C1.1.6 The Academic Conduct Procedure

  • 6.1.1 All staff or students who become aware of a potential breach of the Academic Conduct regulations are required to report the matter to the relevant Academic Conduct Officer (ACO), providing the necessary information and any supporting evidence.  Guidance on the relevant Academic Conduct Officer is available from the Student Disputes Officers.  

    6.1.2 The referral to the relevant Academic Conduct Officer should be made as soon as possible, but within 5 working days of the discovery of the potential breach.

    6.1.3 The Academic Conduct Officer will decide whether the case is appropriate for the Academic Conduct Procedure.  

    6.1.4 If the Academic Conduct Officer decides there is a potential case to answer they will investigate the case, following the procedure detailed in the Academic Conduct Officers’ Handbook and Guidance notes.

    6.1.5 If the Academic Conduct Officer decides there is no case to answer, the matter will be closed.

    6.1.6 The Academic Conduct Officer will contact the student to inform them of how the matter is to be taken forward within 5 working days of the referral.

    6.1.7 If the matter occurs in an invigilated exam, it will be dealt with by the Disciplinary Officer for Examinations.

    6.2.1 The Academic Conduct Officer shall carry out an investigation following the procedure detailed in the Academic Conduct Officers’ Handbook and Guidance Notes. 

    6.2.2 Depending on the circumstances they may decide to take one or more of the following actions:

    • 6.2.2.1 Arrange an Interview with the student, or anyone relevant to the case. The Academic Conduct Officer will write to the student, giving at least 5 working days’ notice of the interview 
    • 6.2.2.2 Decide there is no case to answer.

    6.3.1 The exact arrangements will be organised by the Academic Conduct Officer.  All students will have the right to: 

    • 6.3.1.1 Be accompanied by a friend or other person who is not acting in a legal capacity
    • 6.3.1.2 Make representations/comments about any procedural issues
    • 6.3.1.3 Hear the case and ask about the detailed allegations made against them
    • 6.3.1.4 Access all the evidence against them, excluding legal, confidentiality and safety considerations
    • 6.3.1.5 State their case, including liability, mitigation, evidence, witness testimony
    • 6.3.1.6 Question any witnesses and challenge any submissions made and/or evidence produced by the Academic Conduct Officer.

    6.3.2 The Academic Conduct Officer may be accompanied by a note-taker during the interview.

    6.3.3 At the end of the conduct interview, the Academic Conduct Officer will normally state the decision about breach of the regulations (if any), liability, and impose a penalty within the range delegated to them if applicable (if applicable). 

    6.3.4 On occasion, the Academic Conduct Officer may reconvene the interview, for example, where more evidence is required. 

    6.3.5 The Academic Conduct Officer may give penalties appropriate to the breach up to and including 5.2.6.  The maximum fine which an Academic Conduct Officer can impose is £250 and the maximum period of unpaid community service is 10 hours per breach of the Student Conduct Regulations.  

    6.3.6 The Academic Conduct Officer may refer the case to a University Conduct Committee if they decide a breach of the regulations has been committed, but the penalty they feel is appropriate is not one which they are permitted to award (5.2.7 to 5.2.11).

    6.3.7 The student will receive written confirmation of the decision at Level 1, any penalty and an explanation of the appeal process where applicable within 5 working days from the date of the Interview and within 20 working days of the original contact by the Academic Conduct Officer.  

    6.4.1 If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome, penalty2  or procedure they may request that the case is heard by a University Conduct Committee. To do this the student must write to the Student Disputes Officer within 10 working days from the date of the Conduct Interview outcome letter.  The Student must state which aspect of the decision, penalty or procedure they disagree with and on which of following grounds: 

    • 6.4.1.1 The student would like to present new evidence that they could not have reasonably produced before the interview
    • 6.4.1.2 There was a procedural irregularity 
    • 6.4.1.3 The decision regarding liability was not fairly or reasonably made
    • 6.4.1.4 The penalty is unfairly disproportionate to the breach of regulations. 

    6.4.2 Evidence where appropriate, will be required. 

    6.4.3 The Student Disputes Officer may do one of the following: 

    • 6.4.3.1 Require clarification of the request, or further documentation before proceeding
    • 6.4.3.2 Not permit the student to go to a University Conduct Committee, if the request is out of time, without a valid reason and/or there is insufficient evidence. 
    • 6.4.3.3 Convene a University Conduct Committee.

    6.4.4 The student will be informed of the decision within 5 working days. 

    6.4.5 A student who believes that the Student Disputes Officer’s decision not to permit the student to go to a University Conduct Committee because the request is out of time, without a valid reason and/or there is insufficient evidence is inappropriate may request that it be reviewed by the Academic Registrar or nominee.

    6.4.6 A student who wishes to do so must write to the Student Disputes Officer, setting out the reasons why they believe the decision was inappropriate within ten working days.

    6.4.7 The Academic Registrar or nominee will review the Student Disputes Officer’s decision and either uphold the decision or allow the student to proceed to a University Conduct Committee within ten working days.  

    6.4.8 If the Academic Registrar or nominee upholds the Student Disputes Officer’s decision they will issue the student with a Completion of Procedures Letter.

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    2 Students are not permitted to appeal on the grounds that the value of a fixed penalty is too high.

    6.5.1 The University Conduct Committee will normally consist of the following:

    • 6.5.1.1 A Chair (member of the University’s Senior Management)
    • 6.5.1.2 Two Academic Conduct Officers 
    • 6.5.1.3 Two representatives of the student body.

    6.5.2 The University Conduct Committee will be quorate with the Chair plus three members.  

    6.5.3 The Student Disputes Officer or nominee will act as Secretary to the Committee.  

    6.5.4 The University Conduct Committee will allow:

    • 6.5.4.1 The Academic Conduct Officer to state their case and provide relevant evidence, including testimony from witnesses; question any witnesses and challenge any submissions made and/or evidence produced by the student
    • 6.5.4.2 The Academic Conduct Officer to state their recommendation for the outcome of the University Conduct Committee
    • 6.5.4.3 The student to state their case and provide relevant evidence, including testimony from witnesses, question any witnesses and challenge any submissions or evidence produced by the Academic Conduct Officer
    • 6.5.4.4 Members of the Committee to question any witnesses and clarify any evidence or statements produced by either party.

    6.5.5 The University Conduct Committee will normally state the decision about breach of the regulations, liability and any penalty during the meeting. 

    6.5.6 On occasion, a decision may be taken to reconvene the committee, for example, where more evidence is required.

    6.5.7 The University Conduct Committee may impose the full range of penalties. 

    6.5.8 The student will receive an outcome letter explaining the decision, penalty and next steps within 5 working days of the University Conduct Committee. 

    6.5.9 If the University Conduct Committee has decided to impose a penalty which is 5.2.1 – 5.2.6, the student will receive a Completion of Procedures letter which will explain to the student how to raise the matter with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator should the student wish to do so. 

    6.5.10 If the University Conduct Committee has decided to impose a penalty which is 5.2.7 – 5.2.11, the student may request for their case to be heard by an Appeal Committee. 

    6.6.1 If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome or penalty, or procedure from the University Conduct Committee they may request that the case is heard by an Appeal Committee. 

    6.6.2 To initiate an Appeal Committee, the student must write to the Student Disputes Officer within 10 working days from the date of the University Conduct Committee outcome letter, stating which aspect of the decision, penalty or process the student disagrees with and on which of following grounds:

    • 6.6.2.1 The student would like to present new evidence that they could not have reasonably produced before the University Conduct Committee
    • 6.6.2.2 There was a procedural irregularity
    • 6.6.2.3 The decision regarding liability was not fairly or reasonably made
    • 6.6.2.4 The penalty is unfairly disproportionate to the breach of regulations. 

    6.6.3 Evidence where appropriate, will be required. 

    6.6.4 The Student Disputes Officer may do one of the following: 

    • 6.6.4.1 Require clarification of the request, or further documentation before proceeding
    • 6.6.4.2 Not permit the student to go to University Appeal Committee, if out of time, without a valid reason and/or with insufficient evidence.
    • 6.6.4.3 Convene a University Appeal Committee.

    6.6.5 The student will be informed of the decision within 5 working days.

    6.6.6 A student who believes that the Student Disputes Officer’s decision not to permit the student to go to an Appeal Committee because the request is out of time, without a valid reason and/or there is insufficient evidence is inappropriate may request that it be reviewed by the Academic Registrar or nominee.

    6.6.7 A student who wishes to request a review by the Academic Registrar or nominee must write to the Student Disputes Officer, setting out the reasons why they believe the decision was inappropriate within ten working days of the issue of the Student Disputes Officer’s decision.

    6.6.8 The Academic Registrar or nominee will review the Student Disputes Officer’s decision and either uphold the decision or allow the student to proceed to a University Conduct Committee within ten working days.  

    6.6.9 If the Academic Registrar or nominee upholds the Student Disputes Officer’s decision they will issue the student with a Completion of Procedures Letter within ten working days.  

    6.7.1 The Appeal Committee will normally consist of:

    • 6.7.1.1 A Chair (member of the University’s Senior Management)
    • 6.7.1.2 A member of the Board of Governors
    • 6.7.1.3 A representative of the student body.

    6.7.2 Representation from the University’s Senior Management, the Board of Governors and the student body will be required for the Appeal Committee to be quorate.

    6.7.3 Members of the Appeal Committee must not have been involved with the case previously. 

    6.7.4 A Student Disputes Officer not previously involved with the case or nominee will act as Secretary to the committee.  

    6.7.5 The student and the Chair of the University Conduct Committee have the right to attend.

    6.7.6 The Appeal Committee shall normally only consider issues raised in the appeal by the student. The Committee will allow: 

    • 6.7.6.1 The Chair of the University Conduct Committee to state their case and provide relevant evidence (including testimony from witnesses), question any witnesses and challenge any submissions made and/or evidence produced by the student
    • 6.7.6.2 The student to state their appeal and provide relevant evidence (including testimony from witnesses), question any witnesses and challenge any submissions or evidence produced by the Conduct Officer
    • 6.7.6.3 Members of the Appeal Committee to question any witnesses and clarify any evidence or statements produced by either party.

    6.7.7 The Chair of the Appeal Committee will state their decision as to whether there has been a breach of the regulations, any liability incurred, and any penalty. The Appeal Committee may uphold the decision of the University Conduct Committee or they may conclude a different outcome. 

    6.7.8 The student will receive an outcome letter, explaining the decision and penalty and will be issued a Completion of Procedures letter. 

    6.8.1 Should the matter occur within a formal examination the Fixed Penalty Policy will be implemented by the Disciplinary Officer for Examinations who has delegated authority to impose fines at the level indicated in section 3.7.