Alan Smithee & Billie Kugelman
UQ has sent out letters to students facing disciplinary action which claim that enforcing the Student Code of Conduct is more important than *checks notes* students’ human rights.
The letters, apparently authored by so-called ‘Integrity Officers’, were sent with an offer: accepting the University’s proposed punishments would mean that students’ alleged misconduct would not be placed on their permanent record.
DYOC: We’ve attached relevant parts of the letter for readers to draw their own conclusions.
The letter insisted that if the student chose to appeal the matter, they could be opening themselves up to a harsher penalty. Still unclear is how decisions could possibly be made with respect for mitigating factors, without students having an unfettered right to reply, particularly when many of these decisions are automated (through Turnitin, for example).
The letter also acknowledges that the expedited process may infringe on the human rights of the student involved, namely those relating to “movement”, “expression”, “privacy”, and “reputation”.
As we see it, ultimately, the letter dismisses each of these concerns as being less important than the Student Code of Conduct.
Though Semper Floreat cannot confirm whether this is standard practice, UQ Union Secretary Cara Rowe said that copies of the letter have been the source of several enquiries at the Union’s Student Advocacy and Support service.
“This is a new centralised approach that removes power from actual professors and academic staff and puts in the hands of the University administration,” Rowe said.
It is unclear why the University has begun to make this questionable offer, but Semper Floreat understands that a number of administrative processes in the University have been running slowly in Semester 1.
At the June meeting of Academic Board, the UQ Union President reported that extension requests were not being answered in a timely fashion, with some students not hearing back before the original deadline for their assessment.
Semper reached out to the administration, the academic registrar, and author/s for comment.
More to come…