What is a breach of academic integrity?
Deakin University defines a breach of academic integrity as conduct ‘that is designed or calculated to, or has the effect of, providing a misleading basis for admission, assessment or academic progress’ (Regulation 4.1(2)).
Examples of breaches include:
plagiarism, contract cheating, collusion, re-use of previously submitted work, impersonation, not complying with the University’s directions regarding an assessment, fraud, and promoting ways to breach academic integrity.
The complete list of example breaches can be found in the Deakin University Regulation 4.1(2) – Academic Integrity in the online Deakin Policy Library.
I have received a letter alleging an academic integrity breach?
What should I do?
- Read the allegation letter carefully.
- You have an opportunity to respond to the allegation but you must do this within certain timeframes. You can respond to the allegation and make your case either by written submission, attending a hearing, or both. You will need to initially complete and submit a reply form. The dates you need to submit your reply form and your Written Submission will be in the allegation letter. The letter will also provide an indication of your hearing date
- Consider contacting a DUSA Advocate for advice and assistance.
What happens if I don't respond to the allegation letter?
- A faculty Academic Integrity Sub-committee will have a hearing in your absence using all the evidence it has gathered and will decide the outcome and penalties.
What should I include in my written submission?
- A written submission is a letter and, if relevant, supporting documents.
- If you accept the allegation, you can explain in your letter the circumstances that led to your actions. If you do not agree with the allegation, you can explain why the allegation is not true.
- Use the attached Example Letter: Academic Integrity Breach as a guide.
- DUSA Advocates can review your draft written submission and provide feedback before you submit it to the Committee. Please allow 1-2 working days for Advocates to provide feedback.
What happens at the hearing?
- The hearing will happen in a meeting room on campus.
- Most hearings are attended by a three member sub-committee and a secretary. (Note - some hearings are heard by a single member sub-committee).
- You will have the opportunity to talk about your case and the sub- committee will ask you some questions. You may also ask questions.
- If you have a support person at your hearing, s/he may also be allowed to speak.
Should I attend the hearing?
- DUSA Advocates encourage students to attend hearings if possible, either in person, by phone or via video conference.
Can I take someone to the hearing with me?
- You can take a support person to your hearing. This person can be anyone who is not a practicing lawyer.
- DUSA Advocates often accompany students to hearings. If you want an Advocate at your hearing, please request this as soon as possible.
When will I know the outcome?
- If you attend the hearing, it is likely you will be told the outcome at the end of your hearing. When the sub-committee believe they have all the information they need to make a decision, they will ask you (and your Advocate) to leave the room whilst they deliberate. Then you (and your Advocate) will be invited back into the room. Students are usually informed of the outcome (including any penalties and/ or recommendations if relevant) at this time. However there are some cases where the subcommittee needs further time to deliberate or to gather further information before deciding the outcome.
- The sub-committee will email you an outcome letter within 5 working days of making a decision.
Will the University keep a record of the allegation?
- The university will keep a record of the allegation and outcome on a central database. However, the allegation will not be recorded on your academic transcript.
What are the possible outcomes of an allegation of academic integrity breach?
- The allegation will be either: not proven (and therefore dismissed) or proven.
- If the allegation is proven, the subcommittee will also decide an outcome and may impose penalties and make recommendations.
- The sub-committee uses a points system to decide penalties. Points are added for the nature and seriousness of the conduct, the level of your experience as a student, any previous breaches of academic integrity, and intention to gain an unfair advantage.
- Different ranges of points result in different possible penalties.
- Once the sub-committee has calculated the points, they may lessen the penalty if there are ‘compassionate or compelling circumstances’.
Can I appeal the outcome?
- If you disagree with the decision of the Academic Integrity Sub-committee you may appeal the allegation being proven and/or appeal the penalty to the University Appeals Committee.
- You have 20 working days from the date of the outcome letter to appeal.
- To appeal you will need to have one or more of the grounds of appeal set by the University.
- Ask an advocate for information and advice about the appeals process and grounds of appeal.
How can DUSA advocates help?
- DUSA Advocates can assist you to understand the allegation, the written submission and hearing process, and the range of possible outcomes.
- DUSA Advocates can review your draft written submission and provide feedback.
- An Advocate can accompany you to your hearing as your support person (if given sufficient notice).
Example letter: Academic integrity breach
Academic Integrity Committee
Faculty of (insert your faculty)
(insert address of your campus)
Dear Academic Integrity Committee members,
Re: Response to allegation of a breach of academic integrity
I, (insert name), am a (insert your year level) year student at Deakin University (insert campus), studying (insert qualification name). In the (type of assessment piece) worth (insert percentage your assignment is worth)% of unit marks for (insert unit code), I received an allegation of a breach of academic integrity which I would like to (disagree with and explain the situation or admit and explain the circumstances leading to the breach).
Include brief information about your academic history, and the effect this allegation has had upon you.
If in your reply slip to the committee you admit the allegation, explain to the Committee the circumstances that led to the act:
- Provide details explaining what happened.
- Were there other circumstances occurring, that affected your academic performance at this time?
- Describe what you have done to address the issue and what you have learnt from the breach of Academic Integrity. Include detail of any services or resources that you have accessed to ensure that this situation does not occur again, e.g. Study Support, Health Professional.
- Write a brief statement of apology and request that the committee give your application due consideration.
If in your reply slip to the committee you do not admit the allegation, explain why the allegation is not true:
- Provide details explaining what happened.
- Clarify why you disagree with the allegation including your understanding of the University’s rules.
- Attach evidence of your claim.
Provide copies of any documents you think are relevant to your case. Advocates can review your letter and provide feedback, prior to it being submitted to the faculty. (Please allow 24- 48hrs prior to submission date for feedback to be provided.)