Number of DCU students expelled for plagiarism decreases

Brian Mahon

Numbers suggest a decrease in the amount of plagiarism in DCU. Image Caption: Alison Clair

A number of students have been expelled from DCU for plagiarism according to the results of a Freedom of Information request (FOI).

The FOI request showed that 36 cases of plagiarism have been dealt with by the university since 2013.

One case has occurred so far in 2018, with four cases of exam regulation breaches also dealt with by the Student Disciplinary Committee. There has been no non-academic cases have come before the Committee in 2018.

In 2017, five cases of plagiarism were dealt with, five exam regulation breaches occurred and two cases of non-academic matters were dealt with. Of the 12 cases, 10 were upheld.

Figures in 2013 spiked for plagiarism in DCU as 11 students were accused, five for exam regulation breaches and five for non-academic breaches. All but two of the 21 cases were upheld in that year.

The university declined to provide figures in relation to which faculties have experienced the most evidence of plagiarism stating: “We are happy to provide statistical information of students who were involved in cheating but given the relatively small numbers involved there is a danger that persons could be identified if we provided the faculties in which the students were based.”

“The University is satisfied that between the use of technology and the vigilance of staff, it is taking all reasonable steps to detect plagiarism and, where it is detected, disciplinary action is taken,” said a university spokesperson.

DCUSU Officer for Education and Placement Craig McHugh said the disciplinary process was fair to students.

“What I would say to students that would feel the need to plagiarise, the stress can come and people may feel it necessary but obviously it’s in no one’s best interest, you come here to get an education to better yourself and plagiarism essentially goes against that,” he said.

He added that the SU was there to help students and they were happy to assist them where they might be struggling academically.

The university also stated: ‘The cases above came before the Student Disciplinary Committee and the relevant policies are the Examination Regulation 2016-2017 and the DCU Academic Integrity and Plagiarism.”

However, these documents were only uploaded to the university website after October 3rd, 2018, when the last Academic Council took place.

DCU’s academic integrity and plagiarism policy document outlines the steps the university must take if it is satisfied a student has committed plagiarism.

Where a student is interviewed in regards to plagiarism, the document states the ‘interview panel will involve, at a minimum, the School representative and another academic member of staff. For example, the staff member who identified the alleged breach.

The student can, however, escalate proceedings to and have the matter referred to the University Disciplinary Committee. The policy also states the matter must be referred to the University Disciplinary Committee if the student retains legal representation.

Brian Mahon

Image Credit: Alison Clair