Discipline Process


This website does not replace or supersede the policies and procedures outlined in the Code of Student Behaviour and the Student Conduct Policy. In the case of any disagreement, those policies should be treated as the authority.

The University of Alberta is dedicated to the principles outlined on this site. Because we demand honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility from our students, we are called upon to model those values. In addition, we are required to ensure a fair process when addressing potential misconduct. The Code and SCP stipulate procedures for reporting an offence through to the final appeal. These procedures are designed to ensure that all students, whether respondent, complainant, or witness, are treated fairly as they engage the discipline process. They also protect instructors from uncertainty and, when followed properly, they may protect the University from litigation.

The Code and the SCP begin with laying out principles that underpin both policies and lay out the rights of all parties, When in doubt, it's best to consult on the process. Both Student Conduct and Accountability and the Office of the Student Ombuds are available to provide information on the discipline process. Because they are an impartial service, the Office of the Student Ombuds can provide information and advice on procedures to instructors as well as to students.

The Process

The discipline process is defined by the type of allegation: academic misconduct or non-academic misconduct. The Code of Student Behaviour addresses academic conduct (plagiarism, cheating, etc.) and the Student Conduct Policy addresses non-academic behaviour (violence, property damage, harassment, etc.)

The Code and the SCP are amended periodically to reflect new policies. Always check the Code online for the most up-to-date information. The following documents are a summary only.

Academic Discipline Process Chart

Non-Academic Discipline Process Chart

Accused Under the Code

If you are facing charges under the Code, you will be informed of the allegations against you and given the opportunity to meet with the Discipline Officer to respond to those allegations. You can provide evidence in person and/or in writing, and request that the Discipline Officer pursue additional lines of inquiry.

Complaints Under the Code

While you may have already made a statement or provided information to Protective Services or a Dean regarding your complaint, the Discipline Officer may request to meet with you to get additional details or clarify the information you already provided.

Providing Information Under a Code Investigation

On occasion, the Discipline Officer has to confirm, verify or gather additional information relating to Code of Student Behaviour charges. When you are contacted as a witness, you may be asked questions specific to what you saw, heard, or otherwise know. You will not necessarily be given any information about what is being investigated, but your assistance may be crucial in ensuring the right decision is ultimately made.

Who Can Sanction Students

For the purposes of this website, the term "academic misconduct" includes plagiarism, cheating, misrepresentation of facts for academic advantage and participation in (or aiding and abetting) one of the above offences.

The following is a summary of the players involved and their roles in a case of academic misconduct:

  1. Teaching Assistant

  • May discover academic misconduct while grading assignments, papers or exams or while proctoring an exam.
  • Is required to bring suspicions to the attention of the Instructor.
  1. Instructor

  • Collects information and evidence related to suspicions or allegations of academic misconduct.
  • Meets with the student involved.
  • Is required to report all academic misconduct to the Dean.
  • Is not authorized to impose sanctions for academic misconduct.
  1. Dean, or designate (often an Associate Dean)

  • Receives all complaints related to student academic misconduct in the Faculty.
  • Meets with the student involved.
  • Makes a finding on whether the student violated the Code.
  • Is authorized to impose "Intermediate Sanctions", that is, sanctions related to grades in that course (either on the relevant assignment or in the course itself), as well as notations on the student's transcript.
  • Functions to ensure that decisions throughout the Faculty (regardless of department) are consistent.
  • May recommend "Severe Sanctions", that is, sanctions that interrupt a student's program (i.e., suspension or expulsion) to the Discipline Officer.
  • Decisions can be appealed to the University Appeal Board.
  1. Discipline Officer (D.O.)

  • Receives a recommendation from a Dean for Severe Sanctions.
  • Meets with the student involved.
  • Makes decision on whether to impose a Severe Sanction.
  • Functions to ensure that decisions involving Severe Sanctions are consistent across the University.
  • Decisions can be appealed by the student or the Dean to the University Appeal Board.

Note: the more severe the consequences to a student, the more processes are involved.

The structure in place is designed to provide a fair process for the accused student, as required by law, as well as consistent decisions (without resorting to a precedent-based system) across Faculties and the University. It also functions to allow instructors to focus on their teaching and preserving a positive relationship with their students rather than becoming disciplinarians.