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USESO Academic Integrity Policy
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USESO Academic Integrity Policy

Updated January 31, 2023

The United States Earth Science Organization, Inc. (USESO) is largely devoted to academic development, and it is expected that students will submit only their own work during any of USESO’s activities, including the national open examination, USESO Training Camp, or any other USESO activity (hereafter known as “USESO Programs”). Students must be honest when taking examinations and writing essays. Students must not discuss answers with others during the exam timeframe, must not use the internet to look up answers, and must use only their own knowledge to answer questions. Students must always submit their own work and not that of another student, scholar, advisor, internet source, bot, or other party. Any attempt to cheat, learn questions ahead of time, communicate questions or answers to others, or misrepresent work will be met with termination from the USESO program. Participation in USESO programs in future years after a confirmed case of cheating is subject to director approval. By participating in a USESO Program, you are agreeing to this Academic Integrity Policy (hereafter known as “the Policy”).

USESO will not release personal identifying information except in two cases: 1) the  violation of this Policy and/or 2) selected students  from our annual open exam will have their first initial, last name, school, and state published on our website. Any information (statistical or otherwise) that may indicate involvement in a violation of the Policy may be made public, at the sole discretion of USESO. This may include direct correspondence with colleges and universities.

In the event that a case of cheating is suspected in a USESO Program, it will trigger the following sequence of events.

  1. Reporting

Anyone who suspects cheating may directly message or email either director to report who was involved with as much detail as possible. Reporters may include other students, proctors, USESO staff, or anyone who believes they have knowledge of cheating in a USESO Program.

  1. Compile evidence

All evidence must be brought forward immediately by the reporter. Any case that is reported without sufficient evidence will be thrown out at this stage.

  1. First Internal meeting

The directors and the reporter(s) will meet via video conference, Slack, text, or email messages to review the evidence. If evidence is found to be insufficient, the accusation could be thrown out at this stage.

  1. Academic Integrity Meeting

After internal evidentiary review, a video conference including the directors, individual accused of academic misconduct, parents or guardians of the individual, and proctor of the examination (if applicable) will occur. The purpose of this meeting is to review the evidence and allow stakeholders to explain their positions. The Academic Integrity Meeting cannot occur without all stakeholders present, and must include at least one parent or guardian. A final decision will not be made during the meeting.

  1. Second Internal Meeting, Voting, and Resolution

The directors and any relevant USESO party will meet via video conference, Slack, text, or email messages to decide how to proceed. If the Academic Integrity Meeting does not provide a clear answer, a vote may occur to decide an outcome for the case. It’s possible that the vote will be conducted only by the directors, or they may involve the Voting Body of USESO if they feel it is necessary. A formal and private decision will be released in writing, with evidence provided, and sent to the individual, their parents, and their proctor (if applicable) via email.

  1. Reasonable Timeframe Requirement

All cases must be resolved within a reasonable time frame. The timeframe differs depending on the USESO Program, and it will be clearly communicated by the directors. It is incumbent on the accused student to schedule the Academic Integrity Meeting within the timeframe given, because results could affect selection for a finalist position. If a cheating case is still being investigated during a selection period for a USESO Program AND the student in question scored highly enough to be considered as a finalist, it may cause the student to be waitlisted until the accusation is found to be false. If the accusation is not found to be false before the USESO Program for which selection was happening occurs, then the student will forfeit their participation in the USESO Program. USESO Programs may include the IESO USA team.

  1. Appeals Process

If a student feels that they have been wrongly found guilty of cheating and they have exhausted the above 6 events, they may provide a written appeal to the directors of USESO via email. It is unlikely that the appeal will be processed before the USESO Program for which they have applied, but it is possible that the directors may decide to allow the student to participate in a program in future years if the appeal is persuasive. It is up to the directors to make any decisions regarding appeals.


We reserve the right to make updates and changes to this policy at any time, so please make sure to check it frequently. We will post the date of change to the top of the policy and on our website.

Some text adapted from the USABO 2022 open exam certification form