Student Academic Misconduct Procedure
This procedure outlines the University’s management of allegations of academic misconduct by students referenced in the Student Code of Conduct, Examination Requirements, Learning, Teaching and Assessment Policy, and the Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, in order to maintain the academic and research integrity and standing of the University.
All students undertaking study or research with James Cook University in respect of all actions and activities (including inaction or inactivity) relating to the conduct of academic work. Academic Misconduct may occur with:
- assignments, essays and other forms of course or subject assessment that are not invigilated;
- practicums or placements;
- examinations, tests and other forms of assessment that are invigilated;
- research activities including seeking ethical and other clearances required prior to commencing research, collecting, storing and disclosing data, using the intellectual property of others,, data analysis and reporting;
- theses and other work presented as part of higher degrees by research, honours and other postgraduate awards.
Except as otherwise specified in this procedure, the meaning of terms used in this procedure are as per the Student Code of Conduct. Other terms used in this procedure may also be found in the Policy Glossary.
The Code of Conduct defines Academic Misconduct as conduct on the part of a student that attempts or succeeds to obtain unfair academic advantage through misrepresentation, plagiarising, colluding, falsification, cheating, use of social relationships with academic staff or any other breach of academic integrity for their own gain or the benefit of others.
Instances of Academic Misconduct include:
a) cheating, collusion and plagiarism;
b) making a false representation as to a matter affecting a student as a student;
c) tampering, or attempting to tamper, with examination papers, scripts, class work, grades or academic records;
d) breaching the examination requirements in an attempt to disrupt an examination or to gain an academic advantage;
e) failing to abide by reasonable directions of a member of academic staff in relation to academic matters, including directions regarding individual responsibility for the submission of assessable work;
f) the improper use of University facilities, information or the intellectual property of others without permission;
g) acquiring, or attempting to acquire, possess, or distribute examination materials or information about assessment without approval;
h) impersonating another student, or arranging for anyone to impersonate a student, in an examination, assessment task, prerequisite or assessment hurdle;
i) submitting any document or file that the University requires of the student to meet academic requirements (eg. medical certificate or other supporting documentation, placement evaluations) which has been altered, fabricated, or, which fraudulently attempts to certify, confirm or authorise the information it contains;;
j) altering a group’s submission for assessment without the participating students’ consent;
k) failing to comply with a penalty imposed under this procedure; or
l) any other acts or omissions not included in a) - h) above which in the opinion of the Chair of the Academic Board reasonably represents Academic Misconduct or a breach of the Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
Any staff, or student, or member of the University community or public may refer an instance of suspected Academic Misconduct to the University.
1. Process for referring suspected Academic Misconduct – undergraduate students
1.1 All relevant materials associated with the suspected Academic Misconduct must be provided to the University, regardless of the nature of the allegation. The following Policy breaches may be referred to the Student Code of Conduct for resolution and where it is alleged Academic Misconduct is the conduct breached:
- Review of a Student’s Suitability to Continue a Course Involving Placement Policy
- Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy
- Learning Teaching and Assessment Policy
- Intellectual Property Policy and Procedure
- Copyright Policy and Procedure
- ICT Acceptable Use Policy
- Library Use Policy
1.2 The Academic Head will conduct a preliminary evaluation of the allegation and determine an appropriate decision based on the evidence provided. If the Head is the academic staff member in charge of the subject, the College Dean shall adopt the ‘one up rule’ and undertake the delegation.
1.3 The Academic Head may:
- dismiss the matter if the evidence is insufficient, or the allegation(s) is deemed to be unfounded or trivial, and send written advice of the dismissal and reasons for the dismissal to the referring person; or
- if sufficient detail and evidence is available to enable an allegation to be put to the student the Academic Head may do so under clause 3 below – noting:
- for matters which are deemed to be Minor or Moderate in severity, refer in full or part to the relevant delegate as listed in the Academic and Students Delegations Register for appropriate consideration (as specified in appendix 2 of the Student Code of Conduct); or
- for matters of a Serious nature, refer to the Dean of the College for appropriate consideration (as specified in appendix 2 of the Student Code of Conduct).
2. Process for referring suspected Academic Misconduct – postgraduate students
2.1 Suspected Academic Misconduct by a Research Higher Degree student in relation to assessment and thesis presentation and other toward Awards of the University administered by a College shall be referred to the relevant Academic Head (as the authorised delegate). If the Academic Head is on the Advisory Panel, the College Dean shall adopt the ‘one up rule’ and undertake the delegation.
2.2 Suspected Academic Misconduct in relation to a research higher degree administered by the Research Education Subcommittee shall be referred to the Dean, Graduate Research Studies (as the authorised delegate). If the Dean, Graduate Research, is the Principal Supervisor of the student against whom the allegation is made, the Provost shall perform the delegation of the Dean, Graduate Research Studies.
3. Responsibility of the authorised delegate or person considering the allegation
3.1 The person considering the allegation (ie Academic Head or Dean) will notify the student in writing that an allegation of Academic Misconduct has been made against them. The student will be provided with sufficient detail, including supplying any evidence provided, to enable them to understand the precise nature of the allegation, and to properly respond to it. Depending on the nature of the alleged Academic Misconduct (eg standard coursework managed by the College, invigilated examination administered outside of the College, theses submission, subject assessments that may require external assessors) the communication to the student should not normally be longer than ten (10) working days after the full details of the allegation have been received by the University.
3.2 A student who receives notice of allegation(s) is to respond in writing and may attend a hearing meeting with the authorised delegate (ie Academic Head or Dean). Timeframes required for the response will be determined by the person considering the misconduct allegations with due consideration to the nature of the allegation and the type of assessment, examination processing or other factors relevant, but should not normally be longer than ten (10) working days.
3.3 A student may be assisted by a support person or representative (such as a JCUSA Student Advocate) to prepare his or her written Response to the allegation(s) or when attending any relevant meetings with the authorised delegate. An administrative support person will attend all such meetings to record the discussion and outcomes (see clause 6 below).
3.4 If the student does not respond within ten (10) working days of the notification, or otherwise refuses to engage in the process, this does not halt the misconduct process, and the authorised delegate will move to clause 3.6.
3.5 The person considering the allegations and the student response will then make findings about the known facts, after considering:
- the materials provided by the person alleging the Academic Misconduct weighing up the sufficiency and reliability of various evidence;
- any oral and/or written testimony provided by the student or others who may have information or evidence relevant to the allegation; and
- then determine whether the allegation is proven or not proven on the balance of probability.
3.6 Within ten (10) working days of receiving the Response to Allegations, the authorised delegate (ie Academic Head or Dean) will notify the student of the decision regarding the allegations and, if the decision is that Academic Misconduct did occur, the penalty applied (as per appendix 2 of the Student Code of Conduct).
3.7 Where any allegation of Academic Misconduct has been proven, in addition to any action imposed under the relevant clauses, the student must be counselled by the Academic Head or Dean of the importance of maintaining high levels of academic integrity in Australian universities and advice on the possible consequences of any further Academic Misconduct.
4. Appeal against a University decision
4.1 A student who remains dissatisfied with a University decision regarding misconduct should refer to the Student Appeal Policy and Procedures.
5. External Appeal
5.1 A student who remains dissatisfied after the internal appeal process has been completed can make a formal complaint to an external body including the Queensland Ombudsman, the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland or the Australian Human Rights Commission.
6. Keeping records regarding Academic Misconduct
6.1 Notes and documentation must be kept at all stages of the misconduct process including records of meetings, hearings, discussions, and precautionary actions proposed or taken. These documents may be used in Appeal processes.
6.2 All records and notes produced and documents considered must be stored in an appropriate, confidential University file. The file must be created and stored in line with University policy.
6.3 Where the allegation of Academic Misconduct against the student is proved:
- the type of Academic Misconduct, the penalty imposed shall be recorded on the student’s file; and
- the existence of a proven allegation of Academic Misconduct will be noted on the student’s record on the Student Management System. This information will not appear on the official transcript of a student’s academic record unless the seriousness of the offence warrants public or professional disclosure.
7.1 The proceedings of any allegation of Academic Misconduct shall be treated as confidential and in the strictest privacy.
Related policy instruments
Date for next review
Vanessa Cannon, Chief of Staff