Academic integrity is central to the work and function of the University.
The Student Academic Integrity Policy and 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.
Action may be taken against current students regarding recently submitted work, or against current or former students regarding previously submitted and ratified assessment or awards.
Possible Outcomes (sanctions)
Where academic misconduct is found to have occurred in a taught programme, an academic sanction must be applied. The three academic sanctions are:
- A: A mark of 0 or grade of F is awarded for the component of assessment in question;
B: 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
C: 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 (These means all modules at the same level as the component affected will be capped at the pass mark, whether they are completed before or after the hearing).
If the case has been referred to a University level hearing, those Panels may also apply one of the Misconduct sanctions, which include removal of credit, suspension and expulsion from the University.
For students on postgraduate research degrees the normal sanction is expulsion.
The University defines a range of types of academic misconduct:
- 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 questionnaires and surveys 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 advantage. It includes pieces of paper and 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.
- Failure to correctly obtain necessary approval before undertaking an assessment, where such failure offers potential unfair advantage, for example failure to fully complete and obtain necessary ethical approval before commencing research activity (at any level).
- Using means to disguise or alter the content of an assessment. This might include the use of ‘text in an image’, paraphrasing software or other means used to disguise part or all of the content of assessment in any way which could give an unfair advantage. Whilst normally these would be significant aggravating factors in other forms of academic misconduct, they could be considered misconduct in their own right.
- Other. Exceptionally other forms of academic misconduct may be considered. In such instances the details of the concerns and the reasons that they are considered academic misconduct must be clearly stated in the notification of a case and in all records of formal consideration of that case.
Depending on the nature and timing of the allegation, you may be informed in a number of ways. For coursework it normally will be the tutor who initially notices the concern via assessment feedback, in an examination the invigilator who normally raises the concern. In some cases initial communication may be by the Academic Misconduct Officer (AMO) reviewing the concern or the secretary to a formal hearing.
Schools appoint members of academic staff to act as AMOs. Their role is to liaise with the person raising the initial concern, to guide them in collating the evidence and to make an academic judgment on whether there is a case to answer. The AMO does not make a decision that academic misconduct has occurred nor do they normally investigate concerns raised.
Hearing the case
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 a nominee of the Dean. Decisions at University level are taken by panels established under either the Student Misconduct 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 work with tutors 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.
Support / representation
Students attending hearings may be accompanied by one person. Normally that person would act as a ‘supporter’, however in some circumstances they may act as a ‘representative’, speaking on behalf of the student.
Normally neither a supporter or a representative may be called on as witnesses unless the hearing has been notified at least five days in advance; see the procedure for information on calling witnesses.
Should you want someone to represent you outside of a hearing to communicate with the university on your behalf the University can only look at a representation submitted by someone else if you give written to do so. You will need to complete a third party consent form and send this via email to the Quality Management Office via email@example.com.
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 when deciding if academic misconduct has occurred.
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 an agreed process for the consideration of Reasonable Adjustment Plans (RAPs). 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 (for example the Academic Misconduct Officer) will not normally be aware of any adjustments that need to be made and you are advised to liaise with them to ensure they are aware.
A hearing held under the Academic Misconduct Procedure will not take them into account in considering whether or not academic misconduct has occurred.
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.
Individual independent advice to students is available from the Students’ Union’s Advice Centre or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about the Procedure it self, not specific cases, is available from the University’s Quality Management Office by emailing email@example.com.
Unhappy with the 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The timescale to submit your appeal is 10 working days from the date of the email 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 on time and that it meets and evidences any of the valid grounds for further consideration. If your request is valid, you will be invited to attend a Student Misconduct 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 Conduct, Fitness to Practise or Student Misconduct, 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 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.
Withdrawal from the University.
Should you choose to withdraw partway through a case the University will normally continue to complete the case, for example to a formal hearing, or exceptionally pause the case putting on note on your file and should you wish to return to the University the University would reserve the right to re-open the original case before you would be able to re-join.
Transcripts and references.
At present the University does not record academic misconduct decision on transcripts. Information on decision may be included in references (see Procedure for details).
Academic misconduct may also affect your current or future Fitness to Practice or your ability to register with a Professional, Statutory and Regulating Body (PSRB) dependent on what course you are completing. For example, the Solicitors Regulating Authority state it does not accept applications from students/graduates who have been found to have committed a "deliberate assessment offence which amounts to plagiarism or cheating".
If you have followed every stage of the AMP 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.