Last month (26 February 2019), USASA submitted a comment on the government response to commercial (or 'contract') cheating in higher education, asking the government to actively engage with USASA and other student representative groups in formulating and enacting their response to this important and complex issue.
In the submission, USASA raised three key reasons student associations are critical to this process.
The first was their understanding of the experiences and context surrounding academic integrity issues, which lead to international students, students from non-English-speaking backgrounds, and other at-risk cohorts being disproportionately involved in academic integrity inquiries. “It’s hard to understand the challenges of studying in a foreign country until you experience it,” said Harsh Rana, USASA International Student Representative. Kate Riggall, convenor of the Diversity, Equity and Access committee, adds, “any plan to improve academic integrity needs to start with an understanding of what it looks like for every student.”
The second reason was the key role student associations play in supporting students to develop academic skills and values and create positive campus cultures.
The third was the importance of universities working in partnership with student associations to ensure a balance between high standards of academic integrity and high standards of procedural fairness and natural justice for students involved in inquiries.
The National Union of Students, Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations and Council of International Students Australia have joined us in asking the government to work with student associations to ensure the best possible outcome for students, universities and Australia’s academic community. We look forward to a response from the government and to working with them on this crucial issue.
You can read the full submission at here.