Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology begins disciplinary proceedings over plagiarism

College denies any emails or evidence destroyed

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology:  president Michael Carmody  said yesterday there had been “misinformed comment in the media”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology: president Michael Carmody said yesterday there had been “misinformed comment in the media”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

disciplinary proceedings, following an external investigation into plagiarism at the college. It has also denied that any emails were deleted or evidence destroyed which were relevant to the investigation.

In a statement, GMIT president Michael Carmody has said no decision will be taken on publication of the external investigators’ report “or otherwise” until “all disciplinary proceedings are completed”.

The external investigation, which is said to have cost more than €400,000 to conduct, was completed some 10 months ago, 2½ years after it was commissioned.

GMIT management initiated the external investigation in March 2011 into how its business school dealt with and responded to “complaints/ suspicions” of plagiarism which had been highlighted by one lecturer.

External inquiry

Ed Madden

The terms of reference had outlined an expected publication three weeks after investigations had concluded.

Several internal inquiries had by then already been held into a specific incident at the business school relating to alleged use of an instructor’s manual by a postgraduate student during the 2009-2010 academic year.

The manual, which includes model answers to questions, is restricted to lecturers only by a password from the publisher.

The student was found to be guilty of plagiarism, and his original mark for the work in question was reduced by 50 per cent.

When appointing the external investigators, GMIT explained that its business school had originally treated a misconduct allegation as a “minor” case of plagiarism by a student, when it should have been dealt with at senior management level.

‘Misinformed comment’

Marion Coy

This refers to a recent newspaper report that the external investigators recommended an inquiry into deletion of Ms Coy’s emails, which were “not available” on the GMIT system after her retirement.

Mr Carmody said yesterday that the external investigation verified that information from her email account was available in the early weeks after her departure in November 2010.

“ I wish to state that I was unaware that emails from 2010 were not immediately available on the live system until they were sought as part of the investigation in September 2012,” Mr Carmody said.

“I informed Marion of this matter. This was the first she knew of any issue with her emails. . .

“The emails from this period were recovered by our colleagues in the information technology department from the back-up system,” he said.

“Therefore it is clear that no emails or evidence were destroyed,” Mr Carmody said.