Dealing with a Plagiarism Allegation

What if I am accused of Plagiarism?

You might have seen our previous post on how to avoid plagiarism. But what can you do if you have been accused of plagiarism?

 

The process

Usually, your Unit Coordinator will do some preliminary investigations to figure out if plagiarism has occurred. If that is determined, it gets referred to the Head of School. This is usually when you would receive a formal notice.

A formal notice alleging the plagiarism will be sent to your UNE student email address. The notice will request that you attend an interview or respond in writing. Interviews can be in-person, online or on the phone.

At this stage, the Investigating Officer will be asking you for your explanation or interpretation of the circumstances.

 

What should the notice include?

The notice should include all details of the allegation, all evidence, and documentation. If you do not receive a copy of the Turnitin report, ask for one.

An interview time and location will be offered for no later than 10 working days after the notice is sent. The notice should include a due date for a written response.

The notice should also include the name of the Investigating Officer.  It will inform you of your right to a support person in the interview. The notice will include information about student support services.

 

Interviews

The interview will be an informal process – nothing like a court of law.

The Student Coursework Academic Misconduct Procedures state that interviews must be held in a location that is quiet, non-threatening and discreet. The interviewer must explain the process to you and invite you to speak.  Written notes or a recording (if you had agreed to being recorded) from the interview must be provided to you.

 

Responding in writing

If you respond in writing, you will need to give your explanation or interpretation of what happened. You can also write about any surrounding circumstances. Your letter must reach the Investigating Officer by close of business on the specified date.

It is really important that you attend an interview or respond in writing within the time frame. If you do not respond, you are deemed to have not defended the allegation. The Investigating Officer can then make their decision without your input.

 

Responding to an allegation

HONESTY IS KEY.

If you agree with the allegation, fess up. Maybe it was accidental plagiarism, but giving an honest account is necessary for the best outcome possible.

If you do not agree with the allegation, describe why.

Give some context to the situation. Your health, wellbeing, family situation, time commitments, etc. are all relevant factors. They aren’t an excuse, but the Investigating Officer will have a better understanding of what happened.

If you are an international student and feel that your problem is a lack of experience in writing and referencing in Australia, let the Investigating Officer know.

After looking at all the documentation, if you still do not agree with the allegation, contact us at Advocacy & Welfare for assistance.

 

The decision

After an interview or written response, the Investigating Officer will make their decision.

The Officer will review all documentation and decide whether there was academic misconduct or no impropriety.

The result of the investigation will be communicated to you within ten working days of the written response or interview. The details and reason/s for the decision, the penalty (if any) and the process for appeal (if relevant) must be included.

You are entitled to lodge an appeal within ten working days of the notification of penalty.

 

At Advocacy & Welfare, we help lots of students with plagiarism allegations and appeals. We can help you respond to the allegations. One of our Advocates can act as a support person in your meetings and interviews related to plagiarism.

If you need assistance, you can contact our office on (02) 6773 3116 or at advocacy@une.edu.au. You can also pop in to see us in person, our office is in the UNE Life Student HQ area across from the UNE Life office and north of the café.