Grade Policies

Academic Integrity—Beyond Copying

We usually take "Academic Integrity" to mean "honesty." Most of the time when a student or teacher interacts with the University's Academic Integrity Policy, the question relates to cheating: Did the student copy this paper from someone? Did this student get unfair assistance in taking an exam?

There's more

If you read the opening lines of the Academic Integrity Policy, you see this overall statement:

The Ashland University community strives to model leadership that is based upon Judeo-Christian beliefs and virtues and that will encourage, develop and sustain men and women of character to serve their professions, their communities, and the world (AU Statement on Ethical Leadership). As members of Ashland University, students hold themselves to the highest standards of academic, personal and social integrity (Ashland University Campus Creed).

The University-wide policy on Student Learning Outcomes (what we hope will happen to you here) says, in part:

As our students develop ethically, they acquire an understanding of what is right and moral, and learn how to put into action both the general and specific principles, values and codes that may serve to guide and influence their conduct in life and work. Development of ethical values will enable students to live their lives in such a way that they will seek justice and behave honorably and fairly to others.

Applying these statements to the classroom

Applying these statements to your papers

Generally, I respect the academic freedom of my students. If you wish to write that the Egyptian pyramids were actually grain storage facilities (in spite of being nearly solid stone), the problem is not ethical or moral. You might find, though, that I will question the validity of your sources—which really works out to be a question about your research techniques.

Some papers, however, are based on invented "facts" from strongly biased sources (examples include Breitbart and Infowars), and intend to damage or injure other members of our academic community. Examples of such papers include Holocaust denial, Nazi-themed papers, white supremacy papers, and writing which attacks LGBT people, Muslims, Jews, Roman Catholics, or other religions. Papers which vent hatred are not generally acceptable in the academic community because they violate the principles listed above.

You can expect that papers which advocate crimes against humanity will not be acceptable at this University. This was the reason I gave a very poor grade to a paper which advocated forcible sterilization of welfare recipients and other unfit individuals.

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by Ashland University.
Revised 7/26/19 • Page author: Curtis Allen • e-mail: