Responsibilities of the Faculty Manager
Section 2 of the Discipline (Students) - Guidelines
Under S9.2, a faculty manager is required to establish a faculty discipline committee within 20 working days of receipt of a report of misconduct.
2.1.1 Membership of a Faculty Discipline Committee
*The committee has power to co-opt one additional staff member if this is warranted in the circumstances of the case, e.g. expertise in a particular academic field is required. (S9.5)
Conflict of interest/Bias
In order to avoid an allegation of bias, committee members should not have had any involvement with the incident which is the subject of the inquiry. While it might be necessary to appoint a staff member from the relevant department, that staff member must not have had any personal involvement with the student or have marked the work or observed the cheating. The fact that a staff member taught the student without incident or personal contact at an earlier stage of the course should not prevent that person from serving on a FDC. If the student objects to a member of the committee hearing the case because of alleged bias, the committee (including the member) must decide whether to uphold the objection before hearing the charges.
If the hearing is to be fair, the student must be given details of the accusation and be told when and where the hearing will take place. It is important also that the student be given sufficient time to prepare a reply and to consult a student rights officer.
Examples of charge letters are contained in the Attachment to these Guidelines.
It is often difficult to find a date and time which suits members of a discipline committee and the witnesses. Rather than wait until a date is agreed upon, faculty managers are advised to mail a charge letter to the student as soon as possible and explain that the matter will be heard by the FDC and that the student will be advised shortly of the date and time of the hearing.
2.2.1 Period of Notice for hearing
It is recommended that the student be given a minimum of seven days notice of a hearing. The notice period may be shortened with agreement from the student e.g. when a student has admitted cheating in an exam and wants the matter dealt with as soon as possible.
A request from the student that the hearing be postponed should be referred to the chair of the FDC or considered in light of the complexity of the issues involved and/or need to gather evidence such as medical reports or the availability of witnesses.
2.2.2 Multiple charges
It is not uncommon for a student to be charged with more than one offence relating to the same incident. The offences could be multiple counts of general /or academic misconduct /or a mix of both.
Where offences are founded on the same facts/incident, or form part of a series of offences of the same or similar character eg cheating by plagiarising, the charges may be heard together unless the student applies to have them heard separately and the Chair agrees that this would be appropriate.
No information should be given to a FDC about a charge which has not yet been heard.
2.2.3 Where students submit same work
Under Section 9.4, submission of "substantially similar" work is prima facie evidence of cheating.
When students submit the same work, one student will normally change the introduction and conclusion and possibly make other minor changes e.g. to headings and font. The lecturer/Chief Examiner must decide whether or not pieces of work are substantially similar for the purposes of Section 9.4.
Submission of similar work is prima facie evidence of cheating. It does not deem that cheating has occurred and students may submit evidence such as prior drafts/evidence of library borrowings to support their cases. (See Guideline 3.3.2 ).
2.2.4 One incident: more than one offender
It is not uncommon for two or more students to be involved in the same incident. Although each student should be charged separately, the cases may be heard consecutively by the same committee on the same day.
If the students are in different faculties, the charges will be heard by a Small Committee of CDC not the FDC.
Where cheating is reported in an exam run by Examinations Branch, the student will be interviewed by the Manager of the Branch/nominee. A written report of the interview will be forwarded to the faculty manager together with the exam booklet and any confiscated material.
The faculty manager / secretary to the FDC should contact the lecturer and ask him/her to estimate the grade to be given for the exam and whether any confiscated material was used in the exam and if not, whether the confiscated material was relevant to the exam/and could have given the student an advantage in the assessment.
The exam booklet must be kept securely and a copy provided to the lecturer.
The faculty manager/or a staff member appointed by the faculty manager should act as secretary to the FDC. The duties of the secretary include:
2.4.1 Information to be provided to FDC
(a) Prior to hearing
Each member of the FDC should be provided with:
(b) At the hearing
If the student has plagiarised material from text books or other publications, the texts should be available to the committee at the hearing. Journal articles may be photocopied.
If cheating occurred in an examination, the examination booklet and any notes or other confiscated material allegedly copied or used by the student in the examination.
2.4.2 Documentation to be provided to student
Prior to the hearing, the student should be given a copy of any document provided to the FDC including a copy of his/her own assignment. If the student has been accused of copying from another student, a copy of the other student’s assignment should also be provided. Where plagiarism involves published works, particulars should be given in the charge letter, e.g. Title of publication, author, publisher and number of page from which material was taken.
The student should also be given the names of persons whom the FDC intends to call and question at the Hearing and a brief outline of their evidence.
Under the Statute, decisions of Discipline Committees must be reported, confidentially, to the Academic Board.
To meet the "confidentiality" requirement, names of students must not be included in the report.
It is anticipated that the faculties and the University Secretariat will report annually on student discipline to the Academic Board and that the reports will outline all charges heard by the FDC/CDC, the Committee’s findings as to charges (proven/not proven) and the penalties imposed.