Studying at the university requires following good practice in academic writing and research. Plagiarising, copying or cheating means breaching that good practice or academic integrity.

The Academic Skills Hub at Hartley Library is one of the main sources of help and guidance on all aspects of academic writing.

The University has procedures for when an alleged breach occurs and, depending on the severity of the breach, different stages of dealing with the problem.

It’s important that before attending any meetings you read and understand the regulations. For more details please see here

If you have received notification from the Faculty that a potential academic integrity breach has been found in your work, it is likely to include an invitation to an academic integrity meeting. To ensure you get the best possible outcome you need to prepare.

Preparing for a meeting about Academic Integrity – how can the Advice Centre help?

An invitation to a meeting to discuss a possible breach of Academic Integrity (AI) may be a cause of anxiety (see Summary of the 3 stages for more information regarding meetings).

Pause and remember – the meeting is your opportunity to say what has happened, to reflect on any mistakes made and learn valuable lessons.

While it is normal and natural for your initial focus to be on the outcome, the best way to influence any decision is to prepare and to seek support and guidance.

You can obtain this from the Advice Centre including:

  • Help drafting a statement for any formal AI meeting to which you have been invited
  • Support in any formal AI meetings
  • Discussing options after you have received an outcome

Step 1

Contact the Advice Centre to book an adviser appointment and alert us to the times and dates of any AI meetings to which you have been invited.

Step 2

Before the meeting with your adviser:

  • Read the Academic Integrity Regulations (see below for links to the regulations and other helpful information)
  • Gather information concerning the alleged breach (such as the Turnitin report – see below)
  • Draft a statement before your adviser appointment (either bring this to the meeting or email it to advice@susu.org)

Step 3

In drafting a statement for your appointment it is important that you have read and understood the statement writing guide here

A good AI statement may include:

  • Confirmation that you have read and understood the AI regulations (if this is true)
  • Clarity on whether you now consider you may have breached the regulations and whether any breaches were intentional or unintentional
  • Details of information about AI you received before the alleged breach
  • Relevant mitigation
  • Nothing about the outcome you are seeking (this section of a statement would not normally apply to an alleged AI breach)

What counts as a breach?

Academic Integrity is about conducting all aspects of your academic life in a professional manner. Basically, it means taking responsibility for your own work and acknowledging the work of others. Complying with the Academic Integrity rules demonstrates you have the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding of the subject.

Examples of a breach include:

  • Plagiarism (not acknowledging the author of a text, cutting and pasting)
  • Cheating (e.g. taking advantage of notes during exam)
  • Recycling (using work you already received mark for, again)
  • Falsification (present fictitious or distorted data, evidence)
  • Using ghost writers (asking someone to write work for you)

This is not an exhaustive list and if you are in doubt, seek advice.

What is TurnitIn?

Apart from an eagle eye of the marker, the University relies on special software to identify whether a breach of academic integrity, such as plagiarism, occurred in your assignment.

The software will highlight all similarities between your text and any other sources, or previously submitted pieces of work (for example last year’s submissions).

Summary of the 3 Stages

There are 3 stages of academic integrity breaches, depending on the nature of the alleged breach.

Minor breach –this involves the Academic Integrity officer investigating your piece of work and may include checking if you had any academic integrity issues in previous work. If minor breach is confirmed, it will result in you receiving additional feedback on your assignment feedback sheet pointing out the AI mistakes and warning you about potential penalties in the future if the breach happens again.

AI meeting – usually for more serious cases, for example with larger amounts of plagiarised text or if you already had a stage 1 warning before. This stage involves meeting with an Academic Integrity Officer who will investigate the suspected breach, ask you about any mitigation you wish to present, and will also help you understand how you should maintain academic integrity in future academic work. For timescales of the meeting, please refer to the regulations.

AI panel – this is the most serious stage of the Academic Integrity procedures, under which you will be invited to appear in front of an Academic Integrity Panel to explain what happened and answer any questions the panel may have. The panel may decide that there was no breach or confirm a breach as taken place and decide on one of the penalties available to them.

Further Help

For further guidance on the appeal regulations and the whole process, contact the Advice Centre.

You can also visit us in Building 40, Highfield campus. Our opening hours are Monday–Friday 09.00–17.00