I have a quick question about a hypothetical situation:

An international student A in the US helped another international student B in the Europe finish the entire several homework assignments and an entire final exam. And now, the A has every evidence and chat files, and he wants to report the non-compliance of code of integrity to the European university of student B.

Would student A be punished since he helped student B finish the homework and exam? In this case, student A did not violate any discipline of his university in the US and the laws of the United States. Would student A still be punished by his university or by the law of US?

  • 6
    Just to make sure I interpret this hypothetical situation correctly: A helped B in cheating, and now A would like B to be punished for it, while getting himself away with it? Why would A even consider doing this? Remorse is, obviously, not his motive. Apr 9, 2021 at 20:51
  • 5
    Students A and B will go to Hell for postgraduate education.
    – user135405
    Apr 9, 2021 at 21:48
  • 7
    Student A should at least be aware that blackmail is a crime.
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 9, 2021 at 22:41
  • 2
    So you are asking if blackmailing legal / moral?
    – Greg
    Apr 11, 2021 at 5:37
  • 1
    There's a specific proverb in English to describe your experience: "no honor among thieves". I hope you have learned your lesson and will no longer act to undermine academic education. Apr 12, 2021 at 12:12

5 Answers 5


You seem to assume that the academic honesty rules at a university will always stipulate that dishonesty only counts as being against the rules if it occurs at that university. That is a dangerous supposition to make. Many universities have academic misconduct policies that refer broadly to collusion, cheating, and other forms of misconduct, without stipulation that the misconduct must occur in relation to an assessment at that university. In such cases, there would be a genuine argument over the proper scope of the policy, and whether it may apply to instances of misconduct in relation to assessments at another university.

Just to give you an example of this, here is the present Academic Misconduct Rule at my University. Section 6 of the policy provides that "It is academic misconduct if a student: (a) in relation to an assessment: (i) cheats; ... (iii) improperly colludes with another person; or (iv) acts, or assists another person to act, dishonestly or unfairly in or in connection with an examination...". While the policy certainly only applies to students enrolled at my University, you can see that it does not specify that the assessment in question must be an assessment at the University. Likewise, Section 2 of the policy, which sets its scope, provides that "This instrument applies to all students of the University." Again, observe that it does not specify that the instrument applies only with respect to acts undertaking in relation to assessments and other matters at the University.

If student A were a student at my University (subject to the linked rules), I think there is a reasonable chance that his actions here would be considered to be a breach of this policy. The student would of course have an opportunity to argue over whether the policy applies to an assessment at another university, and they would probably argue that this should be implied, irrespective of the specified scope. Perhaps they would convince the academic misconduct committee of this (such that their conduct is considered out-of-scope) or perhaps they would not. I would think that most academic staff would be concerned about this behaviour, and would be reluctant to consider it out-of-scope.

  • ... his or her actions would be... Apr 12, 2021 at 1:10
  • I consider it legitimate to stipulate the sex of fictitious persons in a hypothetical example.
    – Ben
    Apr 12, 2021 at 1:11
  • Stipulate the gender rather than sex? Apr 12, 2021 at 1:13
  • Stipulate either or both, though I also take the view that the proper ascription of gender should be determined by biological sex (in cases where the latter is unambiguous). You can continute to pronoun-troll if you like, but I get to stipulate the sex of fictitious people in my own posts.
    – Ben
    Apr 12, 2021 at 1:16
  • I've just checked the OP again, and it uses the gendered term "he" to describe the actions of student A. So the questioner has already stipulated that A is male in this hypothetical example, and my own stipulation follows suit. (OP: "And now the student A has every evidence and chat files, and he wants to report..." [emphasis added])
    – Ben
    Apr 12, 2021 at 1:26

It is possible that A would face discipline if it became known, especially if everything became known to A's university. Academic dishonesty is independent of borders. There are no US laws for this, however. Honor codes don't have a "cross border" exception.

And saying that "A did not violate any discipline of his university in the US" might not be a fair interpretation.

Moreover, if A uses this as a way to attack B, then B might have a legal case to make against A. Or, would simply inform A's university what happened, which would make it known. I suspect it wouldn't be ignored and might be treated as a serious matter. No guarantees, though.

But this seems like a hypothetical that is unlikely to be realized.

  • Thanks for the advice!!! And would could be the potential punishment to A's behavior if A reports anonymously to B's university? Or what accusation could B use after A reports anonymously?
    – Sanguine
    Apr 9, 2021 at 20:55
  • 5
    Sorry, this is starting to sound less like a hypothetical and more like a plan. Don't go there. Since B and A know each other, anonymity could hardly be maintained.
    – Buffy
    Apr 10, 2021 at 11:21

To answer the literal question: probably the U.S. university would not hear about it at all, so, ... "no, nothing would happen here".

Even if a U.S. university did "hear about it", I don't think there are procedures in place to do anything about it.

So, yeah, probably any (routine/typical) academically unethical stuff a student here does abroad will have no impact on anything in the U.S., at least in the near term.

But, wow, I have to say, this is a very dangerous, apart from severely unethical, line of action. Woof. Stay away from this kind of thing. It's like borrowing money from professional criminals.


There is an academic offense usually called facilitation (or something similar). Basically helping someone complete an academic assessment is considered on par with cheating, and an offense as serious cheating. Certainly where I work a person can be accused of facilitation even if the second party is not in the same class or even in the same university.

The most extreme facilitation scheme is to get someone to take the exam for you, and I know of cases where both the student and the facilitator were from different universities and sanctioned separately. In particular, the facilitator was found to have committed multiple offenses and was dismissed.

The situation you are describing can lead to blackmail as the facilitator could extort advantages (financial or otherwise) by threatening to “out” the cheater. As a result, I doubt the facilitator would go unpunished (in Canada at least) even if the cheater was elsewhere.


Given that student A won't personally gain anything from doing this (only hurting student B), I think it is wise for A to wait at least till he graduates (and better, gets a job). If B were to report A then A's university wouldn't do anything since A already graduated.

The reason for this is that it would be too much hassle for A's univeristy to try to take his degree away, and this would probabily be seen as too much punishment in any case (A obtained his degree fairly, after all). If A's university really decided to revoke his degree, then he could probably fight it in court successfully with a decent lawyer (again, due to it being such an extreme disciplinary action for such a minor offence). This would also give A's uni bad publicity.

Also, even if A's degree were to be revoked, he still has access to his decree certificate and transcript, and this would be enough proof for most employers (most companies don't have the time to call every new hire's uni to confirm their degree is authentic). Plus, if A is already working, his employer won't be constantly checking whether his degree gets revoked. Even if they did check, they wouldn't fire A if he is performing well in his job.

It would be more risky for A if he pursues further study instead of work as then A's new university could take some action against him (assuming B finds out what A's new uni is or B tells A's old uni and A's old uni then pass this on to A's new uni).

In conclusion, the risk to A after graduating is negligible, and even if he did it while still attending university himself, it would be very unlikely for his uny to take any MAJOR action against him. It would be up to A to decide whether he wants to run the risk of having to do a small penalty like taking an academic integrity course or just getting reprimanded.

  • This argument about ethics has been moved to chat. Comments below this one should suggest improvements or request clarification; please use the chat for all other purposes.
    – cag51
    Apr 12, 2021 at 22:53

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