***The new Regulation 11 was approved by the Senate on 7 July 2021 and noted by the Council on 14 July 2021, with changes taking effect from 4 October 2021, or earlier, for students on courses commencing in the summer vacation***
Link to Reg. 11 Procedure to be Adopted in the Event of Suspected Cheating in a University Test effective before 4 October 2021.
Regulation 11 should be read in conjunction with the University Guidance on Academic Integrity.
PART A: ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT
Practices and actions that undermine academic integrity have the capacity to diminish the value of the University's awards to their holders and damage the University's reputation. Assessments have to be equitable, valid and reliable.
These regulations apply to students currently or previously registered on an award-bearing undergraduate or postgraduate taught course or research degree delivered by the University and those registered to study for the award of academic credit delivered by the University.
To ensure that students understand the importance of academic integrity, work submitted for assessment must include the University’s standard declaration of originality to indicate their understanding of the regulation. Where students use a virtual learning environment or an examination portal the declaration will be an integral part of the process of submitting. If submitted via alternative means, then students should be asked to complete a declaration in a suitable format.
A3 Academic Misconduct
Academic misconduct are acts or omissions by a student which give or have the potential to give an unfair advantage in an examination or assessment, or might assist someone else to gain an unfair advantage, or an activity likely to undermine the integrity essential to scholarship and research. An advantage is unfair if it is, or intended to be, obtained by an act specifically disallowed in this Regulation, or if it goes against the principles of academic integrity underpinning this Regulation.
Academic misconduct requires the intention to obtain an unfair advantage, or knowingly engaging in a behaviour that has the potential to give an unfair advantage, irrespective of whether such advantage is actually obtained.
A3.3 Forms of academic misconduct
Forms of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to, the following:
(i) Plagiarism. Presenting someone else’s work or ideas as the student’s own;
(ii) Self-plagiarism. Submitting the same work that the student has already submitted for another assessment, unless this is permitted;
(iii) Taking a copy of another student’s work without their permission;
(iv) Collusion. Working with one or more others on an assessment which is intended to be the student’s own work;
(v) Contract cheating. Where someone completes work for a student, whether for remuneration or not, which is then submitted as the student’s own (including use of essay mills or buying work online);
(vi) Arranging for someone else to impersonate a student by undertaking their assessment or examination, in person or otherwise;
(vii) Accessing, or attempting to access, unseen assessment materials in advance of an in-person or online examination, or to obtain or share unseen materials in advance of an in-person or online examination, or to facilitate such activities;
(viii) Submitting fraudulent mitigating circumstances claims or falsifying evidence in support of mitigating circumstances claims (this may also be considered a non-academic disciplinary matter);
(ix) Fabrication or falsification of research, including falsifying data, evidence or experimental results.
A3.4 Possession of unauthorised materials
A further form of academic misconduct is possession of unauthorised material or technology during an in-person or online examination. Such possession gives rise to a presumption that the student had the intention to gain an unfair advantage unless the student can prove that they did not have such an intention.
A4 Poor Academic Practice
Poor academic practice is the failure to observe principles of academic integrity. It typically (but not exclusively) occurs when referencing is inadequate, but not in a way suggesting that the student attempted to gain an unfair advantage.
There is no penalty for poor academic practice: marks are not deducted, instead work is assessed under the marking criteria (e.g., the University Marking Scales have an implicit expectation in respect of good academic practice).
A4.3 No appeals
Judgements about poor academic practice are academic judgements against which there is no appeal.
A5.1 Available Sanctions to Academic Conduct Panels
The following range of sanctions is available to Academic Conduct Panels (ACP, as defined in B3.2) in cases of academic misconduct:
(i) A reduction in mark for the assessed work to reflect the impact of the academic misconduct. The mark may be reduced down to zero;
(ii) Require re-submission of the original work with revised referencing, for a capped mark;
(iii) Require re-submission of a new piece of work for a reduced or capped mark.
Any decision involving re-submission should comply with University Regulations and policies and departmental policies governing the re-submission of work.
A5.2 Available Sanctions to Academic Integrity Committees
Institution level Academic Integrity Committees (AIC, as defined in B3.3) can impose the same sanctions as ACPs, and, irrespective of whether reference to it was made by the department or by the student, in appropriate cases also the following sanctions:
(i) Determine that the student’s previous work, for which credits had already been accumulated, is to be investigated for academic misconduct by the student’s home department;
(ii) Recommend to the Academic Registrar that the student be withdrawn from the University, either for a temporary period or permanently under Regulation 36;
(iii) Determine that a student shall have no right to resubmit, or remedy failure with respect to, the piece or pieces of work in respect of which the case was referred to the AIC.
These sanctions are available to AICs only where the student has shown severe, or systematic and repeat disrespect for principles of academic integrity that are not isolated to one piece of work, or where the extent or nature of misconduct is such as to warrant a sanction exceeding those listed in A5.1.
A5.3 Relationship to Right to Remedy Failure Policy
(1) Where an item of assessment is failed due to a reduction of the mark under A5.1(i) above, the student has the right to remedy failure if such a right exists under the University’s Right to Remedy Failure Policy. This will be determined by the Examination Board.
(2) Where failure occurs in an item of assessment that was re-submitted under A5.1(ii) or (iii), there shall be no further right to remedy failure under the University’s Right to Remedy Failure Policy.
A5.4 Appropriateness of Sanction
(1) Any sanction levied must be proportionate to the offence but also must not generate disproportionate consequences.
(2) Where a student admits to a minor first offence this may be taken into account when determining the sanction. A minor first offence can exist despite an earlier determination of poor academic practice.
PART B: PROCEDURE
B1.1 Office holders
Whenever this Regulation makes reference to an office holder of the University, that reference includes the office holder or their nominated representative.
B1.2 Students registered at another institution
In the case of possible academic misconduct by a student on a course not taught by but leading to an award from or validated by the University, the procedures set out in the formal agreement between the parties will be followed.
B1.3 Consideration of academic misconduct record
In some cases a student’s previous record of academic misconduct investigations may be a relevant consideration; relevant findings available to Academic Conduct Panels will be shared with an Academic Integrity Committee.
B1.4 Reconsideration of an assessment
An allegation of misconduct may be reconsidered if new evidence emerges which, for good reason, could not have been obtained at the time. In deciding whether it is appropriate to consider an allegation for a second time, the Academic Registrar will decide if it is proportionate, taking into account whether leaving the matter unaddressed would impact on matters of fitness to practise, or on any obligations of the University to statutory, professional or regulatory.
B1.5 Academic misconduct identified after the accumulation of credits
Retrospective removal of credits is possible where academic misconduct is found in work for which credits had already been accumulated but before a final academic award has been made.
B1.6 Former students
In the case of suspected academic misconduct relating to an assessment which contributed to the previous approval of an academic award or honour, the processes laid out in this Regulation may be followed if the Academic Registrar considers it proportionate and relevant records have been retained. A recommendation to revoke an award or honour may be made by an Academic Integrity Committee acting on behalf of the Senate.
B1.7 Relation to Regulation 34
Where an allegation of academic misconduct is found to be proven in the case of a student whose course comes under Regulation 34, Determination of Fitness to Practise, this information will result in that relevant regulatory process being followed.
B1.8 Anonymous accusations
Anonymous accusations made about students cannot form the basis of a finding of academic misconduct. Such an accusation may however trigger an investigation under B4. Where a student brings an allegation against another student and requests anonymity from the department or the University, the student should be alerted to the foregoing sentence and be informed that without independent evidence of academic misconduct no sanction can be imposed.
B2 Principles of the process to be applied in a case of suspected academic misconduct
Cases of possible academic misconduct will be dealt with in confidence, to the extent that this is compatible with making enquiries and holding meetings to consider the matter. Information may be shared with external examiners to the extent necessary.
The University recognises that investigations into alleged academic misconduct can be very stressful for students. The University will complete the investigation in a timely manner.
B2.3 Burden and standard of proof
(1) For academic misconduct to be found proven the University should prove, to the accepted standard of proof, that a student is guilty of academic misconduct. The burden of proving mitigation and other factors claimed by way of defence is on the student.
(2) The level of proof required for suspected academic misconduct to be found proven or not proven is ‘the balance of probabilities’, that is, it is more likely than not that there was academic misconduct.
Throughout the academic integrity process, students will normally be expected to speak on their own behalf unless, for example, communication aids are required due to a disability.
In both an ACP and an AIC a student may be accompanied by a person in a support capacity. This cannot be anyone who has been involved in relevant activities and would typically be a member of staff of the University, such as the Students’ Union or the student’s personal tutor. All accompanying persons will be provided with written guidance regarding their role and expected conduct within the context of the meeting.
B2.5 Reasonable Adjustments
Reasonable adjustments to the processes described in the regulation, including the extension of deadlines for student responses, will be considered by the Chair of an Academic Conduct Panel or secretariat of an Academic Integrity Committee, and will be made where the student can provide relevant third party evidence that demonstrates the need for those adjustments.
B2.6 Exceptional Circumstances
It may be appropriate to amend the procedures in this Regulation, for example in exceptional circumstances where strict application would result in substantial unfairness to the student or the student is in some way at risk.
B2.7 Procedural fairness and natural justice
The procedure in cases of suspected academic misconduct is guided by the overarching principles of procedural fairness and natural justice, in particular the right of the student to be heard, the procedural rules being clear, transparent and non-discriminatory, and the sanction being appropriate.
B2.8 Educational value
The investigations of suspected breaches of academic integrity should not just be exercised as an investigatory process with a view to determine an outcome. The process should be informed by the idea that the student involved can learn about academic integrity from the process and direct their behaviour accordingly.
B3 Bodies and competences
B3.1 Roles and Responsibilities
(1) Heads of Departments have final responsibility for managing instances of suspected academic misconduct identified by markers in assessments delivered by their department. Heads of Department may delegate the exercise of their functions under this Regulation and Procedural Rules to departmental staff leading on questions of academic integrity (Lead on Academic Integrity, or Director of Academic Integrity).
(2) The Academic Registrar has responsibility for instances of suspected academic misconduct referred to an Academic Integrity Committee (AIC) by a Head of Department.
(3) The Academic Registrar has delegated responsibility for appeals.
B3.2 Academic Conduct Panels
(1) An Academic Conduct Panel (ACP) is a panel of departmental teaching staff with a remit to consider material submitted by markers who are concerned that academic misconduct may have occurred, in order to make recommendations to the Module Leader and/or the Head of Department as appropriate.
(2) Academic Conduct Panels should contain at least two experienced markers and should not include the Head of Department. Membership of an Academic Conduct Panel considering work where academic misconduct may have occurred should not include teachers/lecturers on the module that the work in question is from, unless this is impracticable in the circumstances. One of the members of the Panel acts as Chair.
B3.3 Academic Integrity Committee
(1) An Academic Integrity Committee (AIC) is an institutional level committee drawn from a panel of teaching staff from all faculties. It decides allegations of academic misconduct as per the procedure laid down in Section B4.4 and has the powers set out in Section B3.7.
(2) An AIC shall normally consist of the Chair and two other members. It is chaired by the Chair or Deputy Chair of a Board of a Faculty, the Chair or Deputy Chair of a Faculty Education Committee or other member of academic staff nominated by the Vice-Chancellor, together with no fewer than one member drawn from the published panel. The AIC must not include any member of the student's department.
B3.4 Appeals Committee
(1) An Appeals Committee is normally composed of the Chair and two other members as appointed by the Vice-Chancellor. It is chaired by a Pro Vice Chancellor or a Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor of the University, together with no fewer than one other member from the published panel, and one member who can act as Chair of an AIC as per B3.3(2).
(2) No member of the Appeals Committee shall have been involved at any earlier stage of the process.
B3.5 Composition of ACP, AIC and Appeals Committee
(1) The members of an ACP, AIC or Appeals Committee, including the Chair, shall receive adequate training on matters of academic integrity prior to hearing cases.
(2) The Chair should be satisfied that the panel or committee is correctly constituted; this will include considerations relating to equality and diversity. The Chair will have the right, and the obligation, to revise the constitution of the panel should they believe it does not fairly reflect a diversity of views and experiences, and where relevant training has not been fulfilled by panel members.
B3.6 Suspected academic misconduct to be referred to an AIC
An ACP should refer a case to an AIC in the following situations:
(i) Allegations relating to an assessment that contributed to the previous approval of an award to the student;
(ii) Allegations relating to contract cheating;
(iii) Where the penalty or penalties imposed would potentially result in the student being ineligible to qualify for the award for which they are registered, irrespective of whether this is a consequence of one or several allegations of academic misconduct;
(iv) Complex allegations of collusion between students, such as where the number of students involved or the complexity of the learning activity make a resolution at University level desirable;
(v) Cases of repeat offences that cannot be adequately resolved by an ACP;
(vi) Where an ACP considers a sanction adequate that only an AIC can impose;
(vii) In other situations where there is an institutional interest in a resolution of the allegation at AIC level.
B3.7 Powers of AICs
(1) An AIC may impose any of the sanctions mentioned in Section A5.
(2) Where an AIC is convinced that academic misconduct occurred in a period of time during which the student experienced a situation that would have given rise to a claim in mitigation, it might make a recommendation to a departmental Examination Board to allow resubmission of the assessment under investigation for an uncapped mark, or to make a progression decision or confer an award, as the case may be, without taking into account the item of assessment under investigation, if doing so is possible under University Regulations and policies.
B4 Process to be followed in the case of suspected academic misconduct
B4.1 Academic misconduct suspected during an examination
Where academic misconduct is suspected by an invigilator or other member of University staff in an in-person, or online, examination, whether remotely proctored or not, the Senior Invigilator will raise their concerns with the student and inform them that a report of suspected academic misconduct will be made to the Head of the Department responsible for the examination in question. The process under Section B4.3 will then be followed.
B4.2 Academic misconduct suspected by a marker
(1) A module leader shall make an initial assessment in a case of suspected academic misconduct raised by a marker or otherwise in the process of marking and moderation. The module leader may take the following decisions:
(i) decide that there is no case to answer;
(ii) treat the case as one of poor academic practice; or
(iii) refer the case to an Academic Conduct Panel.
(2) In situations (i) and (ii) above the assessment will be returned to the marker and an appropriate mark given. In these situations, the Module Leader’s decision is final.
B4.3 Procedure in an Academic Conduct Panel
(1) If the case is referred to an ACP, the Chair, or other appropriate staff member (e.g. lead colleague on academic integrity), shall make an initial assessment as to whether the allegation is likely to be upheld, and refer the case back to the module leader to be treated under the foregoing provision if it is unlikely to be upheld.
(2) Where the Chair deems the allegation to be likely to be upheld, they will write to the student to let them know that their assessment is being considered by an ACP, what academic misconduct is suspected (under the definitions outlined in Section A3), and invite the student to submit a written statement to the ACP or to attend the ACP meeting, or both, as appears most appropriate.
(3) If the student chooses not to attend the ACP meeting this alone should not be taken as an indication of guilt.
(4) The ACP will consider the assessed work and the student’s written statement, if relevant, including any admission of guilt and implications this may have for other students in cases of suspected collusion. The ACP may consider other evidence.
(5) The ACP may take the following decisions:
(i) decide that there is no case to answer;
(ii) treat the case as one of poor academic practice; or
(iii) find academic misconduct proven, and, where appropriate, recommend referral to an AIC.
(6) If the ACP decides that, on the balance of probabilities, academic misconduct has occurred, it should make a report to the Head of Department, including a recommendation as to the appropriate sanction or for referral to an AIC. The Head of Department will communicate their decision to the student in writing.
(7) If referral to an AIC is not made or requested, the Head of Department will apply the sanction determined.
B4.4 Procedure in an Academic Integrity Committee
(1) The student may request, within ten University Working Days of being informed by the Head of Department of the sanction, that the case is considered by an AIC, in which case the Head of Department will make a report to the Academic Registrar.
(2) Following receipt of a report of suspected academic misconduct the Academic Registrar will decide if referral to an AIC is appropriate, or if there is no case to answer.
(3) If referral to an AIC is deemed appropriate the Academic Registrar will share a copy of the report with the student and invite them to attend a meeting of an AIC and to provide a written response to the report in advance of the meeting. The meeting will still be held if the student chooses not to attend; if the student wishes to attend but is unable to, reasonable efforts will be made to reschedule the meeting to allow the student to attend. Meetings may be held in person or virtually.
(4) The Head of Department of the module in which the student is suspected of academic misconduct will present the allegation and answer questions of the AIC pertaining to the case.
(5) The student will be invited to reply to the allegation(s) and has the right to request attendees who can attest to a question of fact as a witness and to address them via the Chair. Character or, expert witnesses are not part of the process.
(6) If the AIC is satisfied that academic misconduct is proven it will determine the sanction taking into account any admission of academic misconduct by the student.
(7) If the AIC is not satisfied that the academic misconduct is proven, the student will receive an outcome letter informing them of this and the matter will be closed.
B4.5 Academic misconduct suspected by the examiner of a research degree
(1) If an examiner of a research degree suspects a candidate of academic misconduct the examination process will be stopped, and the internal examiner or examination adviser will raise their concerns with the student and inform them that a report of suspected academic misconduct will be made to the Academic Registrar. The internal examiner or examination adviser will inform the Head of Department who will make a report to the Academic Registrar. The process under Section B4.4 will then be followed.
(2) Academic misconduct suspected in other assessments submitted by a research student, such as material submitted for an upgrade or assessments submitted for taught elements of a course of study, will be treated under the procedure laid down in B4.2, provided that for upgrade material ‘a reviewer’ is to be substituted for ‘the module leader’.
B4.6 Special rules for collusion cases
(1) In cases of suspected collusion, the identity of the other students alleged to be involved shall be anonymised when notifying a student of the allegation against them.
(2) All students will be asked for their written comments, which will be shared after anonymisation with the other students involved.
(3) All students will be invited to collectively attend an ACP and/or AIC. Each student ought to be provided with an opportunity to address the ACP and/or AIC without the other student being present.
(4) Where an AIC is held virtually and a student who wishes to attend is unable to join the meeting, the meeting should proceed so that other students involved in the case are not impacted disproportionately.
B5.1 Right to Appeal
The student has the right of appeal against either the decision of the AIC or the sanction applied.
B5.2. Grounds of Appeal
Appeals may be made on the following grounds only:
(i) That there is evidence of a procedural irregularity in the conduct of the Committee.
(ii) That there is evidence of prejudice or bias on the part of the Committee.
(iii) That the student is in possession of relevant evidence which was not available to the Committee at the time of its decision. In this instance, the student must provide a reasonable explanation for why the evidence was not made available earlier.
B5.3 Appeal Review Panel stage
(1) An appeal will be considered by an Appeal Review Panel (ARP). The Appeal Review Panel will be constituted from one member drawn from the relevant Graduate Appeals Committee Panel or the Undergraduate Appeals Committee Panel and one of the following:
a) Chair or Deputy Chair of a Faculty Board
b) Chair or Deputy Chair of a Faculty Education Committee
c) Director of Graduate Studies or Director of Undergraduate Studies from a department other than that of the appellant.
No member of academic staff of any course or module studied by the appellant shall be a member of the Appeal Review Panel, nor should the ARP include any member of the appellant’s department.
(2) The Appeal Review Panel will consider whether an appellant has brought their appeal within the grounds as set out in B5.2 above and may also consider the substance and merits of the appeal and whether the factors advanced by the appellant would have had relevance at the time of the AIC.
(3) The Appeal Review Panel must reject an appeal if it decides that:
(i) The student has not put forward any grounds for appeal, as laid down in B5.2.
(ii) For appeals on the basis that the student is in possession of relevant evidence which they were not able to present previously, the student has not put forward a reasonable explanation for the lack of availability of this evidence at the AIC stage.
(4) Where the Appeal Review Panel considers that the evidence constitutes grounds for an appeal, the case will be referred to an Appeals Committee, constituted according to B3.4.
(5) The appellant and the department will be notified of the reasons for the Appeal Review Panel’s decision.
B5.4 Appeal Committee stage
(1) The procedure in the Appeals Committee follows the same rules as the procedure in an AIC under B4.4 with appropriate modifications where they are required.
(2) The Head(s) of the Department(s) responsible for the module(s) concerned will attend the committee and will be invited to present a response to the appeal.
(3) If required, the Chair of the AIC will be asked to attend the Appeal Committee to answer any questions concerning the AIC's original decision, but will attend for this purpose only and will not remain present throughout the appeal hearing.
(4) The Appeal Committee has the power to confirm or to set aside the decision of the AIC, or to set aside or vary the sanction imposed by the AIC. The decisions of the Appeal Committee are final and will be communicated to the Secretary of the appropriate Board of Examiners.
(5) In the case of an unsuccessful appeal the appellant will receive a completion of procedures letter which will allow them to take their case to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA).
B6 Record of academic misconduct proceedings
(1) Records of University level academic integrity proceedings are to be kept in line with the University Records Retention Schedule. An AIC may include a determination that a finding of academic misconduct is to be highlighted in any reference requested during a specified period of time which may not exceed the retention period under the University Record Retention Schedule.
(2) Departments are to keep records of departmental academic integrity proceedings, including findings of poor academic practice, in accordance with the University Records Retention Schedule.