3.7 Stage Three – determining whether the case is dealt with by the Faculty/School or by the University Academic Integrity Lead/Committee of Enquiry
If the Faculty/School’s First Academic Integrity Officer determines there to be a prima facie case of academic misconduct, they shall then determine whether the case can be heard at the Faculty/School level or be referred to the University Academic Integrity Lead.
Faculties/Schools may also examine any other work previously submitted by the student (including work submitted in other Schools/subject areas where the student has pursued modules) for other possible instances of academic misconduct.
The Faculty/School support team shall contact Education Services to clarify whether the student has any previous offences of academic misconduct.
The First Academic Integrity Officer shall not normally be informed of any previously substantiated allegations of academic misconduct before reaching their verdict on the allegation under consideration. However, the Second Academic Integrity Officer should be so informed before determining the penalty in appropriate cases.
The following cases will normally be dealt with at the Faculty/School level:
- Plagiarism: All taught student first and second offences;
- Collusion: All taught student first and second offences;
- Falsification of the results of laboratory, field-work or other forms of data collection and analysis also constitutes academic misconduct.
Note: all taught student second offence allegations concerning plagiarism/collusion will be dealt with at School level, irrespective of the nature of the first offence.
In the case of a subsequent offence of plagiarism or collusion, the Faculty/School Academic Integrity Officer shall consider whether the case is of a serious nature (e.g. a significant part of the assessment has been plagiarised or there has been major collusion).
The First Faculty/School Academic Integrity Officer should take into account the following in determining whether it would be more appropriate to deal with the case at the Faculty/School level (in accordance with Stages Four to Six below), or refer the case to the University Academic Integrity Lead
- The amount of work affected;
- The weighting of the assessment within the module;
- The seriousness of the offence;
- The total number of credits affected;
- The level of study.
The Faculty/School Academic Integrity Officer should refer initially to the guidance in the University's Academic Misconduct Code of Practice 2023-24, but may also approach Education Services or the University Academic Integrity Lead for additional advice in determining whether a case should be dealt with by the Faculty/School or by a University Committee of Enquiry.
3.8 Academic misconduct involving commissioning
Cases of this nature are not dealt with at Faculty/School level and should be forwarded to the University Academic Integrity Lead (see regulation 5.0).
An allegation of commissioning may be amended during a hearing/investigation to allow the allegation to be amended to one of the other academic misconduct offences.
3.9 Stage Four - student response to allegation
If a prima facie case of academic misconduct exists and the First Academic Integrity Officer determines that the case should be dealt with at Faculty/School level, they (or their nominee) should inform the student concerned, in writing, of the suspected case of academic misconduct. Within the letter (a template of which will be available from Education Services) the Faculty/School Academic Integrity Officer will either invite the student to comment in writing (using the Student Response Form template) or invite the student to attend an interview. If the student indicates that they do not wish to attend the interview, the interview will proceed in their absence. Normally a student may not send any other person to the interview in their absence unless this is authorised by the Faculty/School Academic Integrity Officer prior to the interview. Where no response is received from a student, and after all reasonable means have been taken to contact them, the case shall proceed in their absence. In exceptional circumstances, provision may be made for one postponement.
Where the student is invited to an interview, the student shall be entitled to be accompanied by a friend or colleague (who is a member of the University) or a Students' Union representative. The role of any person accompanying the student will be to support the student, and they will not normally be allowed to answer questions on behalf of the student.
A student may be accompanied by an interpreter if it is felt that they will not be able to understand the proceedings fully. It is the student's responsibility to arrange such a translator and be responsible for their fees (except for Welsh translation; see below). The student shall notify the Faculty/School of the name of the interpreter in advance of the meeting. The interpreter’s role is to translate the dialogue between the parties only; They may not answer questions on behalf of the student or add any representations of their own, unless invited to do so by the Chair.
Students wishing to have the hearing in Welsh shall notify the Faculty/School upon receiving notification of the interview date in order for translation services to be arranged by the University's Welsh Language office. Such services shall be provided free of charge to the student.
The interview would normally involve at least two members of staff, usually the First Academic Integrity Officer and one other. The second member of staff may be the Second Academic Integrity Officer or another member of academic staff. A record of the meeting must be kept; this may take the form of written minutes and/or an audio/media recording. At the discretion of the Faculty/School, a third member of staff may be nominated to record/transcribe the meeting.
Meetings will normally be conducted electronically via Zoom/video conferencing and all parties will be expected to enable their webcam.
Students should be provided with copies of evidence; normally this will be a copy of the marked-up essay and/or the Turnitin report, sources etc.
In cases of collusion, students should be sent copies of all the work under investigation, or extracts as appropriate, and any evidence submitted in advance of the interview by the other student(s).
The terms of reference for the interview shall be:
- To consider the evidence submitted with regard to the allegation of academic misconduct;
- To make a recommendation as to the outcome of the case.
In cases where the second Academic Integrity Officer is present at the interview, the terms of reference shall include:
- To determine whether the allegation has been substantiated;
- To determine, in appropriate cases, the penalty which should be imposed.
The procedure during the interview shall be as follows:
The First Academic Integrity Officer shall:
- Introduce themselves and any additional staff to the student;
- Inform the student that they and the second member of staff will question the student, calling witnesses and presenting evidence as they see fit;
- Outline the purpose of the interview and the possible consequences;
- Allow the student and/or their representatives the opportunity to respond to the allegation and outline their case;
- Allow the student to present any evidence which they have brought with them such as drafts, sources, etc.;
- Assess the student’s understanding of academic integrity and academic misconduct;
- Where appropriate, ask the student whether they wish to provide any mitigation and remind the student that, where they could have reported such circumstances to the Faculty/School prior to their decision being made, those circumstances cannot subsequently be cited as grounds for review;
- Provide the student with information regarding the timeline for their decision and the right to appeal against the decision;
- Where appropriate, refer the student for additional help and support, for example to the Personal Tutor, subject librarian or the Academic Success Programme;
- Keep a record of the meeting.
The Faculty/School’s First Academic Integrity Officer does not have to take intent into consideration in relation to an allegation of academic misconduct - there can be no defence that the offence was committed unintentionally or accidentally. Such circumstances can, however, be submitted by the student as mitigation in relation to the penalty to be imposed.
After having considered the evidence and any response provided by the student, the First Academic Integrity Officer shall refer the case along with all relevant evidence, any written response received from the student and any notes of any meeting held with the student to the Second Academic Integrity Officer together with their recommendation as to the outcome of the case using the Case Report form available from Education Services.
3.10 Stage Five - substantiating the case
The Faculty/School’s Second Academic Integrity Officer shall consider the documentation and recommendation received from the First Academic Integrity Officer and shall then determine whether, on the evidence received, the allegation of academic misconduct has been substantiated. The burden of proof (duty of proving the allegation) shall rest on the Faculty/School and the standard of proof should be on the balance of probabilities: a fact will be established if it is more likely than not to have happened.
The Second Academic Integrity Officer does not have to take intent into consideration in relation to an allegation of academic misconduct - there can be no defence that the offence was committed unintentionally or accidentally. Such circumstances can, however, be submitted by the student as mitigation in relation to the penalty to be imposed.
Where the standard of proof is not met, the case should be dismissed, and the student informed of this decision in writing.
In cases where it is felt that poor academic practice rather than academic misconduct has occurred, the case will be dealt with in accordance with 3.6.
If the Second Academic Integrity Officer finds that the allegation of academic misconduct has been substantiated, they shall then determine the penalty to be imposed in accordance with Stage Six below.
3.11 Stage Six - Faculty/School level cases – determining penalties
In order to ensure consistency in the application of penalties, the University provides guidance on penalties in the Academic Misconduct Code of Practice 2023-24.
In addition to this guidance, in cases of PGT directed independent learning and second/subsequent offences, the Second Academic Integrity Officer should contact Education Services for ratification of the proposed penalty. A copy of the draft Case Report and case documentation should be sent to Education Services along with the proposed penalty. The student should not be notified of the penalty until the case has been ratified by Education Services.
The Second Academic Integrity Officer should consult the University’s Code of Practice on Academic Misconduct and may consult with colleagues in arriving at a penalty.
The Second Academic Integrity Officer shall also consider the following:
- The seriousness of the offence;
- The implications of the penalty on the student;
- Case history;
- The candidate’s academic record (including any previous substantiated offences);
- Any mitigating circumstances brought to their attention in determining the penalty.
The Second Academic Integrity Officer should be convinced that any mitigating circumstances have a direct bearing on the case and, in particular, have influenced the action of the student(s) concerned. Candidates raising mitigating circumstances must provide evidence in support of the circumstances and provide clarity on their effect. Where a candidate could have reported such circumstances to the Faculty/School prior to the decision being made, those circumstances cannot subsequently be cited as grounds for review.
The Second Academic Integrity Officer may impose one of the following penalties:
Taught assessment offences:
The issue of a written reprimand to the candidate and the text to be ignored when marking, resulting in a reduced mark.
The cancellation of the candidate's marks for the assignment.
The cancellation of the candidate’s mark(s) for the module component(s).
The cancellation of the candidate's mark for the module concerned.
The cancellation of the candidate's marks in all of the modules for the particular level of study.
Fail dissertation, with a right of resubmission.
Fail dissertation, with no right of resubmission.
The decision whether to allow a student to retake work/assessment(s) shall be taken by the relevant Progression and Awards Board, in accordance with the assessment regulations for the programme. However, the Faculty/School Academic Integrity Officer may, in light of a student’s mitigating circumstances, make a recommendation to the Progression and Awards Board in relation to retaking the work. In such cases, the Chair of the Progression and Awards Board shall have the authority to accept or reject the recommendation.
3.12 Case Report
The Faculty/School Academic Integrity Officer(s) shall draft a report on each case noting whether the allegation has been found substantiated, any penalty imposed and the reasons for the decisions reached (a template shall be available from Education Services). The report, along with a copy of the letter, shall be sent to Education Services where a permanent record will be kept. The report may be considered in final review cases. A copy of the report will also be sent by the Faculty/School to the student (see 3.19 below).
3.13 Informing the student
The Faculty/School should inform the student in writing as to whether the allegation has been found substantiated and any penalty imposed (a template is available from Education Services). A copy of the Case Report should also be provided to the student.
The student will also be notified of the University's Final Review procedure. However, students should note a final review of the outcome could result in a more severe penalty being imposed (e.g. if the current outcome is cancelled and the case is referred for a new investigation and determination). A copy of the letter shall be sent to Education Services.
Where an allegation has been substantiated, and the Faculty/School is concerned that this may affect the student’s fitness to practise, the case may also be referred to the Executive Dean PVC (or nominee) in accordance with the University’s Fitness to Practise Regulations.
Where an allegation has been substantiated, and the student is already registered with a professional, statutory or regulatory body (for example, registration with the General Medical Council), the student is responsible for notifying the professional body of the outcome of the Committee of Enquiry.
3.14 Survey of penalties
In order to ensure consistency, Education Services may carry out a survey of penalties and report any findings to the appropriate University committee.