Students and the Academic Misconduct Process
Helping students navigate the misconduct process.
Facing an allegation of academic misconduct can be stressful for students. Learning about the academic misconduct process and identifying helpful resources is an important early step. While the preferred course of action is to prevent academic misconduct in the first place, the academic misconduct process can become a learning process for students.
Students do not have to go through the process alone, and support is available. Students can access support from the AMS Advocacy Office, the GSS Advocacy Office, and the SUO Advocacy Office. Student checklists about what to expect from the misconduct process are available from the Office of the Ombudsperson for Students.
Key points for students
Know your options
All misconduct cases are unique, and possible outcomes can vary case by case.
Know the process
It is important to understand the different stages of the process.
Know where to get support
If you need help or believe you have been treated unfairly, there is support available.
Academic Misconduct Process
The academic misconduct process considers if misconduct has occurred and determines the outcome.
Students should always have at least one opportunity to explain and clarify the circumstances and context of the allegation. Outcomes of an investigation may vary depending on the case.
The diversionary process offers the opportunity for students and Faculties to enter into an integrity plan around the most suitable outcome, diverting the case from PACSD where appropriate. Both Faculty and student must agree to participate in this process. This process can save time, avoid a disciplinary hearing, and create a meaningful outcome. Serious cases will be seen by the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Discipline (PACSD).
This is a general outline of the academic misconduct process providing a framework and overview of the main stages, and the process followed may vary case-by-case. Individual faculties may adopt their own procedures for reporting cases to the Dean’s Office.
This is the first step in the academic misconduct process. An allegation can come from a TA, an exam invigilator or another student or peer, but it is usually managed by the instructor of the course.
An allegation is a claim or assertion, meaning it has not been confirmed. This could vary if a student is caught in the act of committing academic misconduct.
2. Instructor review and meeting
Students who receive an allegation will usually have the opportunity to discuss the allegation with their instructor. This meeting should occur in a timely manner.
Instructors invite students to meet via email. The email address is retrieved from the Student Service Centre. Students should keep this information up-to-date and check their email regularly.
Students are encouraged to prepare for this meeting by informing themselves of the academic misconduct process (Vancouver and Okanagan), reviewing material on this website, and by getting support from their advisors, the University Ombudsperson for Students, student advocacy, a family member, or somebody they trust.
Discussion with the instructor can include extenuating circumstances which are situations or factors the student believes influenced their behaviour.
A student may wish to bring a support person to this meeting. While this person will be present during the discussion to support the student, the student is expected to speak for themselves.
Student admits or denies academic misconduct
Some students commit academic misconduct knowingly.
Others may commit it unknowingly, which means that they did not know their behaviour was against the rules. If this is the case, students are strongly encouraged to tell their instructor.
Students do not have to admit to academic misconduct. This is a personal choice.
Instructor may reevaluate work
Taking into consideration the outcome of the review of the allegation at the Faculty level, the instructor may choose to reevaluate the academic work in question. This can include: assigning a reduced grade (including a zero), or requiring the student to re-do the work, or complete supplementary work.
3. Departmental review
Faculties can establish procedures for reporting suspected cases of academic misconduct. In some Faculties, this could mean there are additional steps following the instructor report including review at the department or program level.
4. Dean’s Office review
If the instructor continues to suspect academic misconduct has occurred after their review, the instructor will report the case to the Dean’s Office of the Faculty in which the course is offered. Depending on the Faculty, this may also include a report to the program and/or department.
Sometimes, the Dean’s Office will conduct their own investigation which may include the student being contacted for a further discussion to clarify the allegation and/or to provide further evidence.
Beyond a finding of no misconduct committed, there are three possible outcomes for an academic misconduct allegation. The Dean’s Office has discretion around which of these is recommended after taking all factors into account and on a case-by-case basis.
The Dean’s Office may use a warning letter. Warning letters will become part of the student’s academic misconduct record and a copy of the warning letter should be sent to the President’s Committee’s Assistant.
The Dean’s Office may propose the diversionary process. This recourse is available when the student admits to having committed academic misconduct, the misconduct is not egregious, and it is their first offence. A first offence means there is no previous academic misconduct record.
If the Dean’s Office determines this option is appropriate, they can propose the diversionary option to the student. This includes creating an integrity plan outlining a plan of action to respond to the academic misconduct and any outcomes agreed upon by student and Faculty. The student has the right to not sign the plan if they have concerns or if they disagree. Other options are available such as a written warning or a referral to PACSD.
The Dean’s Office may refer an allegation to the President’s Advisory Committees on Student Discipline (PACSD). The PACSD process includes a hearing in which the student will be given an opportunity to respond to the allegation.
Students will be notified via email of the time and place for the hearing. They will also be asked to complete a Statement of Response prior to the hearing to explain the facts related to the allegation.
Students can contact PACSD via email should they have questions regarding the status of their case.
An academic misconduct investigation will not automatically impact a student’s record. Academic misconduct cases and their outcomes are handled on a case-by-case basis and they can vary greatly.
When the conclusion of an investigation is that academic misconduct has occurred, a student’s record can be impacted in the following ways:
- A record of academic misconduct is created and kept with the student’s file in the student’s Faculty.
- A record of academic misconduct is created and kept by PACSD.
- A notation on the student’s official UBC transcript which is obtained through the Student Service Centre and applied to the term in which the misconduct occurred. If eligible, students may request removal of a transcript notation.
6. Student appeals of discipline
If disciplinary measures are imposed, the President will also send a copy of the Decision Letter to the Senate Committee on Student Appeals on Academic Discipline. A student has the right to appeal any disciplinary measure decided by the President to the Senate Committee on Student Appeals and Academic Discipline. The Academic Calendars (Vancouver and Okanagan) outline appeals procedures.
Top 10 things to know
There are some essential things to keep in mind for students when they are involved an academic misconduct allegation.
Resources and support
Students are not alone and can be supported to avoid and learn about academic misconduct. Learn about the many resources available for students.
This is an educative website intended to support understanding of the topics and associated processes and does not constitute legal advice nor impose legal obligations on the University. The content of this site may be updated. The Academic Calendar is the official governing document, and where there is any inconsistency or contradiction between this educative website and the Academic Calendar provisions governing academic integrity and academic misconduct, the Academic Calendar governs.