Academic regulations - University of Ottawa

Academic Fraud

Definition

What is academic fraud?

Academic fraud is defined as “any act by a student that may result in a distorted academic evaluation of that student or of another student.” Academic fraud occurs if you do any of the following:

  • Plagiarize (copy) or cheat in any way (for more information on plagiarism and how you can avoid it, see the academic fraud section in the student guides).
  • Submit work you have not completely written yourself (with the exception of quotations and references). This can include an assignment, an essay, a test, an exam, a research report or a thesis, whether you present your work in writing, orally or in another form.
  • Present research data that has been falsified or made up in any way.
  • Attribute a statement of fact or reference to a made-up source.
  • Submit the same work or a large part of the same work in more than one course, or a thesis or other work that has been presented elsewhere without the prior approval of the appropriate professors or academic units.
  • Falsify or misrepresent an academic evaluation, using a forged or altered supporting document or facilitating the use of such a document.
  • Undertake any other action for the purpose of falsifying an academic evaluation.

Sanctions

What can happen to me if I’m found to have committed academic fraud?

If you’ve committed or tried to commit academic fraud, or have assisted someone else to do so, you could be subject to one or more of the following sanctions, as detailed in Regulation 14 on academic fraud:

  1. a written warning;
  2. zero for part of the work in question;
  3. zero for the work in question;
  4. zero for the work in question, and the loss of additional marks for the course in question;
  5. zero for the work in question with the minimum passing grade for the course as your maximum grade;
  6. an F grade for the course in question;
  7. the addition of another 3 to 30 credits to your program requirements or to the requirements of any program at the same level in which you subsequently registers;
  8. suspension of a University of Ottawa or faculty scholarship for a specified period;
  9. the loss of any faculty or University scholarship opportunity;
  10. suspension from the University for a maximum of two years. No course taken at the University of Ottawa or elsewhere during the suspension period will be recognized by the University and no tuition fees will be refunded. Once the suspension ends, you can re-register in your program and you are subject to the program requirements in place at that time;
  11. inclusion of a permanent statement on the student’s official transcript: Sanction pursuant to contravention of the University regulation on fraud.
  12. expulsion from the University of Ottawa and permanent statement on your official transcript indicating you were expelled from the University for committing academic fraud. Three years following the date of expulsion, you are eligible to make a request to the Senate Appeals Committee to have the expulsion set aside, including the possibility, where applicable, of having the mention removed from your transcript. If you reapply to the University of Ottawa, the regular admission process applies;
  13. cancellation or revocation of a degree, diploma or certificate conferred prior to the University becoming aware of academic fraud;
  14. any other sanction considered appropriate for the circumstances.
Your faculty is responsible for applying the sanctions mentioned in articles (a) to (i). The Senate Appeals Committee is responsible for applying articles (j) to (n), on the recommendation of your faculty. Decisions take effect immediately, even if you want to appeal them.

Procedures

What are the procedures that the University have put in place to deal with cases of academic fraud?

All fraud allegations must be submitted in writing, with supporting documentation, to the dean of the faculty in which the course is offered, except for cases involving graduate courses. For graduate courses, the dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies handles all allegations.
If the allegation seems justified, the dean or the dean’s representative:

  1. writes to you to inform you of the allegations, and includes supporting documentation. If you are eligible for the accelerated process for academic fraud cases, you can choose to follow the regular process (described here) or the accelerated process (See Regulation 14 on academic fraud). If the allegation involves an examination, the student has the right to consult the exam in question at the faculty, in a diligent manner;
  2. attaches a copy of the Regulation on Academic Fraud;
  3. refers the file to a committee of inquiry made up of at least three individuals, appointed by the dean, in the following circumstances: you are not eligible for the accelerated process, you choose the regular process, or the accelerated process was abandoned.

The committee of inquiry:

  1. invites you to submit in writing, within a set deadline, all information or documentation relevant to the allegation, and invites you to appear before the committee. At this meeting, you can be accompanied by a person of your choice (if it’s a case involving other students, the accompanying person cannot be one of these students). The person accompanying you is there to provide support and can, therefore, assist you during the meeting, keeping in mind that the exchange is, first and foremost, between the faculty and the student;
  2. requests all other information it considers relevant.

Once the committee of inquiry has received this information and has given you a chance to make your case in writing or in person, it may do one of the following:

  1. decide that the allegation is not well-founded and that it will take no further action; or
  2. decide that the allegation is well-founded and provide a short report to the dean, recommending the appropriate sanctions.

The dean sends you a copy of the inquiry committee’s report within five (5) working days of its reception. The dean also informs you that you have the right to submit your comments concerning this report, particularly with respect to any sanctions being imposed, as long as you do so in writing within ten (10) working days following the report’s transmission.
The committee of inquiry’s report and, if applicable, your written comments are submitted to your faculty’s executive committee (or its equivalent), which makes a decision or recommendation, depending on whether the faculty or the Senate Appeals Committee is responsible for applying the recommended sanction.
If your faculty is responsible for applying the sanction, the decision made by the faculty executive committee (or its equivalent) takes effect immediately, even if you decide to appeal it.

The dean informs you in writing of the decision or recommendation of the executive committee (or its equivalent) and the procedures you must follow to appeal it within five (5) working days following the decision.

Appeal of Faculty’s Decision

What happens if I decide to appeal the faculty’s decision or recommendation concerning a case of plagiarism?

If you decide to appeal a decision of the faculty’s executive committee (or its equivalent) or its recommendation to the Senate Appeals Committee, you must inform the Office of the Vice-President, Governance and provide the reasons for the appeal in writing, within ten (10) working days of being notified of the executive committee’s decision or recommendation.
The procedure for submitting an appeal to the Senate Appeals Committee is available online.
Briefly, you will be able to:

  • submit an appeal of the faculty’s decision within ten (10) working days of receipt of the Faculty’s decision
  • receive a copy of the faculty’s comments to the Senate Appeals Committee on your case
  • provide a written response to the faculty’s comments
  • appear before the Senate Appeals Committee to make further oral submissions and answer questions, if you wish
Please note that the decision of the Senate Appeals Committee is final and cannot be appealed.

Cases of fraud that involve students from different faculties

What about cases of fraud that involve students from different faculties?

If the fraud allegation involves students from different faculties, the case goes to the faculty that offers the course, in accordance with the procedure set out in this regulation. For graduate studies, the dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies handles the allegation.

When the fraud allegation involves more than one student registered in a course offered by more than one faculty (including courses offered at both undergraduate and graduate level), the case is submitted to the deans responsible for the courses in question. If the allegation is deemed to be founded, the deans will strike a joint inquiry committee.

Implications of a suspension from a program

What happens if I’m suspended from my program of studies?

If you’re suspended from a program, you don’t receive any credit for courses that are part of your program or that could meet the requirements of your program that you might take at the University of Ottawa or elsewhere during the time you’re suspended. No course taken at the University of Ottawa or elsewhere during the suspension period will be recognized by the University and no tuition fees will be refunded.

When your suspension is finished, you can continue your program by reregistering, according to the program requirements in place at that time.

Accelerated process for academic fraud cases

Under what circumstances can I choose the accelerated process for academic fraud cases?

Every student who is alleged to have committed academic fraud is eligible for the accelerated process, except in the following cases:

  1. this is not your first offence
  2. your offence is serious enough that it could lead to sanctions ranging from sanction (h) of the Regulation on Academic Fraud (suspension of a University of Ottawa or faculty scholarship for a specified period) to sanction (n) (any other sanction considered appropriate for the circumstances)
  3. it involves more than one student

How does the accelerated process work?

If the allegation against you is well-founded and you’re eligible for the accelerated process, your dean (or its representative) will inform you by writing, and you will have to choose between the regular and the accelerated processes. You have five (5) working days to respond otherwise the regular process will be started.

By accepting the accelerated process, you acknowledge that you have contravened the academic regulations, whether intentionally or not, and that there will be one or more sanctions.

What happens if I choose the accelerated process?

If you choose the accelerated process, a meeting is organized between the person responsible for the accelerated process for academic fraud cases and you. The goal of the meeting is to discuss the situation and arrive at an agreement in which you acknowledge that you have contravened the academic regulations, whether intentionally or not, and you accept the sanction imposed. You have two (2) working days after the meeting to sign and return the agreement to the person responsible for the accelerated process.
For this meeting, you can be accompanied by a person of your choice. Likewise, the person responsible for the accelerated process of academic fraud cases may also be accompanied. If this is the case, the person responsible for the accelerated process and you must provide, in advance, each other with the name of the person accompanying you.
Normally, sanctions range from a written warning (a) to a requirement to take an additional 3 to 30 credits for your program (g).
The person responsible for the accelerated process of academic fraud cases forwards the results of the process, along with the sanction imposed, to the professor who made the allegation of fraud and to the director of your academic unit within five (5) working days.
The accelerated process for an allegation of academic fraud normally takes fifteen (15) working days of the date the allegation is made.
You can end the process at any time before you sign an agreement. The regular process is then started.
The person responsible for the accelerated process of academic fraud cases can also end the process if it is unlikely an agreement can be reached, such as if you:

  • don’t answer e-mails or return phone calls, or if you unfuly drag out the process
  • refuse to acknowledge having committed academic fraud
  • reject the proposed sanction
  • don’t attend the meeting

If the regular process is started:

  • Any information you’ve shared during the accelerated process is considered confidential and will not be revealed in the regular process.
  • The fact that the accelerated process was started or that you considered using the process will not be revealed to the members of the inquiry committee in the regular process.
  • No one who took part in the accelerated process (except for you) can be a member of the inquiry committee, unless you agree to it.

If you decide to file an appeal after you’ve signed an agreement, you must submit the appeal to the Senate Appeals Committee within ten (10) working days of having signed the agreement. Under the accelerated process, an appeal can be launched only in cases of procedural error.
For more information on the accelerated process, please see: 

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) for students on the accelerated process 

Regulation 14

Academic Regulations of the University of Ottawa

*Please note that this site aims to disseminate the Academic Regulations of the University of Ottawa. In case of a dispute between the two versions, the Academic Regulations are correct.

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