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Guidelines for a student disciplinary hearing

The purpose of this web page is to provide an overview of Unisa's student disciplinary process. Unisa's Student Disciplinary Code explains the disciplinary process in detail and also outlines the student's rights throughout the disciplinary process.

Notification of a hearing

If the university considers that there are grounds to proceed with a hearing, you will be required to attend a student disciplinary hearing.

Unisa will notify you within 14 days of the scheduled hearing via your myLife e-mail account, registered mail and SMS (to alert you that an important message has been sent regarding your student disciplinary hearing). This notification will include the following:

  • Date, time and place of the hearing.
  • A summary of the allegations against you as a student.
  • A copy of any relevant documents which each party intends to rely on at the disciplinary hearing.
  • A copy of any relevant witness statements, except where a witness's identify will be kept confidential. In such a case, the party will provide as much information as possible while maintaining confidentiality.
  • The names of any witnesses each party intends to call.
  • A copy of the Student Disciplinary Code and Unisa's rules for students.

The hearing

You have the right to be represented at the hearing by another student, a member of the SRC Council or an employee of the university.

You must make an effort to attend the hearing. If you fail to attend the hearing without good reason or are persistently unable to attend the hearing (eg as a result of ill health), the university may continue with the hearing in your absence. Any decision taken by the Disciplinary Committee of Council of the University of South Africa will be valid and legally binding.

At the disciplinary hearing, the university will go through the allegations against you and the evidence that has been gathered. You will be given the opportunity to respond and present any evidence of your own. You will also be given the opportunity to respond to any information given by a witness. The university may also recall any witnesses as it sees fit.

You may submit evidence in mitigation, which will be taken into account when determining the sanction to be imposed.

Outcome of the hearing

The university will inform you in writing of its decision and the reasons for its decision. The letter will provide information about any sanction(s) imposed and the reasons for this. The letter will also outline the internal appeals process.


If you wish to appeal the decision of the university, you must do so within 14 working days of the date of the Outcome Letter by sending a copy of the completed Notice of appeal form to the university, together with a copy of the Outcome Letter.

You are strongly advised to attend the Appeals Committee hearing, but this may proceed without you being present.

Please take note that no new evidence may be presented

  • unless there is a reasonable explanation for the failure to adduce the evidence at the Student Disciplinary Hearing.
  • unless new evidence is material to the issues raised by the appeal.

Any decision reached by the university will be communicated to you in writing within 7 working days of the appeal. This communication will be sent to you via your myLife e-mail account, registered mail and SMS (to alert you that an important message has been sent regarding your Student Disciplinary Hearing).

Types of misconduct

Here are some examples of misconduct which the university views in a very serious light:

  • Harassment: assault, discrimination, threatening behaviour, and so on
  • Sexual harassment: this is a form of unfair discrimination; discrimination on the grounds of sex and / or sexual orientation is prohibited
  • Plagiarism: the submission of work for assessment that was copied / reproduced from another student; dishonesty while being assessed in order to mislead the examiner
  • Misrepresentation or false information: fraudulent qualifications
  • Examination irregularities: found to be possession of unauthorised notes during an examination session
  • Damage to property / unauthorised entry: intentionally or negligently misuses, damages, defaces or alienates, or without authorisation, uses a building and / or removes furniture, equipment, electronic equipment, vehicles, notes, documents or any other thing owned or controlled by the university, by any employee of the university or by any registered student of the university for purposes other than official university business
  • Fraud: the unlawful and intentional making of a misrepresentation which causes actual prejudice or which is potentially prejudicial to another

Additional resources

For additional information and support, please click on the links below:

Sources consulted:

Last modified: 2018/11/06