Student Advocacy

Understand the formalities

We can help you navigate your way around University legislation, policies and procedures.

Know your rights

We can provide information about your rights and responsibilities at FedUni

Prepare you for hearings

We can help you to write letters and prepare you for interviews and hearings.

Student Advocacy exists to give clear, independent advice and support for students navigating University processes and policies. We're here for students if things go wrong between you and the University, or if you have concerns with your experience. Please click on our "Service Charter" below for the full range of things we can assist with.

Student Advocacy is paid for by the Student Services and Amenities Fee, and we support all students enrolled in Federation University/Federation TAFE courses. This includes International and Domestic students and those studying on-campus, online or through a Partner Provider.

Academic Misconduct

Academic Misconduct

What does this mean?

The University takes academic misconduct very seriously. If you have received an Academic Misconduct (AM) letter, this means that the institute is concerned that you may have breached academic integrity. Breaches can be deliberate (e.g. cheating in an exam, using tech tools/someone else to write essays) or accidental (e.g. not referencing very well). The most important thing to understand is that just because you have received the letter, it doesn’t mean the decision has been made – you have the right to challenge the charge. Here is a flowchart of the whole process - confused? make an appointment with us!

You can watch our video below which explains all about the letter - please hover the mouse over the video to toggle viewing options - side-by-side, picture-in-picture, or full screen.

Alternatively, you can just download the slide deck and transcript (pdf, 600kb) if you prefer.

What do I need to do?

If you receive a letter stating the University believes you may have been involved in academic misconduct, there are a number of steps to follow:

Step 1 - Stay Calm!

Receiving a letter does not mean that the decision has been made – you can respond before the final decision. There are many supports available to help you through this process, and to assist you in understanding your rights and responsibilities.

Step 2 - Read the letter

Read the letter, and any evidence carefully. The letter should:

  • Explain the reason you have been charged with academic misconduct
  • Explain what severity level it is being considered, and whether you have had a charge upheld in the past (the more severe the level, and/or the more previous charges, the more severe the penalty)
  • State what penalty will be applied if the charge is upheld. The Penalty Determination Guide provides more information about how the University decides on the possible penalty for charges.
  • Explain how to contest the charge

The letter you receive should include the evidence that the University has for the charge, or this may be sent separately, but at the same time. If you have not been sent any evidence, you should request this directly from the relevant appeals team:

Step 3 - Request a hearing

Attending a hearing gives you the opportunity to explain what has happened from your perspective, and the clarify the charge. It also  allows you to contest the penalty completely, or request a lesser penalty. If you do not attend a hearing, the charge will be upheld and the penalty in the letter likely applied automatically. To request a hearing, simply reply to the email which sent you the letter as soon as you receive it.

Step 4 - Write a response

Your response should refer to the specific concerns that have been raised with your work and the evidence provided, and challenge them if appropriate. You can also explain any mitigating circumstances, and what you plan to do or have already done to ensure this doesn't happen again. Please read our Student Guide to Academic Misconduct Appeals and Hearings (Coming soon!) for more tips on writing a response

Step 5 - Attend a hearing

The hearing is a bit like an interview between you and the Academic Integrity Officer from your Institute. They will explain what their concerns are with your work and refer to the evidence, before giving you the opportunity to make your case and ask them questions. The Academic Integrity Officer should not refer to any evidence that has not been provided to you before the hearing - if they do, this may be grounds to appeal.

How can Student Advocacy help?

We can support you to respond to the charge by:

  • Clarifying what you are being accused of and the penalty
  • Advising you on your rights, and the procedures to follow
  • Supporting you to write a response - we can give you some initial tips, then review a draft and give you feedback before you submit it
  • Preparing you for the hearing
  • Attending the hearing with you as a support person
  • Helping you with any further appeals processes

It's helpful to start to think about what your response is going to be before your appointment with us. Please make some notes on what you think happened during the assessment that may have led to the charge occurring, and any questions you have for us.

Who else can help?

  • Learning Skills Advisors can help you interpret a Turnitin report and marker feedback and advise you on how to improve academic writing and referencing
  • The Academic Integrity Module explains key terms like plagiarism and contract cheating. This is helpful to better understand what you're being accused of, and whether the evidence you've been sent demonstrates it.
  • Being accused of misconduct can be stressful and upsetting. The University offers free, confidential mental health supports, listed on the Counselling page.
  • Finally, your Institute appeals team - contact them to clarify the charge and evidence if this is unclear, to arrange a hearing and to send your written response. These emails are listed in the table below.
Institute Email address
Institute of Health and Wellbeing health.appeals@federation.edu.au
Institute of Education, Arts and Community educationarts.appeals@federation.edu.au

Institute of Innovation, Science & Sustainability

iiss.appeals@federation.edu.au

Resources

Academic Misconduct Procedure

Appeals

An appeal is the process by which a Federation University student can ask for a University decision to be reviewed. On most occasions students should follow the internal process for appeals before going to an external source of appeal, please contact us if you are unsure. Please note that not all University decisions can be appealed.

The process for students to appeal varies depending on the basis of the appeal. There are strict timelines for students to appeal a Final Grade, Unsatisfactory Progress (Restricted Program/Exclusion/Suspension) or Appeal to Appeals Committee.

Exclusion, suspension and unsatisfactory progress

Notice of Unsatisfactory Progress letters

If there are signs that you are not doing well in your studies, such as:

  • you have failed 50% or more of the courses you were enrolled in this semester,
  • you have failed a course for the second time

You will generally receive a letter by email, warning you that your academic progress is unsatisfactory and asking you to meet with your Program Coordinator to develop an intervention strategy. An intervention strategy is a plan to improve your study performance that you agree on with your Program Coordinator. This could include things like accessing university supports, dropping your study load, or anything else that you believe will help you  succeed in future semesters.

If you are an international student, under Australian law, the University is obliged to track your progress and make sure that you are successfully completing your studies. If you do not maintain satisfactory progress your visa will be at risk - please see this webpage for more information.

Exclusion or suspension letters

Exclusion or suspension letters are sent when you have had a second unsatisfactory semester in a row.

If you are in this situation you have 20 working days* to appeal the exclusion or suspension letter (sometimes students may receive a letter about a restricted program - the same applies).

Appealing an exclusion or suspension

You can appeal a notice of exclusion or suspension by writing a letter explaining why you should not be excluded or suspended from your program.

In the letter you need to outline what has impacted on your current studies, and what you intend to do to make sure that you don't find yourself in this situation again. For example: have you reduced the number of hours you are working or started attending PASS sessions to support your studies?

To assist you in preparing an exclusion or suspension appeal letter please read the (Students) Regulation and use our letter template to help you structure your appeal

Please include with your submission copies of any documents that you think are relevant to your case. Examples include statutory declarations, letters of support from a medical professional, academic transcripts, special consideration forms, study plans.

We can assist students to draft and proofread letters before they are submitted.

Submitting your appeal

Your appeal must be accompanied by this Appeal Submission form

Your form, letter and supporting documentation should be sent to the Dean of your Institute using the relevant address in the table below.

If you are not sure which Institute you study with, email us to ask.

Institute Email address
Institute of Health and Wellbeing health.appeals@federation.edu.au
Institute of Education, Arts and Community educationarts.appeals@federation.edu.au
Institute of Innovation, Science and Sustainabilityiiss.appeals@federation.edu.au

Don't delay – timelines apply.

If you require assistance or more information regarding unsatisfactory progress you can contact us.

*Working day - means an ordinary business day of the University (excluding weekends, public holidays or days on which the University is officially closed, eg. Christmas close-down)

Special consideration

Find out more about Special Consideration:
- Which type is right for you?
- How (and when) do you apply?
- What evidence do you need?

Remission of debt

In limited circumstances, you have the right to apply for a Remission of Debt - removing Fail grades from your GPA, Transcript and financial liability.

Find out more and how to apply.

Complaints

If you are dissatisfied with any element of your university experience, or feel you have been treated unfairly, with bias, or have been harassed or bullied you have the right to make a formal complaint.

General Misconduct

The University takes all forms of misconduct very seriously, and there can be significant penalties if misconduct allegations are upheld. However, you always have the right to respond to and contest allegations of misconduct, and Student Advocacy can help you to do this.

For Academic Misconduct, please head to our dedicated webpage.

General Misconduct

General Misconduct refers to behaviour that:

  • Is disorderly/offensive; and/or
  • Is detrimental to the functioning of the University, it's facilities, property or services; and/or
  • Allows unlawful access to IT equipment or systems; and/or
  • Harms (or has the potential to harm) others physically or psychologically; and/or
  • Brings the University into disrepute

A full range of behaviour that may be classed as General Misconduct are listed in the Students Regulation (Section 49). In most instances, if you are alleged to  have engaged in General Misconduct, you will be sent a letter and invited to a hearing to discuss the matter. However, students may be immediately excluded from campus and/or University activities without hearing if:

  • There is a reasonable expectation that others will come to harm as a result of the behaviour
  • The behaviour seriously disrupts the conduct of University business
  • The matter has been, or will be referred to the police

If you have been accused of General Misconduct, here are some steps you can follow.

Step 1 - Read the letter and review any evidence

Make sure you understand what you are being accused of. If no evidence is provided for the charge, or the evidence appears unclear or incomplete, you can reply to the email to ask questions and request further evidence. In most instances, you will have been given a hearing date with the Student Misconduct Committee, unless one of the criteria for immediate exclusion has been alleged.

Step 2 - Contact us

Student Advocacy can support you to appeal the charge. We can:

  • Help you to understand what you're being accused of
  • Help you write a response - we can give you initial advice, review a draft and give you feedback before you submit it
  • Help you prepare for a hearing
  • Attend the hearing with you as a support person

Please complete our appointment form to discuss this with one of our Advocates.

Step 3 - Write a response

Depending on the circumstances, your response may be written to either contest the allegation, or to reduce the penalty. If the matter relates to potentially illegal behaviour under civil or criminal law, please seek external legal advice before responding. Anything you write in response to the charge can be used in further legal proceedings.

Step 4 - Attend a hearing

A hearing is like an interview, and will be conducted by the Student Misconduct Committee. This committee may include relevant University staff, a Federation student and/or external members of the community. No-one who has been involved in the case prior to the charge should be part of the committee, and if you'd like to discuss this, please get in touch with us. The committee members will explain the charge and ask you questions. You have the right to answer their questions  (or to not answer them), make any additional points you think are relevant and to ask questions of the committee. One you have left the hearing, the committee will have a discussion and decide on an outcome, which will be communicated to you via your student email at a later date. Possible penalties if the charge is upheld are listed in the Student Regulation (Section 52).

Assessment and results

If you have questions or concerns about the marks you received, there are some steps you can take to better understand them, and/or request a second marking.

Exams and end of semester assessments

This page gives you important information about exam rules and administrative arrangements.

Discrimination, harassment and bullying

If you have experienced discrimination or harassment (or you think you might have) we can talk with you about your options. In some cases we may introduce you to the Equity and diversity team.

See the Equity and diversity website for further information about discrimination and harassment.

To talk to us about any of your concerns please make an appointment to speak to us via our Make an appointment page.

Student Advocacy are not lawyers, so we can't give legal advice. However, we can refer you to free, confidential external legal supports.

Confidentiality

This page provides information on confidentiality and privacy in relation to Advocacy services.

Contact us

Student Advocacy
Phone : (03) 5327 6105
Email : studentadvocacy@federation.edu.au