Q1: What is student misconduct?
Misconduct means behaviour that falls short of the standard of behaviour expected of a student of the University.
There is no definitive list of student conduct offences but the following examples would be regarded as misconduct and, if found to have taken place, would result in a penalty:
- Plagiarism, or using essay writing services;
- Bringing prohibited materials to an exam (whether used or not);
- Behaving in a violent, threatening or offensive way (through actions and/or language – whether expressed orally, in writing, or electronically) including sexual misconduct;
- Harassing behaviour;
- IT misuse;
- Drug-related offences.
Q2: How can I avoid conduct proceedings?
You can avoid committing an offence by simply complying with the rules and regulations of the University. For example:
- Become familiar with the rules and regulations about plagiarism and how plagiarism can be avoided. There is useful information available here;
- Do not try to cheat or bring forbidden materials into an examination. Remember that if you simply fail an examination, you will normally have the right to resit it. However, if you are caught bringing forbidden materials into exams (such as notes, electronic devices, prohibited types of dictionary/calculator, writing on personal items or on your body), you will usually receive grade H for the exam with no chance to resit it. In very severe cases you may have credit refused for a course or even be expelled. Any exam misconduct penalty could prevent you from being able to finish your programme or follow your desired profession;
- Do not damage or vandalise university property. This includes damaging or hacking IT facilities, damaging your university accommodation, deliberately breaking equipment, etc.;
- Respect other people. You need to be aware of what is considered to be harassment, discrimination and disorderly, threatening, offensive, indecent or violent behaviour. Respect other people’s views, personal space and privacy;
- Avoid using threatening, offensive or indecent language in any medium, including through social media;
- Do not submit false information, untruthful claims or documents – for example, when requesting an extension to a deadline for assignments and other forms of assessment, or in relation to absence;
- Do not behave in a way that damages the University’s reputation (for example, by behaving anti-socially at University events, field trips etc.);
- Be careful online. While the University does not wish to interfere in students’ personal lives, online abuse by anyone identified as a Glasgow student will result in conduct action.
Further information can be found in the Code of Student Conduct (Regulation 33).
Q3: I have been accused of plagiarism. What will happen?
If you are a non-Honours undergraduate student and this is the first allegation against you, you will normally be asked to meet with your Head of School or his/her nominee to discuss the matter. You will receive a copy of your work with the suspected plagiarism highlighted, together with the original source of the work. You will be able to take a supporter with you to the meeting and you will be asked to explain what has happened, and to advise of any extenuating circumstances. Someone from the School will be present to take notes. The Head of School will decide whether plagiarism has occurred and, if so, what the penalty will be. You will be told of the outcome at the meeting and will receive it in writing within a week. Possible penalties might be a reduction in your mark, or a Grade H for the work. The Head of School will decide whether or not a resubmission will be allowed.
If you are an Honours or postgraduate student, or you have been found guilty of plagiarism on a previous occasion, the same procedure will apply but the meeting will be with two Senate Assessors for Student Conduct and a member of the Senate Office will take notes.
Possible penalties you might receive include a reprimand (or severe reprimand), a grade reduction, a grade of H, capping or withdrawal of a resubmission opportunity, or refusal of credit. If you are accused of using an essay writing service, you are likely to be referred to the Senate Student Conduct Committee, who can apply more severe penalties, including expulsion from the University.
Regardless of whether you are interviewed within the School or by the Senate Assessors, you will have the right to appeal against the penalty and your letter will explain how to do this and on what grounds you may appeal.
We strongly encourage you to seek advice and support from the Students’ Representative Council as soon as you are notified about an alleged offence. The SRC advisors have a good deal of experience in dealing with such cases.
Q5: I have been accused of exam misconduct. What will happen?
Most cases of exam misconduct are dealt with by the Senate Assessors. You will either be asked to attend a meeting with two Assessors, or to submit a statement instead of attending. If you attend a meeting, a member of the Senate Office will take notes and you can bring a supporter with you. You will be sent a copy of the Invigilator’s Report together with a copy or photograph of any evidence found. You will be asked to explain what has happened and why it happened. The Senate Assessors will decide whether an offence has occurred and, if they agree it has, they will apply a penalty. A typical penalty for an offence of this type is the award of Grade H for the exam, with no resit opportunity. In some cases, credit for the course may be refused, or in extremely serious cases the matter might be referred to the Senate Student Conduct Committee. This can have very serious consequences and could stop you from getting your degree, so please make sure you do not have any prohibited materials with you in an exam, including in pockets. The regulations forbid bringing inappropriate materials into an exam room, and so a penalty can be applied whether or not you have been seen using the materials, and whether or not you say you did not intend to bring them. Be particularly careful of borrowing items from other students, particularly dictionaries – check them thoroughly to ensure the other student has not written in/on them as your failure to check, or the fact that the item does not belong to you, will not be accepted as an excuse.
You will be told the decision and any penalty at the meeting, if you attend, and will receive a letter within about a week. You will have the right to appeal against the penalty and your letter will explain how to do this.
Very serious cases might be dealt with by the Senate Student Conduct Committee- for example, if you have previously been found with prohibited materials in an exam, or if the amount of prohibited material is very substantial.
We strongly encourage you to seek advice and support from the Students’ Representative Council as soon as you are notified about an alleged offence. The SRC advisors have a good deal of experience in dealing with such cases.
Q6: I am scared I will fail my exam. I am thinking of bringing notes/other prohibited material into the exam since I will fail anyway! What do I have to lose?
Remember that if you fail an exam, you will normally have the right to resit it (unless it is an Honours exam, or is already a resit attempt). You will have the chance to revise and understand the course material better, and do your best in the resit exam.
If you are found with notes or other forbidden materials in the examination (whether you were using them or not), you will be subject to University Student Conduct Procedures. If you are found guilty, you will receive a penalty. The usual penalty for bringing prohibited materials is grade H for the exam, with no resit opportunity. In some cases, this will mean you cannot finish your degree and will have to leave with an exit award (such as a certificate or a diploma). In some cases, a more severe penalty might be applied.
Q7: What materials are prohibited in examinations?
The following items must never be brought into examinations:
- mobile phones - they must be switched off (not silent, or flight mode) and placed in a closed bag away from you;
- other electronic devices such as tablets, personal music players and smart watches (switched off and put away from you, as above);
- any form of correction tape, including sellotape;
- any form of notes, printed or handwritten (except where specifically allowed, such as open book exams), either in paper form, on your body, or on personal items such as calculators, pens, pencils, mugs, bottles, product labels etc.
Dictionaries (if permitted) must not have ANY handwritten or printed notes on or within their pages. Note that ONLY translation dictionaries are permitted - NOT subject-related or English definition dictionaries, or translation dictionaries that also provide definitions.
Students must switch off all electrical devices (not on silent or flight mode) and put them away prior to the start of the examination in a closed bag or container which will be kept under their seat or in a designated location in the exam room for the duration of the examination.
Any prohibited material or item found will be taken away and a report will be sent to the Senate Office.
Further information about exam rules can be found in the Instructions to Candidates on their Conduct in Written Examinations (Regulation 17).
Q8: I haven’t done what I’ve been accused of. What can I do?
You will always be given the opportunity to defend yourself and there is no presumption of guilt. You will have the chance to submit a written statement and any other supporting documentation you think is useful before you come to an interview about the matter. You will also have the chance to state your case in person at the interview, and to have a supporter with you. Additionally, you will have the right of appeal against any penalty. We recommend asking the SRC Advisors for help with making your appeal.
Q9: What are my rights during the conduct process?
If you are accused of misconduct you will be interviewed by two Senate Assessors for Student Conduct or have your case considered in your absence (level 1) or by the Senate Student Conduct Committee (level 2).
- You should familiarise yourself with all the procedures and relevant information about student conduct. You can access online informational materials or ask the Senate Office questions about the process. However, we will not be able to tell you before the meeting what the outcome will be, or is likely to be, as each case is treated individually;
- You have the right to be accompanied, assisted or represented at the meeting by ONE of the following: a parent or guardian; a fellow student or other friend; an Adviser of the Students’ Representative Council Advice Centre; a member of the University staff, or any other person;
- You can contact the Students’ Representative Council and their Advice Centre if you need more information and guidance about the student conduct process;
- You will receive all the paperwork that will be considered by the Senate Assessors or the Committee. They will not see any documentation that you do not see;
- At the meeting or in any letter about the matter, the details of the allegation will be stated and you will be given the opportunity to respond, and to admit or deny responsibility for the offence;
- You can present any form of evidence relevant to your case;
- If you are unhappy with the outcome of your case you can appeal against it;
- If you are not satisfied with the final outcome, after exhausting the University’s appeal procedures, you have the right to complain to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO). Further information can be found at www.spso.org.uk/.
Q10: How should I behave if I am accused of misconduct?
If you think you have not engaged in misconduct, you have the right to state this and to present evidence supporting this claim. However, if you have breached the Code of Student Conduct, you should admit this instead of trying to deny responsibility. Denying responsibility may lead to the case being escalated to the Senate Student Conduct Committee, if the Senate Assessors have reason to believe the allegation may be true, or at least needs further investigation. Your case will be judged in accordance with the University regulations for student conduct and the final outcome of your case will be based on the investigation conducted by the Senate Assessors or Conduct Committee, and any evidence you submit.
If you fail to comply, without good reason, with the Code (such as by failing to attend a meeting with the Assessors or the Conduct Committee, or by failing to comply with a penalty or condition imposed), you will not be allowed to re-register or graduate until the matter is resolved.
If you behave inappropriately during the Conduct process, the University reserves the right to suspend procedures within the Code. In such case the Clerk of Senate or nominee will suspend procedures and advise you of this. Further misconduct may be considered an additional breach of the Code and may lead to further conduct proceedings against you.
Q11: Who will interview me?
If you are being interviewed by the School (plagiarism allegations only), it will usually be the Head of School, Head of Subject, or another nominee. The letter you receive about attending the interview will state this.
If you are being interviewed, or having your case considered in your absence, by the Senate Assessors, the letter you receive will state this. The names of the current Senate Assessors can be found here and the letter you receive will give you the names of the Senate Assessors who will interview you or consider the case in your absence. You will not have your case considered by any Senate Assessor who comes from your own School/Research Institute or who might teach on your programme.
Q13: I am on placement or overseas and have been asked to attend a conduct meeting. What can I do?
If you are not able to attend the meeting, you must tell us. You can send a written statement instead (see previous question), or you can send someone to represent you. We do not offer meetings via Skype at present.
Q14: If I don’t turn up to a conduct meeting or send a statement, is it just forgotten about?
No. If you do not turn up to a meeting with the Senate Assessors or the Senate Student Conduct Committee without advising us that you cannot attend, and seeking an alternative date, the Senate Assessors or the Committee will make a decision in your absence. This means you have not been able to have your say, so it is not in your best interest.
Q15: I’ve been told my case has been referred to the Senate Student Conduct Committee. What does this mean and what will happen?
Cases may be referred to the Senate Student Conduct Committee for several reasons and the letter you receive will explain what the reason is. It may be that:
- the allegation is so serious that the Senate Assessors cannot deal with it;
- the Senate Assessors have already interviewed you but could not reach a decision;
- you have denied responsibility for the offence at an interview with the Senate Assessors, but they believe (and may have evidence) that you have committed the offence.
The Senate Student Conduct Committee is chaired by a Vice Principal or other senior member of staff. Five other members, usually including a student member, and a member of the Senate Office will also attend. No member will come from your School/Research Institute or teach on your programme. The Senior Senate Assessor attends to present the case and you then have an opportunity to state your case. You can also submit supporting documentation in advance of the meeting, and you can bring a supporter with you. You will be told of the Committee’s decision at the meeting, and will receive a letter within ten working days. You will have the right to appeal against any penalty that is applied. This Committee has the ability to impose a range of penalties, up to and including permanent expulsion from the University in very serious cases. You should also note that if an appeal goes to the Senate Student Conduct Committee, the Committee can uphold the original decision and may also increase the penalty.
If your case is referred to the Senate Student Conduct Committee, the Senate Office will send you separate guidance about the process when they advise you of the referral.
Q16: What sort of offences would be sent directly to the Senate Student Conduct Committee and have more severe consequences for me?
Any repeated offence is likely to be directly sent to the Senate Student Conduct Committee and to be treated more severely. Other examples of serious offences, which would likely be directly sent to the Senate Student Conduct Committee, are:
- deception or fraud;
- sexual offences;
- some drug-related offences;
- contract cheating (purchasing work to submit as your own, such as the use of essay writing services).
The penalties for these sort of offences are usually more severe and include expulsion and suspension. They can prevent you from obtaining your intended degree and may also result in referral under Fitness to Practise procedures, if you are on a professional degree.
Q17: Do I need legal representation?
The Code of Student Conduct and its related processes are University procedures, not legal ones. Therefore, you do not need any legal representation. However, you are allowed to be accompanied, assisted or represented at the meeting by ONE of the following: a parent or a guardian, a fellow student or other friend, an adviser of the Students’ Representative Council Advice Centre, a member of the University staff, or any other person. If you wish to take legal advice or have a lawyer accompany you, you have the right to do so. In such cases, the University will also engage legal representation so you will be required to give us sufficient notice - at least five working days. The University will not fund any legal representation for students.
Q18: What will happen to me if I am found guilty of an offence?
This depends on the severity of the offence and other relevant information (for example, whether it is a repeat offence, whether there are mitigating circumstances, etc.). Below are some examples of possible outcomes and consequences, but note that each case is treated individually so these should be used as a guide only:
- Plagiarism/collaboration: You will be subject to an academic penalty. You may receive a grade reduction, or a grade H for the assignment or course, and may not be allowed a resubmission opportunity. We cannot award marks to you for work that is not your own, so the normal grade awarded is H (zero). In very serious cases, credit may be refused. Any of these penalties could prevent you from completing your degree, depending on the weighting of the assignment/course;
- Bringing prohibited materials to an exam: Usually, grade H for the exam, with no resit opportunity. This could prevent you from completing your degree. In more serious cases, the penalty might be grade H for a whole course, or assessment diet, or the refusal of credit for your work. For very severe or repeated offences, expulsion is possible;
- Damaging property: If you damage property, you might be required to pay a fine up to £200 in addition to paying for the cost of repairs. If your case is heard by the Conduct Committee, the fine may be much higher. You may also be required to write an apology letter;
- Anti-social behaviour: You might be obliged to write an apology letter and/or do community service of up to 24 hours. You might also need to pay a fine;
- Severe academic or non-academic offence: If you have been found guilty of committing a very severe academic or non-academic offence (such as contract cheating), you might be expelled from the University. If you are expelled, you will receive no University award, even if you would otherwise be eligible for one. Suspension from the university is also a possibility. This could range from a few weeks, to a year or more, depending on the offence;
- Misconduct within a professional degree: Some cases of student misconduct within professional degrees might prevent you from practising your intended profession. The Senate Assessors or Conduct Committee may refer your case to the Fitness to Practise Committee, which makes this decision. The University will inform the relevant professional body that they consider you are unfit to practise.
In most cases, you will also receive a verbal or written warning in addition to another penalty. A written warning will stay on your record, but does not appear on your transcript.
Q19: I disagree with a penalty I’ve been given, or think the wrong decision was made. What can I do?
All students have the right to appeal. If you disagree with a decision made by the Head of School or nominee, you can appeal to the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct to consider your case. If you disagree with a decision made by the Senate Assessors, you can appeal to the Senate Student Conduct Committee. If you disagree with a decision made by the Senate Student Conduct Committee, you can appeal to the Senate Student Conduct Appeals Committee. The letter you receive telling you the outcome and penalty will always tell you about your right of appeal and how to make an appeal. We recommend that you seek advice from the SRC if you want to make an appeal. Note that the penalty could be reduced or remain the same on appeal, but could also be increased if the panel hearing the appeal believes the penalty was too lenient. You should consider this when deciding whether to appeal.
If you exhaust the University’s conduct appeal procedures, you have the right to take your case to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, and at that time we will tell you how to do this.
Q20: What does ‘Fitness to Practise’ mean? What happens to me if I am classified as unfit to practise my intended profession?
Some offences and breaches of the University Code of Conduct raise concerns as to whether the student meets the relevant Code of Professional Conduct and Fitness to Practise (for example, violent, harassing or discriminating behaviour, or deception/fraud/dishonesty). Fitness to Practise is relevant to professional degrees regulated by professional bodies in certain Schools.
Your case may be referred directly to Fitness to Practise procedures or, following a finding under the Code of Student Conduct, your School may decide to consider your case under the Procedure for Determining Fitness to Practise and may refer your case to the School Fitness to Practise Committee. If you are classified as unfit to practise after the outcome of the Fitness to Practise Committee, you will not be permitted to continue on your degree. Information about the offence will not be included on your academic transcript, but will be reported to the professional body accrediting your degree.
Further information can be found in the Procedure for Determining Fitness to Practise (Regulation 36).
Q21: What happens if I am accused of, or charged with, a criminal offence?
If the University believes or is advised that a criminal offence may have been committed by one of its students, either on campus or off campus, it may report the matter to the police. Additionally, students should disclose any criminal charge (other than driving offences) applied while they are registered as a student. In some cases, another student may alert us to the fact.
Possible actions are as follows:
- If clear evidence is available that a breach of the Code of Student Conduct is likely to have taken place, the University may start conduct proceedings alongside any criminal proceedings;
- The University may decide to wait for the outcome of criminal proceedings before deciding whether to take action under the Code of Student Conduct. The University may then use any criminal findings as evidence in its proceedings;
- Depending on the type of allegation, you may be suspended from the University as a precaution pending further investigation, if there is considered to be a risk to other students or staff. This course of action would typically apply to students charged with sexual offences or other violence;
- The University may take action under the Code of Student Conduct for an incident that has been considered by a criminal court, whether or not you have been found guilty by the court, because a breach of the Code of Student Conduct may still have occurred.
Q22: Does the Code of Student Conduct apply to my behaviour off campus?
Yes. If you are accused of misconduct outside the university campus and a complaint against you has been submitted, you will be subject to the procedures for student misconduct. In addition, the same applies for communications on social media. Members of the public (such as landlords, students from other institutions, neighbours etc.) can also submit complaints about you. They may result in conduct proceedings.
Q23: Will conduct matters appear on my transcript/HEAR?
No. A record is kept in the Senate Office but it does not appear on your transcript or HEAR. However, your academic grades will appear on your transcript, including any grade of H or Credit Refused you may receive as a penalty.
Q24: Will conduct matters be revealed in any reference the University provides?
Sometimes, but not routinely. The information will only be given if we are asked specifically about conduct matters, or if there is a concern related to Fitness to Practise.
Q25: I am a student and want to report someone. What can I do, and what sort of behaviour would you consider?
We will consider any case where another University of Glasgow student is harassing, abusing or discriminating against you (either in person, in writing, or by email or social media), or is behaving in a violent or threatening way towards you, provided that person can be identified and that you have evidence of the inappropriate behaviour. You can also report it to us if you have reason to believe another student is doing something unfair (e.g. using essay writing services or cheating) or illegal (e.g. using or dealing drugs). See guidance on reporting potentially criminal matters.
Remember that you can also report matters to the police if another student is harassing or threatening you or is making you feel frightened or unsafe, and you can do this as well as reporting it to the University. In some cases the University’s powers of investigation are limited (for example, we cannot investigate sexual assaults as we do not have the power to do so) but we can ensure that you are kept safe on campus while police investigations are ongoing, so you should still report any such case to us. Advice on University support for students who have been subjected to sexual offences can be found here.
Q26: Does the person I make complaint about have to know it came from me?
In most cases, we will have to let the person know, as it is unfair to hide this information. They need to be given the opportunity to defend themselves. Also, the content of the complaint often means it is likely the person will be able to identify who it has come from. However, in certain cases we may not need to identify you. You can discuss this with us before deciding to make a complaint.