Student Conduct and Academic Integrity
Becoming a UCD student means that you have joined a diverse and vibrant university community. As a member of this community it is important that you are respectful in your interactions with others and that you uphold the high standards of personal responsibility and academic integrity that is expected of all students.
The University sets out its values in the UCD Strategy and outlines its commitments and expectations regarding standards of conduct in the Student Charter, Student Code of Conduct and the UCD Dignity and Respect Policy. It is important that you familiarise yourself with these documents as they help to ensure a fair and positive learning and working environment for everyone at UCD.
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The Student Code of Conduct sets out the standards of behaviour expected of all students. Students should familiarise themselves with these expectations as understanding these responsibilities will help them to make the most of their experience in UCD and to contribute to a positive learning and living environment for others.
The Student Code of Conduct provides standards of good conduct and examples of behaviour that contravenes these standards. It also includes the Student Discipline Procedure used to respond to reported breaches of the Student Code of Conduct. Students are encouraged to read the Student Code of Conduct carefully to ensure that they understand their responsibilities and rights as a UCD Student.
UCD is committed to the promotion of an environment for work and study which upholds the dignity and respect of all its members and which supports the right to study and/or work in an environment which is free from any form of bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and sexual violence.
The University’s Dignity and Respect Policy sets out the university’s zero tolerance approach to behaviour that contravenes the standards of behaviour established by the policy.
There are supports available for students and staff experiencing bullying, harassment, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct and a range of both informal and formal options available for those seeking resolution. Information about supports and options for resolution including a formal complaint process is available via the Dignity and Respect pages of the Equality and Diversity and Inclusion website. UCD Report and Support provides a mechanism for reporting incidents anonymously.
The Student Discipline Procedure is intended to provide a clear, transparent and fair process for dealing with allegations of student misconduct within a reasonable timescale.
Student Conduct Meeting
When a report of an alleged breach of the Student Code of Conduct is received an email communication is normally sent to advise the student of the allegation against them with an invitation to meet with the Registrar (or a nominee) to discuss the matter. This is known as a Student Conduct Meeting.
The purpose of the Student Conduct Meeting is for the Registrar (or a nominee) to discuss the allegation with the respondent and form an opinion regarding the seriousness of the case.
Decisions will be made based on all the information available, including the student’s response to the allegation and the nature and seriousness of the matter. At the conclusion of this meeting the Registrar (or a nominee) will decide on an appropriate course of action. There are a range of outcomes available to the Registrar at this stage of the procedure which include but are not limited to:
- dismissal of the alleged breach
- upholding the alleged breach and concluding the process subject to certain conditions
- upholding the alleged breach and applying one or more of penalties
- referring the matter to a Student Disciplinary Committee
- imposing a temporary suspension from the University pending the outcome of a Student Disciplinary Committee
See the Student Code of Conduct for the complete list of penalties.
Student Disciplinary Committee Hearing
If the outcome at the Student Conduct Meeting is to refer the matter to a Student Disciplinary Committee a meeting will be convened as soon as possible.
Any students who reside outside Ireland may request a non-oral Student Disciplinary Committee Hearing (a paper-based procedure using written submissions). Non-oral hearings may also be used to facilitate other respondents who are, at the time of the proposed hearing, unable to travel to the Belfield campus.
Students will be notified of the date and time of the Student Disciplinary Committee Hearing within 10 working days in advance of the hearing. Students will also be advised that they may:
- request the participation of a witness, within reason
- review all relevant evidence that the University intends to rely on at the hearing
- be accompanied to the hearing by a support person
- provide written submission to the Committee, in advance of the hearing
The Student Disciplinary Committee will comprise three members of staff drawn from the Student Conduct Panel 2018/19 - 2020/21. Documents for the hearing will be circulated by email to the student and the Committee at least 5 working days in advance of the hearing.
The hearing will be conducted in line with the procedure for Disciplinary Committee Hearing. Having considered the submitted material and having heard from the student and any invited witnesses the Committee will deliberate privately before reaching a decision.
Outcomes of the Student Disciplinary Committee Hearing
At the conclusion of the meeting the Committee will decide on an appropriate outcome and will normally communicate the decision to the student at the meeting. The decision will be communicated in writing, within 5 working days. Decisions will be based on all the information available including the nature and seriousness of the breach and any relevant mitigating or aggravating circumstances. Where it is decided that there has been a breach of the Student Code of Conduct the Committee will select a penalty. There is a broad range of penalties available to the Committee which may be applied separately or in combination. See the Student Code of Conduct for the complete list of penalties.
Students may decide that they wish to appeal the decision of the Student Disciplinary Committee. Appeals must be made to the University’s Student Appeals Committee within 10 working days from the date of issue of the decision of the Student Disciplinary Committee.
Appeals may be heard on the following grounds:
- New evidence: information directly relevant to the decision, which for good reason was not available to the Student Disciplinary Committee.
- Procedural irregularity: there is evidence that the procedures relating to a decision were not followed properly, which may have impacted on the Student Disciplinary Committee’s decision.
- Disproportionate penalty: the penalty applied was disproportionate with regard to the circumstances of the case.
The Appeals Committee may uphold the appeal or reject the appeal. The Committee may also decide to decrease or increase a penalty or the nature of the penalty.
Details of the appeal procedure can be found int the Student Appeals Procedure.
The Student Engagement, Conduct, Complaints and Appeals (SECCA) unit manages the Student Discipline Procedure and operates as a point of contact for faculty and staff by providing advice regarding all student conduct matters.
Alleged breaches of the Student Code of Conduct are usually reported to the Registrar or their nominee using incident reports or referral letters from the relevant local unit or body such as School Plagiarism Committees, Assessment /Overseas Programme Managers, (in the case of alleged examination hall breaches), UCD Residences or Estate Services. In all other cases alleged incidents will normally be reported using a Student Misconduct Incident Report. Reports should be submitted to the Student Engagement, Conduct, Complaints and Appeals unit (SECCA) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q1. DOES THE UCD STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT APPLY WHEN I AM OFF CAMPUS?
The Student Code of Conduct applies to all students’ conduct whether on or off the University’s premises, including university-related activities and activities where you are representing the University (including activities with University clubs or societies). The University may also decide to investigate reported student behaviour that may adversely affect the University’s reputation, whether committed on or off campus. See Student Code of Conduct, Section 1, Standards of Good Conduct.
Q2. ARE ALL STUDENT CONDUCT ISSUES DEALT WITH UNDER THE STUDENT DISCIPLINE PROCEDURE?
Student conduct is monitored and dealt with by various university staff as necessary for the effective and efficient resolution of student conduct issues. The following staff members and university bodies have the authority to consider, make decisions and take actions relating to student conduct, within the context of relevant regulations, policies and procedures.
- UCD School Plagiarism Committees may consider and make decisions regarding allegations of plagiarism, in accordance with the Plagiarism Policy.
- UCD Residences may consider, make decisions and take actions against students found to be in breach of the License to Reside.
- UCD Library may consider, make decisions and take actions against students who are found to be in breach of Library Regulations.
- Assessment, UCD Registry may issue warning letters for minor breaches of examination regulations.
- The Athletic Union Council (AUC), Student Societies Council and the Students’ Union are responsible for regulating the discipline of their members through their constitutions and related procedures.
Section 3.3 of the Student Discipline Procedure states that the University encourages that minor student conduct issues to be resolved at the level closest to the relevant parties. Where this is not possible or appropriate, and a student’s behaviour is considered to have breached the Student Code of Conduct, or if an alleged breach of any of the above constitutions, codes, rules or agreements is of such gravity or urgency, the matter may be referred, without decision, to be dealt with under the Student Discipline Procedure.
Q3. DO I HAVE TO ATTEND A STUDENT CONDUCT MEETING?
It is important that you attend meetings about your student conduct case. This provides you with the opportunity to discuss the situation and present any information you may have relating to the incident. Your responses will be taken into consideration by the Registrar (or nominee) when deciding on an appropriate outcome.
Student Conduct Meetings are usually held face-to-face. If you are not resident in Ireland the Student Conduct Meeting may be facilitated with video or telephone call or you may be asked to submit a written response to the allegation.
Failure to respond to the request to attend a student conduct meeting will constitute a breach of the Student Code of Conduct and may result in the matter being referred directly to a Student Disciplinary Committee for adjudication.
Q4: CAN I BRING SOMEONE TO THE STUDENT DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE HEARING?
Yes, it is recommended that you ask someone to accompany you to the hearing, such as a Student Adviser, an SU Officer, a friend or relative. Student Advisers are very experienced at attending such meetings. You will be required to speak for yourself, the role of the person accompanying you is to provide support.
Q5. HOW WILL DECISIONS ABOUT MY CASE BE COMMUNICATED?
- Student Conduct Meeting - Decisions will be made based on all the information available, including your response to the allegation and the nature and seriousness of the matter. The outcome will be communicated to you in writing.
- Student Disciplinary Committee - The decision of the Student Disciplinary Committee will normally be communicated to you at the end of the meeting and will be issued by email after the meeting and within five working days.
Q6. CAN I REVIEW THE EVIDENCE AGAINST ME BEFORE MY HEARING?
Yes, all documentation that will be submitted to the Student Disciplinary Committee relating to your case will also be circulated to you by email in advance of the hearing.
Q7. WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES IF I BREACH THE UCD STUDENT CODE?
If you are found to have breached the Student Code of Conduct a penalty will be applied from the options below. The penalty selected will depend on the nature of the breach and related circumstances. Penalties may be applied in combination:
- a written reprimand
- a fine not exceeding €1000
- reduction of a component assessment grade or module grade up to and including the application of No Grade (NM) for the module
- exclusion from sittings of examinations for a specified period
- withhold of any academic award, scholarship or prize including on a permanent basis
- require the reparation of any damage or loss caused, either to the University or to any of its members of staff or students or members of the public
- suspension from accessing specific University facilities
- permanent exclusion from accessing specific University facilities
- suspension from a UCD Residence
- permanent expulsion from a UCD Residence
- suspension from the University for a specified period, or until such time as any requirements laid down by the Committee such as payment of a fine or the restitution of damage or loss are fulfilled
- permanent expulsion from the University
In addition to the penalties above, a student may be required to complete an activity / action intended to satisfy the University that a student understands the consequences of their actions. Committee may in exceptional cases, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, decide not to impose any penalty.
Q8. WILL MY DISCIPLINARY BREACH END UP ON MY TRANSCRIPT?
No, the breach and any related penalty will not be detailed on your transcript as a disciplinary matter.
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Academic Integrity is a fundamental principle that underpins all academic activity. Students should value honesty in their scholarship. Working independently, expressing original ideas, and appropriately acknowledging the ideas of others are important skills that will benefit students beyond their time in UCD.
Students are expected to:
- attend lectures and engage in all other learning activities of their programme
- abide by the Examination Regulations, the Student Plagiarism Policy and any other academic conduct policies that the University may establish to ensure a fair and equitable assessment system for all students
- ensure that their work that they present for assessment is their own and that the use of work and / or ideas of others is acknowledged using a recognised referencing system. For information on referencing, citation and how to avoid plagiarism see the UCD Library Guidelines.
Suspected instances of student plagiarism in a module assessment should be reviewed within the School(s) and a determination made as to whether the matter may be addressed at School(s) level or whether a referral to the University Discipline Procedure is required.
School Plagiarism Committees may wish to establish referral forms to collect necessary information on suspected incidents of plagiarism. See example forms below.
Q1. WHAT IS PLAGIARISM?
Plagiarism means using the work of others without acknowledging the original source. This includes presenting the ideas, theories, concepts, methodologies or data from the work of another person (including other students, friends, family, or purchasing work from a third party) without acknowledgement and appropriate citation. Plagiarism can occur in any form of work you may be asked to do at University, this includes essays, projects, digital work, music, language assessments, images and video recordings. A full definition of plagiarism can be found in the UCD Student Plagiarism Policy. Pleas also refer to the Student Guide on Plagiarism and the UCD Library resources on academic integrity which provide helpful and practical assistance for understanding what plagiarism is and how you can avoid it.
Q2. WHY PLAGIARISM SHOULD BE AVOIDED?
The UCD Student Code of Conduct states that academic integrity is a fundamental principle underpinning all academic activity at UCD. It is important that you uphold your own academic integrity and that of the University. Studying at university provides an opportunity to develop your critical thinking skills, engage with academic knowledge and demonstrate the extent of your reading. Plagiarising the work of others undermines your own learning experience and devalues the hard work of others. Incidents of plagiarism may be subject to action under the University’s Student Discipline Procedure.
Q3. WHAT CAN I DO TO AVOID PLAGIARISM?
The UCD Library provides some helpful resources on academic integrity and avoiding plagiarism. Below are the Library’s top 5 tips:
- Acknowledge all sources. If using information from others, indicate where it came from in your text and reference using a citation style.
- Record where all quotes or new ideas come from when making notes in preparation for assignments.
• Paraphrase correctly; express the information of others in your own words, along with an in-text citation and reference.
- Quote correctly; when directly quoting from a text include appropriate quotation marks or indentation. Include a reference at the end. (See your School’s Style Guide for details)
- Check your School’s preferred citation style. Keep the style guide to hand when writing assignments so you can include in-text citations and references in the correct format.
Please visit the UCD Library resources on academic integrity for plagiarism tutorials and further guidance.
Q4. WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF PLAGIARISM?
Plagiarism may include, but is not limited to:
- Failing to cite and acknowledge sources properly.
- Making minor changes to text or paraphrasing from sources like the internet, journals and books, and presenting this as your own words.
- Working collaboratively with other students but presenting the work as solely your own (type of collusion).
- Presenting work for an assignment which has also been submitted (in part or whole) for another assignment at UCD or another institution. This is known as ‘self-plagiarism’.
- Buying assignments from companies such as ‘essay mills’ is never permitted and is a serious breach of the University’s Student Plagiarism Policy and the Student Code of Conduct.
Q5. WHAT IS PARAPHRASING?
Paraphrasing is writing the thoughts and ideas of others in your own words. Copying, pasting and making minor edits to the text is not an acceptable form of paraphrasing. All paraphrased information included in your work must be cited. You must include a full reference in your reference list to the source of your paraphrased information. Some citation styles also require a page number for the paraphrased information to be included as part of the in-text citation.
See below for an example of unacceptable and acceptable paraphrasing:
The following ORIGINAL text has been taken from the book The Google Story.
“Not since Gutenberg invented the modern printing press more than 500 years ago, making books and scientific tomes affordable and widely available to the masses, has any new invention empowered individuals, and transformed access to information, as profoundly as Google.”
From: Vise, David A. (2005) The Google Story. Macmillan: London
Unacceptable paraphrasing of above text - plagiarism
The most important invention that has affected access to information since Gutenberg invented the modern printing press and made books affordable and widely available, is Google, an invention that has empowered individuals and transformed access to information around the world.
This passage is considered plagiarism because:
- The writer does not cite the author as the source of the ideas
- The passage is too close to the original text
- Only a few phrases or words have been changed
If one or more of the above criteria are included in any piece of work, it is considered plagiarism.
Acceptable paraphrasing of above text - not plagiarism
It has been stated that Google has revolutionised the information world by providing access to information through the internet. Vise notes that Google is the most radical information development since Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. (Vise, 2005, p.1)
This is acceptable paraphrasing because:
- The author of the text has been cited correctly
- The writer has used their own words
- The writer gives credit for the ideas in the passage
Q6. WHAT IS ‘COLLUSION’ IN THE CONTEXT OF ONLINE EXAMINATIONS?
Collusion in the context of an online examination is seeking the assistance of others, or offering to assist others, during a period in which the examination is taking place. You should not contact others through any means to discuss examination questions, answers or topics. This includes the period where you may have finished your exam early, but others may be continuing. The work submitted must be entirely your own.
Q7. WHAT IS THE UCD STUDENT PLAGIARISM POLICY?
In addition to the definition of plagiarism, the UCD Student Plagiarism Policy guides academic staff on their roles and responsibilities regarding student plagiarism and provides a framework for dealing with suspected instances of plagiarism. It is important that you familiarise yourself with this policy. Schools will also provide you with their plagiarism protocols.
Q8. HOW IS PLAGIARISM DETECTED?
The University uses sophisticated plagiarism detection software, in addition, often examiners will also be able to detect plagiarism through observing changes in writing styles or the variation in the quality of particular portions of an assignment. Poor and incorrect citation will also be easily noted by examiners.
Q9. WHAT HAPPENS IF PLAGIARISM IS SUSPECTED?
Module Coordinators will take account of the context and nature of each case, and may take any of the following actions:
- Discuss directly with the student to determine the facts of the case.
- Provide, or arrange that the student receives one-to-one advice about academic integrity and avoiding plagiarism.
- Refer the student to the UCD Library or the Writing Centre for guidance on good writing practices and avoiding plagiarism. The grade awarded for the assessment may reflect your poor academic practice.
- Refer the case to the School Plagiarism Committee as an alleged case of plagiarism. Where cases are referred, the Module Coordinator will provide the School Plagiarism Committee with a short report outlining the grounds of suspicion, a copy of the piece of work and any supporting evidence.
Q10. DO I HAVE TO ATTEND A MEETING WITH THE SCHOOL PLAGIARISM COMMITTEE?
If you have been invited to a meeting with the School Plagiarism Committee you are strongly advised to attend as it will provide you with an important opportunity to understand why your work is under review and respond to the committee’s queries in relation to how you approached your work. If you wish, you can be accompanied to meetings by someone to support you, such as your Student Adviser or an SU Sabbatical Officer. The role of this person is to accompany you. The committee will want to hear from you directly.
If you do not respond to the committee’s communications or choose not to attend a meeting the committee may proceed based on documentation, which may include your written submission where the school has invited you to do so.
Q11. WILL PLAGIARISM APPEAR ON MY STUDENT RECORD?
Plagiarism is a breach of the Student Code of Conduct and records of students who have been found to have plagiarised by a School Plagiarism Committee or through the University level Student Discipline Procedure will be maintained in the University, but it will not appear on your general student record or your transcript. Records will be held in accordance with the Student Engagement Conduct Complaints and Appeals unit’s record retention schedule.
Q12. WHY ARE PLAGIARISM INCIDENTS RECORDED ON A PLAGIARISM RECORD SYSTEM?
The University Plagiarism Record System records cases of plagiarism by students to allow the application of the policy and to inform decision-making of the School Plagiarism Committees i.e., where a committee receives an allegation of plagiarism it will be able to check the system to determine whether there have been any previous recorded incidents of plagiarism against the student, even if this occurred in another School. Once the committee agreed that plagiarism had taken place, previous incidents can be taken into consideration when deciding on an appropriate penalty. Access to the central Plagiarism Record System is restricted to nominated staff members in each School.
Q13. CAN I APPEAL A DECISION OF THE SCHOOL PLAGIARISM COMMITTEE?
There are certain circumstances where appeals are permitted, known as ‘grounds for appeal’:
- procedural irregularity: there is evidence that procedures relating to the decision were not followed properly, which may have impacted the decision.
- new evidence: information relevant to the decision, which for good reason was not available to the School Plagiarism Committee.
- disproportionate outcome or penalty: it should be noted that Schools are entitled to make decisions in accordance with the policy, in appealing on this ground students must demonstrate how the penalty applied is disproportionately severe in relation to the circumstances of their case.
Students cannot appeal simply because they are unhappy with the decision of the committee. Appeals must be submitted to the University Student Appeals Committee within 10 working days from the date of issue of the decision of the School Plagiarism Committee. Further details found in the Student Appeals webpage.
Q14. WHAT DECISIONS CAN THE STUDENT APPEALS COMMITTEE MAKE?
A Student Appeals Committee will decide to either:
- uphold the appeal and make a decision different to the School Plagiarism Committee;
- not uphold the appeal and confirm that the decision of the School Plagiarism is correct.
Where the Student Appeals Committee is considering an appeal against a penalty imposed, they may decrease or increase a penalty or vary the nature of the penalty.
Each programme has a dedicated Student Adviser who can offer support, information and advice.
Access contact details and information on a range of student issues.
UCD Chaplains are available for support, guidance and advice.
The SU Sabbatical Officers are available to offer assistance and support to students.
Student Counselling Service is provided by professionally qualified psychologists and counsellors.