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Know the Ara Student Rights & Responsibilities

Ara Institute of Canterbury is concerned about the wellbeing and achievement of ALL learners. To create and maintain the best possible teaching and learning environment, all learners enrolled at or attending/using services at Ara agree to accept certain responsibilities, respect the rights of others and behave in an acceptable manner.

The Ara community consists of a diverse range of people and cultures, and we respect all members of our community. Our aim is to have a community where learners respect themselves and others, a community where healthy social interactions and academic pursuits are expected. To create and maintain the best possible teaching and learning environment, you are protected by basic rights and are expected to respect the rights and responsibilities of others.

Useful Contacts:

Independent Student Advocate: Duncan Dunbar.
email: mobile: 027 2736 246

Manager, Student Life.

Learner Responsibilities and Rights

Your Responsibilities as a Learner

As a learner here, Ara expects you to:

Behave safely

  • Take care when using equipment and facilities.
  • Wear suitable clothing.
  • Follow health and safety guidelines and instructions.
  • Not endanger yourself or others.
  • Follow relevant professional guidelines.
  • Ensure you are not intoxicated or under the influence of drugs on Ara premises or when involved in Ara related activities both formal and informal, with your programme, field trips, internships etc.

Respect others

  • Be sensitive to personal, social, and cultural differences.
  • Respect the needs, rights, and freedoms of others.
  • Help to uphold the integrity of Ara qualifications by discouraging/reporting dishonest practices.

Observe Ara rules

  • Behave appropriately for a tertiary education environment.
  • Genuinely attempt to meet all course requirements including financial obligations.
  • Comply with visa requirements.
  • Be honest when completing assignments/other assessments.
  • Comply with requirements of programme handbooks.
  • Follow Ara policies and regulations (refer:

Your Responsibilities as a Learner

Ara will protect your right to fairness. You have a right to:


  • Open and accurate information.
  • Fair evaluation and assessment.
  • Have any problems handled as quickly as is practical and consistent with ‘natural justice’.
  • Personal privacy.
  • Support, representation, and advocacy.

Ara Respects your right to:

  • Academic freedom, defined as ‘freedom, within the law, to question and test received wisdom, to put forward new ideas and to state controversial or unpopular opinions.’ (Education and Training Act 2020)
  • Freedom from any form of harassment, bullying, or unjust discrimination.
  • Respect for personal, social, and cultural differences.
  • Representation in the development, implementation, and review of policies.

Ara will protect your right to Standards:

  • Study programmes that meet internal and external standards for approval and registration.
  • To have competent and effective teachers.
  • Appropriate support services delivered in a professional manner.
  • Facilities and resources that meet or exceed Health & Safety legislation.

Concerns / Complaints:

Your rights will be upheld by Ara management. If you think they have been infringed, in the first instance please contact your course tutor. If it is not appropriate to contact your tutor regarding your complaint, or the matter has not been resolved, please contact your Head of Department/Programme Manager or Student Advocate and/or the Student Life Team.

Unacceptable Behaviour for Learners, or Visitors at Ara

The following are examples of behaviour which are not acceptable for anyone (learners, or visitors), at Ara or involved in Ara related activities:

  • Breaking any NZ law (e.g., assault, theft).
  • Any form of cheating (including plagiarism and other dishonest practices).
  • Misuse of technology, software, hardware, or communication systems provided by Ara (refer Ara Code of Conduct for ICT Users in particular).
  • Any form of harassment, bullying, or unjust discrimination including social media.
  • Unacceptable sexual behaviour (e.g., sexual harassment, accessing pornography/other restricted material).
  • Misuse of alcohol, drugs or other substances affecting behaviour, health, or safety.
  • Smoking (including vaping) on Ara campuses. (Ara is a smoke free campus).
  • Violence or threats of violence.
  • Vandalism or other abuse of facilities and buildings.
  • Disruptive behaviour in class (e.g., arriving late, use of any electronic device, interfering with the learning of other individuals).
  • Inductions (informal) are not permitted at Ōtautahi House or on other Ara premises and are strongly and expressly discouraged by Ara.

The above is not an exhaustive list of unacceptable behaviours. Where appropriate, Ara reserves the right to contact or report to external authorities.

Academic staff have the responsibility to maintain a safe and effective learning environment. They may ask you to leave the class if your behaviour indicates limited ability to be safe, disturbance to others learning, or puts others at risk.

Ara takes this code of conduct seriously. Your marks, reports, and references may include an assessment of your behaviour, as well as your educational achievement. Serious infringement may lead to probation, suspension, or cancellation of a current enrolment and/or refusal of a future enrolment (see relevant policies). This may be referred to an appropriate external authority e.g., NZ Police.

Learner Behaviour in class / classroom maintenance

Be respectful of other learners and the classroom environment, following classroom specific rules and requirements. To avoid any distractions, you must ensure any electronic device you have on you/with you is diverted, not set to ring, or switched off. Both staff and students have a responsibility to ensure this happens.

Dress code

There is no written dress code, but you are expected to attend classes dressed in a way which is generally acceptable. However, you're expected to be "dressed for the occasion" when going on a site visit or undertaking a Cooperative Education Project.

You may be prevented from going on site visits if the staff member is of the opinion that you're not dressed for the occasion. In specific courses, a "dress code" and standard is required. These will be detailed in the Programme Handbook and Course Outline.

How to raise a concern

We want our students to feel welcome and safe at Ara and encourage you to seek support about anything that may be troubling you. Find out how to raise a concern, complaint, or grievance, or contact the Student Services team or the student advocate for advice about your options and processes.

Complaints through the NZQA

New Zealand government has a particular set of expectations and standards in place for universities, which are outlined in The Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021. If you are at any stage unhappy with a university process or decision, it is important for you follow Institutions processes and talk with the  Student Services  team or the student advocate  first. If, after following those processes, you are still unhappy, you can pursue an external complaint through NZQA.