Academic Misconduct

The Academic Misconduct Procedure is used to consider concerns raised around the integrity of work submitted for credit or award from the University. The Procedure does not consider whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct, but only that academic misconduct occurred.

Where academic misconduct is found to have occurred in a taught programme, an academic sanction must be applied. The three sanctions are:

  • A mark of 0 or grade of F is awarded for the component of assessment in question;
  • A mark of 0 or grade of F is awarded for the component in question and the module mark kept at the minimum pass mark; or
  • A mark of 0 or grade of F is awarded for the component in question and marks for all modules at that level will be kept at the minimum pass mark.

If the case has been referred to a University level hearing, those Panels may also apply one of the Disciplinary sanctions, which include suspension and expulsion from the University.

The University defines a range of types of academic misconduct (please see the Procedure for the full definitions):

  • Plagiarism. This involves taking the work of another using it as if it were one’s own. The source of the original material is hidden by not referencing it properly or by paraphrasing it without acknowledgement or by not mentioning it at all. Plagiarism may occur in all forms of assessment, including written examinations.
  • Self-plagiarism (or double submission). This is submitting work on two or more occasions (without proper acknowledgement) for separate credit. This may include the re-use of text, research data etc. without specific reference. It will not normally include work submitted for reassessment/re-take within the same module.
  • Collusion. This occurs when two or more students collaborate in the preparation and production of work which is submitted as the product of their individual efforts.  One student allowing another to use their own work is considered an act of collusion by both parties, regardless of intent.
  • Falsifying experimental or other investigative results. This can involve a range of things that make it appear that information has been collected by scientific investigation, the compilation of questionnaire results etc. whereas it has been made up or altered.
  • Taking unauthorised material into an examination. This includes taking materials or electronic devices of any sort, other than those specifically permitted, into any examination whether or not they could be used to gain advantageIt includes any ‘smart’ devices or devices with a ‘memory’ function and any material, not previously and specifically exempted. It is not dependent on the actual use of, or an intention to use, any material or device that may have been taken into an examination.
  • Contracting another to write a piece of assessed work/writing a piece of assessed work for another. This involves any means whereby a person does work (in whole or in part) on behalf of another which is submitted for assessment.  It includes assessments done for someone else, sitting an examination for someone else. It also covers the use of internet ‘cheat sites’ or other sources of work. In cases where one student of the University undertakes work for another, penalties will normally apply both students. The contracting of another to produce work may be considered an act of misconduct under the Student Disciplinary Procedure whether or not the work is submitted for assessment.
  • Copying from, or communicating with, another candidate during an examination in any way is not allowed. Students must not disturb other students, nor copy from them during an examination.
  • Bribery

Notification

Depending on the nature and timing of the allegation, you may be informed in a number of ways. For coursework it might be by the tutor who initially notices the concern, in an examination the invigilator, or by the Academic Misconduct Officer (AMO) reviewing the concern.

The case

Schools appoint members of academic staff to act as AMOs. Their role is to liaise with the person raising the initial concern, to collate the evidence and to make an academic judgment on whether there is a case to answer. The AMO is not empowered to make a decision that academic misconduct has occurred.

The majority of cases are considered at a School hearing, those deemed most serious are considered by University level panels. Decisions at School hearings are undertaken by an Associate Dean (or nominee). Decisions at University level are taken by panels established under either the Student Disciplinary Procedure or Fitness to Practise Procedure.

The University will aim to review the issues as speedily as possible; timelines are set out in the Procedure. However, some cases are more complex than others and an AMO may need time to compile the relevant evidence. Should the case be referred to a formal hearing, timing will depend on the scheduling of the next School or University level hearing.

Representation

The University can only look at a representation submitted by someone else if you give written permission for another person to do so. You will need to complete a third party consent form and send this via email to Academicmisconduct@salford.ac.uk or post it to the Quality and Enhancement Office, University of Salford, The Crescent, Salford M5 4WT.

Mitigating Circumstances

Mitigating circumstances cannot be considered in relation to academic misconduct. A hearing held under the Academic Misconduct Procedure is not permitted to take into consideration mitigating circumstances.

The University has a ‘fit to sit’ policy and as such mitigating circumstances can only be considered through the PMC Procedure, or, in exceptional cases, through the Academic Appeals Procedure.

Reasonable Adjustment and Student Support Plans

The University has appropriate mechanisms for the consideration of Reasonable Adjustment Plans (RAPs),so a hearing held under the Academic Misconduct Procedure will not take them into account in considering whether or not academic misconduct has occurred.

If the nature of the RAP is such that adjustments will need to be made to assist you through the process of being considered under the Procedure then these can be made. Due to the confidential nature of RAPs staff considering your case (the Academic Misconduct Officer) may not be automatically aware of any adjustments that need to be made and you are advised to liaise with them to ensure they are aware.

Advice

You should raise your initial questions with relevant staff in your School, such as your Personal Tutor, the relevant tutor for the assessment in questions or the School Academic Misconduct Officer (AMO). If you are unsure who to speak to, please contact your School Office.

You can also obtain independent advice and support from the Students’ Union Advice Centre by emailing advicecentre-ussu@salford.ac.uk or calling them on 0161 351 5400.

Information about the Procedure is available from the University’s Quality and Enhancement Office by emailing academicmisconduct@salford.ac.uk.

Outcome

If you have received the outcome of a formal hearing, either at School or University level and you are unhappy with the outcome, you may be able to submit an appeal against the decision that misconduct occurred and any sanction imposed of the outcome on one of the grounds below:

  • The emergence of new and relevant evidence which was not available to the original hearing or process of consideration for good and reasonable cause;
  • That there was an irregularity in the original hearing or process of consideration which has materially disadvantaged the student; or
  • That evidence is available to show that the outcome reached at an earlier stage was manifestly unreasonable. In this context, unreasonable shall be taken to mean perverse, i.e. that the outcome was not a possible conclusion which a similar hearing or process of consideration might have reached.

There is no entitlement to further review of a case unless one or more of the grounds above are established.

You will need to complete an appeal form and send this via email to AcademicMisconduct@salford.ac.uk. The timescale to submit your appeal is 10 working days from the date of the letter confirming the outcome of your original hearing.

When we receive your appeal, a senior member of staff will review your request to see if it is submitted within the timescale and that it meets any of the valid grounds for further consideration.  If your request is valid, you will be invited to attend a Student Disciplinary Appeal Panel or a Fitness to Practice Appeal Panel to discuss your appeal. If your request is not valid, we will write to you to explain why.

Impact on your progression, graduation, placement or studying abroad

If you are due to progress between levels of study but have an assessment which is subject to a case being considered under the Academic Misconduct Procedure, the Procedure allows for students to register at the previous level in order to have access to University facilities and to attend classes at the next level informally until there has been an outcome from the academic misconduct process.  If you have any concerns or questions about how you can access your programme of study, in the first instance please contact your school office.

Where there has been a finding against you or an ongoing consideration of an allegation against you under a University procedure such as Academic Misconduct, Code of ConductFitness to Practise or Student Disciplinary, then you may not be eligible to participate in some activities, such as studying or working abroad or professional placements.

Restrictions may also be imposed by individual partner institutions and, as such, details of restrictions will depend on the programme of study and the proposed partner institution. If you have concerns about this, you are advised to contact your School.

The University does not permit students with outstanding cases of academic misconduct to attend the Graduation ceremonies. You will not be able to attend the ceremonies until any case has been concluded.  Should an academic sanction be applied as a result of a case, you will normally need to address that prior to attending any Graduation ceremony. If you have any concerns, in the first instance please contact your school office.

At present the University does not record academic misconduct decision on transcripts. Information on decision may be included in references.

Academic misconduct may also affect your Fitness to Practice dependent on what course you are completing. For example, the Solicitors Regulating Authority refuses applications of students/graduates who have plagiarised or cheated.

Further action

If you have followed every stage of the Academic Misconduct Procedure and you are not satisfied with the outcome, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) which is the ombudsman for Higher Education may be able to undertake an independent review of your complaint. You will need a letter from the University which states that you have completed the University’s internal procedure (a Completion of Procedures letter).  

Further information about the OIA’s scheme can be found at www.oiahe.org.uk.