Frequently Asked Questions

How do I submit an incident report?
The link to the academic honor code incident report form can be found on the Academic Integrity home page. You may also access it directly at

I resolved the incident directly with the student. Should I still submit an incident report?
Yes, we strongly encourage you to submit a report because maintaining a database of the incident allows us to track students with multiple violations. When you complete the report, simply click the button "For Reporting Purposes Only" under Type of Report.

Do I have to submit a report if I catch a student cheating?
No. You are not required to submit a report, but you are strongly encouraged to do so. In addition to tracking students with multiple violations, this process helps to create a climate of academic integrity at USF.

What happens after I submit a report?
The student's name and the incident will be entered into a secure database. The student will receive a letter via e-mail alerting him/her to the fact that the incident has been reported and that his/her name has been entered into the database, to be kept until graduation if no other incidents are reported. The letter details the student's right to refute the allegation. The incident report will be held in strict confidentiality and not used unless the student is accused of another infraction of the honor code. If a student has been reported for more than one incident, the Academic Integrity Committee will automatically investigate.

What happens if the student refutes the allegation of academic dishonesty?
The student has a right to refute the allegation. If he/she chooses to do so, the Academic Integrity Committee will begin a formal investigation. If it goes to that stage, the parties involved may be interviewed by Committee members, who will decide on proper action. The possible sanctions that the Academic Integrity Committee can recommend are: warning letter, letter of censure (kept in the student's academic file for seven years), suspension, and expulsion.

Does the Academic Integrity Committee assign or change student grades?
No. The instructor has the discretion to decide what sanctions, if any, are imposed at the course level. If a student has been caught violating the academic honor code and admits committing the violation, the most common resolution is a lower or failing grade for the exam and/or course. Clear expectations on the instructor's course syllabus are very helpful in preventing and managing cases of academic dishonesty.

What are the best ways to prevent cheating?
Research shows that an institutional climate that values and promotes academic integrity is the best way to prevent cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty. Having an honor code supported by administrators, faculty, staff, and students, an active database of academic honor code violations, and the presence of an Academic Integrity Committee all contribute to this climate. For strategies to promote academic integrity in the classroom, please see the link for Faculty Resources.

Are Academic Integrity Committee members available for consultation?
Yes, please contact co-chair Doreen Ewert at or 415-422-2607. For reporting incidents, please submit an online incident report.