Unisa warns students against academic misconduct

Unisa has over the past years emphasised the importance of protecting its academic integrity and its zero-tolerance approach to any form of academic misconduct during its assessments. Through our identification measures, we have noted a growing number of students who have engaged in cheating, plagiarism and ghost-writing, as well as students making use of service provider solutions and other forms of academic dishonesty during their online assessments. It has been disheartening to note that, in some cases, students who are left with one or two modules remaining in their qualifications have been identified to have engaged in academic misconduct. Although we are aware of the increased solicitation of our students by third parties offering to write assignments and examinations on behalf of our students, students have the responsibility to uphold the Student Disciplinary Code and Academic Integrity Policy.

While this behaviour is evidence of a general moral decay in society, the university's Disciplinary Office has successfully conducted disciplinary proceedings against students suspected of academic misconduct. Over 97% of students who have sat for their disciplinary proceedings have been found guilty of academic misconduct. Students who have been identified and found guilty of academic misconduct have received sanctions ranging from 0% final mark, to three-to-five-year suspensions and expulsions from the university. The consequences of academic misconduct are quite severe, as students are not only suspended from continuing their studies at Unisa but at other South African universities.

A student who engages in academic misconduct not only damages their academic record, but also undermines the integrity of Unisa’s qualifications and devalues the hard work of other students. It is thus important that Unisa maintain its hard, non-negotiable approach in its disciplinary proceedings. Often students who have been identified of suspicious misconduct have raised concerns about the length of time it takes to finalise their disciplinary cases. Disciplinary proceedings take a long time to finalise due to the comprehensive process of gathering evidence, and adherence to strict protocols in accordance with the disciplinary policy and legal provisions, which enable well-informed decisions about the appropriate penalties for students who have been found guilty of misconduct.

As you continue with your academic studies, we continue to warn students not to engage in dishonest academic behaviours, such as copying answers from someone else, collaborating with others in providing answers, purchasing answer scripts from third-party suppliers, using prohibited materials, unethical usage of Artificial Intelligence Software (eg ChatGPT) or online sources (eg course material), and plagiarising by using someone else’s work as their own without giving proper credit. To avoid academic misconduct, students should understand and follow the rules and regulations set by the university, take advantage of resources that can help them succeed, and be aware of the consequences of their actions. By doing so, students can ensure that their academic records remain intact and that they are well-prepared for the future. The risk of engaging in such behaviour is not worth it.

Publish date: 2023/08/14