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The A to E Guide to Social Ethics @ UNE

This content has been provided by UNE Student Support Services & Staff

This is blog 1/5 see the bottom of the blog for the other glossaries.

The University of New England is committed to providing an inclusive environment that acknowledges and celebrates diversity, is free from all forms of discrimination and harassment, and which encompasses and utilises the skills and ideas of all people, irrespective of race or cultural background, gender or sexual orientation, educational level, socioeconomic position, age, disability, or family responsibility. We hope that you will enthusiastically take your place within this environment and enjoy your time here at UNE.

This A to Z Guide to Social Ethics @ UNE is designed to help you understand your social rights and responsibilities while studying at UNE and also to give you a clear sense of what is, and what is not, acceptable behaviour for staff, students or visitors.

The ultimate aim of the guide is to help you establish a safe and secure lifestyle while you are at UNE so that you enjoy your time as a student and ultimately achieve your full academic potential. Whether you dip into and out of this guide as needed, or read it from A to Z, we are sure you will find it a useful resource as you embark on your studies at UNE. You will find within this guide the contact details for a wide range of people who can assist and guide you during your time as a student. We all look forward to meeting you individually into the future. We wish you every success during your time at UNE and welcome you to our community.



Academic Integrity

Your academic work needs to be done in a fair and honest way. Anyone reading your work needs to understand how your ideas came about, where you got the information from, and who expressed the same or similar ideas before you. UNE has an Academic Integrity Module (AIM) which will educate you about ethical study practices. All students have a responsibility to complete the AIM which is a Moodle unit that you can access via your myUNE student portal. Academic Misconduct includes cheating, plagiarism and other conduct that improperly advantages you and may unfairly disadvantage other students. It can have very serious consequences for your future employment options after graduation. For more information about how to avoid academic misconduct check this out.

If you are involved in an academic misconduct investigation you are encouraged to get advice and support from the Independent Student Advocates at Advocacy & Welfare

Academic Skills

In offering you a place at UNE, the University believes you have the potential to meet the requirements of your course of study. It is up to you, however, to recognise your areas of strength or weakness, and to take responsibility for your own learning. If you are feeling unsure about your academic ability or recognise that some of your general academic skills are a bit rusty (such as essay writing at tertiary level, referencing, reading effectively, or note-taking), contact the Academic Skills Office for support.


You have a right to access the facilities and materials needed to undertake your course(s) at UNE and to participate fully in the life of the University and/or the residential colleges. You also have a responsibility to ensure that you do not deny your fellow students and UNE staff access to resources or facilities needed to perform their duties. If you have concerns about your ability to access what you need at UNE, contact the Student Access and Inclusion team.


Advocates are people who can put forward a case on someone else’s behalf. You may find yourself advocating on behalf of another student or perhaps you may need someone to speak on your behalf about a matter of concern. There are independent student advocates at UNE who can assist with advice and support for any issues you or someone you are concerned about are experiencing at UNE.

The advocates work from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday at the UNE Life Advocacy and Welfare office in the top courtyard.


For many of you, commencing your university studies coincides with reaching the legal drinking age and suddenly having a greater level of freedom to decide how you spend your time and money. The University values such freedom but asks you when exercising yours, to consider how it may impact on others.

For example, is your drinking affecting the safety and wellbeing of you or others? You have a responsibility to ensure you do not attend any classes while under the influence of alcohol and do not consume alcohol in any areas designated as Alcohol-Free Zones. This includes certain areas within the residential colleges. If you are going to drink, the University encourages you to adopt a harm-minimisation or risk-reduction approach. Alcohol can affect people in many different ways. You can aim to limit how alcohol affects you by knowing what a “standard” drink is. Also consider alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic beverages, eating before you drink, avoiding alcohol if you are taking medication, and arranging in advance safe transportation home. Check out Australian alcohol standard drink guidelines for men and women  Also, check out the UNE’s “Student Alcohol and Other Drugs” policy for students.


While the University expects you to do the right thing by other people, it is also committed to doing the right thing by you. The University recognises your right to appeal any decisions made about you or your assessment tasks that you may consider to be unfair. Check out the “Student Appeals Policy”  You may also like to seek assistance and advice regarding appeals from UNE Life Advocacy and Welfare who can point you in the right direction.


Social ethics are about developing greater awareness that decisions you make can and do affect others. You might think that it’s “no skin off anyone’s nose” whether you attend your classes or not. This is not the case. Nonattendance not only hinders your learning, but means one less person to contribute to lively debate (in class or via online bulletin boards), one less person to add to the vibrancy and attentiveness of a lecture audience, or one less person to instill a commitment to learning among your peers.

It is your responsibility to determine whether class attendance in your course (whether online or in-person) is compulsory, mandatory or optional. Some unit coordinators keep an attendance register or roll. Check the attendance requirements of your course in your unit guide, or with your unit coordinator. Also aim to be punctual and arrive on time to your classes in order to minimize disruption.



During the day students need a place where they can feel more ‘at home’ and take a “breather”. The top floor of the Bistro or The ‘Stro, off the Central Courtyard, and is a space where students can have a ‘cuppa’, relax, read the newspapers, meet classmates, etc. That location has a fridge and microwaves, and hot water so you can save money and bring your own lunch, tea, coffee, milk, and refreshments – with the expectation that you clean up after yourself. There is also the “Kitchen” just inside the main entrance to Dixson Library, where you can also BYO food and drink and have access to a fridge, microwave, and hot water.

UNE has a range of food and drink venues on campus, but sometimes you will need to or want to BYO. For more information about other student spaces, venues, and services check out UNE Life.


Bullying comes in many shapes and forms as do bullies. Bullying can be obvious/overt (e.g. jokes or rumours at the expense of another person; swearing, yelling, or insulting someone; physical assault or threats; humiliating someone or subjecting them to initiation rites – i.e. hazing) or bullying can be more hidden or covert (e.g. pressuring a fellow student to drink, take other substances or to engage in illegal or unethical activities; ignoring or excluding someone; undermining friendships; not doing your bit in group projects, or hindering a person from doing theirs). Social ethics are about safety, trust, and respect. Bullying is about fear, distrust, and disrespect.

Bullying has no place at UNE and is in breach of the student code of conduct. Check out the Student Behavioural Misconduct rules by looking at University Policies (Also see Harassment in this guide).


As a member of the UNE community you will be witness to behaviours happening around you; the majority of which will be positive and ethical. If you encounter behaviours in others that cause you concern, you do not have to be a passive bystander. There are ways to intervene in a situation (in the moment or afterward) that can lead to a positive outcome all round vs doing nothing. An ethical bystander is someone who considers ways to intervene that minimise risk to self and others but are likely to improve the situation there and then or in the long run. This might, for example, involve seeking guidance from Student Support staff, a unit coordinator, the Student Grievance Unit, Safety and Security, a student leader, or a friend if you witness something untoward, illegal, inappropriate, or unethical happening. Turning a “blind eye” to concerning events does not help you or others. Social ethics are about not being complicit to something you do not feel comfortable with. For guidance, you can contact the Student Grievance Unit here.


Career Planning

Students embark on study for a whole range of reasons. For many of you, study is the stepping stone to a particular career path – even if you are still unsure what that path is. Your time at university can include a phase of “exploring” career options, “experiencing” some career skills, and “enacting” or making the career pathway happen. Social ethics are about you taking charge of your career – being in the “driver’s” seat of the next exciting phase of your life rather than sitting in the “passenger” seat. For more information about practical steps you can take to be career-ready, go to the Career Development homepage  or check out the Career Development Online Moodle unit in your myUNE student portal.


Taking credit for another person’s work is a form of bullying and it is also cheating. Social ethics are about honesty and integrity and about creating a level playing field. Cheating undermines that. Cheating includes things like having someone else write your essays, copying another person’s work, bringing unapproved materials into an exam that creates an unfair advantage, falsifying data in an experiment, or missing an exam and lying about the reasons. Plagiarism is a form of cheating. For more information on this, refer to Plagiarism in this guide. To ensure you are clear about how missed exams are handled at UNE, please refer to Student Central’s information about missed exams here Please note that missing an exam due to misreading an exam timetable is not a valid excuse.


Social ethics are about having a sense of collegiality among your fellow students and a sense of belonging at UNE. They are about appreciating that you are all here to achieve a common purpose – to discover your full academic and personal potential; not the potential to drink the most beer, have the most hangovers, lowest class attendances, and highest fail rate! Rather than having an “us” and “them” mentality, collegiality is about appreciating the value of belonging to the University community, and that you are all ambassadors for UNE. This is irrespective of whether you are an off-campus student living in Far North Queensland, an on-campus student living in “town”, a student living in one of the residential colleges or village, a mature age student, a recent school leaver or an international student.

One of the most common reasons for students choosing to “drop out” of university is that they feel isolated, or different, or think they don’t fit in. Unfortunately, sometimes other students can add to a person’s sense of feeling different by humiliating, alienating and discriminating. It is, therefore, important to create a collegial environment. If you have thoughts of dropping out, we encourage you to have a rethink by contacting your Student Advisor, your Faculty First Year Advisor, or Student Support staff here.

Find out about what’s happening at UNE by going to UNE Life or the “current students” link on the UNE homepage will also take you to a range of student supports and services. You might also want to check out UNE Life’s Clubs & Societies.

For off-campus students in NSW, check out your closest UNE Study Centre here UNE Study Centres are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They provide you with access to study facilities, study skills workshops, and opportunities to meet other students.

Communal Living

Many of you will be experiencing communal living for the first time, either in the form of share housing or a college residence. Communal living can be an exciting way to form close friendships, or it has the potential to become a nightmare that leads to deep rifts between people. Communal living works well when people behave in ethical, socially responsible ways. For example, where people have a common understanding of what they can or can’t expect from each other (clear house rules or cleaning and cooking rosters).

Social ethics is about apologising when things go wrong (such as when others’ sleep is disrupted, the bin hasn’t been put out, you haven’t paid your share of the rent on time, or you are responsible for spreading rumours about your housemates). Ethics also involve being mindful of how others may view things you want to do (such as whether to play heavy metal music at midnight, to display pornographic posters, to smoke indoors, or to bring a kitten into the house). For tips on how to make a communal living work, check this out.


The manner in which we communicate to others quickly conveys whether we respect that person or persons and are being mindful of their needs. Ethical, respectful and courteous communication is a given for all students and staff at UNE. For tips on how you can have clear, positive communication with staff in your time at UNE, go to the “Clear, Positive Communication with Staff” tip sheet.


The University is committed to hearing your views about what is or isn’t working, or what you do or don’t like during your time at the UNE. Rather than sit on any concerns that you might have, the University encourages you to bring complaints or feedback (positive or negative) to the attention of relevant staff. If you raise a complaint sooner rather than later, the University is in a better position to work towards a solution, and you can save yourself a whole lot of stress

Complaints are taken seriously and every effort will be made to resolve a matter in a timely manner. Where possible, complaints should be directed to relevant staff in the area that you have a complaint about. For example, concerns about a unit are best directed to the Unit Coordinator. If the matter is not resolved, it should then be brought to the attention of the Course Coordinator, then the Head of School. Complaints go to the next level of responsibility only when they can’t be resolved at a previous level.

If you have a “student administration” concern, contact Student Central staff via AskUNE. Select the appropriate topic on the online form to ensure that your query goes to the right area sooner. If the matter has not been resolved for you, then you can contact the Student Grievance Unit. The SGU is an independent body whose role is to ensure quality service to students and staff. For more information about the Unit click here.

You can also let the University know how you “feel” about an individual unit or subject of study by clicking the appropriate emoticon for that unit in your myUNE Student Portal. Feedback about your level of happiness with your study is important to the University.

(Also see Appeals, Bullying, Equity, Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Student Support and Student Grievance Unit).


It is your right to have all of your personal records within the University kept private and accessed only by those authorised to do so. You also have a responsibility to ensure that you do not disclose any confidential information relating to a University matter and that you do not try to gain unauthorised access to University information. If you do, this may be deemed a breach of the student code of conduct. Check out the Student Behavioural Misconduct rules under University Policies.

(Also see Technology and World Wide Web).


(See Sexual Health)


Think about how you might feel if you put a whole lot of intellectual effort into creating something that other people then used without your permission and without rewarding you or acknowledging your contribution in any way. Angry? Annoyed? When downloading photos, images or music from the web, when photocopying sections of a book, or when using computer databases, games, and/or DVDs, check that you are not in breach of copyright law. You have a responsibility to respect other’s copyright and to abide by copyright law. For more information, check out UNE’s Copyright pages.

(Also see Plagiarism)


With ever-increasing ways to communicate online (social media sites, email, SMS/texting, discussion boards), there is greater potential to wrongly assume that how you communicate in one online space is OK in another. As a student, there are cyberspaces where you can engage in more informal, social chat (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), but there are also contexts where the communication is expected to be more formal, where you do not use text language (e.g. in online unit discussion boards), and where you need to be especially mindful of the wide range of people who may see or read the information you post. See our guidelines about how to be ethical in cyberspace.


Disability Support

Social ethics are about creating, where possible, “a level playing field”. They are about the University putting reasonable measures in place that make education accessible to as many people as possible and to help students reach their full potential. Support and assistance are available for students with temporary or ongoing disabilities that require specific adjustments, accommodations or changes made for the purpose of study. Support includes the provision of note-taking assistance or digital recordings, alternative formats for examinations and adaptation of learning material. This support is also available to students with temporary disabilities arising from accidents and illnesses which may occur during the year, or those providing care for another person with a disability. Students with special needs are encouraged to register with the UNE Student Access and Inclusion Office at the earliest opportunity so that appropriate support can be arranged. Register here.


(See Equity)


While some people might mistakenly think that DRUGS 101 is an introductory unit at university, the reality is that taking substances is not a requirement for university entry or for remaining at university. The University does not condone the use of illicit drugs. Illicit drug use is in breach of the University’s student conduct rules. Drugs can seriously interfere with your and others’ abilities to go about the fundamental goals of teaching, learning, researching and being safe at university. The University encourages you to find accurate and up-to-date information about the short-term or long-term effects of various drugs. You can do this by checking out the Alcohol and Drugs Foundation website

Increase your knowledge about how substances affect your physical and psychological health. If you do choose to use legal and/or illegal/illicit drugs, take a harm-minimisation or risk-reduction approach. For example, aim to use smaller amounts of the drug, use sterile equipment, respect other people’s right to not use the drug, talk to a GP or counsellor about how the drug affects you, avoid using several different drugs at once, read up about the drug, and think about how your drug use might be impacting on those around you.

(Also see Alcohol).

Due Dates

While University staff have a responsibility to provide students with information about assessment tasks and due dates in a timely manner, you have a responsibility to submit your tasks by the specified due dates and by whatever means are specified within your School (e.g. e-submission). You have a responsibility to check out the Assignment Extension Policy within your School. For assignments that cannot be completed before the commencement of the exam period within a given trimester, you need to look at the requirements to apply for a Special Extension of Time (SET). You can find the SET application form here and by going to the My Course tab then to “forms and procedures



Social ethics are about thinking before you click that email send button. The immediacy of email increases our potential to write things we may later regret. Also, at times it can be difficult to gauge the tone of an email.

Capital letters in emails, for example, are often interpreted as the equivalent of shouting, as is the use of bold type. Persistent emails or emails with sexually explicit material may also be construed as harassment (See Sexual Harassment).

It doesn’t take long for your email account to fill, which then means you exceed your disk quota and can’t receive further emails. Get into the habit of checking your UNE email account at least once a week for important notices from the University. This will ensure you can respond promptly to correspondence. It is important that you use your UNE email account for all university correspondence. It can be difficult to discern legitimate emails from junk or SPAM if you have an email address like playbunny@… or raunchyman@ … Also not a great way to convey your professionalism to academic staff or to prospective employers on your CVs! If you want to check only one email address, you can forward your UNE emails to your preferred email account. For guidelines about emails have a look here.


Social ethics are not just being mindful of how you affect other humans, but are also about how you impact on the animal and plant species in your immediate and wider surroundings. Social ethics are about having due regard for the environment. They are about thinking twice before printing an email or document. They are about recycling that drink bottle, or riding a bike rather than driving to campus. They are also about embarking on studies that show how we can protect and sustain the environment.

If you are interested in promoting environmental sustainability and biodiversity, then check out the UNE Environmental Sustainability Plan


Equity protects us all… Diversity reflects us all. Staff within the UNE Student Access and Inclusion Office within Student Success are committed to supporting the UNE’s vision to provide an inclusive environment which is open to all – to students, to staff, to their families, and to their communities.

We ask you to make the same commitment. If you experience any form of discrimination from fellow students or staff (based on your age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic position, disability or family responsibilities), or harassment (sexual or other), you can talk about the matter to equity staff in the Student Access and Inclusion office or you can contact the Student Grievance Unit.


Haven’t found what you’re looking for? Find the rest of the glossary here;

The A to E Guide to Social Ethics @ UNE
The F to J Guide to Social Ethics @ UNE
The K to O Guide to Social Ethics @ UNE
The P to T Guide to Social Ethics @ UNE
The U to Z Guide to Social Ethics @ UNE