Mymaster Essay Cheating Scandal Aps

Yingying Dou ran the essay writing site MyMaster

Up to 70 students face expulsion from Australia's leading universities after being found guilty of cheating by paying a company to write their assignments.

Two students from the University of Newcastle have already been expelled and more are facing disciplinary action at four other intuitions after being identified as using the MyMaster company which wrote essays for Chinese international students, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Chinese-born Yingying Dou, 30, reportedly ran the website which charged up to $1000 per assignment and was used by hundreds of students across 12 NSW universities.

Ms Dou reportedly had 100 employees working from a Chinatown office on George Street in Sydney before the website was shut down.

It was claimed that MyMaster had an annual turnover of $160,000 thanks to international students desperate to pass their courses or too lazy to do the work themselves.

The University of Newcastle confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that it had conducted internal investigations and in addition to the two expulsions it suspended eight international students and found 21 others guilty of misconduct.  

The majority of students found guilty were given fail grades for 2014 subjects.

Ms Dou has denied knowing anything about the website MyMaster website which has now been taken down

Two students from the University of Newcastle have been expelled and eight have been suspended

The four other worst-hit universities told the Herald they were still conducting investigations with accused students – including three at the University of Sydney, 11 at University of Technology Sydney, 19 at University of NSW, and 43 at Macquarie University.

The maximum penalty for academic misconduct is expulsion at all institutions except UNSW, where it is suspension.   

UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Shirley Alexander told the ABC: 'I'm not as surprised as you might think. In higher-education we've had to up the ante in how students are changing the methods of cheating for some time.'

She said that the news that flyers advertising the MyMaster essay writing service were posted in UTS toilets was not alarming.

'We find those kinds of things all the time, that's not something that is new,' she said.

'When we find them we do take the number and call them and point out how illegal it is but they do appear all the time that's not something new,' she explained. 

Students (a stock photo is shown) reportedly paid up to $1000 for their essays to be written for them

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that a flyer posted at the University of Technology Sydney said: 'Are you racking your brains on your school work? Do you worry about spending $3000 retaking tuition on the failing subject? Leave your worries to MyMaster and make your study easier!'

Ms Dou has denied knowing anything about the website. The company's Facebook page has also been removed but a holding page shows 605 previously people 'liked' it.

She reportedly also runs Yingcredible Tutoring, a page which she has endorsed from her own personal Facebook account.

'We provide commerce subjects tutoring service to university students to help them pass the course,' a description on the page reads.

Daily Mail Australia contacted Ms Dou for comment but did not responded.

Most university websites display clear advice about plagiarism.

The University of Sydney says that while nobody commences their studies with the intent to plagiarise 'many people do, for a variety of reasons'.

'Some students plagiarise because they don't fully understand what plagiarism is, why it is wrong and how it can be avoided. Others plagiarise, because of time or other pressures,' a warning on their website reads. 

Up to 70 students face expulsion from Australia's leading universities after being found guilty of cheating by paying the company to write their assignments

When handing in work students must satisfy the notion that it is 'all your own work'. 

Students who have used the MyMaster website could be found guilty of 'dishonest plagiarism', which is when they 'knowingly presenting another person's work as one's own work without appropriate acknowledgement of the source'.

And 'engage another person to produce or conduct research for the work, including for payment or other consideration'. 

A spokesperson for the University of Sydney told Daily Mail Australia: 'The University of Sydney is unequivocally opposed to academic dishonesty, including plagiarism and fraudulent authorship, and takes seriously any allegations of academic misconduct. Breaches of academic honesty are not tolerated at the University of Sydney.'

'Failure to adhere to the University's high standards of academic merit, intellectual rigour, and ethical behaviour constitutes a breach of the University's Code of Conduct for Students and Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism in Coursework Policy. If proven, academic dishonesty may constitute misconduct, resulting in serious penalties that may include failure or exclusion.

'The University thoroughly investigates all cases of alleged academic dishonesty and provides education and support to assist students to observe the rules of honest scholarship,' they added.

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