University policy and procedures for academic misconduct
The University of Melbourne believes that excellence in teaching and learning can be achieved in an intellectual environment where academic integrity is highly valued and carefully upheld. Its policy on academic honesty and plagiarism is based on two core values:
- Education and awareness-raising are fundamental in advancing respect for truth and for the ethics of scholarship; and
- Work submitted for assessment purposes must be the independent work of students or approved groups of students to demonstrate their mastery of subject objectives.
University policy and procedures for responding to academic misconduct
Where a student is suspected of plagiarism or collusion by an examiner, the following procedures, endorsed in the University's student discipline statute 13.1, will apply:
- The examiner or lecturer may present the details to the Chair of the subject Examination Board (usually the Head of Department) who will determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed with the matter. The examiner and/or the Head of Department are strongly encouraged to consider educative responses to academic misconduct before pursuing recommended discipline processes.
- If the Chair determines to proceed, he or she may:
- refer the matter to the Dean regarding the possible presentation of a case of academic misconduct to a committee under 13.1.10; or
- establish and chair the committee as a delegate of the Dean. The Dean may delegate his or her power to establish and chair the committee, under Statute 13.1.10 (6), to the Head of Department in advance. The Head of Department must bring every allegation of misconduct, and the decision that he or she has made in relation to it, to the attention of the Dean.
- If the Dean or delegate refers the case for determination by the committee, he or she must establish the committee and provide written notice (in an 'allegation notice') to the student of the allegation within fourteen days and in accordance the provisions of Statute 13.1.10 (5)-(6).
- The committee must comprise the relevant Dean or his or her delegate (who must chair the committee), one senior member of academic staff of the faculty nominated by the Dean/delegate, and an appropriate student representative. The student is also entitled to have a support person present at the meeting.
- The student must give notice of his/her intention to respond to the allegation within ten days of receiving the allegation notice and the Chair must convene a hearing within twenty-one days of the student's receipt or deemed receipt of the allegation notice [see statutes 13.1.10 (7)-(9 )].
- The committee must either dismiss or uphold the allegation of academic misconduct. It must dismiss an allegation unless a majority of its members is satisfied that the allegation has been proved. In determining an allegation of academic misconduct, the discipline committee may follow any procedure it considers appropriate to inform itself in relation to the matter, and is not bound by the rules of evidence or other legal doctrines. It is nonetheless obliged to act fairly in all circumstances, 'having regard to the requirements of natural justice' [See Statute 13.1.10 (11) (c )].
- Where the committee upholds an allegation of academic misconduct, it may impose one of the following penalties [ Statute 13.1.11 ]:
- Reprimand the student;
- Deprive the student of credit for a subject or for a component of assessment of the subject to which the academic misconduct relates;
- Prohibit the student from using any of the University's library and computing network facilities for a period not exceeding twenty-eight days;
- Recommend to the Vice-Chancellor that a student's enrolment be suspended for any period and on terms considered necessary by the committee;
- Recommend to the Vice-Chancellor that the student's enrolment be terminated.
- Where the Dean has delegated authority to the Head of Department to chair the committee, the Head of Department must bring the penalty to the attention of the Dean. The Dean or delegate must advise the Academic Registrar of the penalty, which will be recorded on the student's file, held centrally and at faculty level, as per Statute 13.1.18.
- A student may appeal against the decision upholding an allegation of academic misconduct or may appeal against the penalty imposed. An appeal may be lodged on a number of grounds. These are listed in Statute 13.1.13 (2).
- It is the responsibility of the Academic Secretary to establish an 'Academic Appeal Committee' (AAC) within fourteen days of receiving the student's written notice of appeal (which the student should also lodge within fourteen days of receiving the penalty notice). The AAC consists of three persons, usually two members of the Academic Board, and an appropriate student representative. The student may lodge an appeal directly to the AAC from a committee formed at departmental-level.
- The Appeal Committee may either dismiss or allow the appeal in whole or in part, and it must dismiss the appeal unless a majority of its members is satisfied that a ground of appeal has been established.
The AAC is the final avenue for appeal at the University. Students, however, are entitled to exercise their right to external review of any decision.
This flowchart [PDF 56 kb1 page] outlines the processes involved.