Academic fraud at the university: An analysis of an actual case, the conflict and its resolution

Alfonso Pardo, Carlos Rodríguez-Casals


This study analyzes a real case of academic fraud in a university sent from a tutor of a course to the director of the degree for its resolution. The conflict started when a group of students accessed the content of several quarterly exams before taking the tests, and dishonestly received grades higher than usual. As the whole group’s grades averages were affected, the rest of their classmates suffered academic damage. While they did not wanted to consent to this damage, they were not willing to give away the offenders. The incident had several concomitant problems, in addition to the academic fraud itself: the deterioration of class group relationships, both among students and among students and teachers; the lack of objective evidence of fraud to support the students' complaint; the threat of going public if an appropriate solution was not reached, along with the subsequent loss of prestige for the educational institutions involved in this incident; and the possibility that compliance with regulations could lead to the culprits’ expulsion from their degree program and the academic institution. Through mediation, a consensual solution was sought and achieved among all parties involved. This solution reestablished good classroom coexistence and allowed the offenders to continue their academic degrees once they admitted their fault and accepted the imposed sanctions.


Academic fraud; university education; conflict; coexistence in the classroom; conflict mediation


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