These procedures are concerned with behaviour that is persistently unprofessional, or, in the case of a single instance, impacts substantially on the rights of other students or staff, or involves a deliberate disregard of others' rights or appropriate standards of conduct.
When an incident of unprofessional behaviour occurs, and it is felt by a staff member that this behaviour may breach the Guidelines, the staff member may take the following steps or report the incident to the Assistant Dean. Where a student is concerned that a breach of these Guidelines has occurred, they may report the incident to the subject coordinator or the Assistant Dean. Where the Assistant Dean forms the view that there may be a breach of University policy or rules and considers the breach to be sufficiently serious, the matter may also be referred directly to the Deputy Dean for consideration.
(1) Requests to leave
If a student engages in disruptive or uncooperative behaviour during class, a staff member may exclude the student from the remainder of the class.
If the behaviour occurs in the MLS building but outside class and is disruptive, a staff member or the Assistant Dean may ask the student to leave the area.
Conduct that results in a request to leave should be reported to the Assistant Dean.
Where a student engages in behaviour that is or may be in breach of these Guidelines or University of Melbourne Student Conduct Policy or other relevant University policies or rules, the first response from MLS will in most cases take the form of a meeting to counsel the student about their behaviour. The meeting will normally be between the student, the relevant staff member and the Assistant Dean.
Students can expect that any counselling will be given as discreetly and respectfully as the circumstances allow. If appropriate, the counselling can include reference to these Guidelines and to the possible consequences of breaching them, along with the University of Melbourne Student Conduct Policy and other University policies where applicable.
If a student:
- is not willing to discuss the matter, or refuses to modify that behaviour, or
- persists in unprofessional behaviour after counselling, or
- if a single incident is sufficiently serious, then
the matter will be referred to the relevant Associate Dean.
(3) Investigation and meeting
On receiving any such report the Associate Dean may consider any relevant material including:
- Reports of the incident from the reporting staff member, other affected students, and other staff members as necessary;
- The severity of the incident, the reported or expected impact upon the reporting staff member or student and the potential impact on other students and staff who may have witnessed the incident;
- These Guidelines and any previous reports regarding the student's behaviour, incidents of breaches of these Guidelines, or warnings given under the Guidelines;
- The University's definition of General Misconduct as set out in Statute 13.1 and the requirements of the Student Conduct Policy.
The Associate Dean should then meet with the student who is the subject of the report to discuss the reported behaviour and any possible explanation. The student will be advised that they are permitted to bring a student advocate or support person with them to the meeting, and will be provided with information regarding the UMSU Advocacy Service. The meeting will give the student an opportunity to provide any information they feel is relevant to the incident. The meeting will be conducted in accordance with the principles of natural justice, ensuring that all parties are treated equally and fairly. The Associate Dean may choose to include in the meeting the manager, coordinator or supervisor of the reporting staff member and Course Directors as appropriate. If a meeting is requested and the student is unable to attend, the determination of the Associate Dean may be notified to the student by written correspondence after the student has had an opportunity to present their case in writing.
(4) Outcomes / Consequences
The Associate Dean will decide whether the student's behaviour has breached the Guidelines. If the reported behaviour is found to have breached the Guidelines, the Associate Dean may take any or a combination of the following actions:
- Counsel the student regarding their behaviour in relation to the Guidelines;
- Refer the student to appropriate University support services;
- Request that the student undertake training in anti-discrimination, harassment and/or bullying and that the student furnish evidence of successful completion of the training;
- Give the student a warning not to repeat the behaviour and warn the student that further unprofessional behaviour may lead to further action, accompanied by information about what sanctions may be applied if further unprofessional behaviour takes place, including possible referral under the University of Melbourne Student Conduct Policy, pursuant to Statute 13.1 (Student Misconduct);
- Refer the matter to the Deputy Dean.
The Associate Dean will refer the following matters to the Deputy Dean:
- A serious breach of the Guidelines;
- A subsequent matter involving the same or similar behaviour for which a previous warning under the Guidelines has been given; or
- Behaviour that may have breached the University of Melbourne Student Conduct Policy.
In such circumstances the Deputy Dean may decide to:
- Create a file note that is to be held on the student's record. Such a record may become part of the Law School's report to the Council of Legal Education if the student seeks admission to the legal profession. A student will receive a copy of a file note that is placed on their record.
- Refer the matter to the Academic Registrar as alleged general misconduct under the University of Melbourne Student Misconduct Policy. A finding of general misconduct under this policy may lead to a number of serious consequences, including exclusion from the University.
The Deputy Dean may refer a matter to the Academic Registrar as alleged general misconduct even though it has not been referred to her or him by the Associate Dean, and even though none of the steps set out above have been taken.
If a student feels aggrieved by any action taken by a staff member, Assistant Dean, Associate Dean or Deputy Dean they may wish to consult the University of Melbourne Student Complaints and Grievances Policy.