What are the consequences of academic fraud?
June 26, 2011 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Would serious academic plagiarism (say getting final year essays and dissertation completed by someone else) which wasn't caught at the time, but came to light later, be grounds (a) for de-awarding a degree and (b) possible grounds for dismissal if you had obtained a job on the baisis of having a degree
posted by Iktik to Education (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by Sara Anne at 10:32 AM on June 26, 2011 [4 favorites]

posted by carter at 10:34 AM on June 26, 2011

If there's justice in the world.
posted by taramosalata at 10:34 AM on June 26, 2011 [17 favorites]

For one thing, they lied on their cv/resume, and on their job application.
posted by carter at 10:34 AM on June 26, 2011

The PhD will be revoked. However, I remember a case, a year or two ago, of a man who lost his degree because of fraud, but kept his academic post because it did not officially require a PhD. (I think it was in Michigan, but I can't find it via internet search.)
posted by oddman at 10:39 AM on June 26, 2011

(a) for de-awarding a degree

Depends on the rules of the university concerned, but in many cases, yes.

(b) possible grounds for dismissal if you had obtained a job on the baisis of having a degree

Again, depends on the contract with the employer, but in many cases, yes.
posted by grouse at 10:40 AM on June 26, 2011

PhD's are revoked for later-revealed plagiarism, this simple search revealed real-world examples.

If a job required a degree and the individual lost that degree it would seem the loss of their job would be all but guaranteed. If the degree was not literally required for the job or if for whatever reason the individual's work was publicly exposed as based on plagiarism but the degree was not revoked, you know, who knows. There would be a reasonable basis for claiming grounds for terminating the position and one can imagine a lot of variables that could push the decision one way or the other.
posted by nanojath at 10:54 AM on June 26, 2011


Large scale plagiarism would generally be grounds for a failing grade. Failing a required course would generally result in not granting a degree. There's some precedent for universities revoking degrees if "good cause such as fraud, deceit, or error is shown" and they use the proper procedure.

In the more lenient at-will states the employer can fire the employee for whatever reason they want. Even in the stricter states, they normally need only to show "just cause". "Your degree was revoked because you cheated your way through school" probably falls under that. They still need to follow the proper firing procedure (if outlined in the employee handbook or similar).
posted by anaelith at 11:01 AM on June 26, 2011

Please send a certified letter with contact information outlining the case for plagiarism to the Provost of the institution as well as the chair of the granting department and chair of the college (at larger institutions or the institution itself at smaller ones), making it clear you have no intention about being quiet about the matter. They should make sure the appropriate people get concerned and will likely contact you for more information.

Plagiarism is a big deal and should be taken very seriously.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:56 AM on June 26, 2011 [6 favorites]

The degree would almost certainly be revoked if there is conclusive evidence. Whether or not the job would be lost is entirely dependent on circumstances. E.g., I'm confident that I would not be fired if I had done that because of my past performance, the industry I'm in, and the relative lack of any negative publicity for the company. However, I'm also fairly confident if I was a the sort of person who would plagiarise their way through collage, I wouldn't be in the position I'm in now.
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:41 PM on June 26, 2011

("Dissertation" in British English corresponds to the American English "thesis," so this question isn't necessarily referring to a situation involving a PhD.)
posted by redfoxtail at 3:12 PM on June 26, 2011

Yes and yes. I know of a case.
posted by Knowyournuts at 8:05 PM on June 26, 2011

Having someone do your work for you is fraud, but not plagiarism. If there were proof of fraud, I would think the degree would be invalidated.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 3:00 PM on June 27, 2011

Presenting the work as your own is definitely plagiarism, even if you have permission or in other cases such as the work is in the public domain. Plagiarism is a type of fraud.
posted by anaelith at 6:18 PM on June 27, 2011

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