The Law School has issued an ultimatum to students after discovering that a significant number of third years deliberately deceived the department when handing in coursework.
Some students have allegedly submitted work that they knew exceeded the set word limit for one of their final year modules.
They employed tactics such as using white hyphens instead of spaces between words and using PDF images of text to mask their true word count when they submitted the work.
Head of school Caroline Hunter, in an email sent out to all third years in the department, urged students to hand themselves in before 5pm last Friday or face being charged with academic misconduct.
If students did come forward, their work would be marked as over length but they would face no further penalties.
The department was made aware of the incident after someone reported that students were “boasting” about their actions.
In her email, Hunter stated “This type of behaviour is completely at odds with the values of York Law School.
“We value respect and collegiality and this shows neither either to staff or other students.
“If you did keep carefully to the word lengths it is completely understandable that you will be upset or angry at this type of behaviour.
“Further such behaviour has potentially significant impacts on your future career as we have to inform any employer if a finding of academic misconduct is made.”
When asked by Vision how many students had turned themselves in, Hunter said “I am not prepared to disclose how many students have come forward, but anticipate in so far as any do so it will be a very small number.”
YUSU President Sam Maguire added: “Essays and dissertations can be really stressful times and we would promote people asking for help and support from their departments rather than resort to silly things which if caught out will get you in a lot of trouble.”