A former student of mine asked for advise. This student has been accused of cheating on an assignment. By their account, approximately 8% of their project is nearly identical to a partial solution posted by a student who took the same course in the past. My former student claims that they never consulted GitHub, rather they just built the project using the description in the handout.
The former student also claims that the remainder of the project, much more complicated, bears no resemblance to the GitHub posting, per the accusing professor.
The matter is further complicated in that the student has been unable to see the GitHub posting as it was removed prior to the student being accused of plagiarism. I was contacted because I have talked about academic dishonesty in my classes, and given examples to students. The student asks how to proceed.
From my end, I suggested that the student email the professor, and ask for the specifics so that they can be examined. The professor indicated that the case can go to the academic review board, and points out that it will be likely upheld there. I reminded the student that apparently 90+% of the project appears to be original, and the student denies using anyone else's code. The student wondered if they should admit, as the professor is suggesting.
My advise was to only admit to what you have done. Ask for the code allegedly used in the project, and in writing justify how the submitted project was developed, explaining the commonality with the GitHub code, if possible. And before that can be done, the professor should supply the alleged copied code which is relied upon for the assertion of academic dishonesty.
Is there anything else which I should consider or suggest?