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Appeal of academic integrity outcome

What is an appeal against an academic integrity breach?

After a Faculty Committee decides the outcome of an allegation of academic integrity breach, they will email you an outcome letter. The outcome letter will include information about how the outcome was reached and information about the possibility of appealing the outcome.

You can also find information about appeals at deakin.edu.au/students/dean-of-students/student-appeals

The procedures relevant to appeals are: the Student Academic Integrity Procedure and the Student Appeals Procedure. These can be found in the online Deakin Policy Library.

On what grounds can I appeal an academic integrity outcome to a higher committee?

An appeal can only be made on one or more of the following six grounds (s.38, Student Academic Integrity Procedure):

  1. There is new information that could not reasonably have been provided at the time of the original decision, and that could have affected the decision or outcome;
  2. The outcome imposed was too severe;
  3. There was a misapplication of procedures resulting in some disadvantage to the student;
  4. The decision was unreasonable in the circumstances or cannot be supported by the evidence that was available at the time the decision was made;
  5. Relevant evidence was not considered or irrelevant evidence was relied on in reaching the decision;
  6. There was bias on the part of the Academic Integrity Committee.

How do I lodge an appeal?

If you believe that one or more of the grounds of appeal apply and you want to appeal to the University Appeals Committee (UAC), you can lodge an appeal online at deakin.edu.au/students/dean-of-students/student-appeals. You will need to submit:

  1. a. The online Student Appeal application form;
  2. b. A written submission detailing the grounds of your appeal and outlining the case for your appeal (see p. 3 of this handout for an example written submission);
  3. c. The Faculty Committee outcome letter (i.e. the original decision you are appealing); and
  4. d. Relevant documentary evidence in support of your case (e.g. medical certificate/report, letter of support, statutory declaration, evidence of integrity, etc). All documents must be in English. A certified translation must accompany documents in another language.

When must I lodge an appeal by?

You have 20 working days from the date you were notified of the Faculty Committee’s decision to lodge an appeal.

What happens next?

The Chair of the UAC will consider your appeal application. They will dismiss your appeal if they find it does not meet the minimum threshold to proceed to hearing or if they find it to be lacking in substance in relation to the grounds for appeal (s.11, Student Appeals Procedure).

If your appeal is not dismissed, it will proceed to a hearing and you will receive at least 5 working days’ notice of the appeal hearing.

You can bring a support person with you to the appeal hearing, provided they are not a practicing lawyer.

Hearing outcomes

A decision of the UAC is reached in private by simple majority with the Chair having the casting vote.

If the Committee hearing the appeal determines that one or more grounds of appeal have been established they then decide whether to uphold, vary or set aside the original (Faculty Committee) decision and/or outcome.

Where the only successful ground of appeal is excessive penalty, the UAC may vary the penalty but may not vary the decision of finding the allegation proven.

If they decide the matter should be reheard (in whole or in part as the case requires), they may either:

  • rehear the matter during the current appeal hearing, or
  • set another date to rehear the matter (in accordance with the Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure), or
  • set aside the decision and outcome/s of the original decision maker and direct the orginial decision maker to rehear the matter (s.25, Student Appeals Procedure).

The decision of the University Appeals Committee is final and binding.

Where can I get further assistance?

For more information or to speak to an Advocate about your situation, contact DUSA.

A DUSA Advocate can provide advice on possible grounds of appeal, discuss what you could include in your appeal submission, provide feedback on your draft appeal submission, attend the UAC hearing with you (if a hearing is granted), and provide support and advice during any stage of the appeals process.

Please note that DUSA Advocates experience very busy periods, particularly at the end of each trimester where we need to assist a large number of students, so it is important that you book an appointment to see an Advocate as early as possible.

Example written submission for appeal

Date: <insert date>

Dear Deakin University Appeals Committee members,

Re: Appeal against a faculty decision or outcome regarding a proven breach of academic integrity in Assessment Item: in <insert unit code> Assessment item <insert name of Assessment Item> in <insert Trimester, year>

I want to appeal against a decision of a Faculty Academic Integrity Committee to <insert decision and outcome (penalty) as indicated on the faculty outcome letter> pursuant to section 29 of Deakin University Regulation 4.1(2) - Academic and Research Integrity.

[Include a brief introduction here] Provide some information about yourself. You may wish to include information on your academic history to date, evidence of your integrity, steps you have taken to improve your referencing/academic writing if relevant, etc.

I am appealing on the grounds of . [Then use whichever subheadings below are relevant and include an explanation for each ground you are appealing on.]

New Information

Explain the new information/supporting documentation you now have that you were not previously able to provide and how this evidence either supports you not having breached academic integrity or supports the circumstances surrounding the breach of academic integrity that occurred.

Outcome too severe

Explain why you believe the outcome (penalty) is too severe in light of the evidence already presented. You can only refer to the evidence that you previously submitted.

Misapplication of procedure

Provide details of the university procedure/s that were not followed. Describe how you think this has disadvantaged you in relation to the decision to find the breach of academic integrity proven and/or the outcome (penalty) you received.

Unreasonable Decision

Explain why the decision was unreasonable in the circumstances or cannot be supported by the evidence that was available to the faculty committee at the time they made the decision.

Relevant Evidence

Detail the evidence that was not considered and/or why you think the faculty committee relied on irrelevant evidence in reaching a decision.

Bias

Detail why you believe the faculty committee was biased and what impact you think this had on their decision to find the breach of academic integrity proven and/or the outcome (penalty) you received.

[Conclusion] Summarise your main points and include how the decision has affected you or will affect you.

Yours sincerely,

<insert your name>

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