Standards and policies

Plagiarism

The faculty adopted a statement on Plagiarism, Documentation and the Community of Knowledge in May 1996.   Excerpts are as follows:

Plagiarism is presenting either the exact words or the ideas of someone else as though they are your own. It is never acceptable, and getting caught at it in an academic situation generally means failing the assignment and sometimes failing the course. Yet while everyone knows in a general way that plagiarism is dishonest, it is sometimes difficult to know just how to present and document the material you use in your writing in order to avoid plagiarizing.

This guide presents some suggestions and examples for using sources properly. It is not meant to cover all situations or to substitute for study and practice of the research process. Nor is it a substitute for careful attention to your instructors instructions, which may differ in the specific form of documentation they require. It is meant, however, to help you understand just when and how to credit material from sources.

There are at least three reasons for giving credit for ideas and language not your own. The obvious one is that not to do so is dishonest, at odds with the Honor System under which Bluffton University operates and in a broader sense out of harmony with what we believe are the laws of God and people as well. The second is that identifying sources enables your readers to follow the material you used if they want more detailed information.

The final reason is at once practical and abstract. Learning to be a part of the ongoing conversations of humanity means learning to use, synthesize, evaluate and critique the prior work of others, not merely to steal it. A properly documented, thoughtfully organized essay which draws on many sources takes on some of the strengths of its sources as it names, quotes and discusses them. It is far more impressive to the instructor, even if its language and ideas are not always professional, than a cut-and-paste paper patched together out of the undocumented prose of others.

While the first kind of paper is more work to write, the work it requires will teach you things, both about your subject and about the process of learning, of coming to understand and sharing your understanding with others. If you learn those things well, the learning will serve you forever.

A more in-depth explanation of plagiarism is available in the campus-wide writing handbook, Rules for Writers by Diana Hacker.

Harassment policy

Bluffton University affirms the principle that students, faculty and staff have the right to be free from any racial, sexual or any other type of harassment by any other member of the campus community. This is simply a restatement of the expectation that members of our campus community will respect others who are a part of the community and the positive gifts they bring to the community. Bluffton's policy is that any type of harassment is unacceptable and will be viewed as a violation of campus standards.

Examples of the types of harassment that are unacceptable include threats or verbal abuse directed toward another member of the community, including verbal assaults, derogatory racial, sexist or homophobic remarks, defamation of character or any other type of behavior that knowingly puts another member of the community in a state of fear or anxiety. This applies to any type of communication (e.g. telephone, e-mail, face-to-face, group interaction) and it may involve a single or repeated incident.

Students who believe that they have been harassed by (a) a faculty member should take their complaint to the vice president of academic affairs, (b) a staff member should take their complaint to the supervisor of the staff member or (c) another student should take their complaint to the dean of students. One of several options for the students is to have the incident resolved through the regular judicial process.

Discrimination

Students who believe that they have been discriminated against should first seek resolution of the situation through the normal administrative channels (see harassment policy.)  If there has been no resolution after completing this process, the individual should notify the affirmative action officer, the director of human resources.

Disability discrimination/disability services

Bluffton University does not discriminate against qualified disabled students.  The mission of disability services at Bluffton University is to ensure that qualified students with disabilities are provided access to all programs in order to maximize their educational potential, develop independence to the fullest extent possible and perform at a level limited only by their abilities, not their disabilities. Any disabled student who seeks modifications in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, such as academic adjustments or auxiliary aids or services, must submit a request to the university's counselor for disability services. The counselor for disability services will work with the student and other persons as necessary to determine the appropriate accommodations. The office of the section 504 coordinator/counselor for disability services is located on 3rd floor College Hall within the Learning Resource Center and she can be contacted at 419-358-3215.

Emergency removal and return of students
This policy outlines how the university will respond in situations where students with mental or psychological conditions voluntarily request a leave of absence or withdrawal from the university for medical reasons or where the university must place such a student on involuntary leave or involuntarily withdraw the student from the university.

Conditions which could warrant involuntary leave or involuntary withdrawal
Involuntary leave or involuntary withdrawal of a student will occur only in situations where the university determines there is a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the student or other individuals.

The following are some examples of situations that may be covered by this policy. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Self-damaging behavior (examples include, but are not limited to: suicide attempt, self-inflicted wounds, ingestion of poisonous substances, overdose of medications);
  • Threats of self-damage behavior;
  • Threats of damage or harm to other persons;
  • Behavior indicating that the student is not in contact with reality or not aware of the consequences of his/her actions.

Procedure
The dean of students, when made aware of a student's request or of a situation which could warrant involuntary leave or withdrawal, will work with the university's section 504 coordinator, the campus counselor, director of residence life and other appropriate persons knowledgeable about the student s condition (e.g., parents, healthcare providers) to determine the student's ability to safely participate in the university's programs.

The determination that a student poses a direct threat shall be based on an individualized assessment of the individual's present ability to safely function at the university. This assessment shall be based on a reasonable medical judgment that relies on the most current medical knowledge and/or on the best available objective evidence. In determining whether an individual would pose a direct threat, the factors to be considered include:

  • the nature, duration and severity of the risk of harm;
  • the likelihood that the potential harm will occur; and
  • whether reasonable modifications of university policies, practices or procedures will sufficiently mitigate the risk.
     

If it is determined through the above process that a student's behavior poses a direct threat to themselves or others, the dean of students or designee may withdraw the student or restrict the student s access to campus for an interim period before a final determination is made. Every attempt will be made by the dean of students or designee to meet with the student before deciding on an interim withdrawal of the student. If the student is to be withdrawn on an interim basis, the decision will be communicated in writing to the student.  A student withdrawn on an interim basis shall be given an opportunity to appear personally before the dean of students within two school days from the effective date of the interim withdrawal. Notification of an informal meeting with the dean of students will be communicated to the student in writing and/or orally. The request will include a statement of the reasons for the university's concern. Appropriate university personnel may be present and/or consulted at this meeting. Parents, spouse or any person who would be of support to the student may, with the consent of the dean of students and of the student, participate in the informal meeting. At the meeting the reasons for the university's concern will be stated and the student will be given an opportunity to respond to the concerns. If, after the meeting, it is determined that the student does not present a threat to himself/herself or others, the student will be informed in writing by the dean of students and permitted to continue as a student.

If, after the meeting, the dean of students, in consultation with appropriate personnel, decides that the student should withdraw from the university, the student shall be informed in writing of the decision and the basis for the decision within five (5) school days of the informal meeting. The student may be required by the university to provide information from a healthcare professional to the dean of students indicating the student's ability to continue at or return to the university. The section 504 coordinator will be involved where a student seeks a return to the university.

Appeal
If a student wishes to appeal a decision of the dean of students, the appeal must be made in writing to the president within five (5) university working days of the receipt of the decision. (All decisions sent to the student via U.S. Mail will be considered received in three (3) working days.) Following notice to the student, the president will conduct a meeting with the student, the dean of students, other appropriate university personnel and a representative or family member selected by the student to serve as his/her advisor. In addition, the president may require the student, at his or her expense, to obtain a psychiatric/medical evaluation from sources external to the university to be presented. The decision of the president is the university s final decision.

Grievance procedure for complaints of disability discrimination
Bluffton University s policy is to provide a prompt and fair method of resolving complaints of discrimination based upon a disability.

Procedure

  • Complaints of discrimination based on a disability must be forwarded in writing to the Section 504 Coordinator, Bluffton University, 1 University Drive, Bluffton, OH 45817-2104. For additional information, call 419-358-3215.
  • A complaint must be filed in writing within 15 working days after the complainant becomes aware of the alleged violation.
  • Following the filing of a complaint an appropriate investigation shall follow due process procedures including an opportunity for the complainant to be heard and present witnesses and other evidence. The investigation shall be conducted by the section 504 coordinator.
  • A written determination of findings and a description of the resolution shall be issued by the section 504 coordinator and forwarded to the complainant as soon as the investigation is completed, normally no later than 30 working days after the filing of the complaint.
  • For complaints in which the section 504 coordinator is involved in the decisions and/or actions challenged in the grievance, the university's human resources manager will serve as the alternate investigator.

 

Telephone and voice mail policies

Ohio law provides under penalty of fine or imprisonment or both that:

No person shall, while communicating with any other person over a telephone, threaten to do bodily harm or use or address to such other person any words or language of a lewd, lascivious or indecent character, nature or connotation for the sole purpose of annoying such other person nor shall any person telephone any other person repeatedly or cause any person to be telephoned for the sole purpose of harassing or molesting such other person or his family. Any use, communication or act prohibited by this section may be deemed to have occurred or to have been committed at either the place at which the telephone call was made or was received. (Approved by Administrative Staff on Feb. 25, 1993)
 

Responsible use of campus computing and networking resource

Bluffton University computers and the campus network are the property of Bluffton University and are maintained as an educational resource for use by members of the campus community and guests with authorized network passwords. Authorized users agree to use the Bluffton network in accordance with the Bluffton standards for campus conduct and to abide by all relevant academic standards and laws with respect to copyright and the responsible use of network and Internet resources. As with all networks, Bluffton users should understand that network activity is shared. Network users are responsible for the use of their password and all associated activity. The university does not guarantee that network activity, including websites visited and information downloaded, is private.

Be responsible
In a shared computing environment, individuals must assume responsibility for using available tools to maintain the security of information stored on computer systems and to maximize educational computing resources. All users are responsible to:

  • Secure network accounts and authorization codes that are assigned to individual users and not share them with others.
  • Be aware of destructive programs or viruses and take steps, as directed by Bluffton, to prevent their unwanted distribution.
  • Limit the nonacademic use of network resources, i.e., connect time and information storage space for entertainment purposes.

Respect Others
As members of a community of respect, whether using a Bluffton computer or a personal computer connected to the network, all users are expected to:

  • Use only authorization codes assigned to them.
  • Access only files or data that they are authorized to use.
  • Abide by all campus standards and all local, state and federal laws, including copyright laws and those governing the distribution of inappropriate content.
 

Bluffton recommends, as a guide for fair use of electronic resources, the following statement on software and intellectual copyright distributed jointly by the Information Technology Association of North America and by EDUCAUSE, the nonprofit consortium of colleges and universities committed to the use and management of information technology in higher education:

Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. This principle applies to work of all authors and publishers in all media. It encompasses respect for the right to acknowledgement, right to privacy and right to determine the form, manner and terms of publication and distribution. Because electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced, respect for the work and personal expression of others is especially critical in computer environments. Violations of authorial integrity, including plagiarism, invasion of privacy, unauthorized access and trade secrets and copyright violations, may be grounds for sanctions against members of the academic community.

E-mail policies
Bluffton University must maintain a standard bluffton.edu e-mail for all users of the campus information system. A student's official e-mail address is his/her bluffton.edu mail account. Bluffton faculty, staff, registrar, financial aid and business office personnel will contact students at this official address. Therefore, students are responsible to check this account on a regular basis. Please refer any questions regarding e-mail to the Help Desk at 419-358-3600, on campus at extension 3600 or by e-mail at helpdesk@bluffton.edu.

Additional information about information technology and its responsible use is available through the Bluffton Technology Center.

Copyrighted material, file sharing and illegal downloading

Introduction
As of 2009 the Higher Education Opportunity Act, H.R. 4137, requires Bluffton University to make provisions that will reduce the number of illegal file sharing activities. Specifically, we would like to eliminate illegal uploading, downloading and file sharing practices of copyrighted materials via Bluffton's network. These provisions include:

  • Educate students on copyrighted work and file sharing
  • Clearly and concisely state Bluffton's policy on file sharing
  • Describe the consequences of such illegal sharing
  • Offer alternatives to illegal file sharing
  • Publish these documents and policies in both the student handbook and the bluffton.edu Web site

Copyright
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary: the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical or artistic work). In most cases, if you do not have permission from the appropriate source to download, upload or share, you are violating the law. Doing so without permission, is neither appropriate nor acceptable use of Bluffton's network. Some examples of copyrighted works include: books, articles, songs, movies, television productions, pictures and computer software.

Bluffton University copyright policy
It is the policy of Bluffton University that all constituents respect and adhere to the intellectual rights of others. All rights remain with the original creator. In violation, Bluffton reserves the right to take appropriate action.

Consequences/appropriate action for misuse
Copyright infringements could result in temporary and/or permanent loss of network connectivity. In addition students may be referred to the dean of students for violation of Bluffton s code of conduct. As always when breaking any law there could be criminal charges and/or civil penalties assessed. 

Legal alternatives
There are many legal alternatives for obtaining legal digital content:

 

Student-athlete missed class policies and procedures

Rev. October 30, 2012

Background. Bluffton University is a NCAA Division III school. As the university considers the relationship between the academic and athletic programs, it is guided by the following assumptions:

  • academics are the primary focus for DIII student-athletes
  • considerations related to practice times, length of playing season, number of contests and location of athletic contests shape the DIII program and are designed to reduce time away from academic studies
  • there will be times when conflicts between the requirements of the NCAA DIII athletic program and the student's academic program occur
  • these conflicts should be minimized and care taken to respect the academic program
  • representatives of the athletic program, student life program and the academic program are committed to holding the student's interest as the primary focus
  • the HCAC and NCAA are responsible to determine the minimum requirements for athletes and competitions

 

Athletic program schedule

  • The director of athletics will provide to the faculty athletics representative and the academic dean via email at least one month prior to the start of a sport's season, a listing of all competition in that sport which will necessitate student‐athletes being absent from class. This listing will include the time and date of competition, destination, approximate departure time [if known] and competition. The faculty athletics representative or the academic dean may request that modifications to the travel plans to be made.
  • For home competition, student athletes shall not miss any classes prior to two hours before the scheduled competition time. For away competition with same day travel, student athletes shall not miss any classes prior to 30 minutes before the scheduled time of departure. For away competition with overnight travel, no team shall depart more than 30 hours prior to the time of competition.
  • No competition will be scheduled on any day on which final examinations are scheduled unless prior approval has been received from the academic dean. Exceptions to the above statements for special tournaments and competitions, including championship play, must be approved by the faculty athletics representative and the academic dean.
  • The director of athletics must approve athletic contest schedules changed as a result of weather.

 

Responsibility of the student athlete

  • Student athletes will present to their instructors information about missed class and lab sessions at the beginning of each semester.
  • Student athletes will remind their instructors one week before their absence.
  • Student athletes will make arrangements for any class assignments that will be missed.
  • Student athletes will be responsible for submitting all assignments on time.
  • Student athletes, in association with their academic advisor, will create a schedule that, as much as possible, meets the needs of their academic and athletic responsibilities.

 

Responsibility of the coach

  • Coaches will provide faculty with a game-day roster and departure time for contests at least 48 hours in advance of travel.
  • When athletic contests are rescheduled as a result of weather, coaches will notify faculty of schedule changes.
  • Coaches will not penalize student athletes for missing practices due to conflicts with regularly scheduled classes or class‐related field trips (within reason) for which student‐athletes are enrolled.
  • Student athletes will not be required to attend any practice/activities that result in a missed scheduled class or final exam. Activities considered practice include:
    • Preparation and conditioning time (weight training, running, etc.)
    • Training room time (rehab, taping, etc.)
    • Meetings (to include individual film watching)
    • On‐field practice

 

Responsibility of faculty

  • Faculty members will not penalize student athletes for missing classes due to conflicts with contractually scheduled athletic contests and related travel.
  • Faculty will work with student athletes to make arrangements for missed tests and in-class assignments.
  • Faculty members will not penalize student athletes for missing classes due to conflicts with emergency medical appointments that result from athletics-related injuries.
  • When class-related field trips are scheduled and conflict with athletic practices, faculty will e‐mail coaches with details of the field trip a minimum of 48 hours ahead of the scheduled date.

 

Process related to these guidelines

  • Student athletes who believe that they have received a lack of reasonable accommodation of the provisions of this missed class policy by a faculty member may immediately appeal to the appropriate academic department chair, then may appeal to the academic dean.
  • Student athletes who believe that they have received a lack of reasonable accommodation of the provisions of this missed class policy by a coach may bring this matter to the attention of the athletics director or to the faculty athletics representative.
  • Faculty having any questions about the application of these statements may contact the faculty athletics representative or the academic dean.
  • These guidelines will be reviewed regularly by the director of athletics, the academic dean and the faculty athletics representative.
  • The guidelines will be included in the Student Handbook, Faculty Handbook, Athletic Department Policy Manual and individual team player notebooks.

Contact Information:
Faculty athletics representative: Darryl Nester
Director of athletics: Phill Talavinia
Academic dean: Sally Weaver Sommer