Saturday , October 16 2021

Plagiarism fines (University of Zurich versus students): The university has priority over the federal court



Updated

The University of Zurich is fighting with its students for a revision of the disciplinary code. Since there is no agreement in sight, the university is now going to federal court.

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The Zurich administrative court has whistled the University of Zurich (pictured) in a fine dispute.

The Zurich administrative court has whistled the University of Zurich (pictured) in a fine dispute.

20min / Marco Zangger

This he does not want to accept and has now gone to federal court.

This he does not want to accept and has now gone to federal court.

20min / Marco Zangger

Fines should be provided for in university law and could not be imposed simply by the university council, the administrative court ruled in July.

Fines should be provided for in university law and could not be imposed simply by the university council, the administrative court ruled in July.

20min / Marco Zangger

  • The University of Zurich wants to introduce tougher sanctions for plagiarism and forgery.

  • The Zurich administrative court whistled at the university.

  • He has now made the decision in the Federal Supreme Court.

The University of Zurich wants to punish students more severely if they do not comply with the rules. For example, anyone who spies, sends plagiarism, or interrupts operations at the university would have to do up to 40 hours of community service or pay a fine of up to CHF 4,000. But the students disagree: they filed a complaint against the new disciplinary code in court. The Zurich administrative court whistled at the university alleging that there was no legal basis for the project. Therefore, the corresponding provision should be repealed, the court decided in July.

Now the federal court has to decide

Now Bussen’s drama enters the next round: university officials have referred the decision of the Zurich Administrative Court to the Federal Court on September 10, as the “Zürcher Studierendenzeitung” (ZS) writes. “The decision of the university council surprises me,” quoted ZS Pio Steiner, co-chair of the VSUZH student association.

Fines should be provided for in the University Act and could not be imposed simply by the university council, the administrative court ruled in July. The legislative process is complex: changes to university law are subject to an optional referendum in the canton of Zurich.

Arbitrariness charge

Christian Schwarzenegger, who oversees the revision of the ordinance in the direction of the university, opposes it: “We have carefully studied the ruling and I believe that, from the point of view of the University of Zurich, the administrative tribunal has chosen the strictest interpretation possible. “According to the vice-chancellor and professor of criminal law, scheduled buses are common at other universities. The ZS points out, however, that the fines are recorded in the respective university legislation and not in an ordinance of the university boards.

The university accuses the administrative court of violating the constitutional prohibition of arbitrariness. The complainants still opined that the rule of the University Act was a sufficient legal basis to provide for cash benefits as disciplinary measures at the ordinance level. According to Urs Bühler, deputy actuary of the university council, the administrative court violates even the principle of legality and infringes the autonomy of the university.

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