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Academic misconduct

Academic misconduct or dishonesty is behaviour that violates academic integrity. With respect to bachelor and master studies, it generally refers to attempts to gain an academic advantage through unfair or illicit means, most commonly in the context of exams or other forms of assessment. It also concerns behaviour that violates intellectual property rights or undermines the reputation of a scholar or another student. Academic misconduct may be unintentional, for example if it is the result of negligence or carelessness.

When enrolling at the University of Luxembourg, all students undertake to comply with the Charter of Student Rights and Responsibilities (Charte des usagers – see the first annex to the University’s Study Regulations/Règlement des études), including its article 15:

L’usager s’engage dès le début de sa scolarité et jusqu’à la fin de ses études au sein de l’Université à respecter les règles de l’honnêteté intellectuelle, notamment à ne pas avoir recours au plagiat, à la fraude ou à toute autre méthode illicite ou contraire à l’intégrité scientifique.

From the first enrolment until the end of their studies at the University, users undertake to comply with the principles of intellectual honesty, in particular not to resort to plagiarism, fraud or any other method that is unlawful or contrary to academic integrity.

The University of Luxembourg does not tolerate any form of academic misconduct. All allegations of academic misconduct are investigated. Certain violations of academic integrity may be subject to disciplinary action. This concerns fraud, attempted fraud and plagiarism (see below). Depending on the seriousness of the offence committed, sanctions may be applied.

The University takes all disciplinary investigations seriously and is committed to the following principles:

  • the principle of presumption of innocence,
  • the adversarial principle,
  • the principle of respect for the right to defend oneself against an accusation,
  • the principle that a sanction must be clearly justified,
  • the principle that a sanction must be in proportion to the nature of the offence committed.

On this page:

Fraud or attempted fraud

Plagiarism and self-plagiarism

Fraud or attempted fraud

Fraud is a form of academic misconduct that falsifies or distorts the results of an examination or other summative assessment. Attempted fraud is treated as seriously as accomplished fraud. Depending on the type of assessment (e.g. an on-site written or oral exam, an online exam or a take-home assignment), fraud may take different forms. Exam fraud (cheating) and identity deception are common types of fraud:

Exam fraud (cheating) includes all breaches of exam rules, such as the following:

  • The use or consultation of unauthorised material (e.g. a smartphone or cheat sheet);
  • Unauthorised communication with other examinees, including the passing of notes;
  • Seeking help from a third party during an exam;
  • The use of unauthorised applications or websites during an online (remote) exam;
  • The copying of exam documents.

Students should always make sure that they have understood all applicable exam rules and ask their course instructor or exam invigilator if they have doubts.

Identity deception is the misrepresentation of one’s own identity or the use, forging or misrepresentation of another person’s identity for one’s own purposes. Examples include:

  • Forging a signature: Signing in another person’s name by imitating that person’s signature or modifying one’s own or another person’s signature so as to attribute it to another person;
  • Misrepresentation: Passing off one’s own work as somebody else’s or somebody else’s work as one’s own (see also plagiarism below);
  • Impersonation: Posing as or otherwise pretending to be another person;
  • Identity theft: Stealing and using another person’s identifying information or credentials and using them for one’s own purposes.

Plagiarism and self-plagiarism

Plagiarism means using the work or a part of the work of another author without properly acknowledging the source, in other words, passing another person’s work off as one's own. Plagiarism is an act of academic dishonesty and a violation of somebody else’s intellectual property rights.

Instances of plagiarism include:

  • Not putting quotation marks around a quote from another person’s work;
  • Pretending to paraphrase while in fact quoting (copying verbatim) or otherwise failing to paraphrase appropriately;
  • Failing to cite the source of a quoted or paraphrased work;
  • Citing incorrectly or incompletely;
  • Using another person’s unpublished work without attribution and permission or taking another person’s work and submitting it under one's own name;
  • Having another person write a piece of work for oneself and submitting it in one's own name (“ghost-writing”);
  • Presenting as one's own a piece of work that contains a high proportion of quoted/copied or paraphrased text (images, graphs, etc.), even if adequately cited and referenced.

Reusing (portions of) a text that one has previously submitted for assessment or published, can be considered self-plagiarism. Depending on the amount of material reused and the applicable rules for a given course and study programme, self-plagiarism may be considered as a breach of academic integrity and may result in disciplinary action.

For more information about academic integrity in the context of written assignments and guidance on how to avoid plagiarism, please consult the University’s plagiarism guide on the Luxembourg Learning Centre web pages.

Consequences of fraud, attempted fraud and plagiarism

If a student is accused of fraud or plagiarism, an invigilator or member of academic staff will draw up a report that sets out the details of the alleged incident. The student will be given the opportunity to include his or her version of events in the report. The student will also be invited to sign the report, and may agree or refuse to do so.

If the incident occurred during a written or oral exam, the student will usually be given the choice as to whether or not to continue the exam.

If the incident concerns a submitted assessment, the student's right to a fair and equitable evaluation is not affected by the allegation of fraud or plagiarism. Students also maintain their right to access their transcript of records and grades for courses not affected by the alleged incident.

Stages in the disciplinary procedure

All reported cases of fraud, attempted fraud and plagiarism are investigated. The stages in the disciplinary procedure are as follows:

  1. Report – The starting point of the disciplinary process is reported misconduct. The person reporting the alleged fraud signs the report and forwards it to the course coordinator, Study Programme Director and the Dean of the Faculty.
  2. Consultative meeting – The students accused of misconduct will then usually be invited to a consultative meeting with the Study Programme Director and the invigilator or the person who marked the assignment. At the meeting, the students will be given a chance to explain the incident and outline any relevant details. They will be invited to sign the minutes of the meeting.
  3. Hearing – Immediately after the consultative meeting, the report of misconduct and the minutes of the meeting will be forwarded to the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs. The Vice-Rector will assess the case and invite the students and any other people involved to a hearing, which will take place no more than six (6) weeks after the accusation. It is important that students attend this meeting. They may attend the meeting accompanied by a person of their choice.
  4. Outcome – After the hearing, the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs decides whether the accusation was unfounded or justified. In the latter case, the Vice-Rector may impose a sanction, details of which will be included in the minutes of the hearing. The outcome of the investigation may be one of the following:
    1. The case is dismissed and the student is declared innocent.
    2. The accusation is upheld and the assessment is considered invalid (the student receives a grade of 0 and the exam counts as one attempt) but no further sanctions are applied.
    3. The accusation is upheld and a sanction is applied in addition to the annulment of the exam.

The Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs will notify students of the decision within ten working days of the hearing.

Sanctions

The sanctions that may be imposed on students who have been found guilty of fraud, attempted fraud or plagiarism are the following:

  • The cancellation of all grades obtained in examinations for the module or the entire examination session of the respective semester;
  • A ban for up to five years on taking any examinations leading to the award of a degree, diploma or certificate by the University;
  • The retroactive withdrawal of the degree, diploma or certificate awarded by the University.

In cases where a student has already left the University, disciplinary action may be taken up to six (6) months after his/her departure.

Right of appeal

Students may contest the outcome of a disciplinary procedure by submitting an appeal to the University’s Dispute Committee within seven (7) days of notification of the decision. The appeal must be submitted by email to commission.litiges@uni.lu and must contain at least the following information:

  • Personal and contact details of the appellant: full name, student ID number, student email address.
  • Information concerning the decision being appealed: date, form of notification, name of the person who took the decision, study programme, the fact that the decision was taken as part of a disciplinary procedure, content of the decision and sanction imposed, if applicable.
  • Details of the grounds on which the decision is being contested.
  • Suitable evidence.

Further information on appeals to the Dispute Committee can be found on the Dispute Committee web pages.

Useful Documents