General and Specific Procedures
The procedures for addressing complaints of academic misconduct are set out below.
Complaints may be made against:
- any person enrolled or previously enrolled in any SCD course, whether or not proceeding to an award;
- any person holding an award conferred by the SCD.
Complaints may be made by any person who has direct knowledge of academic misconduct.
A complaint must:
- identify the person against whom it is made;
- identify the nature of the misconduct complained of;
- provide appropriate evidence of the alleged misconduct, including the names of witnesses where appropriate.
The complaint should be made to the SCD Director of Research, 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 Director of Research separately.
The person against whom the complaint is brought may at this or any stage be assisted by another person acting as advocate.
If the matter is not resolved at this stage to the satisfaction of all concerned, the Director of Research will convene a panel of three people to consider the matter including the Director of Research and two other persons of appropriate seniority and experience, one or both of whom may be SCD faculty members from one of the SCD MIs or external academics. If the matter is not resolved at this stage, or unless the person bringing the complaint has preferred to go directly to the SCD Dean at an earlier stage, the Director of Research will bring the matter to the SCD Dean.
Upon receiving the complaint the SCD Dean will:
- acknowledge receipt of the complaint within seven days;
- examine the complaint to establish whether a prima facie case is established; in making such a determination the Dean will consider:
- whether the behaviour complained about would, if established, constitute academic misconduct under this policy;
- whether the evidence provided is sufficient to support the allegation;
- 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;
- refer the complaint to an Academic Misconduct Committee if it is considered that a prima facie case has been established and notify the person bringing the complaint that this has been done;
- notify the person against whom the complaint has been brought that the matter has been referred to an Academic Misconduct Committee, ensuring that the person receives clear details of the allegation and clear information about the procedures of the Academic Misconduct Committee and their implications;
- appoint an Academic Misconduct Committee of three persons of appropriate seniority and experience, one or two of whom may be SCD faculty members from other and at least one of whom will be an external academic, and none of whom will be a staff member in the in which the student is enrolled.
The Academic Misconduct Committee thus appointed will:
- elect a Chair from amongst the members;
- receive summary information from the SCD Dean but otherwise inform itself about the alleged misconduct in any way it thinks fit;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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.
The Academic Misconduct Committee may:
- dismiss a complaint;
- find a complaint established and impose no penalty;
- find a complaint established and admonish the person;
- 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;
- find the complaint established and suspend the person from enrolling in the SCD for a period not exceeding two semesters: a person who is suspended may not enrol in the SCD 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;
- find the complaint established and exclude the person from enrolment in the SCD 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;
- find the complaint established and recommend to Council that a degree or other award conferred on the person be revoked and annulled;
- find the complaint established and impose a combination of the above penalties;
- notify the SCD Dean of the outcome.
The SCD Dean will then:
- if the complaint has been established, include a record of the incident in the person’s file;
- 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
- 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;
- ensure that the person is informed in writing of the final outcome.