Let’s take the example the student accused of plagiarism. I should say at this point that plagiarism can occur in so many forms and on occasion without the student even knowing, but that’s a different topic altogether…Back to the student, they were brought in for an “informal” chat with their tutor. Told that the university suspected them of plagiarising an assignment and that they will probably be awarded a zero as that is a breach of the Misconduct Regulations. The tutor produced a Turnitin report and placed it in front of the student.

The student then had 10 days to appeal the decision. The first time the student even read the Misconduct Regulations was following the meeting with the tutor. So, was the “informal chat” with the tutor the formal decision that requires appealing? And where was the formal written decision detailing the exact allegations, or was that the role of the Turnitin report? The student had 10 days to understand the Misconduct Regulations, the Turnitin report and to write a well-structured appeal detailing why the assignment was not plagiarised.

On top of attending lecturers, seminars and tutorials as well as keeping up with all course related work.

By the time the student got to the solicitor they had already submitted an appeal, had a further meeting with a faculty member and been graded zero for the work in question. It was only through the solicitor’s involvement that the student was eventually given the opportunity to resubmit the assignment in question and achieve a non-capped grade. Severe procedural errors on the part of the university and the fact that not all plagiarism is always plagiarism, resulted in a favourable outcome for the student. It does beg the question, where would the student be if solicitors had not become involved?

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