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Western Seminary is a Christian institution and every student is expected to conform to the highest standard of Christian conduct. This applies to the academic area as well as things such as appearance and social behavior. Cheating in any form is a violation of both the command of God and seminary regulations.

Of particular concern is the problem of plagiarism. Plagiarism is defined as taking another’s ideas or words and presenting them as one’s own. The student must give proper credit to the source of ideas as well as direct quotations. (For further guidance, please see your professor.) All forms of cheating, including plagiarism, are considered extremely serious offenses. By faculty action, the handling of an instance of cheating is the responsibility of the individual professor and his or her options range from forgiveness with no restitution necessary to failure on the test, assignment or course. Each instructor will usually outline their cheating/plagiarism consequences in course syllabi. There is also a general statement on copyright violations and plagiarism as follows:

Copyright Violation and Plagiarism:

Research in secondary sources for the written project is permitted and welcomed. However, any appropriation of either ideas or wording taken from other sources, whether print or electronic, must be properly footnoted. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism which can result in substantial grade reduction or failure. Any unauthorized copying or use of copyrighted materials, including downloaded files of various kinds, can result in criminal charges and fines. For a fuller explanation of these issues or WS's copyright policy, see the Copyright Issues and Cheating" section of the Student Handbook:

Instances of cheating/plagiarism will be referred to Student Development Deans and reviewed on a case-by-case basis for additional student support which may include: 

  • required meeting with Student Development Dean to discuss and understand nature of plagiarism,
  • support resources to help the student improve information literacy and avoid repeat copyright violations,
  • requirement/recommendation to run future coursework through plagiarism checker or have exam protcor (at student expense),
  • when warranted, a more comprehensive review of student papers to determine extent of cheating/plagiarism,
  • meeting with student and accountability/support such as spouse, church or ministry mentors/pastors/leaders/supervisors, and
  • in certain situations, review of student case to faculty Student Development Committee for consequences ranging from sitting out at term to dismissal. 

As a student, if you feel that you have been unjustly accused or treated unfairly, please schedule a meeting with the course instructor. If needed, an appeal may be made to the Dean of Student Development. Repeated or flagrant cheating may result in dismissal.