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FAQs about Filing Academic Incidents using the Employee Portal

Please note that every circumstance is situational, and below are some general guidelines and suggestions. Please contact the Academic Integrity Coordinator should you like further guidance or advice.


Q: Do I have to file if I encounter academic misconduct?

A: We encourage all faculty to file on each incident. This limits inconsistencies with how our students are treated and draws their attention to the educational materials.

Q: What are the first steps for filing an academic incident (Warning/ Offence)?

A: Open up lines of communication. Once you notice potential academic misconduct, you have three business days to email the student and let them know that you’re looking into the potential issue. The student then has three business days to reply. Once you hear back from the student, or the three business days expire, you have three business days to file an incident.

Q: When do I have to open lines of communication?

A: You must open lines of communication within three business days of noticing the incident.

Q: What happens if a student does not respond within the allotted three business days?

A: If you see the student in class within those three days, encourage them to check their email and respond. If the three days expire, then you may file the incident within three business days.

Q: If I see academic misconduct occurring during a testing situation, and I inform the student that I’m filing an academic incident, do I still need to email the student within three days, and await reply?

A: No. If you witness the incident, and communicate to the student either during or after the assessment that their behaviour was unacceptable, then you may proceed with filing the incident. You must file the incident within three business days.

Q: Do I always have to increase the penalty if a student has received a previous incident?

A: Not necessarily. While the college follows a developmental and incremental approach to penalties, not all situations warrant an increased penalty. Please look at the date of the previous incident and use you discretion as to whether the student would have had reasonable time to complete the educational resources. If your incident is being filed within a week, then you may consider keeping the same penalty.

Additionally, if the student has not received a Warning, and their previous incident received a “severe” penalty, and you consider the incident you’re filing minor, then you may apply a penalty you feel is appropriate.

Q: A student of mine has plagiarized: can I file a Warning?

A: Technically, no. Plagiarism cannot be selected from the drop-down menu if you select Warning. However, a Warning may be issued under the category “Citing and Referencing Omissions” or “Copying from Others/Self Copying,” which may serve as an alternative to filing a Plagiarism incident.

Q: What happens after I file an incident, and are their educational opportunities for students?

A: Once you file an incident, students receive an email explaining they received a Warning or Offence (depending on which you selected). It directs them to their Student Portal where they can view a detailed explanation of the incident. It is also explained to them that they are required to complete Academic Integrity Modules 1, 2, and possibly 3 (depending whether a professor selects it). The Modules are interactive educational resources designed to help students understand academic integrity.

Q: Can students appeal an academic offence?

A: Yes. A student has the right to appeal any academic incident.

Q: How do I determine which penalty to apply?

A: Try and predetermine what penalty you want to apply by looking at the penalties on the website or the dropdown menu in the portal. Aim as reasonably low as possible, given the incident.

If after you select the student prior incidents populate above, examine them to determine how to apply a penalty that is incrementally and appropriately greater than the previous penalty.

If the next step up appears inappropriately severe, then apply the same penalty that was previously applied.

If at any time during the filing process you have questions, or would like advice on which penalty to apply, please consult the Academic Integrity Coordinator by Email: , Phone: 519. 748. 5220 ext. 3606, or dropping in at the Library.

Q: I am choosing “Zero in the Course” or “Zero on the Assessment” which will result in the student failing the course. What are the next steps?

A: Your Chair will automatically be informed if you select a penalty from Category 3 or 4. If you select a penalty from Category 1 or 2, which will result in the student failing the course, please inform your Chair.

Q: Category 4 penalties are Suspension from Conestoga or Discontinuance from Conestoga. Do I have authorization to suspend or discontinue a student?

A: No, not unilaterally. Selecting a Category 4 penalty acts as a line of communication to your Chair. In other words, selecting a Category 4 is a recommendation you’re making to your Chair who can then engage in a discussion with those concerned.

Q: Which email should I use to communicate with students?

A: An official College email must be used (eConestoga, and the Conestoga College Outlook email.) If a student uses or responds from a personal account, indicate they must reply using an official email account.

Q: Are there academic incidents that cannot be filed as a Warning and must be filed as an Offence?

A: Yes. Aiding and Abetting, Contract Cheating, Misrepresentation and Fraud, and Plagiarism are academic incidents that cannot receive a Warning and must receive an Offence.

Q: I know a student has committed an offence, but unaware of whether I should file a Warning/Offence. What should I do?

A: It’s always best to err on the side of caution and give a Warning. Our objective is to foster student success, and a Warning draws their attention to the importance of academic honesty and the College’s expectations while directing them to our available resources. If you are struggling to decide, please contact the Academic Integrity Coordinator for guidance and advice.

Q: My Turnitin Similarity Report is showing a high percentage. Does this mean the student certainly plagiarized?

A: Not necessarily. Keep in mind that Turnitin compares student work to all other work in its database, including projects in the same course or section, and websites. If, for instance, your class is working on a project that should appear similar, Turnitin will flag those responses. Similarly, a student could theoretically have a Similarity Report “in the red” but have everything properly cited and referenced. While this may be poor writing practice, they have not plagiarized since they’ve given proper credit to the source. To learn more, visit the Turnitin website: (, or contact the Academic Integrity Coordinator.

Q: Is it possible to have a Warning/Offence removed or changed?

A: Yes. Email the Academic Integrity Coordinator with the student’s name and ID number and indicate whether it was a Warning or Offence. Please provide a brief explanation why it needs removing/changing.