APU Student Handbook
In this section

Last Revision: January 30, 2024

Prohibited Student Conduct

The following conduct disrupts the educational environment of the University and will not be tolerated.

Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct is a failure to uphold academic integrity and encompasses behaviors that create an unfair academic advantage for oneself or others, or a disadvantage for others. These include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, wrongful reuse of work, cheating, falsification/fabrication, facilitation of academic dishonesty, abuse of APUS intellectual property, and failing to abide by ethical research standards and University IRB requirements. The reuse of work is considered wrongful and a form of academic misconduct when it is done without prior approval because it is an intent to deceive (which is a form of academic dishonesty) by falsely presenting all or a portion of a work previously created for one purpose as original work produced for another purpose. The wrongful reuse of work provides a student with an unfair academic advantage by allowing them to receive undeserved academic credit multiple times for the same academic work. Wrongful reuse of work is prohibited by APUS because, in most cases, it circumvents the learning process by using knowledge already acquired in place of knowledge intended to be discovered and/or acquired within the situation of a given learning experience (assignment, course, etc.).

APUS supports and promotes academic honesty and personal integrity. Any form of academic dishonesty has no place in higher education. APUS does not tolerate dishonest efforts by its students. Students who are guilty of academic dishonesty and students who knowingly assist another student in dishonest behavior are equally responsible. The following behaviors all constitute academic misconduct:


Cheating is defined as fraud, deceit, or dishonesty in an academic assignment, or using or attempting to use materials, or assisting others in using materials that are prohibited or inappropriate in the context of the academic assignment in question. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • allowing others to do an assignment or portion of an assignment for you, including the use of a commercial term-paper service,
  • inappropriate use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to generate content as defined by course instructions, 
  • purchasing test solutions and sharing test solutions in a public area
  • wrongful reuse of work,
  • collaborating on an exam or assignment with any other person or AI provider without prior approval from the instructor,
  • doing academic work for another person and allowing that person to represent the work as their own

Facilitation of academic dishonesty

Facilitation of academic dishonesty refers to the use, publication, representation and/or other dissemination of APUS materials and content to any third-party without the permission of the university. Examples include, but are not limited to, the submission of APUS or student content to websites (including term-paper services), gaining unauthorized access to another student record or classroom, or providing unauthorized access to a student record or classroom to a non-student.

Inability to Establish Identity of Individual Submitting Coursework 

Inability to Establish Identity of Individual Submitting Coursework is a form of cheating wherein APUS determines that the student who is officially enrolled in a course is not the person who is completing and submitting the coursework.


Plagiarism is the adoption or incorporation of another's ideas without proper attribution of the source. It is more simply defined as taking the writings of another person or people or content generated by an Artificial Intelligence provider and representing them to be one's own. Plagiarism may include text mining, defined as weak paraphrasing or combining content from other authors whereby the ideas of the original author(s) are not clearly or formally documented. In addition, it is plagiarism to keep the same sentence structure and change a few words without providing proper attribution of the source. To avoid plagiarism, all should follow the accepted practices of academic writing when summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting.

Research misconduct

Research misconduct includes the following actions that deviate from ethical practice:

  • Failure to receive Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval when conducting human subjects research, including but not limited to, interviews and surveys, without the appropriate review and approval by the IRB.
  • Falsification of data is deliberately changing any form of evidence in such a way that it substantially affects its usefulness.
  • Conflict of interest occurs when an individual serves or represents two distinct entities and neglects or breaches a duty to one entity to benefit the other; or when a person uses their position with one entity to advance a personal gain or the gain of another entity.
  • Fraud and misrepresentation are deliberate attempts to deceive others to secure unlawful or unfair advantage. This category of misconduct includes providing false or misleading information to or intentionally deceiving coauthors, granting agencies, editors, or other interested parties regarding the results or the status of a research project.
  • Noncompliance is failing to comply with the published regulations of federal agencies, state agencies, the university, or granting agencies that support an individual's research.
  • Misappropriation of research funds is any deliberate act or omission in the handling of research funds that violates university policy, or the policies of granting agencies, either state, federal, or private entities.


Self-plagiarism refers to submitting your own published work more than once for credit. Examples include published articles, content from books, field reports, etc. However, properly citing one’s own published work in a publication is not considered plagiarism.

Theft and/or damage to university intellectual property

Theft and/or damage to university intellectual property refers to the use, publication, or other dissemination to any third party of any other APUS student’s information, coursework, or other academic contributions, without that student’s consent. It also encompasses the use, publication, or other dissemination of APUS content to any third-party without the permission of the university. Additionally, theft includes the failure to return material loaned to any student by APUS staff or faculty.

Wrongful Reuse of Work

Wrongful Reuse of Work or material refers to submitting your own work more than once without permission from current faculty. This includes submitting an assignment, forum post or discussion, or other work in its entirety, or a portion there of, along with the reuse of the same research, including but not limited to journals, books, publications, etc. An exception to this would be the resubmission of a discussion post that introduces you to your peers and faculty.

  • Original work - Student’s first submission of work a student has created.
  • Reused work - Work the student has previously submitted in the same or another class, to include work submitted at other institutions.

Appropriate reuse of work entails receiving permission from your faculty. For example, if a student wants to build out an idea presented in an assignment in one class and use it to develop their end of program thesis/project/assignment, they need to first gain permission from their current faculty prior to incorporating any previously submitted work into their current assignment submissions. 

Any material not created explicitly for the assignment for which it is submitted must be approved at least one week in advance by the instructor. The decision is at the sole discretion of the instructor, is final, and cannot be appealed.

Professional Misconduct

Professional misconduct encompasses behaviors that are disruptive, illegal, dishonest, or abusive.

Alcohol and Drug Use

APUS prohibits the unlawful possession, use, sale, consumption, purchase, manufacture, and/or distribution of illicit drugs or alcohol by students, faculty, or staff on APUS property or at a APUS-sponsored activity or event. Prohibited conduct is subject to the sanctions and rights contained in this policy and other University policies and procedures. APUS may approve the consumption of alcohol at APUS-sponsored activities and events. Individuals consuming alcohol at an APUS-sponsored activity or event are expected to behave in accordance with usual business standards, applicable codes of conduct, company policies, and applicable law. See the Alcohol and Drug Policy section of the Student Handbook for more information. 


Complicity is the act of helping, procuring, encouraging, and/or cooperating with another person in the commission of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

Cyber harassment

Cyber harassment is the willful and repeated use of cell phones, computers, and other electronic communication devices to harass and threaten one or more students, faculty, or staff, which occurs in the school setting or with the use of technology with an effect of doing any of the following:

  • Substantial interference with a student’s education;
  • Creation of a threatening environment; and
  • Substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the university.

Examples of cyber-harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • Using the Internet, cell phone, email, or any other form of electronic communication to intimidate someone;
  • Online (including via social media) personal verbal or written attacks;
  • Offensive harassing messages;
  • Publicly disclosing someone’s personal information;
  • Breaking into an account and sending damaging messages;
  • Creating a fictitious online account using legitimate personal information and then placing damaging or harassing information in the account.


Cyberstalking is threatening behavior or unwanted advances directed at another individual using the Internet and other forms of online and computer communications. Cyberstalking and cyber-harassment are prohibited, whether in the classroom, online, social networking sites, email, or any other form of electronic communication. The use of the University email server to send harassing messages to individuals outside of the University is also prohibited. See the Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation section of the Student Handbook for more information. 

Disruption/Disturbances of Learning Environments

Disruption/Disturbances of Learning Environments includes conduct that materially and substantially interferes with or obstructs the teaching or learning process in the context of a classroom, educational setting, or APUS-sponsored activity whether in-person or online. Disturbances in the learning environment may create an unfair academic advantage for oneself or a disadvantage for another member of the academic community. Disruptions may include disrespectful behavior, failure to comply with directives from University faculty or staff, badgering-type behavior wherein an individual is being excessively contacted, or any form of harassment or abuse. 

Disrespectful Behavior 

Disrespectful Behavior is abusive or inappropriate behavior, which may include, but is not limited to, personal attacks, inflammatory usernames and/or images in online workspaces, perceived shouting within e-communications or in-person, using profanity or crude language, or engaging in discourse that does not meet acceptable standards of civility.

Failure to Comply 

Failure to Comply is failure to follow the directions of university faculty or staff or other official APUS representative while under the University’s jurisdiction or resisting or obstructing University representatives.


Falsification/Fabrication includes the submission of any falsified APUS student information to any third party, including diplomas, transcripts, and registration information. This includes the submission of false or misleading information for malicious intent to university offices, to include a falsified or fabricated account of faculty engagement or behavior. It includes the submission of fraudulent information on a student or loan application, including any information provided in the application. Furthermore, it includes the submission of any falsified medical documentation, death certificates, or other third-party documentation for disability accommodations, Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) appeals, or appeals of academic dismissal. Furthermore, it includes the failure to supply upon request, appropriate or sufficient documentation to verify information submitted to APUS as part of any university process or procedure, including processes/procedures initiated while the individual completes the University’s admission process. 


Harassment is unwelcomed and disrespectful conduct and communication. Discrimination is any treatment - including harassment - based on a protected characteristic. The University does not engage in and will not tolerate harassment or discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, veteran status, handicap, disability, or any other characteristics protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. See the Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation section of the Student Handbook for more information. 


Hazing is defined as any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a person; or that willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation, admission, affiliation, or as a condition for continued membership in any student organization. Any student organization that engages in, encourages, or permits hazing will be subject to disciplinary action.

Physical Abuse

Physical Abuse includes, but is not limited to, physical assault; threats of violence; rape, sexual assault, sex offenses, and other conduct that threatens the health or safety of any person.


Retaliation is the use of intimidation, threat, coercion, or discrimination against any person for the purpose of interfering with their rights and privileges as an APUS community member in accordance with the University's Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation policy. See the Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation section of the Student Handbook for more information. 

Sexual, Racial, and Other Forms of Harassment

Sexual, Racial, and Other Forms of Harassment includes conduct that is so severe and/or pervasive, and objectively offensive that this harassment substantially impairs a person's access to APUS-sponsored activities or programs. As a result of this harassment, the person is effectively denied equal access to the University's resources and opportunities based on the person’s identity, including, but not limited to, race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, military/veteran status, physical or mental disability, or perceived membership in any of these classifications. See also the Title IX policy at AMU and APU for the definitions of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.


APUS prohibits all types of solicitation in working areas during working time to include:

  • Solicitation from students towards APUS staff or faculty.
  • Solicitation by students in the classroom, on the web, or by contacting other students, faculty, or staff via any means of communication.

Violation of the University’s solicitation policy may result in immediate disciplinary action. The only exceptions to this policy are "flyers" for activities or charitable causes sponsored by APUS, which may be distributed without prior approval. See the Solicitation section of the Student Handbook for more information.  


Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (a) fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others, or (b) suffer substantial emotional distress.  As used in this definition, “course of conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property; “substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling; and “reasonable person” means a person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim. See also the Title IX policy at AMU and APU.

Theft/Abuse of University Property or Electronic Resources

Theft/Abuse of University Property or Electronic Resources refers to theft or abuse of the University’s electronic resources such as computer and electronic communications facilities, systems, data, and services. Abuses include, but are not limited to, unauthorized entry, use, transfer, or tampering with the University’s communications of others; interference with the work of others and with the operation of computer and electronic communications facilities, systems, and services; or using University resources to carry out illegal or unethical activities. This prohibited conduct also includes theft, destruction, or damage to any University property, whether on campus or at a university-sponsored event.

Threatening or Terrorizing Behavior 

Threatening or Terrorizing Behavior means any written or oral statement, communication, conduct, or gesture directed toward any member of the APUS community which causes a reasonable apprehension of physical or psychological harm or death to self or others, or damage to property. It does not matter whether the person communicating the threat is able carry it out, or whether the threat is made on a present, conditional, or future basis. Communications that can be perceived as an indirect threat, or innuendo, are highly inappropriate and may also fall under the threatening or terrorizing behavior definition.

Wrongful Use of Platforms 

Wrongful Use of Platforms includes, but is not limited to, any deliberate attack on, destruction and/or taking of, or vandalism of University websites, networks, or other resources.