Conduct and Integrity
UWA holds its students and staff to the highest of standards of conduct and is committed to:
- a safe, fair and respectful community;
- a community embracing quality, reliability, integrity, accountability, and lawfulness;
- ensuring our students, graduates and staff are highly regarded in the broader community.
Ethics and conduct
UWA is committed to ensuring that our community understand and operate with the highest level of integrity and accountability. The Codes identify the expected ethical standards and standards of conduct required of all members of the University campus. The Codes also serve as a ‘road map’, providing direction on a range of ethical issues that members of our campus community may confront in their daily work or study.
- The Code of Ethics is a statement of the ethical principles, values and behaviours expected of all employees and students at the University of Western Australia.
- The Code of Conduct details the legal and ethical obligations and expectations of all employees and students to act in accordance with the expressed standards of conduct, integrity and accountability contained in relevant legislation, University policies and Agreements.
Do the Codes apply to me?
All members of the University community and those interacting with our University are expected to conduct themselves as expected under the Codes. The University community include:
- Employees (the Codes form part of your contact of employment with UWA)
- Students (the Codes form part of your conditions of enrolment)
- Staff who are not employees (i.e., honorary, adjunct, and emeriti)
- Contractors – their employees and representatives
- Visitors and those in a voluntary capacity participating in University activity
Do the Codes only relate to my behaviour and conduct at work/while studying?
University activities are broad and so the University may have concerns about behaviour / conduct where it is related to an activity not on campus (for example at a conference); on social media; or where someone’s behaviour is affecting other members of the University community.
How do all the policies in the Codes apply?The Codes are high level documents setting out the expected standards of conduct. It is not possible to put all relevant information on any specific topic in the high-level document. An example of this is the Sexual Misconduct Policy. The Codes reference equity and respect and note the University’s commitment and expectations about sexual harassment. The Sexual Misconduct Policy is referenced so you know that there is more information available to expand on this. All policies are available at the UWA Policy Library.
What if I cant find an answer to my question in the Codes?
The Codes can’t explicitly address every possible situation and there are often changes in our broader community (including legislation). Other sources of information and advice:
- Staff – line managers, heads of unit, and staff in Human Resources
- Students – University staff, Guild Student Assist
- Members of the public and external agencies – Integrity and Standards Unit
What is a breach of the Code?
An act of breaking or failing to observe the Codes which may also be a breach of a subsidiary document such as a policy.
I understand the Codes are about my responsibilities but what about my rights?
In requiring expected behaviours / conduct, your right to a safe and respectful place to study, work and engage is protected. Staff and students also have specific rights under other policies and legislation that the University complies with. There are also specific rights in other instruments:
- Employees -- as set out in the Enterprise Agreements found on the Staff Intranet; and
- Students – as set out in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy.
What happens if I breach the Codes?
There are consequences where there is a breach. Where a breach is minor, and it is the first time it has occurred, there will usually be an informal, educative approach. Where a breach is repeated or more serious, an employee or student discipline process may commence. Matters involving members of the public are usually managed by the Integrity and Standards Unit.
What should I do if I think someone else has breached the CodesYou should discuss concerns where possible and appropriate with the person, or raise it with someone more senior. There are also a number of options for reporting suspected breaches of the Codes and you can find out more on the ISU Reports and Complaints page.
Freedom of speech and academic freedom
Freedom of speech and academic freedom are fundamental to the conduct of a democratic society and to the quest for intellectual, moral and material advance in the human condition.
UWA is committed to:
- academic freedom as a defining value for our staff and students
- freedom of lawful speech as a paramount value for our staff, students and visitors
- assisting our staff and students to engage in critical and free enquiry by asking important questions, even if these questions are controversial
- assisting our staff and students to share their findings and to engage in informed, intellectual public debate and conversations in pursuit of a better future
- engaging with the broader community and visitors to our University from our value base of supporting freedom of speech and academic freedom.
What is academic freedom?
‘Academic freedom’ for the purposes of this Code comprises the following elements:
- the freedom of academic staff to teach, discuss, and research and to disseminate and publish the results of their research;
- the freedom of academic staff and students to engage in intellectual inquiry, to express their opinions and beliefs, and to contribute to public debate, in relation to their subjects of study and research;
- the freedom of academic staff and students to express their opinions in relation to the higher education provider in which they work or are enrolled;
- the freedom of academic staff to participate in professional or representative academic bodies;
- the freedom of students to participate in student societies and associations;
- the autonomy of the higher education provider in relation to the choice of academic courses and offerings, the ways in which they are taught and the choices of research activities and the ways in which they are conducted
What is freedom of speech?
This refers to the right to hold opinions and express them in what is termed ‘speech’ but which includes oral speech and written, artistic, musical and performing works and activity and communication using social media; the word ‘speak’ has a corresponding meaning.
Is anything I say protected by the UWA Code?
No, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute. It carries with it special responsibilities and may be restricted on several grounds. Under the UWA Code there are restraints and / or burdens imposed by the law, the rights of others etc.
In exercising academic freedom and freedom of expression; staff, students and visitors are required to:
- Act within the law
- Acting in accordance with any conditions UWA has set in relation to the use of its facilities
- Act respectfully, courteously, and professionally
Respect the confidentiality of UWA, its staff, students, and partners.
My application to hold a speaking event at UWA was refused, can I appeal this decision?
UWA has the right and responsibility to determine the terms and conditions for any permit, for any event, to take place on University grounds. This may at times include the refusal of a permit or venue hire for an event. A complaint can be lodged with the University and will be considered by a responsible office who may also seek advice from the Freedom of Expression Panel.
You can find out more about the complaint process, including how to make a complaint here.