General Misconduct

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The University has a number of policies regarding student behaviour, and if you are suspected of breaching any of these policies, you may face an allegation of misconduct. Broadly speaking, General Misconduct is behaviour that is considered offensive, disruptive and/or harmful to others. 

Alternatively, if you have concerns about someone else’s behaviour, refer to our self-help resources on the student Complaints and Grievances process here

On this page you will find the following information and advice: 

There are separate University policies regarding Academic Misconduct, which is concerned with issues to do with plagiarism, collusion, or not following exam rules, and Student Sexual Misconduct - which governs allegations of sexual harassment and assault. If you need help on academic misconduct, have a read of our self-help resources here. Our self-help guide to the Sexual Misconduct policy is currently in development.

What is General Misconduct? 

The Student Conduct Policy aims to ensure that the University is a healthy and respectful environment for everyone to learn and work. It states that: 

... students must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the standards of behaviour that promote the good order and management of the University. 

The definition of General Misconduct is wide-ranging and can include behaviour such as: 

  • disrupting lectures or University events 
  • misusing computers or other facilities
  • causing fear or intimidation in and around the University
  • harassing staff or other students
  • illegal behaviour
  • damaging property
  • failing to comply with a reasonable request
  • supplying misleading information
  • encouraging others to engage in general misconduct

These breaches can also extend across all University property, including libraries, computer labs and student associations. It also includes the internet. As these breaches may also be subject to criminal or civil legal action, if you receive an allegation of General Misconduct, we strongly suggest you get advice from us (contact us hereprior to responding to any allegation. 

There are two possible ways an allegation of General Misconduct may proceed - a warning, or a formal allegation.

I’ve been accused of general misconduct, what happens now? 

Investigation of Allegations 

If you are invited to participate in an investigation, we strongly suggest getting in contact with us for advice. 

When a complaint is made to the Academic Registrar, the University may seek your participation in a misconduct investigation. Your participation in this process is voluntary.  

The investigation will be conducted by a University investigator who will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish whether the misconduct occurred. Essentially, they want to listen to your side of the story, review any supporting evidence you may have and use this to form a report on whether any or all of the alleged misconduct is substantiated on the balance of probabilities (that is it’s more likely than not the misconduct occurred in the Investigator’s judgement 

Once the report has been finalised it will be provided to the Academic Registrar who will assess how the matter might be most appropriately progressed. Should the matter be referred to a student discipline committee, you will receive a formal notice. No penalties can be imposed during the investigation process.  

Educative Response (Warning Letter)

If the Academic Registrar believes that the alleged behaviour or action may have been unintentional; and/or where the allegation is in relation to a minor matter and where there has not been any previous allegation of General Misconduct, then the Academic Registrar may determine that an educative response to an allegation of General Misconduct in the form of a warning is appropriate. 

In this case you will receive an email containing a warning letter advising you that the alleged conduct, while inappropriate, is not deemed to be General Misconduct, and that an educative response will be offered to raise awareness of the University’s behavioural expectations of its students. The letter willl also caution you that the consequences of not meeting the University’s expectations in relation to student conduct in future may include a finding of General Misconduct and may lead to any of the available penalties for General Misconduct, including termination of enrolment.

If you receive a warning, you should take it seriously, and seek advice from us about what it means for you and what actions you may be required to take.

Formal Allegation

If the University has sent you a formal General Misconduct Allegation, it should include:

  • a clear outline of the nature of the misconduct
  • information regarding any evidence of which the senior officer is aware relating to the allegation  
  • an opportunity to respond in writing as well as an invitation to attend a hearing, and specific timelines for these responses
  • the name of the chair of the committee that will be investigating the allegation
  • inclusion of, or reference to, the penalties that can be applied under Vice Chancellor Regulation Part 6

This notice will be sent to your student email address. 

The University must collect enough evidence to proceed with an investigation under the Vice Chancellor Regulation Part 6 and the Student Conduct Policy. This evidence is then brought to the attention of the Academic Registrar. If the Academic Registrar determines that an allegation of student General Misconduct should be investigated, the Academic Registrar must provide a notice to the student within 10 business days of the allegation being brought to their attention. You cannot be given a penalty for General Misconduct without going through the University’s formal process. 

You will be given the opportunity to submit a response and attend a hearing about the matter. We strongly suggest you do both. Before responding to the allegation, we encourage you to get in touch with us here. Getting advice before you respond is critical because some forms of General Misconduct can have legal (civil and criminal) consequences, so it is best to get professional advice before proceeding. 

Within three working days of the hearing, you should receive notice of the committee’s decision, any penalties imposed, and information on how to appeal the decision. 

You can read more about the University’s appeal process here

Are there penalties for general misconduct? 

If the committee upholds the allegation, it may impose a penalty on the student in accordance with the Vice-Chancellor Regulation Part 6. Penalties for General Misconduct can include (but are not limited to): 

  • a reprimand and caution
  • a fine of an amount not exceeding the sum of $1,000
  • the cost of making good any damage to property caused
  • exclusion from all or any part of University premises for such a period and on any terms and conditions
  • a requirement that the student refrain from having any or such specified contact with particular students, members of staff, or other members of the University community
  • a requirement that the student apologise

In some cases, a Penalty or part of a Penalty may be satisfied with University service work.  

Useful templates and relevant Policy