Academic Integrity at Cornell

Letter to Students

Dear Students,

To help you learn Cornell’s requirements and key concepts of academic integrity, we have prepared this guide for you. The guide contains practical advice, helpful examples, and Cornell’s Code of Academic Integrity. All Cornell students are responsible for reading the Code and understanding and abiding by it. The Code is broad; in regard to your course assignments, it encompasses the work of all our academic disciplines and ways of learning, whether you are taking an exam, writing a paper, working with data, working in a lab, designing in a studio, or collaborating on a group project.

We recommend that you closely read all these materials before you start classes and reread them as necessary when you begin work on class assignments. When you are uncertain of your instructor’s expectations, ask your instructor. Rules vary from class to class and sometimes from assignment to assignment. Instructors create different types of rules for pedagogical purposes and to ensure fairness. When in doubt, ask. If you have a question, and you do not want to ask it during class, this is a great reason for you to visit your instructor during office hours. Your instructor will welcome a conversation on this topic and other academic issues as well!

If you find yourself falling behind in your work, we caution you not to take inappropriate shortcuts to complete assignments. If you are having difficulties with your work or having personal or family problems, talk to your instructor, explain your situation, and ask for an extension. Remember, though, if you do not get an extension, a grade penalty for a late assignment is better than an academic integrity violation for cheating. Also remember that you can speak to your faculty advisor, the advising office in your college, and Cornell Health Counseling and Psychological Services about problems and worries you are experiencing.

Academic honesty is essential for you to flourish—to learn the materials, develop intellectual skills, gain self-confidence, earn self-respect and the respect of others, and learn to manage your time. Indeed, honesty is the foundation of our academic endeavors. As our Code of Academic Integrity states, “the values most essential to an academic community are grounded on the concept of honesty with respect to the intellectual efforts of oneself and others.”

With warm wishes for the academic year,
The Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education