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General misconduct

What is general misconduct?

  • Deakin University defines general misconduct as ‘conduct by a Student which is detrimental to the University or its members, whether taking place on University Premises, or while the Student is engaged in University activities, or during activities approved by the University, or otherwise, whether or not on University Premises.’ (Regulation 4.1(1)).
  • Examples of general misconduct are listed in Regulation 4.1(1) which can be found in the online Deakin Policy Library.

I have received a letter alleging general misconduct. What should I do?

Read the allegation letter and evidence 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.

The return date for your hearing reply slip and written submission, as well as an indication of your hearing date will be in the allegation letter. On your hearing reply slip you will need to let the Student Misconduct Committee know whether you:

  • admit or do not admit the allegation,
  • will or will not be sending a written submission,
  • will or will not be attending the hearing, and
  • if attending the hearing, whether you will be accompanied by a support person.

There will also be an opportunity to decide whether you want witnesses to provide evidence at the hearing and to notify the Committee about this.

It is important to note that if you admit to an allegation, the Committee will find the allegation to be proven.

Consider contacting a DUSA Advocate for advice and assistance prior to responding to the allegation.

What happens if I don't respond to the allegation?

  • If you do not respond to the allegation the Student Misconduct Committee will have a hearing in your absence using all the evidence it has gathered and will decide the outcome and penalties.
  • DUSA strongly recommends you prepare a written submission and send this to the Committee along with any supporting documentation within the set timeframe.

What should I include in my written submission?

  • A written submission is a letter, and if relevant, supporting documents.
  • Use the 'Example Letter: General Misconduct' as a guide. (at the bottom of the page)

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 DUSA Advocates to provide feedback.

Should I attend the hearing?

  • DUSA Advocates encourage students to attend hearings if possible, either in person or by phone. We recommend you see a DUSA Advocate for advice about your individual situation.

Can I take someone to the hearing with me?

  • Yes, 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.

What happens at a hearing?

  • The hearing will happen in a meeting room on campus.
  • Most hearings are attended by a Committee of at least three members. (Note: some cases are heard by a single member committee.)
  • You will have the opportunity to talk about your case and the Committee will ask you questions.
  • The Committee may call witnesses and question them during the hearing. You may also call witnesses (if you have arranged this prior to the hearing) and question them.
  • When the 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.

When will I know the outcome?

  • If you attend the hearing, it is possible you may be told the outcome on the hearing day. However, the Student Misconduct Committee may need further time to deliberate before deciding the outcome.
  • The Committee will email you an outcome letter explaining their decision (and any penalties imposed) within 5 working days of making a decision.

What are the possible outcomes?

  • The Committee will decide, on the balance of probability, whether the allegation is proven or not proven. If the allegation is proven, the Committee may impose penalties and/or make recommendations.

Will the University keep a record of the allegation?

  • The University keeps a confidential central database of general misconduct matters.

Can I appeal the outcome?

  • If you disagree with the decision of the Student Misconduct Committee you may appeal the outcome (i.e. proven) and/or 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 a DUSA Advocate for information and advice about the appeals process and grounds of appeal.

How can DUSA advocates help me?

  • 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 assist you to prepare for your hearing and can accompany you to your hearing as your support person (if given sufficient notice).

Example letter: General misconduct

(Use the address provided in the letter you received)

(insert date)

Dear Student Misconduct Committee members,

I, (insert name), studying a (insert name of your course), received an allegation of general misconduct which I would like to (disagree with and explain the situation or admit and explain the circumstances leading to the general misconduct allegation).

Brief Introduction

Provide the Committee with some information about yourself. Some things you might like to include here are year(s) and area of study, academic history, evidence of your integrity, the effect this allegation has had upon you. (This should be kept brief).

If in your reply slip to the Committee you do not admit the allegation, explain here why the allegation is not true:

  • State that you disagree with the General Misconduct allegation made by the SMC pursuant to University Regulation 4.1(1).
  • Explain details about what happened.
  • Clarify why you disagree with the allegation including your understanding of the University’s rules.
  • Attach evidence of your claim.

If in your reply slip to the Committee you admit the allegation, explain here the circumstances that led to the act:

  • State that you accept the General Misconduct allegation made by the SMC pursuant to University Regulation 4.01(1) and you want to explain the circumstances. Please note that any oral or written acceptance of the allegation will result in a proven allegation.
  • Explain details about what happened.
  • Reflect on any consequences of what happened and what you have learnt from this.
  • Describe what you have done to address the issue. Include any services or resources that you have accessed, e.g. Counselling
  • Write a statement of apology and request that the Committee give your application due consideration


Sum up your main points, and write a concluding paragraph.

Yours sincerely,

Student Name

Student ID,

Mailing Address,




Provide copies of any documents that you think are relevant to your case.

Retain a copy of all documents for yourself.

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