level 2 (all types of appeals)
    • Student files initial or continuation of appeal 10 class days after decision at Level 1 is sent
    • Decision about appeal communicated to student 10 class days after student submits Level 2 appeal
  • Level 3 (appeals of suspension/dismissal only)
    • Student files initial or continuation of appeal 10 class days after decision at Level 2 is sent
    • Decision about appeal communicated to student at discretion of the Provost's office

*Class days are defined as days during which the University is open and classes are officially in session. If classes are canceled for the University as a whole for part or most of a day, the day will not be deemed a class day.

Communication about Appeals:

All communication with a student concerning an appeal must come directly from, or be directed to, the student. Although students and others involved in the appeal process may consult with third parties, appeals and communication about appeals should be conducted between the student and individuals or committees charged with reviewing the appeal. Communication may take place through written documents, e-mail (using official University e-mail accounts whenever possible), and direct contact (telephone, face-to-face meetings, etc.). Decisions at each level of appeal must be communicated to the student and other individuals involved with the appeal at prior levels in writing transmitted via WVU e-mail. In addition, all penalties for academic dishonesty and the outcomes of all appeals involving academic dishonesty must be reported via the Academic Dishonesty Form.

Responsibility for Appeal Decisions:

Detailed information about which individuals or committees are responsible for handling different types and levels of appeals is available. These individuals may refer this responsibility to a designee or to a standing or ad-hoc committee. In some cases, program, college, or school documents may provide additional guidance on who is charged with reviewing specific types of appeals. Any disagreements about who is responsible for appeal decisions will be resolved by the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs in Health Sciences, the Associate Provost for Undergraduate or Graduate Academic Affairs, or the divisional campus President.

Evidence and Meetings Concerning Appeals:

Individuals and committees reviewing appeals may convene individual or joint meetings or request additional materials to collect further evidence. The student may be accompanied to meetings concerning the grade, charge, penalty, or appeal by a person of his or her choice from the institution. Such advisors may consult with but may not speak on behalf of their advisees or otherwise participate directly in the proceedings, unless they are given specific permission to do so by the individual or committee conducting the appeal. Note that some Level 3 Student Academic Hearing Committee meetings may allow the presence and participation of an attorney.

In this section:

Undergraduate Academic Probation and Suspension Policy

This policy concerns academic probation and suspension (referred to below as probation and suspension) from the University. Individual schools, colleges, and programs may place students on probation or dismiss them from their programs as well, using criteria that are the same as or different from those below. Students who are dismissed from a program may transfer to another program if they meet the program's admission requirements or they may be advised in the Center for Learning, Advising, and Student Success until they are able to be accepted to a program.

Any student with an overall grade point average (GPA) below 2.0 will be on probation for summer and fall. Should a student's overall grade point average (GPA) fall below 2.0 immediately following the spring term, the student will be placed on suspension regardless of previous academic standing(s).

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Probation Procedures

At the conclusion of summer and/or fall, students on probation (i.e., with an overall GPA below 2.0) are sent a probation letter (via email to their MIX account from the Office of the University Registrar (OUR). This letter informs students about their academic status, explains what is meant by probation, provides information on resources available to help them improve their academic performance, and describes the consequences of continued poor performance, including the standards and procedures concerning suspension.

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Suspension Procedures

At the conclusion of each spring term only, students placed on suspension are sent a suspension letter rather than a probation letter from the OUR (via e-mail to their MIX account and by post to their permanent address) and are suspended from the University effective at the end of the summer term. This letter informs students that they have been suspended from the University, explains what that means, and provides information about appealing the suspension. The letter also describes procedures for reinstatement to the University after their suspension period and the impact of taking classes at other institutions during the suspension period.

Students may also be suspended at the end of fall or summer term, as recommended to the OUR by the designated academic officer in each school or college, based on a failure to meet the provisions of a prior contract put in place for a reinstated student.

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Duration of Suspension

Students who are suspended for the first time may not enroll in classes at WVU (including sections offered through Extended Learning) for the following major term (fall semester). Students suspended for a second time will not be allowed to enroll in classes at WVU (including sections offered through Extended Learning) for one calendar year. Students suspended for a third and final time will not be allowed to return to WVU for a minimum of five years.

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Appeal

Suspended students have until early June (exact date specified in written notice of suspension) to appeal the suspension by sending a request to their school or college by e-mail or post. A designated academic officer in each school or college will then have until July 1 to review the requests and to reinstate students whose appeals are approved. Students who appeal and are denied or who do not appeal their suspension will be removed from their fall classes.

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Summer Enrollment

Students who are suspended for fall may enroll in summer courses at WVU (main campus, Extended Learning, Potomac State College of WVU and WVU Institute of Technology). Students who are enrolled in summer courses as of July 1 will not be removed from their fall classes until summer grades are available. Students who rehabilitate their overall GPA above 2.0 will be automatically reinstated from suspension. Colleges and schools may elect to defer a reinstatement decision as well until summer grades are available. Each college or school will communicate to the OUR the final decision on reinstatement immediately after summer grades are released. Only summer courses taken at WVU's main campus, Extended Learning, Potomac State College of WVU and WVU institute of Technology will be considered in determining eligibility for reinstatement for the fall following suspension.

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Immediate Reinstatement after Suspension

Students who are suspended and subsequently reinstated following a successful appeal or a successful summer term may be retained in their major for advising.

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Readmission after Serving Suspension

Suspended students who wish to be readmitted into the University after their required suspension period must contact Undergraduate Admission. Students, at the discretion of their College/School, may remain in their major at the time they leave WVU or change majors upon return. All reinstated students whose GPAs are below the suspension cutoff are given a contract that describes the conditions that must be met to avoid suspension in future terms.

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