Procedural Fairness

An allegation of academic misconduct is extremely serious, so all steps taken in this process must be fair, both in appearance and in fact. Here are some principles and suggestions to help with this.

  1. Clarity: Clear and timely notice to the student is very important. Notice should be in written form, but if you decide that it is best to contact the student in person or by phone to arrange a meeting, follow-up with an email.
  2. Impartiality: When investigating your suspicion that academic misconduct has occurred, keep an open mind. Pursue avenues of information that might lead you to a different conclusion than your initial suspicions.
  3. Factuality: When meeting with student, clearly present the allegations to the student by reporting the facts. Do not include any editorial comment or judgments about the student’s character. Allow the student to provide you with their side of the story – prompt them for information or documentation that might support what they are telling you. Explain the process that will follow and ask them if they understand. Refer them to resources/supports on campus (e.g., GSS Advocacy, UBC Ombuds Office).
  4. Timeliness: Delay can be fatal to any process. Make sure you act quickly upon first identifying the suspicion and then keep the process moving until you can hand it over to the next phase. Respond to student inquiries and requests promptly.
  5. Documentation: Keep a written record of all communications.

Next: APPENDIX A: Investigating and Documenting Suspected Plagiarism