Academic Misconduct

A. Introduction

1.    The integrity of the academic processes of the Sydney College of Divinity requires that academic misconduct be identified, discouraged and disciplined when it occurs, because it interferes with the awarding of appropriate recognition of legitimate effort. This policy is concerned with academic misconduct on the part of current or previous students.

2.    Alleged misconduct, academic or other, on the part of a faculty member or any other staff member may be addressed through the Student Grievance Policy and Procedures.

3.    Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following:

a.    PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism is the representation of another’s works or ideas as one’s own; it includes the unacknowledged word for word use or paraphrasing of another person’s work, and the inappropriate unacknowledged use of another person’s ideas.
b.    CHEATING: Cheating is the providing or receiving of information during tests and examinations; or providing or using unauthorized assistance at the computer terminal, or on field work. Cheating would not usually include consultation with others or discussion amongst students about the preparation of assignments unless that was specifically forbidden. It includes unauthorised collusion.
c.    FRAUD: Academic fraud is the falsification and fabrication of, or dishonesty in reporting, research results.
d.    IMPROPER BEHAVIOUR: Improper behaviour is behaviour that interferes with students or staff in the pursuit of their academic endeavours. It includes disruptive behaviour in class or institutional facilities such as libraries.
e.    MISREPRESENTATION: Misrepresentation is the giving of false or misleading information in academic matters. It includes falsely claiming credit for past study and falsely stating that thesis material has not been used in another thesis.
f.    UNETHICAL BEHAVIOUR: Unethical behaviour is behaviour that breaches accepted ethical standards. It includes failing to observe the terms of an ethical approval to conduct research; misuse of confidential information obtained in field education.

4.    The question to be asked in relation to demonstrated academic misconduct will be whether the student is to be excluded from the course, suspended from the course, or otherwise penalized in a lesser way, to be determined with regard to proportion, for example, loss or reduction of marks for an item of assessment or for a whole unit.

5.    The procedures for addressing complaints of academic misconduct are set out below.

B. General Procedures

1.    Complaints may be made against:

a.    any person enrolled or previously enrolled in any Sydney College of Divinity course, whether or not proceeding to an award;
b.    any person holding an award conferred by the Sydney College of Divinity.

2.    Complaints may be made by any person who has direct knowledge of academic misconduct.

3.    A complaint must:

a.    identify the person against whom it is made;
b.    identify the nature of the misconduct complained of;
c.    provide appropriate evidence of the alleged misconduct, including the names of witnesses where appropriate.

C. Specific Procedures at St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College

1.    For all complaints relating to coursework at St Andrew’s, the complaint should be made to the Sub-Dean (and advise the Dean), who will undertake a preliminary enquiry into the matter. Both the person complaining and the person against whom the complaint is brought will be invited to speak with the Sub-Dean separately.

2.    The person against whom the complaint is brought may at this or any stage be assisted by another person acting as advocate.

3.    If the matter is not resolved at this stage to the satisfaction of all concerned, the Sub-Dean will convene a panel of three people to consider the matter including the Sub-Dean and two other persons of appropriate seniority and experience, one or both of whom may be Sydney College of Divinity faculty members from other Member Institutions or external academics. If the matter is not resolved at this stage, unless the person bringing the complaint has preferred to go directly to the Sydney College of Divinity Dean at an earlier stage, the Sub-Dean of St Andrew’s will bring the matter to the Dean of the Sydney College of Divinity.

4.    Upon receiving the complaint the Dean of the Sydney College of Divinity will:

a.    acknowledge receipt of the complaint within seven days;
b.    examine the complaint to establish whether a prima facie case is established; in making such a determination the Dean of the Sydney College of Divinity will consider:

i.    whether the behaviour complained about would, if established, constitute academic misconduct under this policy;
ii.    whether the evidence provided is sufficient to support the allegation;

c.    inform the complainant and the person against whom the complaint has been brought that no further action is proposed if it is considered that a prima facie case has not been established;
d.    refer the complaint to an Academic Misconduct Committee of the Sydney College of Divinity if it is considered that a prima facie case has been established and notify the person bringing the complaint that this has been done;
e.    notify the person against whom the complaint has been brought that the matter has been referred to an Academic Misconduct Committee of the Sydney College of Divinity, ensuring that the person receives clear details of the allegation and clear information about the procedures of the Academic Misconduct Committee and their implications;
f.    appoint an Academic Misconduct Committee of the Sydney College of Divinity of three persons of appropriate seniority and experience, one or two of whom may be Sydney College of Divinity faculty members from among the Member Institutions and at least one of whom will be an external academic, and none of whom will be a staff member in the Member Institution in which the student is enrolled.

5.    The Academic Misconduct Committee of the Sydney College of Divinity thus appointed will:

a.    elect a Chair from amongst the members;
b.    receive summary information from the Dean of the Sydney College of Divinity but otherwise inform itself about the alleged misconduct in any way it thinks fit;
c.    give the person against whom the misconduct is alleged sufficient notice of its deliberations to allow the person to present a defence in writing and in person;
d.    if the circumstances warrant it, conduct an interview of the person against whom the misconduct is alleged, allowing the person to be accompanied by another person to act as advocate;
e.    having considered the evidence before it, will make its findings on the balance of probabilities: where the complaint is a grave one or likely to be attended by serious consequences, the Committee should be more clearly convinced of the misconduct than would be required in less serious kinds of case.

6.    The Academic Misconduct Committee of the Sydney College of Divinity may:

a.    dismiss a complaint;
b.    find a complaint established and impose no penalty;
c.    find a complaint established and admonish the person;
d.    find a complaint established and order that the person forfeit marks in an assignment, fail a course unit or all the units in which the person is enrolled in a semester;
e.    find the complaint established and suspend the person from enrolling in the Sydney College of Divinity for a period not exceeding two semesters: a person who is suspended may not enrol in the Sydney College of Divinity for anything from which the person is suspended while the suspension is in force; at the expiration of the suspension the person may re-enrol without further permission;
f.    find the complaint established and exclude the person from enrolment in the Sydney College of Divinity for a period not less than four semesters: a person who is excluded may not enrol in the Sydney College of Divinity while the exclusion is in force; at the expiration of the period of exclusion the person may not re-enrol without the express permission of the Academic Board of the Sydney College of Divinity;
g.    find the complaint established and recommend to Council that a degree or other award conferred on the person be revoked and annulled;
h.    find the complaint established and impose a combination of the above penalties;
i.    notify the Dean of the Sydney College of Divinity of the outcome.

7.    The Dean of the Sydney College of Divinity will then:

a.    if the complaint has been established, include a record of the incident in the person’s file;
b.    if the Committee’s order involves forfeiture of marks, failure in one or more course units, suspension of enrolment or exclusion from enrolment, ensure that the relevant results and/or bars to enrolment are enacted and inform Academic Board of the incident
c.    if the order involves a recommendation that a degree or other award conferred on the person be revoked and annulled, ensure that this recommendation is brought to Council for final determination, and enact Council’s decision;
d.    ensure that the person is informed in writing of the final outcome.

D. Appeals

1.    A person against whom a complaint of misconduct has been established under the procedures of the Sydney College of Divinity or the procedures of St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College may appeal to the Academic Board of the Sydney College of Divinity within thirty days of receiving the decision of an Academic Misconduct Committee of the Sydney College of Divinity. If a person lodges an appeal, the implementation of any penalty will be stopped until the appeal is resolved.

2.    The Chair of the Academic Board will, as required, appoint an Academic Misconduct Appeals Committee of three persons to hear appeals on matters of academic misconduct. The members of this Committee will be the Academic Board Chair and two other senior and experienced persons external to the Sydney College of Divinity and its Member Institutions.

3.    The Academic Misconduct Appeals Committee thus appointed:

a.    may establish its own procedures, including the election of a Chair;
b.    must allow the appellant to present an appeal in writing and in person;
c.    must permit the person to be accompanied to any hearing by person acting as advocate;
d.    having considered the evidence before it, will make its findings on the balance of probabilities: where the complaint is a grave one or likely to be attended by serious consequences, the Committee should be more clearly convinced of the misconduct than would be required in less serious kinds of case;
e.    may affirm, vary or set aside the decision under appeal;
f.    will report its decision to:

i.    the appellant;
ii.    the Chair of Academic Board, who will report the outcome of any misconduct appeal to the Academic Board and to Council; and
iii.    the Dean of the Sydney College of Divinity, who will be responsible for implementing the decision of the Committee.

E. Records and Communication

1.    Records of the making and resolution of a complaint about academic misconduct will be kept in a separate file for each complaint. When a complaint is established, a note recording the nature of the complaint and any penalty imposed will be placed on the person’s file. A person’s academic transcript will not contain any reference to academic misconduct as the reason for a course result or other record.

2.    In general, information about established complaints will be kept confidential.

3.    The Dean of the Sydney College of Divinity is authorised to inform another educational institution of an established complaint of academic misconduct if the Dean considers it appropriate to do so. In the case of the revocation and annulment of a degree or other award, the Dean is authorised to make such public announcement as the Dean, on the advice of Council, may think appropriate in the circumstances of the case. Nothing in this paragraph prevents the transmission of information within the Sydney College of Divinity for the purpose of giving effect to these procedures.