FVAS Student Code of Conduct


This Code is to be used alongside and in addition to the University of Melbourne's Student Conduct Policy (MPF1324).

The Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Melbourne is responsible for the training of professionals in the fields of Veterinary and Agricultural Science.

All students in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences are expected to act according to behavioural and professional standards required by society, relevant professional bodies, the University and the Faculty at all times for the duration of their studies.

The Code sets out the behaviour and conduct expected of students of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences. The faculty imposes obligations upon students to demonstrate respectful and considerate behaviour towards fellow students and staff as well as any external member of the public with whom they have interaction during, or as part of their studies. The code also further reinforces  the obligations placed on students by the University to act with honesty and integrity in all dealings relating to their education.

The processes available where there have been breaches of the Code will be described. The consequences and range of possible penalties for breaches of the Code will also be outlined. Decisions regarding consequences and penalties to be applied will be at the discretion of the Faculty, in accordance with University policy and dependent on the circumstances particular to each case.

Student Code of Conduct

Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences students must abide by the following standards of behaviour.

Personal Responsibility

Students are responsible for their own conduct at all times. They are expected to know and comply with all aspects of the Code and other relevant university policies regarding student behaviour.

An important aspect of professional behaviour is a capacity for independent and self-directed learning. The Faculty is required by professional and accrediting bodies to produce graduates that are competent in these areas. Therefore, while academic staff will always undertake to provide the guidance, materials and support that students need in order to successfully complete their program of study, students are ultimately responsible for their own education.

Students may refer to the University of Melbourne Student Charter, that sets out what students are responsible for and what they are entitled to expect from the University.

Respectful treatment of others

Failure to treat fellow students, staff members or members of the public in a professional and respectful manner may have serious consequences. Such behaviour:

  • May have a serious effect on the health and wellbeing of the person or people affected
  • Can harm the reputation of the student who has demonstrated this behaviour and consequently may adversely affect their ability to attain employment
  • Can harm the reputation of the faculty and may, for example, result in public outcry and even litigation
  • Can harm the reputation of businesses and private individuals and can potentially put them at risk of adverse consequences such as litigation. It may also result in a refusal of such enterprises to accept students for placements.


Students must demonstrate respectful behaviour towards their fellow students at all times. Students must demonstrate respectful behaviour towards members of Faculty staff at all times.

Students must demonstrate respectful and professional behaviour towards any person who is external to the faculty, including those with whom they interact in the course of pursuing their studies, such as enterprise owners, managers and staff.

Bullying, harassment, victimisation, vilification of, or discrimination against any person, be it a fellow student, staff member or any member of the public, will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Recording of images and appropriate use of online communication

Refer also to the University’s Privileged Information Accessed through Studies Procedure (MPF 1060)

The internet provides an individual with a worldwide audience. Anything that a student posts online is permanently in the public domain and can potentially be seen by anyone. Potential consequences of posting material online that is sensitive, confronting, insulting, offensive or bullying in nature or defamatory include:

  • Damage to the student’s reputation and consequent impact on that student’s ability to gain employment
  • Distress for a person or people affected by any material, be it written or in image form, that can be deemed insulting, hurtful or vilifying or bullying
  • Damage to the reputation of the Faculty, with consequent public outcry or potential litigation
  • Damage to the reputation of private people or businesses.

Of particular concern are images that involve animals or their use that may be deemed sensitive or may be taken out of context. An integral component of veterinary and many types of agricultural education involves the experience of living animals as well as the use of animal tissues. This may take place in classes on campus as well as on placements on farms and other animal enterprises. Posting of images online, that may be open to misinterpretation, can result in very serious consequences, including litigation, loss of the ability to use animals for teaching and also threats being made against the faculty, businesses and individuals.


Students are not permitted to take photographs or make recordings in any class without the express written permission of the staff member in charge of that class. Classes include lectures, practical classes, tutorials, case studies, excursions and field trips.

If any student is also to appear in a photo then the written permission of that student is also to be obtained.Students are not permitted to take photographs or make recordings at the University of Melbourne Veterinary Hospitals at Werribee or Geelong unless they have the express written permission of the Dean or his or her delegate and in addition, for photography or recording of client animals, written permission from the owner.

When on placements, students must obtain the written permission of the placement supervisor and in the case of animals, their owner, before they will be permitted to take photographs.

Students are not to post any image online that depicts an animal or animal tissues encountered as part of their studies, without written permission from the relevant course coordinator.

Students must not post any image that shows a fellow student, staff member or person encountered during a farm or business placement, without the written permission of the individual/s concerned.

Students must not post any image or written material online that may be deemed, or reasonably perceived to be, offensive, obscene or illegal.

Students must not post any material online that could adversely affect the reputation of the Faculty, or any business or private individual.

Information, images and audio recordings of any private individual or animal encountered while on placement must not be placed in the public domain without the written permission of the placement supervisor and in the case of animals, their owner.

Students must not post any written material online that is, or could be interpreted to be, insulting, hurtful, defamatory, vilification or bullying of any person, be it a fellow student, member of staff or member of the public.

If a student has a complaint relating to their education, or about a member of staff, they should make their complaint through the appropriate University channels. Students should refer to the University’s Student Complaints and Grievances Procedure (MPF 1067) for information on how to properly make a complaint.

Honesty and Integrity

Honesty and integrity are fundamental components of professional behaviour. The University and  the Faculty expect that students will undertake all activities pertaining to their education with honesty and integrity at all times throughout their studies. Dishonest dealings with regard to any aspect of their education can result in serious penalties, up to and including termination of enrolment.

Students must abide by the rules of the University that govern their conduct in exams (Examinations Procedure (MPF 1028), including Schedule A-Examinations), in all exams and quizzes, whether the examinations are centrally timetabled and conducted or conducted ‘in department’ by the Faculty.

Students must not remove exam papers from exams unless expressly permitted to do so.

Students must not undertake any activity that could be construed as cheating during exams, including bringing electronic devices or written material into exams or using computers to seek answers online (unless permitted as part of an open book exam) or colluding with fellow students.

Students must not promote cheating by fellow students, e.g. by the collation and dissemination of exam questions or papers that have not been released by the Faculty.

Special consideration provisions are provided by the University and the Faculty for students who have a genuine need for them. Students must be honest in all statements made to the Faculty and the University in their applications for special consideration.

The Faculty considers the fraudulent signing of documents to be an extremely serious matter. Students must not use their signature for fraudulent purposes. Examples include attaching your signature to work that is not your own, or signing a document that makes a false claim about your work, achievements or activities.

Forging the signature of another person is a potentially criminal activity. Examples include falsifying the signature of a fellow student on an attendance sheet, or falsifying the signature of a person who  is responsible for signing off on a placement.

Plagiarism is the presentation of the work of someone else as your own. The Faculty is vigilant in scrutinising any assessment task for evidence of plagiarism and will penalise students that are found guilty.

A student who allows another student to copy their work, in the knowledge that the second student will present the work as their own, is also guilty of plagiarism.

Copying of other peoples work without their permission is a form of theft. Students are not to copy the work of a fellow student or the work of a member of teaching staff under any circumstances unless express permission has been granted by the individual student or staff member concerned. This includes making written notes or taking photographs of the original material. If permission for use has been granted, students must identify and acknowledge any work that they have copied from another person and must not present it as their own work.

Students must submit assignments and other assessment tasks by the due date, unless they have sought and been given permission for an extension from the relevant course coordinator. Unless an extension has been granted marks will be deducted at a rate determined by the faculty. Students will usually be asked to provide documentary evidence to support their request for an extension and must be honest in all such submissions made.

General behaviour

Students are responsible for their own safety and must not engage in any action that places the safety of others at risk.

The Faculty will not tolerate antisocial or illegal behaviour. Students that engage in antisocial or illegal behaviour place their ongoing enrolment and their careers at risk.

Veterinary students should be aware that it is a requirement for registration in Victoria that a veterinary graduate be of good character. Further, in order to be granted registration an individual must not have been convicted of any indictable offence within the previous 10 years and must not have a drug or alcohol dependency (The Veterinary Practice Act 1997 Part 2 Section 6 Subsection2).

Students must conduct themselves responsibly at all Faculty or student-organised functions and activities. Bad behaviour arising from intoxication will not be tolerated. Depending on the seriousness of the breach individual students may face a misconduct charge and in addition may be banned from future functions. Another possible outcome is that such functions may be banned entirely. Students should also refer to the University of Melbourne Responsible Management and Use of Alcohol Policy (MPF 1267).

Breaches of the Code

If a student becomes aware of any breaches of the Code by another student then they are encouraged to report their concerns to a member of Faculty staff. However, the Faculty does not require a complaint to be made by a student in order for it to investigate a breach.

While the matter is under investigation, it is to be kept confidential by both the reporting student(s) and the staff members concerned.

Students must not make false allegations against a fellow student or any other person.

Following discovery of a breach, the accused student/s may be invited to an interview with an appropriate member of Faculty staff or may be invited to a formal misconduct hearing.

Depending on the nature and seriousness of the breach, the matter may be dealt with by one or more members of Faculty staff, including the Dean. University staff external to the Faculty may also become involved.

Procedures arising as a result of reported breaches of this Code will carried out according to the University of Melbourne Student Conduct Policy (MPF1324). That document should be referred to for details regarding the possible penalties that may be imposed on a student for whom an allegation of misconduct has been upheld. Possible penalties range from a reprimand of the student through to termination of enrolment.


Bullying: When a person or group of people intentionally use words or actions to cause distress, hurt or embarrassment, or to intimidate, oppress or damage someone else. It is usually done by people who have more power over someone else or who want to make someone else feel less powerful or helpless. Bullying is not the same as conflict between people or disliking someone, but people might bully each other because of conflict or dislike. Bullying may take the following forms:

Verbal bullying: words used intentionally to upset someone e.g., insults, racist or homophobic slurs. Social bullying: use of lies, spreading of malicious gossip, repeated mimicking, deliberate exclusion. Physical bullying: physical actions such as hitting used to hurt or intimidate.

Psychological bullying: intentional use of words and actions to cause psychological harm such as intimidation, manipulation and stalking.

Cyberbullying: when technology, such as social media, emails and texts, is used to verbally, socially or psychologically bully.

Harassment: Any unwelcome behaviour that offends, embarrasses, humiliates or intimidates  another person. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, or an unwelcome request for sexual favours or engaging in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.

Vilification: An act capable of inciting hatred towards, contempt for, or ridicule of a person or group of people on the basis of race, religion, sexuality or gender.

Defamation: Publishing untrue and derogatory material about a person that harms their reputation. ‘Publishing’ can be in words or images and can be spoken, written or via electronic media.

Plagiarism: The practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and claiming them as your own.

Good Character: A person of good character behaves professionally, with integrity and honesty. That person also does not engage in any antisocial or illegal behaviour.

Indictable offence: Students may refer to the current version of the Crimes Act 1958 (go to legislation.vic.gov.au) for details of what is considered to be an indictable offence in Victoria. Students should be aware that in 2011, bullying of a serious nature (physical bullying, psychological bullying, verbal bullying or cyberbullying) was made a crime, punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

Version 1, updated March 2016