Deception and Disturbance
There are a number of laws and regulations that students are obliged to abide by. This means, among other things, that harassment and disruptive activities can lead to warning or shutdown.
At MDU are four different cases of disciplinary offences that can lead to disciplinary action:
1. Attempting to deceive
According to the Higher Education Ordinance, disciplinary measures may be taken against students who try to deceive in an examination situation. There is no requirement that the student must have succeeded in the act of cheating, but it is enough that a student has tried to cheat.
Examples of cheating are using unauthorised aids, plagiarising texts or collaborating in an unauthorised way in an individual examination. Helping someone else to cheat is also regarded as cheating. As a student you may be liable to disciplinary action if you for example allow someone else to copy your answers in a take-home examination, or if you deliberately sign up your absent fellow-student as present in mandatory tuition.
2. Disturbs or impedes teaching, tests or other activities
This could be about students who cause a disturbance in a written examination by talking to one another during the test itself, or when students in teaching situations repeatedly behave in an unsuitable manner so as to have a negative effect on the teaching. Another example could be when a student violates the University’s rules of conduct in such a way as to cause a disturbing effect on the activities. A normal discussion can never be regarded as disturbing or impeding activities.
This applies to all activities within the framework of your education, in other words not just on MDU's premises but also when you as a student are for example on placement.
3. A student causes a disturbance in the library or other institution
This can be about students who behave in a disturbi attempting to deceive ng way in the University Library, computer rooms, laboratories, workshops or other parts of MDU. It is always important to abide by the rules of conduct that exist for these parts of the University. The most common breach of the rules of conduct with regard to the University Library is that students do not register their loans of library books. ”Disturbing activities” can also be about students who destroy property, which in itself has negative effects on the activities.
Using the University’s computer network in an unauthorised way can also constitute disturbing activities. An example of this is storing unauthorised material on the University’s computers.
4. A student exposes another student or employee to certain harassment
Disciplinary measures may also be taken against students who, in accordance with the Discrimination Act (2008:567), expose another student or an employee of the University to harassment on account of:
- transgender identity or expression
- religion or other belief
- sexual orientation
If a person feels harassed on other grounds than the above, there may be a case for reporting the student who is harassing for disturbing activities. Harassment does not have to occur on the University premises, but for the Disciplinary Board to consider the case it must have some connection to MDU.
Rules of conduct
For everyone to feel safe and secure within the University premises, there are special rules of conduct. These rules apply to everyone and for all activities conducted by the University.
What really counts as cheating?
There are a lot of students who cheat but who actually are not aware of it. Cheating can result in suspension so as a student it is a good idea to know what counts as cheating.
Deception in examinations (”cheating”) means that the student tries to claim to have done an assignment or part of an assignment without having done so him-/herself. This can be about using unauthorised aids in a written examination, such as a crib sheet or a mobile phone. Another example is collaboration between students in mandatory individual assignments and changing/adding to a text in marked and returned written work. Cheating can also be about plagiarising.
It is important to remember that you, the student, must not have cheated for a report to the Disciplinary Board to be made. It is enough that you have tried to cheat.
Plagiarism means that as a student you use someone else’s ideas in your work while describing them as your own. Re-using your own previously marked work in an unauthorised way for a particular assignment can also mean plagiarism, self-plagiarism as it is known. Examples of plagiarism are ”borrowing” texts from the internet, course literature, other students’ work or by translating a texts from a source without referring to that source.
One word of advice is that you should never use a former student’s or a present fellow student’s work as a model or inspiration when you are writing your work, since there is a great risk that you could be plagiarising. Even if you re-word the parts you use from the original when you are writing your work, it is highly probable that you will be judged to have plagiarised.
The boundary between what is and is not allowed may vary between different courses and course modules. Therefore it is important that you find out what rules apply for the course or assignment in question. You will find information about these rules in the study guide or similar and it is important that you read through this information carefully before each course. As a student it is your responsibility to inform yourself of what is allowed and not allowed in tests.
To avoid the risk of being accused of plagiarism you must always state your sources and put quotation marks round texts you take from someone else or that you take from your own previous work.
How an investigation is carried out
According to the Higher Education Ordinance the Vice-Chancellor shall order an investigation into the matter. The Vice-Chancellor has given the University Legal Officer the responsibility of leading investigations in disciplinary matters.
As a student you are given the opportunity early on in the investigation to make a statement on the report. You will be allowed to give your version of what happened and clarify your position regarding the suspicions. Afterwards the one who has made the report and/or possible witnesses or invigilators will be contacted if necessary for supplementary questions. As a student you have the right to be informed of new information arising during the course of the inquiry.
On completion of the investigation the matter is referred in normal cases to the Disciplinary Board for assessment. In exceptional cases the University Legal Officer, after consulting the Board’s legally qualified member, may instead decide that the matter not be pursued, in other words ”dropped", or lead to a warning.
Suspension or warning
If the Disciplinary Board considers that as a student you have been guilty of a disciplinary offence, the Board will take a decision on disciplinary action, which will be a warning or a suspension.
A warning means that as a student you will receive, at the Disciplinary Board’s meeting, an oral reprimand along with a written decision. The decision is sent to the teacher who has made the report. This decision does not affect your activities at the University. If you are reported again within two years and the Board finds you guilty, the penalty may be affected by this repeated behaviour.
Suspension means that you may not take part for a certain period in tuition, tests or other activities within the framework of your education. This decision also means that you have no right to student finance during this period, that you have no access to your student email account and that you cannot use your university card at the University. You have no right to free travel on the buses between Eskilstuna and Västerås nor to take part in other activities that presuppose that you are a student at MDU.
A decision to suspend may apply for one or several periods, though no more than six months altogether. The normal case is that a student is suspended for four to six weeks. The decision comes into force on the Monday after the Disciplinary Board’s meeting, unless otherwise stated.
The suspension applies to MDU only and does not affect studies at any another university or university college.
Documentation and notification of the Board’s decision
The Board’s decision is documented in a written decision and sent by email to you, the student, as soon as possible after the Board’s meeting. An original copy of the decision is stored in the University archives. A decision to suspend is sent in normal cases to the teacher who made the report, the registrar at the School concerned, MDU's Head of Security, Ladok (the Student Records) and to CSN (the Swedish Board for Study Support). A decision to issue a warning or to close the case without further action is sent only to you, the student, and to the teacher who made the report.
If you are present at the Disciplinary Board’s meeting you will also be informed orally of the Board’s decision in conjunction with the meeting.
If you have been suspended or been given a warning, you may appeal against the decision to the Administrative Court in Uppsala. You will be given information about how to appeal in connection with the decision to suspend or to give a warning. The appeal must be in writing and contain information on what decision you are appealing against and what changes in the decision you request. Before the appeal is sent to the Administrative Court, MDU must examine whether the appeal has been received in time. The appeal shall have been received within three weeks of the day on which you were informed of the decision. If you were present at the meeting and were informed of the decision then, the time is counted from that day onwards.
When you appeal against a suspension decision, you may request the Administrative Court to decide to temporarily suspend its implementation.
The Administrative Court will consider your request. If the Administrative Court approves the request, the suspension will be interrupted until the Administrative Court has finally settled the question. This is called inhibition.
The appeal is to be addressed to the Administrative Court but is to be sent to:
Registrar, Management Office
721 23 Västerås
or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Student Ombudsman
The ombudsman is impartial in relation to the students and the University and helps students
that has been treated unfairly, that has been harassed or discriminated
or students that have general questions about student rights.