Academic Misconduct

 

If you've acted in a way which breaches a King’s College London rule, regulation, policy or procedure then you may have committed misconduct.

The most common acts of academic misconduct include plagiarism, cheating in exams and collusion. It’s important to be aware that misconduct is not always intentional, but it's your responsibility as a King’s student to be aware of the regulations so you don’t find yourself breaching them!

We are here to help and support you if such an allegation is made against you.

How We Can Help

Our friendly caseworkers can talk you through the Misconduct regulations and procedures, answer any questions you might have about the process, and accompany you to relevant meetings. 

We can: 

  • Assist you in ensuring you are prepared prior to a Misconduct hearing, and accompany you to it. 
  • Advise on what you should include your statement and also provide feedback on it before you submit it.  
  • Help you make sense of your outcome and discuss the formal appeal process if you are not satisfied with the decision. 

Coursework-related Misconduct

If the College does have concerns about your work, then what happens next depends on whether this is a first offence of plagiarism/collusion/self plagiarism or either a subsequent or more serious offence. There is the Local Academic Misconduct Procedure (known as LAMP) for first offences, and there is the Misconduct Committee Procedure for second/subsequent or more serious offences. 

>Local Academic Misconduct Procedure (LAMP) 

LAMP takes place within your department in the form of a meeting with two members of staff from the department to discuss the charge. This is usually an informal meeting with a friendly tone. This is not an interrogation or a formal hearing – they just want to understand what happened and ensure students understand how to reference correctly to avoid plagiarism. At these meetings, the academics are usually understanding of the fact that plagiarism can and does often occur accidently, due to incorrect referencing rather than an attempt to cheat. Depending on availability, a KCLSU Adviser may be able to accompany you to the meeting for support if that would be helpful. 

The possible outcomes could be: 

  1. No plagiarism/collusion/self plagiarism – the case is dropped and no penalty is applied.
  2. Poor academic practice – there may be a slight penalty i.e. a reduction in the marks, due to poor academic practice but the essay is still marked.
  3. The student and the department agree the essay contains plagiarism/collusion/self plagiarism – a mark of zero is given for the essay, but the student can re-sit (if they have a re-sit attempt available and need it to pass the module) although the re-sit will be capped at the minimum pass mark.
  4. The student and the department disagree about whether there is a case of plagiarism/collusion/self plagiarism – the case is passed to the Student Conduct and Appeals office for a formal hearing.

Unfortunately the College doesn’t take intention into account when deciding whether an essay contains plagiarism. They will look at material that comes from other sources and whether this has been appropriately quoted and referenced. If information taken from another source hasn’t been quoted and hasn’t been referenced, the College would consider that as plagiarism, whether the student intended to do so or not. In cases where a small amount of source material has been quoted, but not referenced, or referenced but not quoted, that can sometimes be considered as poor academic practice. More information can be found here (in the College’s guide to academic honesty and integrity).

 

>Misconduct Committee Procedure 

If you are invited to a Misconduct Committee hearing you should be given at least 14 days’ notice of the date. This is a formal hearing, but on the level of a job interview, not a court hearing. You can dress as you feel comfortable, you get to sit down throughout the procedure, you are not interrogated and you can take a break at any point. 

You are invited to submit a written statement and any evidence they have for consideration and have to send this to Student Conduct and Appeals ([email protected]) at least 7 days prior to the hearing. KCLSU Advisers can advise on what to include in this statement and would be able to check drafts for you before you submit. 

The Committee at the hearing will usually be made up of 3 members of staff from the College and 1 fully trained student volunteer. These are the people who would decide on the outcome. There will also be another member of staff present who is responsible for taking notes and audio-recording the hearing. There will be a representative from the department, but they will not take part in making the decision on the outcome. 

What would usually happen is that the department representative would begin by explaining the case and why your work has been flagged for plagiarism/collusion/self plagiarism. You will then be given a chance to respond and put forward any information you feel is relevant, for the Committee to take into account. A KCLSU Adviser is usually able to accompany you on the day and support you in putting forward this information. You would also need to inform Student Conduct and Appeals if this is the case ([email protected]) when you submit your statement. 

The Committee will then decide whether or not to uphold the charge and if they uphold the charge, they will decide which penalty to recommend. You would be given the decision by email up to 7 days later, and there is an appeal procedure if you are not satisfied with the decision which KCLSU Adivers can also advise on. 

More information can be found in the College’s misconduct regulations here as well as in student guidance on plagiarism here.

 

Examination-related Misconduct

>Preliminary Investigation 

If you are suspected of Academic Misconduct during an examination, the matter will be referred to Student Conduct and Appeals, who will investigate the charge. As part of this preliminary investigation, they may wish to talk to you. If you are required to attend any meetings with them, a KCLSU Adviser may be able to accompany you.  

After the preliminary investigation, Student Conduct and Appeals will decide on one of three outcomes: 

  1. There is no case to answer/insufficient evidence – the case would be dropped and that would be the end of it 
  2. A warning for misconduct can be issued – the student would receive a warning and a formal letter, which would stay on their record within King’s only. Any further cases of misconduct would be treated more seriously, but there would be no further repercussions if the student never receives a charge of misconduct again. 
  3. A full investigation in to the alleged misconduct is required – in this case, the student would be invited to a formal hearing, known as a Misconduct Committee. KCLSU Advisers can help students prepare for this and write a statement, and also are able to accompany students to the hearing on the day. 

 

>Misconduct Committee Procedure 

If you are invited to a Misconduct Committee hearing you should be given at least 14 days’ notice of the date. This is a formal hearing, but on the level of a job interview, not a court hearing. You are invited to dress as you feel comfortable, you get to sit down throughout the procedure, you are not interrogated and you can take a break at any point. 

You are invited to submit a written statement and any evidence you have for consideration and have to send this to Student Conduct and Appeals ([email protected]) at least 7 days prior to the hearing. KCLSU Advisers can advise on what to include in this statement and would be able to check drafts for you before you submit. 

The Committee at the hearing will usually be made up of 3 members of staff from the College and 1 fully trained student volunteer. These are the people who would decide on the outcome. There will also be another member of staff present who is responsible for taking notes and audio-recording the hearing. There will be a representative from the department, but they will not take part in making the decision on the outcome. 

What would usually happen is that the Chair (the lead person on the Committee) will begin by introducing everyone at the table. Usually the department representative would be asked to speak first and cover any relevant information about the exam including whether what the student is accused of could have given them an unfair advantage in the exam. You are then be given a chance to respond and put forward your explanation of what happened on the day, for the Committee to take into account. It isn’t possible to predict exactly what questions they will have for you, however they usually start with an open question asking you what happened in your own words.  

 The Committee will then decide whether or not to uphold the charge and if they uphold the charge, they will decide which penalty to recommend. You will be given the decision by email up to 7 days later, and there is an appeal procedure if you are not satisfied with the decision which KCLSU Advisers can help with.  

The College’s Misconduct Regulations in full can be found here.   

 

FAQs

What is the difference between a LAMP meeting and a Misconduct hearing? 

A LAMP meeting is an informal meeting held at departmental level where a student’s case is discussed at friendly tone. The usual outcome is that the student receives a 0 for their work but are able to resubmit for a capped mark. If the student disagrees with the allegation, then the case is referred to Student Conduct & Appeals office, which is when a Misconduct hearing is convened.  A Misconduct hearing is also convened directly in more severe cases. A Misconduct hearing is formal where a student’s case is discussed thoroughly, and where the Committee has a wider range of penalties at its disposal.  

What are possible outcomes of a Misconduct hearing?

Unfortunately, usually, it’s not possible to predict what outcome a Misconduct hearing will have. Academic-related misconduct penalties can range from formal warnings, a mark of 0 with or without reassessment to suspension or even expulsion in more severe cases. 

I don’t think I can attend a LAMP meeting/Misconduct hearing? What can I do? 

If you think you cannot attend then you should email your department/Student Conduct & Appeals office and let them know, and ask if it would be possible to reschedule. Please note that Misconduct hearings take precedence of any other College-organised event so you are expected to be able attend, unless of course there’s something happening outside of your control.  If you cannot physically make it to the meeting, you can attend by Skype (which has to be arranged beforehand). Please also note that Hearings can go ahead in a student’s absence. 

I’m not happy with the Misconduct hearing outcome. What can I do? 

Students may appeal the decision of a Misconduct Committee on either or both of the following grounds:  

a) there is new evidence that could not have been, or for good reason was not, made available at the time of the Committee, and the case warrants further consideration;  

b) evidence can be produced of significant procedural error on the part of the College before or during the Committee, and the case warrants further consideration. 

If this is the case, please do get in touch with KCLSU Advice via the online form, so an Adviser can help you further with your case.