Academic Misconduct Procedure

 

If we ask to meet with you, you should seek independent advice from the Students’ Union Advice Centre because they have experience of supporting and advising students during academic misconduct proceedings. You can be supported by one of their advisers at any stage of this procedure.

We recognise that in the early part of your studies you may make mistakes but we expect you to learn from these mistakes and not to repeat them. If the circumstances suggest that you intended to gain an unfair advantage, we will take this very seriously and may apply a more severe penalty.

We work on the balance of probabilities when considering allegations of academic misconduct.

 

Definitions of Academic Misconduct

 

We define academic misconduct as a failure to behave in line with our academic standards. It includes trying to deceive the University’s detection systems which results in gaining an unfair academic advantage over other students.

Some examples of academic misconduct are listed below. This is not an exhaustive list but the offences may include:

 

Cheating

  • Having access to aids or devices not permitted during an examination, test, quiz, or other evaluation;
  • Copying another person’s answer(s) on a test, exam, quiz, lab report, or other work to be evaluated;
  • Copying another person’s answers, with or without their permission, to individually assigned assessments;
  • Gaining access to unauthorised materials outside of an assessment that would give an unfair advantage;
  • Improperly submitting an answer to a test or examination question completed, in whole or part, outside the examination room unless expressly permitted by the instructor; 
  • Resubmitting altered test or examination work after it has already been evaluated;
  • Improperly obtaining, through deceit, theft, bribery, collusion or otherwise, access to examination paper(s) or set of questions, or other confidential information.

 

Contract cheating

  • Entering an assignment onto a specialist website and asking people to bid in order to write the assignment on your behalf;
  • Submission of work presented as your own which has been purchased, commissioned or otherwise acquired from another person (including internet sellers) whether or not specifically produced for you or "off the shelf";
  • Making available to others any work or material which the recipient then uses to commit an academic misconduct offence. This is regardless of whether you obtain financial reward for doing it.

 

Collusion

  • Submission of work presented as your own which has been done in unauthorised partnership with someone else not supported by the requirements of the assessment, whether or not that other person is a student of the University;
  • Knowingly making submitted assignments, instructions, briefs or similar instructional documents relating to assessments available to others (including posting to the internet or making available by similar means) that could result in an academic advantage.

 

Falsification

  • Claiming to have carried out experiments, observations, interviews or any form of research and/or data collection which you have not done.

 

Fabrication

  • The creation of false data or other aspects of research or assessed work, with the intention of deceiving the marker. This includes but is not limited to providing false documentation and participant consent forms.

 

Impersonation

  • Assuming the identity of another student (of this or any other institution) with the intention of gaining an unfair advantage for that student;
  • Allowing another person to impersonate you in order to gain an unfair advantage.

 

Plagiarism

  • Claiming, submitting or presenting work as if it is your own, without appropriate referencing. This includes but is not limited to words, ideas, artistry, drawings, images, data, information found on the Internet and unpublished materials;
  • Claiming, submitting or presenting someone else’s work, ideas, opinions or theories as if they are your own, without proper referencing;
  • Claiming, submitting or presenting another person’s substantial compositional contributions, assistance, edits or changes to an assignment as your own;
  • Claiming, submitting or presenting collaborative work as if it were created solely by yourself or your group;
  • Minimally paraphrasing someone else’s work by changing only a few words or elements and not citing the original source.

 

Self-Plagiarism

  • Submitting the same work, in whole or in part, for credit in two or more courses, or in the same course more than once, without the prior written permission of the tutor;
  • Failing to disclose that a piece of work was previously submitted for another assessment and has been or will be used for other academic purposes;
  • Publishing essentially the same piece of work in more than one place without declaration.

 

Inappropriate sharing of work

  • Failing to safeguard your work may count as making it available.
  • Making your work available to another student who then submits it as their own. This includes giving access to your work in subsequent academic sessions;

 

Ethics Misconduct

  • Failure to follow the correct procedures defined by your course for undertaking research

 

Deadlines

There are deadlines within this procedure and we expect you to keep to these unless you have compelling independent evidence to show why you could not do this. We are also expected to meet our deadlines but there will occasionally be times when we are unable to do this for good reason. If so, we will let you know why and keep you informed of progress.

 

Absence from any meeting or hearing

We expect you to attend any investigation meetings or hearings but if you are unable to attend for a good reason, which can be independently evidenced, you must let us know before the date of the meeting or hearing date.

If you cannot attend a meeting as part of a Stage 1 or Stage 2 investigation held at school level then you should contact your school directly before the hearing date and we will consider holding the meeting at a later date.

If you cannot attend an Academic Misconduct Panel held at university level then you must email us at AcademicMisconduct@hud.ac.uk before the hearing date and we will consider holding the meeting at a later date.

We are unable to postpone a meeting indefinitely and will normally only rearrange a meeting once.

If you do not tell us in advance that you are unable to attend the meeting or hearing and you do not attend, the meeting or hearing will go ahead in your absence and a decision will be made in your absence based on the information available.

If you tell us in advance that you are unable to attend but cannot provide independent evidence as to the reason why, the meeting or hearing will go ahead in your absence and a decision will be made in your absence based on the information available.

 

Submitting work during an investigation

If your case is referred for investigation then we will not confirm any marks for your work until a decision has been made. You must continue working on any other assessments not affected by the allegation. You will receive results as normal for any modules that are not being investigated.

 

Mitigation in relation to outcomes

If you can provide us with independent evidence of any extenuating circumstances which you believe have affected your behaviour at the time of the assessment, we may consider this.  Mitigation does not provide a defence for academic misconduct but it might allow us to consider a lesser penalty. We may not necessarily apply a lesser penalty, even when there are extenuating circumstances, as we will also consider other factors such as the seriousness of the offence, if this happens we will explain why.

 

Allegation(s) of Academic Misconduct

If your school suspects that academic misconduct has occurred they will proceed with an investigation. The investigation may include:

  • Reviewing the piece of work you have submitted;
  • Considering your conduct in an assessment;
  • Looking at any relevant source materials;
  • Talking to witnesses;
  • Asking you to demonstrate your knowledge in relation to the work you have submitted.

Where the allegation is raised by a tutor from another school, the allegation will be put forward and investigated by the school who owns and delivers the module.

We will not take into account any previously upheld allegations of academic misconduct when considering a current allegation.  However, if we conclude that you have committed an offence, we will then take into account any previously upheld allegations when applying a penalty. It is likely that if you have a previously upheld offence, we will apply a more serious penalty.

If you are being investigated for academic misconduct and a second offence comes to light on an assignment you submitted prior to the first case being concluded, then both allegations will normally be considered as part of the same case.

Where an allegation relates to more than one student e.g. collusion or group work cases, then each student will be asked to attend individual investigations and no outcome applied until all cases have been investigated at the appropriate stage.

In cases where the allegation represents a serious breach of academic misconduct we may choose to escalate the procedure immediately to a higher stage. If we decide to start our investigations at a higher stage of the procedure, we will explain to you why we have decided to do this.

We will keep a record of any investigation and outcome in line with the University’s records management policy.

 

Stage 1 School-level Tutor Investigation

 

The purpose of this investigation is to establish the facts as far as possible. We will treat you and any other person(s) involved fairly and will not make assumptions about whether or not the allegation is true or false.

The tutor who marked the work will speak to you first about the allegation and any other relevant parties.

We will provide you with 5 working days’ notice of the meeting with the tutor to discuss the allegation and you will be able to bring a supporter with you. When we invite you to meet with us, we will email you and tell you about the allegation that has been made and provide you with a copy of any available/relevant evidence.

During this meeting, the tutor will confirm what the allegation is and which piece of assessment within which module has been affected. The tutor will also present you with the evidence they have and tell you why they are concerned about your work and/or conduct. It is likely that they will ask you questions about the work you have submitted and may ask you to demonstrate your knowledge in relation to that work by asking you specific questions around its content. The tutor will make notes of your meeting and these will be sent to you at the point at which an outcome has been reached. 

If you are unable to attend the meeting with the tutor you should refer to the section at the top of this procedure called ‘Absence from any meeting or hearing’. 

 

Stage 1 offences

Examples of the offences* that can be considered under Stage 1 include but are not limited to:

  • Poor academic practice**;
  • Inappropriate sharing of work.

* For a detailed but not exhaustive list of the offences, please see above on page 1 and 2 of this procedure

** The investigator will use their academic judgement to determine whether your work is poor academic practice or not. Poor academic practice suggests you have been careless when completing your assessment. However, if it is your first offence and your mistake is relatively minor, we want to give you the opportunity to learn from it.  For example, if your referencing does not meet the required standards but the alleged academic misconduct is not extensive or blatant and does not result from an obvious lack of effort, the investigator may decide to apply a stage 1 penalty.

 

Stage 1 Outcomes

Following the interview, the tutor will consider all the evidence and material available and will make a decision on what outcome should be applied based on the balance of probabilities. We will contact you within 5 working days of the meeting to give you the notes taken during your meeting and the outcome.

When considering what outcome to apply, the tutor may consider:

  • Whether you have accepted the allegation,
  • Whether you have provided any mitigating evidence and
  • Your conduct through this procedure.

The possible outcomes are listed below;

  • No case to answer
  • Case upheld and concluded as poor academic practice with the following penalties:
  • Mark the work ignoring the offending paragraphs. If the work does not meet the minimum pass mark, then you will be offered a Tutor Reassessment if it is available;

AND

  • Compulsory training and development;

OR

  • Case upheld and referred to Academic Misconduct Officer (Stage 2)

If a penalty is applied at Stage 1, the outcome will not appear on your transcript.

 

Stage 2 – School–level Academic Misconduct Officer Investigation

 

We may not be able to conclude an allegation against you at Stage 1 or you may have been referred directly for stage 2 investigation. In that situation, your case will be referred to an Academic Misconduct Officer (AMO) in your School. The AMO will be independent from the allegation and the stage 1 investigation.

We will provide you with 5 working days’ notice of any meeting to discuss the allegation and you will be able to bring a supporter with you.

When you are invited to meet with the AMO, you will be emailed with a full copy of the evidence and relevant materials that we have received.

The purpose of this investigation is to review the facts and to re-consider the case as a whole. The AMO will consider all available material in the case and will speak to you and any other relevant parties about the allegation.

During this investigation the AMO will present the evidence against you, ask you questions around the work you have submitted and may ask for you to demonstrate your knowledge in relation to the work you have submitted. A note taker will be present in the room to keep a record of the discussions that take place. You will be provided with a copy of the record from the meeting when you are issued with the outcome.

If you are unable to attend the meeting with the AMO you should refer to the section at the top of this procedure called ‘Absence from any meeting or hearing’. 

 

Stage 2 Offences

Examples of the offences* that can be considered under Stage 2 include but are not limited to:

  • A repeat instance of a Stage 1 offence
  • Collusion
  • Plagiarism

* For a detailed but not exhaustive list of the offences, please see above on page 1 and 2 of this procedure

 

Stage 2 Outcomes

Following the AMO’s investigation, they will make a decision based on the evidence and material available and will apply an outcome based on the balance of probabilities. We will normally contact you within 5 working days of your meeting with the AMO, via email, to let you know the outcome and to provide you with a copy of the notes taken during your meeting.

When considering what outcome to apply, the AMO may consider:

  • Whether you have accepted the allegation;
  • Whether you have provided any mitigating evidence; and
  • Your conduct through this procedure.

The possible outcomes that can be applied are listed here:

  • No case to answer;
  • Case upheld and concluded as poor academic practice with the following penalty applied:
  • Mark the work ignoring the offending paragraphs. If the work does not meet the minimum pass mark, then you will be offered a Tutor Reassessment if it is available;
  • Compulsory training and development

AND

  • Case upheld and concluded and the following penalty applied:
  • Receive a mark of 0 for the piece of assessment;
  • Compulsory training and development.

     AND

  • Case upheld and referred to Stage 3 (Academic Misconduct Panel).

If the case is upheld against you then the AMO will take into account any previous academic misconduct offences when applying a penalty.

If a penalty is applied at Stage 2, the outcome will not normally appear on your transcript.

 

Stage 3 - The Academic Misconduct Panel

 

If the allegation against you cannot be concluded at an earlier stage, Registry will convene the Academic Misconduct Panel (AMP) to consider your case. The purpose of this panel is to consider the case as a whole with a view to making a final decision on the outcome.

You will normally be given a minimum of 10 working days’ notice of the hearing. We will tell you the date and time of your hearing and who the panel members will be. You will also be provided with all of the relevant material gathered up to this stage. You are not normally allowed to provide additional evidence at this stage. If there is a good reason to demonstrate why this evidence could not have been provided any earlier, we may consider it. This is at the discretion of the chair of the panel.

You are expected to confirm your attendance and the name and status of any person who attends to support you at the hearing. A supporter is not normally allowed to speak on your behalf.

 

Stage 3 Offences

Examples of the offences* that can be considered under Stage 3 include but are not limited to:

  • Repeated instances of a Stage 1 offence
  • Repeated instances of a Stage 2 offence
  • Collusion
  • Recycling
  • Ethics Misconduct
  • Cheating
  • Contract Cheating
  • Falsification
  • Fabrication
  • Impersonation

* For a detailed but not exhaustive list of the offences, please see above on page 1 and 2 of this procedure

 

The Academic Misconduct Panel

The Academic Misconduct Panel (AMP) will normally include:

  • Any combination of two AMOs not drawn from the School where the allegations originated, one of whom will be identified as the chair at the hearing; 
  • An elected officer of the Students’ Union.

Panel members will receive appropriate training before they can sit on a panel and make decisions.

Other attendees at the AMP may include:

  • The Stage 2 investigator or nominee who will attend the hearing and present the case;
  • The secretary to the panel;
  • Any witnesses brought by you;
  • Any witnesses brought by the school including the tutor who raised the allegation;
  • Your supporter (if applicable).

If you want the panel to hear your version of events, we expect you to attend the hearing. If you do not want to attend the hearing you can submit a statement to us at least 2 working days in advance of the hearing date at. Please be aware that if you decide not to attend the hearing you will not able to answer any questions that the panel may want to ask you.

You can also submit witness statements but you must ensure that these have been signed and dated by your witnesses and are sent to us at least 2 working days in advance of the hearing.

You should also email us at to confirm the names of your witnesses at least 2 working days in advance of the hearing date. If you would like witnesses to attend the hearing it is your responsibility to inform us of their names at least 2 working days before the hearing and ensure you advise them of the hearing date.

If you are unable to attend the AMP you should refer to the section at the top of this procedure called ‘Absence from any meeting or hearing’. 

 

Stage 3 Outcomes

Following the AMP, the panel will make a decision based on the evidence and material available and will apply an outcome based on the balance of probabilities. The outcome reached by the panel will be sent to you and your school, no later than 10 working days after the hearing and will include the notes taken during your meeting.

When considering what outcome to apply, the AMP may consider:

  • Whether you have accepted the allegation;
  • Whether you have provided any mitigating evidence; and
  • Your conduct through this procedure.

The possible outcomes that can be applied are listed here:

  • No case to answer;
  • Fail the entire module with a full repeat (with attendance) in the next academic session unless you are already on a second full attempt of the module. The subsequent repeat will result in the module being capped at the pass mark and complete compulsory training and development;
  • Fail the year in which the offending module(s) occur(s).  This will normally result in you having to withdraw from the course;
  • Withdrawal from the course;
  • Permanent exclusion from the University.

If the case is upheld against you then the panel will take into account any previous academic misconduct offences when applying a penalty.

If a penalty is applied at Stage 3, the outcome will normally appear on your transcript.

Where you are required to leave the course you will normally be awarded any credit you have achieved to date unless the panel specifies otherwise.

 

Appealing the Outcome

 

You can appeal any outcome at any stage, with the exception of the outcome which requires a referral to a later stage. You should complete the Academic Misconduct Appeal Form and submit it to AcademicMisconduct@hud.ac.uk no later than 10 working days from the date when we issued your outcome.

There are four grounds for appeal:

  • You can demonstrate that a material irregularity occurred during the procedure;
  • You can demonstrate that the decision maker(s) reached an unreasonable decision and/or the penalty was disproportionate;
  • You have extenuating circumstances which for good reason you could not tell us about earlier;
  • There was bias or reasonable perception of bias in the procedure.

If your appeal is rejected the original decision will stand.

If your appeal is successful the original decision may be changed or it may stand but the penalty applied may be altered.

Once your appeal has been considered a completion of procedures letter will be issued.

 

Independent review

 

You can request an independent review of our Completion of Procedures Letter (at whichever stage it is issued). You will need to send your Completion of Procedures Letter to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) within 12 months of the date of the completion of procedures letter.