University of Technology, Sydney

Code of Conduct for UTS Elections

This Code sets out the expected standards of behaviour for UTS staff and students involved in the conduct of UTS elections or election campaigns.

Dates Code of Conduct approved 20/07/2015
Code of Conduct takes effect 20/07/2015
Code of Conduct is due for review (up to five years) 07/2020
Approved by University Secretary
Implementation Officer Electoral Officer
Relevant to UTS staff and students
Related documents UTS Staff Code of Conduct
UTS Student Charter
Public Spaces and Facilities Management Vice-Chancellor's Directive
Legislation Part 3, division 1, section 8D of the University of Technology Sydney Act 1989 (NSW)
University of Technology Sydney By-law 2005 (NSW)
Elections (Rule G3, Part 3, General Rules)
General conduct (Section 2.1, Student Rules)
File number UR15/1008


1. Purpose

The purpose of this Code of Conduct (Code) is to promote fairness and preserve the integrity of UTS elections and election campaigns while at the same time encouraging candidates and their supporters to maintain a spirit of friendly competition and respect for the election process. To assist this purpose the Code sets out the expected standards of behaviour during campaigns for UTS elections and the requirements for campaign materials.

2. Scope

This Code applies to UTS staff and students involved in the conduct of UTS elections or election campaigns.

3. Definitions

ActivateUTS is a non-profit organisation dedicated to enhancing the student experience (formally UTS Union Ltd).

ActivateUTS Board is the body responsible for the governance of ActivateUTS and for making policy decisions on all aspects of activities and operations.

Campaign materials are electronic and non-electronic materials used for the promotion of a candidate for a UTS election. Examples include web pages, emails, social media posts, posters, brochures and flyers.

Deputy Returning Officer is appointed by the Returning Officer (with such powers as the Returning Officer may determine) to assist the Returning Officer in the conduct of a UTS election.

Electoral Officer is the officer who assists the Returning Officer or Deputy Returning Officer in the conduct of a UTS election.

Returning Officer is the University Secretary who conducts UTS elections.

Study areas comprise public group study areas, collaborative spaces, study pods and quiet spaces intended to undertake study and research.

UTS elections are held in accordance with part 3, division 1, section 8D of the University of Technology Sydney Act 1989 (NSW), University of Technology Sydney By-law 2005 (NSW) and Elections (Rules G3, Part 3, General Rules) to fill a range of elected positions on boards and committees, including Council, Academic Board, faculty boards and committees associated with these bodies. UTS may also conduct referendums and elections for organisations associated with UTS, such as ActivateUTS.

UTS or University is the University of Technology Sydney.

4. Policy principles

UTS staff and students are expected to follow the same high standard of conduct and behaviour during the campaign process as is expected on campus generally. These expectations of the University are set out in the Code of Conduct, UTS Student Charter and General conduct (Section 2.1, Student Rules) relating to general conduct.

UTS expects all people involved in election campaigns (including candidates, Returning Officer, Electoral Officer, scrutineers, campaign officials, candidates’ supporters and voters) to conduct themselves in an ethical and honest manner and not to engage in any behaviour that causes or could cause unreasonable disruption, or compromise the integrity of, an election or election campaign, including through use of social networks such as Facebook.

Any campaign materials or activities must conform to this Code and must not contain images or language, or promote behaviour, that causes offence or that are misleading or defamatory.

5. Code of Conduct statements

5.1 Conduct of Campaigns

5.1.1 Campaign funding

UTS or ActivateUTS funds or resources must not be used to produce campaign materials or to promote or support any candidate or group of candidates, however UTS or ActivateUTS may produce general promotional materials about the election, including where to nominate for the election and how to vote.

5.1.2 Campaigning on campus

Any campaigns conducted on campus must be done in a manner that does not cause any obstruction or unreasonable disruption to others.

5.1.3 Campaigning in classes

Campaigning in classes is not permitted unless the individual lecturer or staff member in charge of that activity first gives his/her express consent. Any consent is conditional upon the campaign not interfering with the running of the class and may be withdrawn at any time.

5.1.4 Campaigning in study areas

Campaigning is expressly prohibited in any study areas, including libraries and computer laboratories.

5.1.5 Campaigning assistance

Candidates may engage the assistance of UTS staff or UTS students to assist in their campaign.

5.1.6 Campaigning statements

Candidates must not, in the course of campaigning and during the UTS Election generally, release any information by any means containing a statement or inference that:

  1. they knew, or ought to have known, to be untrue
  2. is, or is likely to be, misleading or deceptive
  3. is discriminatory on the basis of ethnicity, disability, race, religion, sex, or sexuality, or
  4. is defamatory.

5.2 Campaign materials

The Returning Officer may issue instructions on what is acceptable and unacceptable in relation to campaign materials and may require that campaign material is submitted for approval prior to dissemination or publication.

ActivateUTS may impose additional requirements for campaign materials, including size, placement and distribution volume.

Candidates are not permitted to suggest any representation of the University in electronic or non-electronic campaign material. Specifically, the University of Technology Sydney name and/or logo may not appear anywhere on a website or in a message. Phrases like 'Vote Jane for UTS Board' are permissible.

5.2.1 Use of campaign materials in UTS areas

The University conditions governing the use of UTS campus space for advertising and promotional purposes are outlined in section 5.3 of the Public Spaces and Facilities Management Vice-Chancellor's Directive. The following additional conditions apply for campaign material related to UTS elections:

  • Non-electronic campaigning (such as distribution of pamphlets) is not permitted outside the boundaries of a University campus, including at nearby railway stations, bus stops and other places where students congregate.
  • Pamphlets or flyers may only be distributed by hand directly to recipients and must not be left in common areas. Campaign brochures or flyers may not be placed on motor vehicle windscreens or left on seats.
  • Posters, brochures or flyers or other hard copy campaign materials must be placed on student noticeboards for student elections or, in the case of an ActivateUTS election, the ActivateUTS noticeboards or, in the case of a staff election, in areas available for staff notices. Campaign materials must not be placed in or affixed to any public spaces, including:
    1. areas used for teaching or research activities, such as lecture theatres, laboratories and libraries
    2. entrances to campuses
    3. lift foyers
    4. any external fixtures (such as gates or poles) or landscape features (such as trees), or
    5. glass (such as windows and doors).
  • Removal, defacing or pasting over campaign materials of other candidates is strictly prohibited.

5.2.2 Email distribution of campaign material

Campaign materials must not be distributed by email to recipients who are unknown to the sender, unless an individual has first given his/her consent to a candidate to send him/her campaign material to his/her email address. UTS and ActivateUTS do not provide lists of students.

5.3 Canvassing votes

Candidates and members of their campaign teams may approach potential voters to ask for their vote, but the following behaviours are strictly prohibited:

  1. using any means (including bribes, bullying, harassment or threats) to induce or intimidate a voter to vote for a particular candidate or group of candidates
  2. assisting the voter with logging in and voting in the online Polling Booth on an electronic device, and
  3. canvassing votes within six metres (or, if specified, another distance stated in the relevant election procedures) of a designated polling booth or a computer facility provided by the University to enable voters to cast electronic votes.

5.4 Breaches of this Code

UTS staff and students are expected to observe a high standard of conduct and behaviour. If there are concerns about that conduct, UTS will take such steps as are reasonably necessary to protect the safety and security of students, staff and property and the good reputation of the University.

5.4.1 Reporting a breach

If there are concerns due to the conduct of an election candidate, voter or member of a campaign team, UTS Security should be contacted in the first instance. To contact UTS Security, phone 02 9514 1192 or dial '6' on any UTS phone.

On advice of UTS Security a complaint may be referred to the Returning Officer. A report or complaint regarding a breach of this Code provided to the Returning Officer must:

  1. be made in writing
  2. state the name, contact number and email address of the person making the report or complaint
  3. state the act or omission that constitutes a breach of this Code, and
  4. if known, state which candidate is, or candidates are, responsible for the relevant act or omission.

5.4.2 Review of a complaint

The Returning Officer will determine whether it is appropriate to:

  1. dismiss the complaint
  2. take further steps to investigate the alleged breach, or
  3. take other appropriate steps, which may include:
    1. providing a warning
    2. commencing disciplinary action in accordance with the staff Code of Conduct or section 16 of the Student Rules (as relevant), or
    3. removing a candidate from an election.

In the case of an ActivateUTS election the Returning Officer may refer the matter to the CEO of ActivateUTS who may convene a disciplinary sub-committee of the ActivateUTS Board.

6. Roles and responsibilities

Accountable Officer: The University Secretary is responsible for managing compliance and initiating the review process of the Code (at least every five years).

Implementation Officer: The Electoral Officer is the primary point of contact for advice on implementing and administering the Code; for establishing and maintaining the official file; for proposing amendments as required; and for managing the consultation process when the Code is due for review.

Other positions and committees

UTS Security is the first point of contact to raise concerns about the conduct of an election candidate, voter or member of a campaign team.

The CEO of ActivateUTS may convene a disciplinary sub-committee of the ActivateUTS Board for issues related to ActivateUTS elections.

7. Version control and change history

Effective date Version Approved by (date) Amendment
20/07/2015 1 University Secretary (20/07/2015) New Code of Conduct.