Notes on the Procedures relating to the Regulations as to the Discipline of Students

Introduction

When a student is referred under the Regulations as to the Discipline of Students, at whatever stage, it is in the best interests of the student to engage with the disciplinary process at all times.  Failure to engage may result in their case being referred to a more serious stage of the disciplinary process when more severe penalties might be imposed.

1. Procedure when a case is considered for suspension by the Vice-Chancellor

a) The role of Student Services is to consult with the relevant departments and services which may include the student's academic department, Security Services, Student Support and Welfare, Corporate Affairs and Accommodation and Commercial Services, in order to consider whether a recommendation be made that the Vice-Chancellor suspend the student.

b) In determining whether a recommendation be made, consideration will be given to whether a suspension is required in order to protect the University community in general or a particular member or members of that community or members of the public.

c) A record of those consulted and the outcome of the considerations will be made by Student Services.

2. Procedure when a case is referred to a Discipline Committee

a) The role of Student Services is to handle arrangements for setting up a disciplinary hearing. This includes ensuring that the student charged is provided with appropriate information about the alleged misconduct, guidance about the disciplinary process and the sources of guidance and support that are available to them.

b) The following people may not be a member of the Discipline Committee hearing a case:-

  1. any person involved in making the charge;
  2. any person who is a witness;
  3. any person who has otherwise previously been directly involved with the case or with the student being charged.

c) The Chair of the Committee and the Officer appointed to present the case will be supplied in advance of the hearing with relevant written material but no other members of the Committee will be notified of the name of the student or of any details about the case.

d) The student will not be notified in advance of the membership of the Committee.  If the student does not attend the hearing, they will be informed retrospectively of the membership.

e) The student may be accompanied by a friend or adviser and will be asked to give notification, at least three working days prior to the hearing, if their friend or representative is legally qualified and the names of any witnesses they wish to call.

f) If the first language of the student, or of any witness, is not English, the Secretary may invite an interpreter to attend the hearing to assist the student.

3. Procedure at a hearing of the Discipline Committee

a) At the start of the hearing the Chair will introduce members of the Committee and stress the confidentiality of the proceedings. The Chair will ask whether the student and/or their adviser has any objections to the membership. If the student objects to any Committee member, the Chair shall determine whether that member should be excluded from consideration of the case and a new member appointed. If the student objects to the Chair, the members shall determine whether or not the student's objection should be upheld.

b) If no objections are made, the Chair will then summarise the procedure to be adopted and ask whether the student wishes to:-

  1. raise any procedural questions;
  2. request an adjournment.

c) The order of proceedings outlined in the Discipline Regulations will be observed. In addition,

  1. Where the student does not admit the charge, the initial stage of the hearing will address the issue of whether the Committee finds the charge to be made out (i.e. proved). Having heard the evidence, the Committee will make a decision, in the absence of all other persons. Once the decision is made, the student and other persons will return to the meeting room and the Chair will inform the student of the decision about the charge.
  2. If the charge is admitted, or found to be made out during the initial stage, the Committee will proceed to the stage of the hearing in which the matter of penalty is determined. Having heard statements and received material, the Committee will make a decision, in the absence of all other persons. When the decision has been made, the Secretary will return first to the meeting room to record the decision. The student, any adviser and the Officer will normally then return to the meeting room and the Chair will inform the student of the decision concerning penalty and ascertain whether or not they consent to any undertaking to be imposed.
  3. After the hearing, the Secretary of the Discipline Committee will send the student written confirmation of the Committee's decision as soon as possible, to an address nominated by the student. The letter will contain information on the provisions of the Regulations concerning appeals and will be copied to the student's academic department, the teaching department if different and any relevant service department. A request to formalise any undertaking imposed will be made at this time.
  4. The student's record will be updated to make reference to the fact that a disciplinary hearing took place and that this may be taken into account when an academic reference is written.

4. Procedure when a case is referred to a Summary Discipline Hearing

a) The role of Student Services is to handle arrangements for setting up a Summary Hearing. This includes ensuring that the student charged is provided with appropriate information about the alleged misconduct, guidance about the disciplinary process and the sources of guidance and support that are available to them.

b) The following people may not be a Chair of a Summary Hearing:-

  1. any person involved in making the charge;
  2. any person who is a witness;
  3. any person who has otherwise previously been directly involved with the case or with the student being charged.

c) The Chair of the Summary Hearing and any Officer appointed to present the case will be supplied in advance of the hearing with relevant written material.

d) The student will not be notified in advance of the name of the Chairman.

e) The student may be accompanied by a friend or adviser and will be asked to give notification, at least three working days prior to the hearing, if their friend or representative is legally qualified and the names of any witnesses they wish to call.

f) At the start of the hearing the Chair will introduce everyone present and stress the confidentiality of the proceedings.

g) At the end of the hearing the Chair will notify the student of the decision in accordance with the Regulations. If the student fails to confirm that the charge is admitted, or fails to attend the hearing or the Chair considers the available penalties are insufficient, the matter may be referred to the Discipline Committee.

h) The Secretary will send the student written confirmation of the decision as soon as possible after the hearing, to an address nominated by the student. The letter will contain information on the provisions of the Regulations concerning appeals and will be copied to the student's academic department, the teaching department if different and any relevant service department. A request to formalise any undertaking imposed will be made at this time.

i) The student's record will be updated to make reference to the fact that a disciplinary hearing took place and that this may be taken into account when an academic reference is written.

5. Procedure when a case is referred for consideration under the Administrative Procedure

a) The role of Student Services is to handle arrangements for setting up a meeting between the student concerned and the University's Investigating Officer. This includes ensuring that the student is provided with appropriate information about the alleged misconduct, and guidance about the disciplinary process.  They will also be informed about sources of guidance and support available to them within the University.

b) The student may be accompanied by a friend or representative and will be asked to give notification, at least three working days prior to the meeting, if their friend or representative is legally qualified.

c) At the start of the meeting the Investigating Officer will introduce everyone present and stress the confidentiality of the proceedings.

d) At the end of the meeting the Investigating Officer will notify the student of the decision in accordance with the Regulations. If the student fails to confirm that the alleged misconduct is admitted, or fails to attend the meeting, or if the Investigating Officer considers the available penalties are insufficient, the matter may be referred to Student Services for reconsideration.  In practice this means that a student is likely to be called to a discipline hearing.

e) The Secretary will send the student written confirmation of the decision as soon as possible after the meeting, to an address nominated by the student. The letter will contain information on the provisions of the Regulations concerning appeals and will be copied to the student's academic department, the teaching department if different and any relevant service department. A request to formalise any undertaking imposed will be made at this time, if this has not already been done.

f) The student's record will be updated to make reference to the fact that a disciplinary meeting took place and this may be taken into account when an academic reference is written.

6. Disciplinary Powers of the Director of Accommodation and Commercial Services (ACS)

The role of ACS is to respond to and investigate reports of misconduct in accommodation owned and managed by the University. This includes ensuring that the student concerned is provided with appropriate information about the alleged misconduct, guidance about the disciplinary process and the sources of guidance and support that are available to them. Where the misconduct is admitted, penalties will be imposed in accordance with the Discipline Regulations and the Director of ACS will send the student written confirmation of the decision as soon as possible. The letter will contain information on the provisions of the Regulations concerning appeals and will be copied to the student's academic department and teaching department if different. Where the misconduct is considered to be of a serious nature or is not admitted, the matter may be referred to Student Services for consideration by the Discipline Committee, in line with agreed protocols.

7. Penalties

a) When considering a penalty the following should be borne in mind:-

  1. the welfare and the personal development of the student;
  2. the effect of the incident on other members of the University community or on members of the local or wider community;
  3. that the good name of the University must be considered and protected.

b) Where, in a case of the use of unfair means in the assessment process of the University in relation to a thesis of a Higher Degree by research, the Discipline Committee imposes the penalty of failure in the examination, a viva shall not be held in relation to that examination/thesis.

c) Where a student fails to comply with the conditions of any undertaking imposed, this will be considered a further act of misconduct under Regulation 2(o) and further disciplinary action may be taken.

8. Appeals Procedure

A student wishing to appeal against a decision of the Discipline Committee, a Chair of the Discipline Panel, the University's Investigating Officer or the Director of Accommodation and Commercial Services must exercise their right of appeal within 15 working days of the date of the letter notifying them of the decision, specifying the ground(s) for appeal. The appeal will not be progressed until the grounds are specified.

Provided that the specified time limits are complied with, an appeal may be heard under the Discipline Regulations, regardless of whether or not the student has successfully completed their programme of study or has graduated.

Where a student gives notice of appeal against a decision of the Discipline Committee that they be suspended or expelled from membership of the University, they may be permitted by the relevant academic department to continue with their studies and sit any examinations pending the hearing of that appeal. Any such examinations will only be assessed and a grade or mark recorded where the appeal is upheld and the student's membership of the University reinstated.

9. Publication of Findings

A short anonymised statement may be published via appropriate means once disciplinary action has been agreed (normally after the appeal period has expired). The decision to issue a statement, and its form and content, is at the discretion of the University, and will take account of any prior publicity surrounding the case, and the interests of both the student concerned and the University community.

10. Third Parties

Where a victim or other third party has been involved in, or affected by, an incident which is the subject of consideration for disciplinary action (through no fault of their own) they will normally be informed as to the disciplinary action to be taken and the outcome, with due regard to data protection legislation.  The student concerned may be required to make reparation to the victim, for example by giving an apology, either in person or in writing (perhaps as part of an undertaking to be of good conduct).

11. External Review

If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome of an appeal against the decision of the Discipline Committee, the student may be able to apply for a review of their case by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA), providing that their case is eligible under its Rules.  This is an independent review scheme and forms no part of the University's review or appeal procedures.  The OIA will normally only review issues that have been dealt with through the University's internal procedures.

Updated 28 September 2015
Student Services Department