Student Rights: Accused of Misconduct? You Have Options
RMIT’s approach when dealing with allegations of misconduct against students has often been haphazard, biased against students and lacking in basic and fundamental principles of procedural fairness. When the Student Union has been able to help students appeal decisions like this within the 14-day time limit, appeals are mostly successful and the student’s punishment and reputation have been cleared.
The key to achieving justice for students is usually the student seeking support from a Student Rights Officer early on in the process.
While the Student Union is enthusiastic, passionate and always more than happy to help students with any of these sorts of
problems, we are vastly happier to help students avoid any allegations from arising in the first place.
Many students find themselves accused of cheating because they have failed to properly reference the sources for material they use in their assignments. RMIT’s website and the Study and Learning Centre are great resources to get assistance with correct referencing. RMIT’s rules also say students must be involved in discussion about plagiarism, how to avoid it and the penalties that apply, during the first lecture or class for every subject. RMIT’s rules also say students must also be given this information in course guides and orientation sessions.
If your assignment contains significant sections that are taken from another source, make sure you reference that source appropriately. ‘Significant’ can be subjective but if the majority of a sentence is identical you should put quotation marks at the beginning and end of the identical sections, and have an in-text reference for the source straight after the end of the quote. If you have paraphrased to change the wording, you don’t need quotation marks but still need the in-text reference straight after the paraphrased text. Check with your tutor, lecturer or study and learning centre if you are not sure.
When drafting your assignment, never copy and paste sections of text from other sources with the intention of paraphrasing or including the referencing at a later stage. Many students we see had this intention but then ran out of time and/or didn’t properly check the assignment before submitting, resulting in an accusation of plagiarism.
If you work on an individual assignment together with other students, make sure each student’s work is their own and doesn’t contain identical or highly similar sections. Working with other students is a fantastic way to approach your studies, but a lot of students who discuss and collaborate and come up with ideas together wind up being accused of cheating because parts of their assignments are too similar.
Don’t cheat. It’s far better to fail an entire subject than to fail and also face other more severe repercussions because you have been found guilty of cheating. Student Discipline at RMIT is a highly stressful and demoralising process for students.
Remember, if you have good reasons you can apply for an extension of up to seven days from your course coordinator by applying before the due date. You can also apply for special consideration for a longer extension, and/or if applying up to two working days after the due date (later applications can be made but are more difficult). Contact the Student Union for more details.
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