This Policy articulates the expectation that interaction amongst the University community is based on social justice principles of freedom, respect, equality and consideration. It promotes ethical thinking about diverse perspectives, and supports active and confident student participation in the life of the University.
This policy applies to all students enrolled at the University of the Sunshine Coast and in institutions with which the University has a partnership agreement involving the teaching of this University’s programs and courses, and where this University is responsible for assessment of students covered by the agreement.
Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to these procedures and are critical to its effectiveness:
Act means the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998, as amended;
Confidential information means sensitive information about the business, commercial or financial affairs of the University or personal affairs of a person associated with the University; and whereby disclosure could have an adverse effect on the University such as an action for breach of confidence, or could reasonably be expected to prejudice the future supply of such information, unless its disclosure is in the public interest.
Giving of a notice or other document to a person are references to its being –
- either served on such person; or
- forwarded by receipted email to the person’s last email address known to the University; or
- posted to such person by registered post addressed to the last address known to the University as the person’s place of residence,
and references to the date on which notice is given will be the date on which notice is served on the student, or the date of receipt of the email, or 3 business days after the notice is posted to the student, whichever first occurs.
4.1 The University encourages student conduct that:
4.1.1 allows reasonable freedom to others to pursue their studies, research, duties and other lawful activities in the University and on its sites, and to participate in the life of the University; and
4.1.2 recognises that the pursuit of academic excellence is a key aim of the University; and
4.1.3 promotes respectful use of University facilities and information and the property of other persons on its sites.
4.2 The objects of this Policy are to:
(a) promote the principle of mutual respect; and
(b) implement fair and just procedures for dealing with proven cases of misconduct.
5. Meaning of Misconduct
5.1 In this Policy “misconduct” means conduct on the part of a student which unreasonably:
5.1.1 impairs the freedom of other persons to pursue their studies, research, duties or lawful activities in, or to participate in the life of, the University;
5.1.2 disrupts the due processes of the University; or
5.1.3 causes damage to University property; or
5.1.4 is otherwise detrimental to the proper order or good conduct of the University or is adverse to its academic standing or reputation.
5.2 Without limiting the generality of subsection 5.1, a student is guilty of misconduct if the student:
5.2.1 wilfully disrupts or obstructs any teaching or research activity, examination, official meeting, ceremony or other proceeding of the University;
5.2.2 wilfully obstructs or attempts to obstruct or deter a member of the staff of the University in the performance of that member’s duties;
5.2.3 wilfully interferes with the freedom of movement within the University of any staff, student, guest or visitor;
5.2.4 wilfully interferes with the freedom of speech within the University of any staff or student or of any speaker with a legitimate invitation to speak;
5.2.5 wilfully, recklessly or negligently engages in conduct which results in or involves injury to any person or loss or destruction of, damage to or interference with any premises, facility or property;
5.2.6 enters a part of the University premises:
18.104.22.168 to which entry is prohibited;
22.214.171.124 to which entry is permitted only with authority; or
126.96.36.199 remains on a part of the University premises without authority, where the student knows, or ought reasonably to know, that entry to that area is prohibited or is permitted only with authority, as the case may be;
5.2.7 unlawfully assaults, or attempts to assault, a person on University premises;
5.2.8 wilfully damages or wrongfully deals with property of the University or property of a person on University premises;
5.2.9 withholds or falsifies information for the purposes of gaining admission to the university or for the purpose of gaining credit transfer;
5.2.10 without lawful authority obtains access to, or alters, or attempts to gain access to, or to alter, a document or record kept by the University, whether kept in hard copy, electronic or other form;
5.2.11 without lawful authority discloses to a person information relating to the University or its affairs which is of a confidential nature and which the student knows, or ought reasonably to know, to be confidential;
5.2.12 fails to comply with a reasonable direction given by a member of staff of the University who has, prior to giving the direction, identified himself or herself to the student as a member of staff;
5.2.13 fails to disclose his or her name and address or to produce evidence of identity when required to do so by a member of staff who reasonably requires the information for the performance of their duties including:
188.8.131.52 making, in the course of duty, an enquiry or investigation to which the identity of the student is relevant; or
184.108.40.206 needing to know the student’s identity to report the alleged misconduct to another member of staff;
5.2.14 contravenes or fails to comply with a provision of a Statute, Rule or Policy of the University;
5.2.15 fails to comply with or observe a requirement, suspension or exclusion imposed on the student under this Policy, or a penalty (other than a fine) imposed under a Statute or Rule of the University.
6. Misconduct Dealt with Summarily
6.1 Where misconduct is committed by a student in connection with an activity held within the University (including a teaching or research activity, examination, official meeting, ceremony or other proceeding), the person responsible for that activity may exclude the student from the activity being conducted for the duration of that activity.
6.2 A member of staff of the University with responsibility for the operation or management of a facility of the University, including the Library and the University’s information technology facilities, may exclude a student from access to or use of that facility for a period not exceeding 7 days for misconduct arising out of the use of that facility by the student.
6.3 A member of staff who excludes or disciplines a student under subsection 6.1, or 6.2 must, as soon as possible, notify the student:
6.3.1 of the period and reason for the interim exclusion;
6.3.2 of details of the alleged misconduct;
6.3.3 of the opportunity for the student to answer the allegations;
6.3.4 that the alleged misconduct will be reported to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor;
6.3.5 of the opportunity for the student to request of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor an enquiry about the alleged misconduct under section 6;
6.3.6 and must provide the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor with a copy of the notice.
7. Misconduct Dealt with by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Where misconduct is known by a member of staff or a student, or is suspected on reasonable grounds to have been committed by a student on University premises, it must be reported in writing to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor who will make enquiries into the alleged misconduct as the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor thinks necessary.
7.2 Appointment of Committee
7.2.1 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor may (or where requested to do so by the student alleged to have committed the misconduct, must) within 21 days appoint a committee consisting of at least three members to assist in enquiries under subsection 7.1 and may appoint one or more other appropriately qualified persons to assist such committee in its enquiries.
7.2.2 At least one of the members of the committee referred to in subsection 7.2.1 must be a student.
7.2.3 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor must advise the student in writing of the appointment of the committee and that the student is not entitled to representation by a person with legal qualifications before the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor or the committee.
7.3 Opportunity to respond
7.3.1 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, or the committee, will send a notice to the student either by hand delivery or registered mail to the student’s last known place of address according to the record of the University.
7.3.2 The notice will be signed by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor or the Chairperson of the committee and will:
220.127.116.11 describe the nature of the allegation; and
18.104.22.168 state that the student alleged to have committed the misconduct has an opportunity to explain the conduct in person or in writing; and
22.214.171.124 state that the student alleged to have committed the misconduct may be accompanied by a representative subject to subsection 7.2.3; and
126.96.36.199 state that the student alleged to have committed the misconduct may either in person or by his or her representative, call and examine witnesses, and to cross-examine other witnesses; and
188.8.131.52 state that the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor or the committee may interview any other person that may be able to assist with the enquiries; and
184.108.40.206 state that the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor or the committee may submit, call for and/or examine such documents, correspondence, written statements and other papers
that are reasonably relevant to the alleged misconduct; and
220.127.116.11 state that the student alleged to have committed the misconduct has the opportunity to respond to any information gathered as part of enquiries conducted under subsection 6.1.
The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor may, if necessary for the management and good government of the University, suspend the student alleged to have committed the misconduct for one or more periods of up to 6 weeks during the conduct of an enquiry, or until the completion of the enquiry, whichever is the earlier.
9.1 On the basis of the findings at the conclusion of the enquiries, the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor must take one or more of the courses of action listed in section 12.
9.2 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor must, within 7 days of taking action under subsection 9.1 in respect of a student, notify that student in writing of the decision and the reasons for taking that action.
9.3 Where any action is taken under subsection 9.1 the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor must report in writing to the Council at its next meeting detailing the reported misconduct, the enquiries made, the findings following investigation and the course or courses of action taken.
10. Student Disciplinary Appeals
10.1 Appeals Committee
10.1.1 A student affected by a decision of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor may appeal to the Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee against that decision or the severity of the disciplinary action taken or both the decision and the severity of the disciplinary action taken.
10.1.2 An appeal from a student under subsection 9.1.1 must be in writing, state the grounds for the appeal and be lodged with the Vice-Chancellor and President within 20 working days after the student receives notification of that decision.
10.2 Appointment of Appeals Committee
10.2.1 The Vice-Chancellor and President will appoint a Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee from the Appeals Committee Membership Pool registered from 1 July each year (refer to Student Complaints and Appeals – Governing Policy). The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor cannot be a member of the committee.
10.2.2 A Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee must consist of:
(a) a Chairperson, who may or may not be a member of the Council; and
(b) a student of the University; and
(c) a staff member of the University.
10.2.3 The Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee is entitled to obtain suitably qualified professional assistance if it considers such assistance appropriate.
10.2.4 All members of the Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee are required to disclose any conflict of interest, either real or perceived, for any matter the subject of an appeal. The member under such conflict must not participate in the appeal as a member of the Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee.
10.2.5 The Chairperson may appoint one or more substitute members from the expressions of interest pool to take the place of any person excluded from participation under subsection 10.2.4 or to fill a casual vacancy.
10.2.6 The Vice-Chancellor and President will appoint a person to act as secretary for each matter considered by the Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee.
10.3 Conduct of Appeal
An appeal must be by way of a re-hearing.
10.4 Appeal Procedure
10.4.1 The secretary to the Appeals Committee will, within 10 working days of receipt of a written appeal, make arrangements for calling a meeting of the Committee to hear the appeal.
10.4.2 A Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee must commence hearing an appeal not later than 28 days after the date on which the student lodges written notice of appeal.
10.4.3 The secretary to the Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee must give each of
the parties to the appeal not less than 7 days notice of the date, time and place of the hearing and the notice given to the student must notify him or her of the provisions of section 10.
10.4.4 The decisions of the Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee must be determined by a simple majority of votes of members.
10.4.5 The powers of a Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee on an appeal are, as may be appropriate to the nature of the appeal, to:
10.4.5.1 confirm or set aside a finding of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor; and / or
10.4.5.2 confirm or set aside or vary a penalty imposed or recommended by the Senior Deputy
10.4.6 The Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee must give written notice of its decision in respect of an appeal to the parties to the appeal within 7 days of that decision.
10.4.7 If the Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee has ruled that, or confirmed a course of action that, a recommendation be forwarded to the Council that a student be expelled from the University, all rights and privileges of that student (as such) must be suspended until the Council gives effect to the recommendation or determines not to do so.
11.1 The procedure of a Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee, including the order in which evidence may be called, and the order in which addresses should be heard, must be at the discretion of the Committee.
11.2 A student will be entitled to be represented before a Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee by a support person. The support person cannot be a legal practitioner; and cannot be a member of staff of the University.
11.3 The University will be entitled to be represented before a Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee by a member of staff of the University.
11.4 During a hearing by a Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee:
11.4.1 the student will be entitled:
18.104.22.168 subject to subsection 11.6, to be present with his or her representative throughout the hearing, except when the Chairperson and members wish to confer privately among themselves or to consider their decision; and
22.214.171.124 either in person or by his or her representative to call and examine witnesses, to cross-examine other witnesses and to address the Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee; and
126.96.36.199 to submit, to call for and/or to examine documents, correspondence, written statements and other papers relevant to the appeal.
11.4.2 the University’s representative may:
188.8.131.52 subject to subsection 11.6, be present throughout the hearing, except when the Chairperson and members wish to confer privately among themselves or to consider their decision; and
184.108.40.206 call and examine witnesses, cross-examine other witnesses and address the
Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee; and
220.127.116.11 submit, call for and/or examine documents, correspondence, written statements and other papers relevant to the appeal.
11.5 Hearings of a Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee will be in private.
11.6 A Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee must have full authority to keep order at its hearings and may order the removal for unruly conduct of any person (including the student in respect of whom the hearing is taking place or the student’s representative).
11.7 If a student fails to appear at a hearing of which notice has been given in accordance with this Policy a Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee may, at its discretion, proceed with the hearing in the student’s absence or may adjourn the hearing.
12. Courses of Action
12.1 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor or a Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee may, in relation to any student alleged to have committed misconduct, take any one or more of the following courses of action:
12.1.1 where the allegation of misconduct is not supported by the evidence, dismiss the allegation;
12.1.2 take no further action;
12.1.3 caution the student;
12.1.4 reprimand the student;
12.1.5 require the student to attend counselling sessions for a specified period;
12.1.6 require the student to undertake University service for a period not exceeding 100 hours;
12.1.7 require the student to make restitution to the University or to a person for
property lost, damaged or destroyed due, in whole or in part, to the conduct of the student;
12.1.8 suspend the student from any or all academic activities for no longer than 12 months;
12.1.9 exclude the student from University premises or facilities, or a specified part or parts of University premises for no longer than 13 weeks subject to subsection 12.1.8;
12.1.10 direct the student not to bring specified personal items onto University premises for the duration of that teaching session or semester subject to subsection 12.1.8;
12.1.11 recommend to the Vice-Chancellor and President that the case be referred to the University’s legal representatives for legal action;
12.1.12 recommend to the Council that the student be expelled from the University;
12.1.13 impose any combination of the above courses of action.
12.2 Any course of action taken must be proportionate and relevant to the alleged misconduct.
12.3 A student who fails to comply with a requirement imposed by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor or the Student Disciplinary Appeals Committee under section 12.1 will be deemed to be no longer an enrolled student in the University.
13. Expulsion from the University
13.1 A student who has been expelled from the University must not be re-enrolled as a student except with the permission of the Council.