STUDENTS are expected to stage a protest at the University of Newcastle’s city campus today over their treatment after being accused of mass plagiarism and collusion.
The Business and Law faculty students are upset it has taken so long to process accusations against about 45 students.
Further, they said the executive had now backed away from accusations of collusion and students were instead being made to answer subsequent plagiarism allegations that arose during the investigation.
Following inquiries from the Newcastle Herald the university said yesterday it had met affected students and agreed to resolve outstanding issues by October 10.
In an email to students it apologised for delays, confusion and distress caused and said collusion was not an appropriate word to have used.
The situation came to a head at the weekend when the university sent police to check on the welfare of a student early on Sunday after he sent a distressed email to pro vice-chancellor (global) Professor Kevin McConkey.
The same student had collapsed earlier in the week during a meeting about the allegations.
Newcastle University Students Association president Heather Richards said it was because of the stress.
“The situation is now urgent. Students are looking to transfer university or to return home,’’ she said.
‘‘They are trying to contact media outlets in their home countries because they believe they have been mistreated by the university.’’
She said the cases of some students had been dropped, some told to resubmit and some told to resubmit and receive a penalty.
Ms Richard said resubmitting was difficult for students who still had not been informed what they had done wrong.
The association was successful in lobbying for a second person to mark resubmitted assignments, but also wants an inquiry into the situation.
A University of Newcastle spokeswoman said they had reviewed the sequence of events, and staff from their international office had been in regular contact with students.