Fairness and Exemplary Behavior-Academic Integrity - Carnegie Mellon University

Fairness and Exemplary Behavior

The preservation of academic integrity means not only commitment to ideals but also justice in carrying out these ideals. Faculty, staff and administration must deal fairly in all of the various decisions they make which have consequences for students and all the other stakeholders of the university. When questions arise as to whether such decisions distribute benefits and burdens fairly, significant dialogue and open communications about such decisions should be conducted. The power that teachers wield in the classroom must be exercised with the greatest possible care for maintaining fairness, which means examining classroom practice for any hidden assumptions which might produce confusion or partiality. It also means that we describe to students what the expected commitment for a learning environment is and how to deal with conflicts of commitment, for example time management problems, as they arise. Students must strive to be fair to each other, for example in not claiming unjustified credit in carrying out joint projects and in the appropriate sharing of facilities. Staff must demonstrate impartiality in offering students information, opportunities and perquisites.

Integrity in the campus community is more than just swift punishment of plagiarism or cheating. It is an on-going process which asks everyone to both consider carefully and practice consistently the honesty, clear thinking, professionalism, fairness and trust that make learning, teaching and living here rewarding. When misunderstandings or conflicts over what constitutes integrity arise, as they may in a changing society, the campus must use the opportunity to exercise impartiality and wisdom to adjudicate between ideas and parties. Rightly settled, such issues will become the basis for shared understandings in the future. The university expects its members to be leaders in matters concerning integrity, not only here, but in the larger society we serve.