Academic dishonesty (cheating and plagiarism) and third and succeeding entry into campus without an ID (left ID) top the list of major and minor offenses respectively, recorded in the last academic year, according to the Student Discipline Formation Office (SDFO).
What the record shows
A total of 25 cases of academic dishonesty have been recorded, composed mostly of plagiarism cases. Following this in the list of major offenses with the highest occurrences are habitual disregard or willful violation of established rules and policies with 22 violations recorded, and gross acts of disrespect with 16 violations.
Meanwhile, 324 cases of third and succeeding entry into campus without an ID or an accumulation of left ID were recorded. Also in the list were disobeying classroom policy with 172 violations, no eating policy with 114, and dress code policy with 105.
Data from the past four academic years show that of all the offenses recorded, the major offense habitual disregard and the following minor offenses are consistently in the top ten list of discipline offenses: third/fourth* and succeeding entry into campus without an ID/left ID, failure to surrender campus pass, and violating the no eating policy, no smoking policy, and dress code policy.
How the cases are processed
The major offense habitual disregard is recorded when a student incurs three minor offenses of the same kind or five minor offenses of different kinds. This being constantly among the top violations may imply that the same students commit the same or multiple violations. One pair of offenses that commonly go together is left and/or lost ID and failure to surrender the one-day campus pass.
The SDFO clarified that they only have jurisdiction over students, and not members of the faculty, staff, or administration. Appropriate sanctions are given to students who violate the rules set in the handbook, regardless of if the student is an athlete, scholar, or artist.
Depending on circumstances, either the Student Discipline Formation Board or the University Panel will be in charge of processing the major cases. After which, the cases are to be endorsed to the University Legal Counsel, where formal hearings and summary proceedings are conducted. In the process, some complainants may withdraw, and it is thus possible that the number of cases initially filed is higher than what is recorded.
Investing in prevention
Once the rankings of offenses have been finalized at the end of each academic year, the campaigns planned by the SDFO through its Discipline Education and Advocacy Programs section (DEAPS) are catered to address those at the top of the list to hopefully lessen the occurrences. The rankings are also forwarded to the Student Handbook Revisions Committee which is responsible for deciding whether or not to retain the existing rules and guidelines, and which may impose stricter sanctions when deemed necessary.
The SDFO explained that their programs are designed to be more preventive than corrective. For example, the imposition of the “No Compliance, No Entry” rule regarding the dress code has significantly decreased the number of violations recorded, now ranking fourth versus being first among all violations in AY ’11-’12. Another is the no-smoking campaign where tarpaulins and other informative propaganda are situated near the gates of the University.
Case conferences, values clarification seminars, and self-management trainings are some of the programs that serve as interventions which aim to prevent further violations. The office is also tapping social media to disseminate refreshers on the rules and regulations, as a number of students have proven to be unknowledgeable on these despite the time already spent in the University.
When set against the total number of students in the University at roughly 16000, the number of violations for both major and minor is considerably small. This, however, serves as no consolation, and the goal is to keep the number of violations, both major and minor, as close to zero as possible.
* Previously, a minor offense is recorded after the fourth incidence of left ID. However, in the revision of the Student Handbook (2012), an offense is now recorded after the third incidence