News Article

Student misconduct & academic dishonesty

What to do if you receive an allegation of misconduct or academic dishonesty


What is Misconduct?

Misconduct is outlined in the University of Sydney (Student Discipline) Rule 2016, which includes academic and non-academic conduct. Many students confuse academic honesty allegations with misconduct allegations. If your allegation letter is from your faculty and says you have potentially breached the Academic Honesty in Coursework Policy, it is not a misconduct allegation. If your letter is from the Registrar or the Student Affairs Unit, and says you have potentially breached the Student Discipline Rule, it is a misconduct allegation.

What if I receive an allegation letter?

If the University believes you may have done something that constitutes misconduct, they will send an allegation letter to your university email address. It will outline the alleged misconduct and invite you to a preliminary meeting with a representative of the Registrar to make a response to the allegations. If you receive an allegation of misconduct, contact the SRC immediately for confidential advice from a Caseworker.

How can I respond to the allegation?

You can respond to the allegation at the preliminary meeting. Final decisions are not made at this meeting. A staff member from the Student Affairs Unit will conduct the meeting; they will explain the misconduct process, the allegations, the range of possible penalties, and then ask whether you admit or deny the allegations. You can also explain any mitigating circumstances. If you admit the allegations, your case will go to the Registrar for a decision. You can provide supporting documents, such as medical documentation or a written apology. You should receive an outcome in a few weeks’ time. If you deny or partially deny any of the allegations, your case will go to an investigation. You do not have to provide a full response at the preliminary meeting. A few weeks after the preliminary meeting the investigator will email you to explain the process.

How can I get a good outcome?

The SRC’s advice is to be as honest as possible in your response. Where you have done the wrong thing, admitting this as early as possible, apologising and demonstrating remorse will show the university you understand the seriousness of your conduct and are unlikely to engage in further misconduct in the future.

What will the penalty be? Will they kick me out of Uni?

Expulsions occur rarely. Penalties often include one or two semesters where you are suspended from study. If misconduct is proven to have occurred in a specific unit of study, a fail grade is also likely. The Registrar can also suspend a penalty, meaning it is not enforced unless you have a further case of misconduct in the future. When considering whether to suspend your penalty, the Registrar considers the seriousness of your misconduct, your past conduct, your cooperation with the investigation, your remorse, and any compelling mitigating circumstances.

Where to go for help?

The SRC’s caseworkers are experienced in assisting students with misconduct allegations. Email your questions to or call 9660 5222 to make an appointment.

More information about Academic Dishonestly allegations

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