Misconduct

If you have been accused of academic or general misconduct, we are here to support and assist you. We urge you not to worry or panic at this stage, but to read through the information below. Write down anything that may be relevant to your case.

Academic or General Misconduct

Academic Misconduct includes cheating, plagiarism and any other conduct by which a student seeks to gain, for themselves or for any other person, any academic advantage or advancement to which they or that other person are not entitled; or, improperly disadvantages any other student.

from Ordinance 9, Part 1.

General Misconduct by a student is when that student

  • fails to comply with a reasonable direction of a member of staff of the university, given in order to ensure the safety of any person, the preservation of any property or the maintenance of good order; or
  • breaches an ordinance or the university’s rules; or
  • harasses or discriminates against any person on university premises; or
  • obstructs or interferes with the proper use of any of the facilities, resources or equipment of the university by any student or staff member or any other person duly authorised to use the facilities, resources or equipment; or
  • disrupts or causes unreasonable interruption to a lecture, tutorial, or any other form of teaching, learning or research activity;
  • breaches a provision of any university rules, guidelines, agreements or codes of practice relating to the protection of intellectual property, including copyright;
  • breaches a provision of any university rules, guidelines, agreements or codes of practice relating to the use of library or information technology facilities, resources or equipment;
  • engages in improper use of any university facilities, resources or equipment (including student accommodation facilities, resources or equipment), or obtains unauthorised access to them;
  • disrupts or causes unreasonable interruption to the normal operation of any of the university’s library or information technology services;
  • removes without authority, damages or defaces books or other library material.

from Ordinance 9, Part 2.1

UTAS Ordinance 9 explains what happens when a student is accused of academic misconduct (e.g. plagiarism, cheating, taking material that is not permitted into an exam) or of general misconduct (e.g. ordinary misbehaviour). It also explains what the student can do in response.

  • Parts 3 and 4 of the Ordinance describe the procedure for dealing with cases of academic misconduct. (The process for dealing with general misconduct, in Part 2, is similar to some extent):
  • Section 3.1 explains the initial investigation by the Head of School.
  • Section 3.2 explains what happens if the Head of School decides to refer the case to an Academic Misconduct Committee.
  • Section 4 explains the appeal process after a decision is made by the Head of School or Academic Misconduct Committee.

Our TUU flowcharts for both Academic Misconduct and General Misconduct, may help give a quick overview.

Basically, the procedure for academic misconduct is:

The alleged misconduct is reported to your Head of School, by your tutor, lecturer or the exams manager.

  • Within the next 10 working days, the Head of School writes to you to inform you of the allegation and to give you the chance to be heard.
  • If you wish to be heard, you must contact the School secretary within 10 days to arrange a meeting with the Head of School. You may be accompanied and assisted by a person who is not a lawyer at this meeting. The Head of School must give you a fair hearing and then make a decision.
  • If you don’t indicate you wish to be heard, a decision can be made in your absence.
  • The Head of School must write to you within 3 days and notify you of the decision made.
  • If the Head of School decides that you have committed misconduct, either a penalty will be imposed upon you, or the case will be referred to the Academic Misconduct Committee. (See Ordinance 9 section 3.2 for more information about this committee). The Academic Misconduct Committee deals with serious cases and can impose harsher penalties.

If you are unhappy with the penalty given by the Head of School or with the decision made by the Academic Misconduct Committee above, you have the right to seek an appeal by writing a letter to the Director, Governance & Legal within 10 days. Your grounds for appeal are limited, however (see Ordinance 9, s4.3).

The Discipline Appeals Committee will meet to consider whether your letter provides a reasonable basis on which the grounds of appeal are made out. If they decide the letter does not provide a reasonable basis, they cannot hear the appeal. If they decide the letter does disclose a reasonable basis they will hear your appeal and decide whether to dismiss it, or to uphold it and set aside or vary the penalty given earlier.
The penalties for academic misconduct vary from minor (a reprimand, monitoring of future work, a reduction in marks) to major (failing the subject and in serious cases, exclusion from the university).

If you need to meet with the Head of School or appear before an Academic Misconduct Committee, be prepared! Write down everything that might be relevant. Bring along any papers that may be relevant, or any other evidence that supports you. Think about what questions they might ask and what you want to say in response.

You can talk to a TUU Student Advocate about your case, and if you wish, the Advocate can accompany and support you at your hearing.

While special circumstances (e.g. medical or family issues) are not taken into account when deciding whether or not you have committed misconduct, they may have an effect when deciding what penalty is to be imposed.

Note that your lecturer, tutor or Head of School may choose to resolve the issue with you on an informal basis, in which case this formal procedure above may not necessarily be followed through. If you wish, you may seek advice from a TUU Student Advocate or clarification from UTAS Governance & Legal.

Contact Us

Hobart: (03) 6226 2855
Launceston & Sydney: (03) 6324 3776
Cradle Coast: (03)6430 4936

Email: student.advocacy@tuu.utas.edu.au 

Image: Elfon