Student conduct

Student conduct

What are my responsibilities at University?

Macquarie is committed to providing a fulfilling and rewarding learning experience to help you achieve your full academic potential. The Student Code of Conduct outlines your rights and responsibilities within Macquarie’s cultural and structural framework and explains in detail what happens when a complaint is made.

The Student Code of Conduct is supported by Student Discipline Rules and the expectation that all students share the responsibility for maintaining a safe, ethical, harmonious and tolerant environment.

Misconduct

Students are accountable for their misconduct. Any misconduct may be subject to disciplinary action by the University under its student disciplinary rules.

Code of conduct

It is a student’s responsibility to be familiar with this code of conduct and other behaviour standards required by the University.

Compliance with the code of conduct is binding on all students.

What are the sources of student conduct standards?

Macquarie has a range of policies, codes and procedures that govern student conduct.

The University may commence applicable disciplinary procedures if a student is alleged to have breached an expected standard of conduct.

What is student misconduct?

Misconduct is when a student breaches a University policy or regulation. There are two types of student misconduct: academic and general.

Academic misconduct is an attempt to gain an unfair advantage in an assessment by breaching the principles of the Academic Integrity policy.

General misconduct is where a student or student organisation breaches principles in the Student Code of Conduct, or any other University regulation.

How do I make a misconduct allegation to the University?

To make a general misconduct allegation, you will need to email it to disciplinecommittee@mq.edu.au and address it to ‘the Registrar’ in Government Services. The allegation will need to outline the alleged misconduct and include your contact details. Should the matter involve allegations of sexual misconduct (i.e. sexual assault, sexual harassment) you are also encouraged to access the dedicated support services and reporting avenues available at www.mq.edu.au/respect.

To make an academic misconduct allegation, you will need email it to your head of department. The allegation will need to outline the alleged misconduct and include your contact details. The University will not respond to anonymous allegations.

[Please note your identity (as the ‘notifier’) may be available to the student respondent during any investigation phase and/or Discipline Committee process unless the University determines that it is not appropriate in the circumstances. Generally, the University will not respond to anonymous misconduct allegations but may do so at its discretion].

You are reminded of obligations under the Student Discipline Procedure including that the University can request any information provided by an MQ student or MQ staff notifier be verified by statutory declaration [Note: a statutory declaration is a type of written statement that allows a person to declare something to be true. If a person intentionally makes a false statement in a statutory declaration, that person can be charged with a criminal offence].

Having notified the University of the alleged inappropriate conduct by an MQ student, your on-going involvement in the handling and resolution of the allegation may be limited to providing additional supporting material requested by the University (i.e. if needed as part of an internal or external investigation and/or Discipline Committee process).

Your notification will alert the University to alleged student conduct that may require action by the University as the alleged conduct may breach the University’s expected standard of student conduct as outlined in a University Regulation.

Please note that the University itself progresses any allegation of inappropriate conduct against a student respondent on behalf of the University community.

Consistent with the student respondent’s right to privacy, any action taken by the University against the student respondent for a breach of a University Regulation is confidential, subject to any relevant provisions of the Student Discipline Procedure.

How is a student misconduct allegation handled?

In considering a possible referral of a misconduct allegation to a Discipline Committee for determination, the University assesses the following:

  • the nature of the alleged conduct and the supporting material provided; and
  • whether the alleged conduct, if shown, would breach an expected standard of student conduct as outlined in a University Regulation.

Following this consideration, one of the two following recommendations can be made by the University:

  • the University will make a Discipline Committee meeting available, as a stakeholder, to allow the student respondent to respond to all or some of the allegations and to apply a sanction should the student be found responsible for the alleged conduct; or
  • the University will not refer the allegation(s) to a meeting of a Discipline Committee for determination. Such a recommendation shall not preclude informal action by way of an agreed outcome, caution or otherwise as appropriate.

Should the University make a Discipline Committee meeting available, it will determine what happened and apply a sanction if a student is found responsible for the alleged misconduct. *

As outlined below, there are two types of Discipline Committees:

  • Faculty Discipline Committee considers Academic Misconduct concerning most alleged breaches of the Academic Integrity Policy.
  • University Discipline Committee considers allegations of General Misconduct breaching the Student Code of Conduct, the most serious alleged breaches of the Academic Integrity Policy and cases whereby the student has previously breached University Regulations.

* Alternatively, the Student Discipline Procedure provides some limited scope for a student to pre-accept responsibility and a prescribed sanction for some lower level alleged breaches (prior to a possible Discipline Committee determination). Should a student accept responsibility and a prescribed sanction, the Discipline Committee may approve the application of the prescribed sanction at its next meeting and the student would be sent a letter confirming this outcome.

How will I be notified of an allegation of student misconduct against me?

You will receive official correspondence outlining the nature of the alleged misconduct, the available supporting material and how the University intends to handle and resolve the matter.

All correspondence is sent to your official MQ student email account.

Student Advocacy and Support (02) 9850 7497 is available to provide independent support and assistance.

Need more info? See the Student Discipline Procedure.

What happens at a Discipline Committee meeting?

You will be invited to attend the Discipline Committee meeting that is considering the allegation of student misconduct against you.

At the meeting the Committee members will:

  • review the documentation provided;
  • allow you the opportunity to respond to the alleged misconduct;
  • allow you the opportunity to admit or deny responsibility for the alleged misconduct; and
  • ask you questions to clarify the circumstances of the alleged misconduct.

You will then be asked to leave the meeting so that the Committee members may determine if you are responsible for any alleged misconduct and, if so, what sanction is appropriate.

You will then return to the meeting and the Committee will announce whether you are responsible (with the associated sanction) or not responsible for the alleged misconduct.

The Committee meeting may take approximately 30 minutes.

You are reminded of your obligations under the Student Discipline Procedure including that the Committee can request any information and evidence provided by you be verified by statutory declaration [Note: a statutory declaration is a type of written statement that allows a person to declare something to be true. If a person intentionally makes a false statement in a statutory declaration, that person can be charged with a criminal offence].

Following the meeting, you will receive confirmation of the Committee's decision and be notified of your appeal options via your official MQ student email account.

What can I do before a Discipline Committee?

At the time you receive notification of your allegation of misconduct via your official MQ student email account, you will be reminded to:

  • CONFIRM YOUR ATTENDANCE AT THE HEARING

You are strongly encouraged to attend as it gives you the opportunity to respond to the alleged misconduct and provide the Committee with additional information.

Should you not attend the hearing, the Committee may consider the alleged misconduct and make its decision in your absence.

You may attend the hearing in person or, if residing outside of Sydney, via teleconference.

  • CONFIRM IF A SUPPORT PERSON WILL ATTEND THE HEARING

Should you attend the Committee hearing, you are entitled to be accompanied by a support person.

A support person may quietly reassure you during the hearing, provide you with personal support and request clarification or further information from the Committee if required.

A support person may include a friend, someone to translate, an Officer from Campus Wellbeing and may include a Student Advocacy and Support Advisor from Campus Wellbeing.

Please note that the role of a support person is not that of a legal representative and the person cannot be a legal practitioner.

  • CONSIDER PROVIDING A WRITTEN SUBMISSION PRIOR TO THE HEARING

You are also encouraged to prepare a written submission prior to the hearing for consideration by the Committee members.

A written submission can give context to what happened, can provide your version of the incident including relevant supporting material and allows you to cover points you may forget on the day of the hearing or may not have the time to go into.

  • SEEK CONSENT TO HAVE WITNESSES PROVIDE EVIDENCE ON YOUR BEHALF

With the consent of the Committee, you are entitled to have any witness to the alleged misconduct provide evidence on your behalf during the Committee hearing.

Please note that you should inform and remind any of your potential witnesses of their obligations under the Student Discipline Procedure including that the Committee can request any evidence and information provided by an MQ student or MQ staff witness be verified by statutory declaration [Note: a statutory declaration is a type of written statement that allows a person to declare something to be true. If a person intentionally makes a false statement in a statutory declaration, that person can be charged with a criminal offence].

Prior to the Discipline Committee you will be asked to provide the name and relationship of any such person for whom you seek the Committee’s consent and how that person may relate to the alleged misconduct (i.e. they were present, arrived shortly after).

  • SEEK FURTHER SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE 

-  The University provides a range of services to support you during this process. Further information on support services including Counselling & Student Advocacy and Support can be obtained from Campus Wellbeing.

Phone: +61 (02) 9850 7497

Email: campuswellbeing@mq.edu.au

Web: students.mq.edu.au/support/health_and_wellbeing/student_advocacy_and_support/

In particular, the Student Advocacy and Support Service is available (via Campus Wellbeing) to provide you with independent support and assistance in preparing for the Committee hearing (including any written submissions); and providing information on how potential sanctions may impact you should you be a student visa holder.

-  General information on the misconduct process including the answers to Frequently Asked Questions is available at:

Web: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct

-  The MQ Learning Skills office offer a range of services that can help you with academic skills development:

Email: learningskills@mq.edu.au

Web: students.mq.edu.au/support/learning_skills/

-  As a Macquarie University student, you also have access to immediate support and assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by dialling 1800 CARE MQ (1800 2273 67).

What happens if I cannot attend the Discipline Committee meeting?

You will not be sanctioned for not attending the meeting. However, you are strongly encouraged to attend as it gives you the opportunity to respond to the alleged misconduct and provide the Committee with additional information.

Should you not attend the hearing, the Committee may consider the alleged misconduct and make its decision in your absence.

Please note that there may be an option to attend the meeting via teleconference if you reside outside Sydney. Further information on this option will be provided to you in the notification sent to your official MQ student email account.

Should you subsequently be granted permission to appeal a decision of a Discipline Committee and then not appear or be otherwise represented at the appeals hearing without reasonable excuse, your appeal may lapse and the original decision made by the Discipline Committee will stand.

What are my rights as a student responding to an allegation of misconduct?

  • THE RIGHT TO BE INFORMED

You are entitled to receive details outlining the nature of the alleged misconduct and the available supporting information. This information would be provided to you in the notification sent to your official MQ student email account.

  • THE RIGHT TO RESPOND

You are provided with the opportunity to respond to the allegation by your attendance at the Discipline Committee meeting and by providing a written submission prior to any determination of the allegation(s). Further information on the available avenues for response is provided to you in the notification sent to your official MQ student email account.

  • THE RIGHT TO ACCESS SUPPORT SERVICES

You have the opportunity to access a range of University services to support you during this process. In addition to the information below, you would be provided further details in the notification sent to your official MQ email address.

Should you attend the Committee hearing, you are entitled to be accompanied by a support person. A support person may quietly reassure you during the hearing, provide you with personal support and request clarification or further information from the Committee if required.

A support person may include a friend, someone to translate, an Officer from Campus Wellbeing and may include a Student Advocacy and Support Advisor from Campus Wellbeing.

Please note that the role of a support person is not that of a legal representative and the person cannot be a legal practitioner.

Further information on support services including Counselling & Student Advocacy and Support can be obtained from Campus Wellbeing.

Phone: +61 (02) 9850 7497

Email: campuswellbeing@mq.edu.au

Web: students.mq.edu.au/support/health_and_wellbeing/student_advocacy_and_support/

As a Macquarie University student, you also have access to immediate support and assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by dialling 1800 CARE MQ (1800 2273 67).

  • THE RIGHT TO REQUEST PERMISSION TO APPEAL

You have the right to request permission to appeal the decision of a Discipline Committee.

In addition to the information below, you would be provided further details in the notification of the decision sent to your official MQ student email account.

The grounds for appeal are outlined in Part 6 of the Student Discipline Procedure. In effect, the grounds for appeal are limited to an irregularity of procedure in making the Committee decision or the imposition of an inappropriate sanction.

The Committee decision cannot be appealed on the basis that you believe it was not the correct decision or not your preferred decision.

The request for permission to appeal the Committee decision (including detailed outline of the grounds for appeal) are made to ‘The Registrar’ and must be lodged by you in writing within 20 working days of your receipt of the letter containing the Committee decision.

Further information is provided to you in the outcome sent to your official MQ student email account.

Upon the receipt of the request for permission to appeal, you will be notified within 10 working days whether or not permission to appeal is given.

  • THE RIGHT TO REQUEST A RE-HEARING BASED ON FRESH EVIDENCE

You may also apply for a re-hearing by the Discipline Committee in respect of this decision, should fresh evidence become available to you within 20 working days of being notified of this decision.

Please note that fresh evidence is evidence that relates to the Discipline Committee decision; was not available or not known to you at the time the Discipline Committee decision was made; was not considered by the Discipline Committee; and is compelling evidence which is likely to have substantially affected the Discipline Committee decision to your advantage.

You are reminded of your obligations under the Student Discipline Procedure including that the University can request any information and evidence (including ‘fresh evidence’) provided by you be verified by statutory declaration [Note: a statutory declaration is a type of written statement that allows a person to declare something to be true. If a person intentionally makes a false statement in a statutory declaration, that person can be charged with a criminal offence].

The application for a re-hearing by the original Discipline Committee based upon fresh evidence (including a detailed outline of the fresh evidence) is made to ‘The Registrar’ and must be lodged by you in writing within 20 working days of your receipt of the Committee decision. Further information is provided to you in the outcome sent to your official MQ student email account.

Upon the receipt of the application for a re-hearing by the original Discipline Committee based upon fresh evidence, you will be notified whether or not the application is granted or whether further details of the fresh evidence is required.

What decision can a Discipline Committee make?

A Discipline Committee will consider the alleged misconduct and evaluate all of the information shared with it and determine which information was more credible, when the information was in conflict.

In relation to each allegation of misconduct, the Committee will determine whether you were Responsible or Not Responsible on the balance of probabilities (i.e. to be found responsible the Discipline Committee would need to find it more likely than not that you acted in the manner consistent with alleged misconduct).

Following the Discipline Committee meeting, you will receive confirmation of the Committee's decision and be notified of your appeal options via your official MQ student email account.

Who attends a Discipline Committee meeting?

The Committee members will depend upon the type of Discipline Committee that is considering your matter:

  • University Discipline Committee members may include the Executive Deans of Faculties (or delegates), a student representative member and the Chair of the Academic Senate. A senior member of the professoriate is also appointed as Presiding Member of the University Discipline Committee.
  • Faculty Discipline Committee members comprise key Faculty representatives including senior academic staff.

Attendance by a minimum of 3 members (including the Presiding Member) is required for a Committee meeting to proceed. In addition to the student respondent themselves, a support person (as nominated by the student respondent) and witnesses for the student respondent (with consent) may also be in attendance.

University administrative staff also attend to provide secretariat and procedural support to the meeting.

Who sees the records of a Discipline Committee?

Discipline Committee meetings are minuted and a record of disciplinary action taken against a student respondent is maintained by the University; and shared with any MQ staff as appropriate to effectively deal with the matter and otherwise on a need to know basis.

No record of any disciplinary action against a student may be included in the external academic transcript of that student unless specifically directed by the Vice-Chancellor.

Any disciplinary action taken against a student respondent must not be publicised without the approval of the Vice-Chancellor.

Governance Services (on delegation from the Registrar) may, on request to disciplinecommittee@mq.edu.au, provide to the student respondent or to anybody authorised in writing by that student respondent to receive it, any information about or record of disciplinary action taken against that student respondent.

Governance Services (on delegation from the Registrar) may provide any information about or record of disciplinary action taken against an student respondent to any person whose function includes determining who is a fit and proper person or otherwise is competent, qualified or suitable, to pursue any occupation or hold any office.

What sanction can a Discipline Committee apply?

Should you be found Not Responsible for the alleged misconduct, no sanction is applied and no further action is taken.

Should you be found Responsible for the alleged misconduct, the Discipline Committee may impose any sanction which the Discipline Committee is satisfied is appropriate in the circumstances including those specified in Schedules 1, 2 and 3 of the Student Discipline Procedure.

Below are examples of sanctions that may be commonly applied by Discipline Committees:

In these circumstances, typical sanctions may include one or more of the following: amendment of a mark in an Academic Exercise; resubmission of an Academic Exercise; and issuing a reprimand and/or applying a period of disciplinary probation.

The University Discipline Committee can apply any sanction considered appropriate in the circumstances including those specified in Schedules 1, 2 or 3 of the Student Discipline Procedure.

In these circumstances typical sanctions may include one or more of the following: applying a fail grade for a unit of study; suspension from studies; permanent exclusion from MQ; a payment as compensation for any damage to, or removal of, property; and issuing a reprimand and/or applying a period of disciplinary probation.

Outlined below are examples of student misconduct and typical sanctions applied:

  • Student A was discovered with writing on his hand during a final examination. The Discipline Committee decided that Student A be awarded a Fail (0) grade for the assessment task (the final examination), complete an on-line educative module and be on disciplinary probation for the remainder of their enrolment.
  • Student B offered a bribe to a lecturer to re-mark an examination paper. The Discipline Committee decided that Student B be excluded permanently.
  • Student C used abusive language towards Campus Security staff and tampered with University property during a function after hours on University grounds. The Discipline Committee decided that Student C be issued a reprimand, be on a period of disciplinary probation and provide a written apology to Security staff.
  • Student D plagiarised approximately 25% of an essay. The Discipline Committee decided that Student D be awarded a 25% reduction in the mark received for the assessment task (the essay), complete an on-line educative module and be on disciplinary probation for the remainder of their enrolment.
  • Student E purchased and submitted a completed essay from a ghost-writer. The Discipline Committee decided that Student E be awarded a Fail (0) for that unit, complete an on-line educative module and be on disciplinary probation for the remainder of their enrolment.
  • Student F plagiarised approximately 80% of an essay. Due to the substantial plagiarism the Discipline Committee decided that Student F be awarded a Fail (0) grade for the assessment task (the essay), complete an on-line educative module and be on disciplinary probation for the remainder of their enrolment.
  • Student G submitted a forged medical certificate for an application of Special Consideration. The application was initially successful and an academic advantage received, but the certificate was fraudulent. The Discipline Committee decided that Student G be awarded a Fail (0) for that assessment task, complete an on-line educative module and be on disciplinary probation for the remainder of their enrolment.

In applying sanctions, essentially, like cases should be treated in like manner.

It should also be recognised that effective decision-making also carries with it the probability that it may not be neatly uniform; as particular factors to be taken into account when determining an appropriate sanction(s) will not be equally present and given particular weight in the unique circumstances often presented within individual cases.

Examples of such factors taken into account when determining a sanction include:

-  the severity and extent of the breach;

-  whether the misconduct was an isolated incident, or part of an ongoing pattern of behaviour;

-  any history of previously penalised misconduct by the student;

-  recent precedent as established by relevant University decision making authorities;

-  the student’s general health and personal circumstances at the time of the breach that might have impacted the student’s otherwise sound judgement;

-  whether the student had (or was) coerced or misled (by) a third party into taking part in misconduct;

-  whether the student promptly reported the misconduct and readily co-operated with any investigation;

-  whether the student acknowledged responsibility and there is clear evidence of contrition;

-  whether the student has taken steps to prevent such breaches in future; and

- whether the student has taken actions to remedy or reduce the impact of the breach.

Can I appeal a Discipline Committee decision?

You have the right to request permission to appeal the decision of a Discipline Committee.

In addition to the information below, you would be provided further details in the notification of the decision sent to your official MQ student email account.

The grounds for appeal are outlined in Part 6 of the Student Discipline Procedure. In effect, the grounds for appeal are limited to an irregularity of procedure in making the Committee decision or the imposition of an inappropriate sanction.

The Committee decision cannot be appealed on the basis that you believe it was not the correct decision or not your preferred decision.

The request for permission to appeal a Discipline Committee decision (including a detailed outline of the grounds for appeal) must be lodged by you in writing to disciplinecommittee@mq.edu.au within 20 working days of your receipt of the letter containing the Committee decision.

Upon the receipt of the request for permission to appeal, you will be notified within 10 working days whether or not permission to appeal is given.

Should you exhaust all your appeal options and remain dissatisfied with the process, you may make a Request for Assistance to the MQ Student Ombudsman.

Can the MQ Student Ombudsman assist me?

The MQ Student Ombudsman provides independent, confidential and impartial review and may consider whether the:

  • correct process was followed by the University;
  • process was fair in the circumstances; and
  • process was appropriately transparent.

Further information on the services provided by the MQ Student Ombudsman and making a Request for Assistance are available at MQ Student Ombudsman.

Please note that you need to have exhausted any appeal options in relation to the misconduct matter before making a Request for Assistance to the MQ Student Ombudsman.

I have appealed but am dissatisfied, what can I do?

Should you exhaust all your appeal options and remain dissatisfied with the process, you may make a Request for Assistance to the MQ Student Ombudsman.

A student may also apply for review of a disciplinary decision from the NSW Ombudsman and judicial review may also be sought from the courts.

How long can it take for a student misconduct allegation to be resolved?

The time it takes for an allegation to be considered, investigated and (possibly) referred to, and ultimately considered by a Discipline Committee can vary due to the nature of the allegation(s) and the availability of required information, relevant individuals and Discipline Committee members.

The Discipline Committee will seek to notify the student respondent of the allegation(s) and the meeting details and provide the student with the information to be considered by the Committee members at least 5 working days prior to the scheduled Discipline Committee meeting at which the allegation will be determined. Following the Discipline Committee meeting, a student will be notified of the outcome within 10 working days.

Should a student choose to make a request for permission to appeal a decision of a Discipline Committee, this would again increase the time taken to have the allegation resolved.

Where can I obtain further information?

Student Advocacy and Support Service is available to provide support and assistance.

Phone: +61 (02) 9850 7497
Email: campuswellbeing@mq.edu.au

Should a matter involve allegations of sexual misconduct (i.e. sexual assault, sexual harassment) you are also encouraged to access the dedicated support services and reporting avenues available at www.mq.edu.au/respect.

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