Student Conduct

All students at the University of Glasgow are expected to adhere to the University’s Code of Student Conduct, and action is taken against those students alleged to have breached this Code. Students are representatives of the University and as such are expected to behave appropriately.

A suspected breach can be reported by any member of staff in the University and associated bodies, another student, or a member of the public. Behaviour that might breach the Code includes:

  • academic misconduct (plagiarism, misconduct in examinations, using essay writing services);
  • violent, harassing or threatening behaviour, including sexual misconduct;
  • dishonest or fraudulent behaviour;
  • use or supply of drugs.

Certain breaches can be dealt with by your School (for example, first instances of plagiarism in 1st and 2nd year), while others have to be referred to the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct. Very serious matters will be escalated to either the Senate Student Academic Conduct Committee or the Senate Student Non-Academic Conduct Committee.

If you wish to report an offence that might also be a criminal offence, or if you have been accused of a criminal offence yourself, please read the guidance on reporting potentially criminal matters.

Below you will find the answers to the questions students most frequently ask about student conduct. If you have another question or concern that is not addressed here, please contact the Senate Office - student-conduct@glasgow.ac.uk.

You should also consult the Learning Enhancement & Academic Development Service (LEADS) plagiarism resource if you have questions or concerns about plagiarism.

Frequently Asked Questions: Code of Student Conduct - Academic Misconduct Allegations

Q1: What is academic misconduct?

There is no definitive list of academic offences but the following are examples of academic misconduct which, if found to have taken place, would result in a penalty:

  • Plagiarism from any source, including from your own submitted work or translation from sources in other languages
  • Using essay writing services
  • Using online Q&A sites in producing an assessment
  • Bringing prohibited materials or items to an exam
  • Colluding with others on assessment

Q2: How can I avoid conduct proceedings?

  • Become familiar with the rules and regulations about plagiarism and how plagiarism can be avoided. There is useful information available here.
  • Make sure you know the rules about expected conduct in exams. For on-campus exams you can find this here, and for online exams here.
  • All the work you submit – in coursework, exams, presentations etc – must be your own work and any sources used must be fully referenced. Do not copy material from other people, or other sources – even in open book exams.  Do not submit English translations of sources you have found in your own language.
  • Do not try to bring notes, phones or other prohibited items into an on-campus exam.
  • Remember that if you simply fail an examination, you will normally be able to resit it – but an academic misconduct penalty could prevent you from being able to finish your degree or follow your desired profession.

Further information can be found in the Code of Student Conduct.

Q3: I have been accused of plagiarism or collusion in an assignment or an online exam. 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 their 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 or, in collusion cases, with the similarities between your work and the other student’s highlighted. 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 or collusion 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 or resit will be allowed.

If you are an Honours or postgraduate student, or you have been found to have breached the Code of Student Conduct  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 below the pass mark 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 Academic 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.

Q4: I have run out of time to write my assignment and I am scared I will fail the course. Can't I just copy or translate from somewhere else?

No. This is plagiarism and will be treated as such. Time management is an important skill for students to learn. If there is some reason why you have run out of time (for example, if you have been ill), you should contact your tutor. You may be able to get an extension to your deadline. Even if you have no good reason, it is better to submit your work late and receive a late penalty than to submit plagiarised work, which is likely to result in a more severe penalty and could, in some cases, stop you from graduating.

Q5: I have been accused of misconduct in an on-campus exam. What will happen?

This type of exam misconduct is 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 Academic 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 or items 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 or items, 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 Academic 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 cheating since I will fail anyway! What do I have to lose?

Remember that if you fail an exam, you will normally be able 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.

However, if you are found to have breached Code of Student Conduct, you will receive a penalty and you may not be allowed a resit opportunity. This could mean you cannot finish your degree and will have to leave with an exit award (such as a certificate or a diploma). In other cases, a more severe penalty might be applied.

Q7: What materials are prohibited in on-campus exams?

The following items must never be brought into on-campus examinations:

  • mobile phones - they must be switched off (not silent, or flight mode) with all alarms disabled and placed in a closed bag away from you. Remember that some phones will sound alarms you have set, even if the phone is switched off, so please check your phone model;
  • other electronic devices such as tablets, earbuds/music players and smart watches (they must be switched off and put away from you, as above);
  • any form of notes, printed or handwritten (except where specifically allowed, in the instructions for the specific exam), either in paper form, on your body, or on personal items such as calculators, pens, pencils, mugs, bottles, product labels etc.;
  • any form of correction tape or sellotape.

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 or explanations about how to use the words. Students must not bring electronic translators/dictionaries. There is specific guidance about dictionaries here.

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.

For online exams, the rules about phones and dictionaries are not relevant, but you must ensure you follow the exam instructions. For example, you must not collude with other students in preparing your answers, and you must not submit plagiarised content. All the answers you submit must be your own work so, if you are allowed to use your notes, make sure they have not been copied from other sources. Also, pay close attention to the specific rules for each exam as not all exams will have the same rules. Pay particular attention to the time allowed, as you may be penalised if you take longer.

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 Academic 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 you wish that is 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 https://www.spso.org.uk/.

Q10: How should I respond 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 Academic Conduct Committee, if the Senate Assessors have reason to believe the allegation may be true, or at least needs further investigation.

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, it will usually be the Head of School, Head of Subject, or another nominee. The letter you receive about attending the interview will state who it will be.

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.

Q12: Can I submit any statements or documents?

Yes. You can submit anything that you think is relevant. Your statement should be as specific as possible, giving details of any events or circumstances, with dates, that might be relevant to the case. You should provide supporting evidence where possible, such as medical letters or statements from other people involved. You should submit your statement at least two working days before any case being considered before the Senate Assessors and at least five working days before any Senate Student Academic Conduct Committee.

Guidance is available. Please do not submit extremely long statements giving information that is not relevant to the case, and ensure you send the statement by the date given in your letter, so that the Assessors or Committee have time to read and consider it.

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 may be able to meet with you remotely using Zoom. If you fail to attend and have not advised us in advance that you wish to reschedule, the meeting will go ahead without you.

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 Academic 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 Academic Conduct Committee. What does this mean and what will happen?

Cases may be referred to the Senate Student Academic 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 Academic Conduct Committee is chaired by a senior member of staff. Three 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 or their nominee 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 10 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 Academic Conduct Committee, the Committee can uphold the original decision and may also increase the penalty.

If your case is referred to the Senate Student Academic 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 Academic Conduct Committee and would it have more severe consequences for me?

Any repeated offence is likely to be directly sent to the Senate Student Academic Conduct Committee and to be treated more severely. Other examples of serious offences, which would likely be directly sent to the Senate Student Academic Conduct Committee, are:

  • using essay writing services;
  • having another person sit an exam for you;
  • very serious plagiarism, particularly in a substantial piece of assessment such as a Masters dissertation or PhD thesis.

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, though we do not encourage this and suggest an SRC Adviser would be more helpful. If you do wish to bring a legal representative, the University will also engage legal representation so you will be required to give us sufficient notice - at least five working days. If you bring legal representation without giving the required notice, the meeting will be postponed. 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 receive an academic penalty. You may receive a grade reduction, or a grade H for the assignment, exam or course, and you may not be allowed a resubmission or resit 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 work In very severe cases, or for repeat offences, the matter might need to be referred to the Senate Student Academic Conduct Committee where expulsion is a possible outcome.
  • Bringing prohibited materials to an on-campus exam: Usually, grade H is given 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 whole exam diet, or the refusal of credit for your work. For very severe or repeated offences referred to the Senate Student Academic Conduct Committee, expulsion is possible.
  • For the most serious officences: You may be expelled from the University. If you are expelled, you may receive no University award. 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.

Warnings:

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 Academic Conduct Committee. If you disagree with a decision made by the Senate Student Academic 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 academic 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, cheating in a medical exam might suggest that the student does not have the required integrity to become a doctor). 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.

Q21: Will conduct matters appear on my transcript/HEAR?

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.

Q22: 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.

Q23: I am a student and want to report someone for academic misconduct. What can I do?

You can report it to us if you have reason to believe another student is doing something unfair (e.g using essay writing services or cheating). You should email us at student-conduct@glasgow.ac.uk and tell us what you think the student has done, and why. You should include any evidence you have. We may need to let the other student know who the report has come from and we will discuss this with you.