OSA guideline to misconduct at UON

The Student Conduct Rule outlines the framework the University uses when dealing with matters relating to student behaviour. As members of the University community, we are committed to the Code of Conduct values of honesty, fairness, trust, accountability and respect.

Misconduct falls into three different categories as summarised below. You will find the full definitions for these terms in the Student Conduct Rule.

Academic Misconduct includes academic fraud, cheating, plagiarism, or dishonest or reckless conduct by a student to gain an advantage.

Research Misconduct is conduct that involves a breach of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. This can include fabrication, plagiarism, failure to declare conflicts of interest, and failure to follow research protocols as approved by the ethics committee.

Non-Academic Misconduct includes those behaviours that contravene the University’s non-academic rules, policies, procedures, guidelines or Code of Conduct. This can include damaging property, causing harm to others, or a number of other behaviours that are generally unacceptable.

Reporting misconduct

If you have witnessed or experienced what you believe might be a breach of the Code of Conduct or the Student Conduct Rule, speak to the Dean of Students.

If you have received an allegation of misconduct

If you have been involved in something that might be considered misconduct, then a referral will be made to either a Student Academic Conduct Officer (SACO), the Student Living Support Manager, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) or the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation), depending upon the nature of the allegation. In most cases, you will receive notice in writing of the allegation to which you can respond. If the behaviour has been assessed as threatening to yourself or others, you may be placed on a period of Immediate Suspension while an investigation is carried out.

Notice to show cause

Consistent with the principles of procedural fairness, you will be entitled to respond to any allegation made against you. That means that you will receive a Notice to Show Cause that describes the alleged behaviour. You will be given information about how to respond to the allegation as well as support available to assist you with this process. If you don’t respond, the determination will be made without hearing your side of the story. There could be far reaching consequences, ranging from a warning, to suspension or exclusion from the University.

The Dean of Students and the Office of Student Advocacy can assist you in the preparation of your response, and guide and support you through the misconduct process.

At the conclusion of an investigation, you will be informed of the decision in writing. This will include the reason for the determination, any penalties that have been issued and your options to appeal the decision.


Under certain circumstances, you may appeal a decision that has been made. Grounds for appeal include:

  • Evidence of a breach of the Student Conduct Rule in determining your outcome
  • Where a conflict of interest may have affected the determination
  • New information that could not have reasonably been provided earlier is available which should be considered within the determination.

It is not possible to appeal a decision based on penalty alone. An appeal must be made in writing stating clearly the grounds of the appeal.

An appeal outcome is a final decision and there is no further avenue of appeal within the University. A student may have a right to further appeal outside the University to the NSW Ombudsman.


There are a number of penalties that may be issued as a result of a finding of misconduct. These range from a warning to exclusion from the University. The University takes an educative approach when dealing with misconduct and often requires students undergo counselling or training to provide them with the skills to move forward. You might also be invited to participate in a restorative justice process with others who have been affected by your behaviour.

How we can help

The Dean of Students and the Office of Student Advocacy can guide and support you through the misconduct process, including assistance in understanding the allegations, supporting you in writing your response and helping you prepare an appeal.

Get in touch by calling us on 02 4921 7820, sending an email to dean-of-students@newcastle.edu.au or Student.Advocates@newcastle.edu.au, or dropping in. You can find us upstairs in the Hunter Hub Student Services building, Monday to Friday, 9am til 5pm.