University of York Students' Union (YUSU)

Academic Misconduct

What is academic misconduct?

During your time at University, you will hear and see a lot about ‘academic integrity’ and ‘academic misconduct’. Academic integrity means behaving with honesty, respect, trust, fairness and responsibility in the way you carry out and present your work.

For example by making sure that it is either completely original or clearly stating when it is not. If you don’t do this it may mean that someone else’s words or ideas seem to be yours – and that is dishonest and disrespectful to the original author. Doing something that undermines academic integrity is referred to as academic misconduct.

Other forms of misconduct include:

  • Making up experiment results, or presenting results in a way that changes what they mean
  • Letting someone else improve your work by changing or adding things
  • Helping or getting help from another student when you should be working alone
  • Taking notes into closed exams
  • Not accurately referencing source materials

The most extreme examples include buying essays and getting someone else to take an exam in your place.

The University provides comprehensive guidance on academic misconduct to refer to if in doubt. Moreover, your personal supervisor and department are there to teach you, so if you’re not certain how to do something, or whether you’ve done it right, do not hesitate to ask them. To find out more about how to reference accurately visit www.york.ac.uk/integrity/  You can also attend a Turnitin Workshop to help develop writing skills and learn more about integrating source material into your assignments.


What to do if you are informed that you have been suspected of academic misconduct

If you are informed of suspected academic misconduct, you should be given a sample of evidence that demonstrates this, and the opportunity to explain in person or in writing how this has occurred. YUSU and GSA advisers can help you to decide on the right course of action for you, and if you decide to go to a meeting, someone from YUSU or GSA can go with you.

Do not panic but do take it seriously. The University has a procedure that all departments follow, overseen by senior staff, and this will give you the opportunity to explain what happened, and why.

Both ASC and GSA (for postgraduates) can advise and support students during the process, so contact them as soon as you are able to. Contact us at asc@yusu.org, 01904 324207 / 323720 or call in to ASC at the Student Centre, James College.