Information on issues regarding academic appeals, academic misconduct or student complaints.
This page has been created to give you an introductory guide to issues relating to academic misonduct, appeals and complaints.
The general rule is it is not the case that universities will automatically be expected to refund students if they receive a different educational experience than they would have done if another year. However there are steps that the university is expected to take. This includes giving prospective and current students clear information about what to expect from the course and keeping students informed of changes to teaching due to public health advice. There is some more information about this on the Office of Students website here.
However students do have a right to good quality education and if you are concerned that this is not happening, you would be able to make a complaint. The complaint process is a three stage process and the first stage is a front line complaint.
The OIA has included some information on case studies about the covid complaints that may also be helpful.
If something has affected your performance and you have not achieved the mark you expected, you may be able to appeal. An appeal will not be considered if you are questioning academic judgement i.e. if you disagree with the mark you have been awarded.
Appeals must be submitted within 21-days of the date of your transcript. If your appeal is late, you will need to provide evidence that you were medically unable to engage with the appeal procedure within the 21-day timeframe.
The grounds which you can appeal are:
- Extenuating circumstances that you were unaware of at the time, therefore unable to disclose.
- If the college made a mistake which is known as an administrative error or procedural irregularity.
- If there is evidence of prejudice or bias against you.
The College's rules and processes on Academic Appeals can be read here.
We're able to help give general advice on your academic appeal but be conscious of the need to submit your appeal within the timeframe detailed in the procedure.
Academic misconduct is defined by Goldsmiths’ as any attempt by a student to gain an unfair advantage in any form of assessment. The term ‘academic misconduct’ includes all forms of cheating, plagiarism, and collusion.
Plagiarism is the most common; it broadly falls into two areas- poor referencing or duplication.
You are able to appeal the accusation of academic misconduct, and we can help. If you are seeking help from us, make sure to submit information about the accusation and the deadline for you to submit your appeal.
If you’re an enrolled or interrupted student, you should raise your complaint within three-months of the problem. Former students and graduates can also make a complaint under this procedure, but must raise the complaint within two months of leaving Goldsmiths.
Initially you may seek a resolution via a front-line preliminary discussion (stage one) but if you dont get the right outcome, you can progress to a formal complaint (stage two) by completing a form and sending it with supporting evidence to the Appeals and Complaints team who are part of the College's Governance & Legal Services Department.
The College's rules and processes on Student Complaints can be read here.
If you are unhappy with the stage two outcome, and only if it meets specific crtieria, you can proceed to stage three.
Only after you have gone through the College's procedures, can you take your case to the Ombudsman for student complaints (The OIA).
Industrial action complaints
If your Stage 2 industrial action complaint was dismissed, you may have the option of having the outcome reviewed at Stage 3 of the complaints process.
This purpose of this guidance is to offer advice and information on the process itself and on potential next steps you may wish to take. It could be helpful to note that the SU can offer advice related to complaints but, is not involved in any part of the decision-making when it pertains to complaint outcomes. As the decision is made by the college, regardless of this advice it is not possible to say definitively what the outcome of a Stage 3 complaint will be.
Regarding the process itself, a student can ask for their complaint to be reviewed at Stage 3 of the complaints process within a specified period of the Stage 2 outcome letter (this is usually within one month). According to the complaints regulations, in order to raise a Stage 3 complaint, one or more of the following grounds should be applicable:
There were procedural irregularities in the investigation of the complaint; or
Fresh evidence can be presented which could not reasonably have been made available with submission of the Stage Two Form; or
The outcome of the investigation was not reasonable in all the circumstances.
You can read more on the complaints process here.
With the exception of making Stage 1 of the complaints process mandatory, the course of industrial action complaints appears to have mirrored the general complaints process. Despite this it can be noted that at least in some cases, when it comes to the outcomes of these complaints there appears to be some disparity.
From experience, complaints are usually considered on a case-by-case basis. When it pertains to the industrial action complaints, there appears to have been standardisation of outcomes on a departmental basis.
For students who have been affected by this standardisation and are dissatisfied with the outcome of their Stage 2 complaint on this basis, it may be possible to request a review of the decision potentially on the ground that ‘The outcome of the investigation was not reasonable in all the circumstances’.
When challenging the complaint outcome on this ground, amongst potentially other things it could be helpful to consider emphasising the following as appropriate:
Points that were raised in your Stage 2 complaint but appear to have received no consideration in the investigation.
Information contained within the outcome letter which is incorrect or inaccurate.
Information contained within the outcome letter that is irrelevant to the complaint you submitted.
To further emphasis the generic nature of your outcome, you could potentially consider evidencing this fact. If you are aware of other students from your course/department who have received the same outcome as you for their Stage 2 industrial action complaint, this is something you may wish to highlight. If the student/s are happy to share their outcome with you and provide consent for you to reference this information in your Stage 3 complaint this is something you could consider.
If this is to be done, please obtain their explicit written confirmation that their outcome is the same as yours and that they consent to you cross-referencing their outcome as part of your Stage 3 complaint. If this consent is obtained, this can be uploaded as evidence upon submission of the Stage 3 form.
It could also be helpful to clarify that despite doing this, your complaint would still be an individual and not a group complaint. The purpose of this potential action is to highlight the unreasonableness and generic nature of your individual complaint investigation and outcome.
Please click here for the Stage 3 industrial action form.
Stage 3 is the final part of the internal college complaints process. Should you be dissatisfied with the outcome of your Stage 3 complaint, you may be able to make a complaint with the OIA. You can read more about OIA complaints here. There is some information about earlier OIA decisions here.
We hope this guide has helped, but if you need further support or advice please contact our advice team through their online form, and they’ll be in touch.