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Avoiding a Breach

A violation of academic honesty occurs when a student engages in a breach (such as cheating or plagiarism) in an attempt to gain an unfair academic advantage. These violations (or breaches) are contrary to the values of academic integrity.

York University’s Senate Policy on Academic Honesty provides descriptions of academic honesty breaches and a summary of possible penalties. For students, this document provides important information for understanding your rights and responsibilities when a breach is suspected.

  • Plagiarizing someone else’s work, by copying and pasting or not citing when it’s required. 
  • Paraphrasing or summarizing ideas from another without providing credit to that source. 
  • Resubmitting work that you have already submitted for another course in whole or in part without first seeking approval. 
  • Collaborating with others on assignments when you are expected to be working alone.
  • Sharing your past assignments with classmates; they may copy your work and submit it as their own.  
  • Sharing test or exam answers with classmates. 
  • Using the answers that someone shared with you.
  • Using unauthorized aids during a test/exam.
  • Posting test or exam answers on content-sharing sites.
  • Paying for assignments online or paying others to do your work for you.
  • Having friends or relatives complete your work for you. 
  • Allowing others to take online tests and exams for you.
  • Sending test questions to homework help experts and using the answers they provide. 
  • Using tools like Google Translate or paraphrasing tools to disguise and use others’ work. 
  • Falsifying documents, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation or related documents.

What You Can Do

Below are a few specific ways to avoid a breach. Overall, if you're not sure whether a particular behaviour will lead to a breach, check with your instructor or TA, or reach out to academicintegrity@yorku.ca.

  • At the beginning of each term, familiarize yourself with your course syllabus. Make note of assessment due dates and what’s expected. 
  • Brush up on study skills.
  • If you are unclear about assignment expectations, collaborating with others or if you experience any difficulties, reach out to your professor/TA. 

There are many sources of help for university students, some of them legitimate, and some of them not. Say no to tutoring services that charge money to complete your assignments for you or provide answers to online tests no matter how genuine and helpful they appear to be. Using such services can lead to an academic honesty penalty.

Furthermore, engaging with non-legitimate service providers can lead to becoming exposed to blackmail and extortion. Legitimate sources of help do not provide answers to students. Instead, they support student learning and provide help with study skills. York services are legitimate sources of help for coursework, writing and research.

Posting course material that is the intellectual property of the instructor or posting test/exam answers are actions that are in violation of York’s policies. Avoid posting this material on content sharing or homework help sites (e.g. Course Hero, OneClass, CHEGG, etc.), group messaging apps, message boards, or social media platforms. Doing so can result in an academic honesty penalty.

If you’re not sure whether certain material is fine to post, check with your instructor or TA.

Group messaging apps (e.g. Discord or WhatsApp) can be helpful tools that connect students and support learning. However, such tools can lead to academic honesty violations when students share or use answers to homework tasks, quizzes, tests, or exams, or when students collaborate on individual assignments. Moderators of these groups are required to clearly communicate the group’s purpose and to remind students of the expectations for academic honesty.

As a student, if you witness academically dishonest behaviour, it is strongly recommended that you leave the group. If you are unsure whether the behaviour is a violation of academic honesty, check with your instructor or TA.

Being a university student requires you to be independent and self-motivated but you don’t have to figure everything out on your own. The Student Resources page provides a list of support services and resources at York where students can receive help with writing, citing, note taking and other academic skills.