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13. Student misconduct

What You Need to Know

What is Misconduct

TAFE Queensland is committed to ensuring a fair and just learning environment by ensuring that students and other stakeholders have access to processes that allow for allegations of student misconduct to be resolved.

Misconduct is any behaviour or action that is deemed inappropriate and can disrupt the learning of self and others, interfere with TAFE Queensland operations, inhibit or prevent staff members from carrying out their duties, or endanger the health and safety of yourself, other students or staff.

The types of misconduct are:

  • Behavioural Misconduct: Inappropriate personal conduct and behaviour.
  • Academic Misconduct: Inappropriate conduct and behaviour when undertaking education and training activities.
  • Research Misconduct: Inappropriate conduct and behaviour when undertaking research.

Examples of Misconduct

Misconduct is generally broken into two types:

  • Minor Misconduct; and
  • Major Misconduct.

Whilst these are sometimes dependent on the context of what has occurred, below are some guidelines of which each involves.

Minor Misconduct

Personal conduct and behaviour that breaches the standards of conduct set out in the TAFE Queensland Student Rules and Policies, but where the extent or impact of the breach is not substantial, such as:

Behavioural Misconduct

  • Use of inappropriate or offensive language;
  • Failure to comply with directions from TAFE Queensland staff;
  • Inappropriate use of personal electronic devices; and
  • Inappropriate clothing, including clothing that contains offensive language or images that may offend others.
  • Smoking on TAFE Queensland campuses and sites (including burning tobacco products, herbs, drugs, or the vapour from a personal vaporiser, e-cigarette, or other device).

Academic Misconduct

  • Minor breach of assessment and academic progression rules, including:
    • Failure to comply with directions from a TAFE Queensland staff member for a classroom or learning activity.

Major Misconduct

Personal conduct and behaviour that breaches the standards of conduct set out in the TAFE Queensland Student Rules and Policies, and where the extent or impact of the breach is substantial, such as:

Behavioural Misconduct

  • Any form of harassment, whether based on gender, race, age, sexual preference or religious belief;
  • Behaviour that subjects another person to an unsolicited act of physical intimacy, makes an unsolicited demand or request of a sexual nature to another person, makes a remark with sexual connotations relating to the other person, or engages in any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature towards the other person;
  • Abusive or aggressive behaviour that causes offence, fear, or harm to others, such as verbal abuse or making threats to others;
  • Use of technology to hurt, threaten, harass, or humiliate another person and cause fear and distress, including use of collaboration and communication functions with systems/platforms and social media channels;
  • Physical violence directed to others;
  • Being under the influence of prohibited drugs and/or substances, including alcohol;
  • Possessing dangerous articles or banned substances;
  • Wilfully obstructing or disrupting any official meeting, ceremony, activity, class or examination;
  • Wilfully damaging or wrongfully dealing with TAFE Queensland property and resources, or the property of others persons;
  • Making a false representation concerning your identity or status as a student;
  • Trespassing or knowingly entering any place within TAFE Queensland premises that is out of bounds to students;
  • Refusing to obey health and safety and emergency procedures;
  • Attempt at a cyber attack on a TAFE Queensland system, incorporating any actions to disrupt, deny, degrade, destroy, or gain unauthorised access to information resident in computers and computer networks, or the computers and networks themselves; and
  • Repeated instances of minor behavioural misconduct.

Academic Misconduct

  • Major breach of assessment and academic progression rules, including;
    • Directly copying another person's work without proper acknowledgement;
    • Using or developing another person's ideas without acknowledging them;
    • Using the work of other students (with or without their permission) and claiming it as your own;            
    • Handing in an assessment item that is a duplicated or copied from another person;
    • Colluding with another student in a deceitful way to develop a submission for an assessment that is restricted to an individual attempt;
    • Using notes or other resources without permission during formal assessment;
    • Having several people write one assessment response or exercise and hand in multiple copies, all represented (implicitly or explicitly) as individual work;
    • Contributing TAFE Queensland study materials and/or assessment to third party online platforms (e.g. Course Hero) that are accessed by the public to obtain study resources (this at a minimum constitutes copyright infringement, and may be considered as colluding with another student in a deceitful way to develop a submission for an assessment that is restricted to an individual attempt);
    • Obtaining and using assessment answers or solution from a teacher without permission;
    • Misrepresenting, falsifying, misstating or fabricating data, results or information used for the purposes of assessment;
    • Providing fraudulent certification in order to gain academic credit or recognition;
    • Failing to comply with instructions relating to the conduct of assessment/examinations;
    • Failing to participate in structured training, assessment or other course related activities;
    • Failing to attend the formal meetings scheduled to discuss your academic progression;
    • Failing to adhere to the learning intervention strategies developed to support your academic progression;
    • Not working towards achieving the qualification or statement of attainment stated in the training contract or confirmation of enrolment (CoE); and
    • Repeated instances of minor academic misconduct.

Research Misconduct

Engaging in conduct which compromises or threatens to compromise the purpose and conduct of research, including any breach of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research).

What You Need to Know

Immediate Suspension

In cases of either minor or major misconduct, TAFE Queensland reserves the right to immediately suspend you from your education/training for a minimum period of 24 hours. The suspension period may be longer than 24 hours in cases of major misconduct.

You will be advised of the date you can return to your education/training.

Whilst suspended, you are not entitled to enter TAFE Queensland premises or use its facilities.

Disciplinary Process

Informal Disciplinary Process

If the misconduct is minor in nature, TAFE Queensland may deal with it informally.

In this case TAFE Queensland may choose an informal method of addressing the issue, such as an interview, counselling session, or offer of support, with arrangements made to improve your behaviour in the future.

Formal Disciplinary Process

If the misconduct is major in nature (or involves repeated instances of minor misconduct) TAFE Queensland will deal with it formally.

In this case TAFE Queensland will provide you with a Student Allegation of Misconduct Notice, to outline the nature of the misconduct and process of dealing with the misconduct.

You have the right to respond to the Student Allegation of Misconduct Notice via a meeting or written submission within 5 business days of the date of the notice.

If you are attending a meeting, you may invite a parent, guardian or advocate (however, they must not be another student involved in or associated with your case).

If you are not in attendance at the scheduled meeting or do not respond in writing within 5 business days, the disciplinary process will continue to determine whether misconduct is substantiated.

TAFE Queensland will then inform you of its disciplinary decision through a formal Student Disciplinary Decision Notice within 5 business days of the date of the decision. The decision notice will set out the decision findings and your right of appeal.

TAFE Queensland will ensure that the decision only takes effect after any appeals process requested has been completed.

What You Need to Know

Internal Appeals

If you feel that the disciplinary decision is unfair, you have a right to appeal to your TAFE Queensland region's Disciplinary and Appeals Committee. Your request for an appeal must be on one of the following grounds:

  1. The decision is grossly unreasonable;
  2. Procedural requirements were not followed;
  3. Relevant evidence was not considered in reaching the decision, or irrelevant evidence was relied upon in reaching the decision;
  4. Fresh evidence has become available; and
  5. A penalty imposed was excessive or inappropriate.

If you are making an appeal, it must be made in writing and submitted to the regional General Manager within 20 business days (or 28 days for VET Student Loans eligible students) of receiving the Student Disciplinary Decision Notice.

TAFE Queensland will not charge a fee for any part of the internal or external appeals process, and will ensure that you are not victimised or discriminate against for using the appeals process.

The region’s Disciplinary and Appeals Committee will then consider the appeal and respond to you.

TAFE Queensland will as part of its resolution of the appeal implement any decisions made following the appeals process.

All parties who have used the appeals process will have access to the relevant records upon request to TAFE Queensland and if deemed appropriate.

External Appeals

If you are still dissatisfied with the disciplinary decision, you have the right to take the case to an external body, such as:

  1. The Queensland Ombudsman;
  2. Australian Skills Quality Authority; or
  3. Queensland Department of Education and Training (for apprentices/trainees).

For International students, in cases of a student visa breach related to attendance and progression you must notify TAFE Queensland within 5 days of the final decision notice from TAFE Queensland, to be able to continue your enrolment.

You are only allowed one external appeal decision. TAFE Queensland will give due consideration to the outcome of the external appeal.