C1.1.7 Other procedural matters

  • 7.1 Disciplinary procedures started prior to a student’s enrolment end date may continue beyond the expected end date but must normally be concluded prior to any degree or award being conferred. Where this is not possible the University reserves the right to delay the conferment of any degree or award until the disciplinary procedures have been concluded. 

    7.2 Where proceedings have been initiated against an individual under these regulations and the enrolment status of that individual changes, the University may continue with, suspend and subsequently resume, or terminate those proceedings as seems appropriate.

    7.3 If a Conduct Officer starts to investigate a case and decides that it would be more appropriately handled by another Conduct Officer, either because of an association or the nature of the alleged breaches, the case can be reallocated.

    7.4 Whenever a conduct interview, a University Conduct Committee or an Appeal Committee is convened, the convening officer shall give all parties appropriate notice, at least 5 working days’ for an interview, or 10 working days for a committee.  

    7.5 If a student cannot attend a conduct interview, University Conduct Committee or an Appeal Committee, they must write to the organiser before the meeting with reasons and evidence. The organiser will consider the reasons given and, at their discretion, rearrange the interview or Committee, or inform the student that the reason given for not attending is invalid and that the interview or Committee will go ahead as scheduled.   If the student fails to attend (after attempts to rearrange, if appropriate) then the Conduct Officer or Committee will hear the case in the absence of the student.

    7.6 It is the responsibility of the student wishing to be accompanied to inform the friend, colleague or representative of the date, time and place of the interview or committee. The student must inform the interview or committee in advance if they wish to be accompanied. The friend, colleague, or representative may undertake the presentation of the case on behalf of the student, but a student may not be represented at a hearing in his or her absence and the friend, colleague or representative may not answer questions on the student’s behalf. 

    7.7 At all stages of the disciplinary process decisions will be based on the evidence available and the balance of probability.  Conduct Officers, the University Conduct Committee or the Appeal Committee will accept the explanation that is most likely to be true.

    7.8 At a Conduct Interview, all decisions shall be made by the Conduct Officer alone.  At a University Conduct Committee or Appeal Committee, all decisions shall be made by a simple majority of the members of the Committee.  In the event of a tied vote, the Chair shall have a second and deciding vote.

    7.9 If this procedure is initiated on behalf of a student or staff member, the Conduct Officer or Conduct Committee may keep that person informed about the general progress of the investigation and the general outcome of it, but specific details will not be shared. 

    7.10 While every decision in relation to the case shall be for the Conduct Officer or Conduct Committee, they shall give consideration to the views of the person who reported the incident, about the original circumstances and any subsequent developments. That person is expected to fully co-operate with the Conduct Officer throughout the proceedings.

    7.11 The University will endeavour to respond to any conduct case as rapidly as possible and will, where possible, adhere to the timeframes in appendix C. However, every case will need to be fully investigated and this may mean that a conclusion cannot be reached as quickly as either party would wish, particularly if the case is complex or extensive or was submitted at a time when key staff are away from the University. Timescales may be varied by the University where there is good reason to do so.

    7.12 Some circumstances that constitute a breach of these regulations may create serious concerns about the student’s welfare, in which case the Fitness to Study Policy may be invoked, or Wellbeing Team informed of proceedings and/or outcome as necessary.  

    7.13 All staff and students who become aware of anyone who may commit, or may have already committed a breach of these regulations are authorised and required to take whatever steps are reasonable and, without risk to themselves, to stop the breach and to prevent a recurrence, and report it to the appropriate Conduct Officer.  Failure of a member of staff to do so, for whatever reason, shall not prevent the University initiating proceedings under these regulations in respect of the breach and will not be accepted as a defence or as mitigation in any such proceedings.

    7.14 Where the statement of allegations involves more than one student, the Conduct Officer or the Chair of the Committee shall determine whether the cases should be heard individually or by a single hearing for all the students. If the cases are heard individually, the reported students (and any representatives) will only be able to attend their own hearing and access their own case files, unless explicit permission to share has been given from another individual involved. Members of the University Conduct Committee, or Appeal Committee will be able to hear cases all individual cases relating to the same report. 

    7.15 All investigated cases will be recorded and the information logged with the Student Disputes Officers.  Conduct Officers, University Conduct Committees or Appeal Committees will have access to information relating to a previous breach (if any) by the same student once it has been established that a further breach has occurred.  It may be deemed that the subsequent breach is an escalation of the previous breach; should that be the case an appropriate penalty will be imposed.

    7.16 If a student has completed this procedure and they are still dissatisfied with the outcome, they may be able to refer the issue as a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) providing that it is eligible under the OIA’s Rules.  A letter stating that a student has completed this procedure shall comply with the OIA’s guidance for a “Completion of Procedures” letter.