C1.2.8 Other procedural matters

  • 8.1 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.

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

    8.3 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 the nature of the alleged breaches or association, the case can be reallocated.

    8.4 Whenever a Conduct Interview, a University Conduct Committee or an Appeal Committee is convened, the convening officer shall give all parties at least 5 working days’ notice of the arrangements, including the names of the people who will be dealing with the case. 

    8.5 If a student cannot attend a Conduct Interview, University Conduct Committee or an Appeal Committee, they must write to the Student Disputes Officer before the meeting with reasons and evidence. The Student Disputes Officer 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.

    8.6 It is the responsibility of the student wishing to be accompanied to inform the friend or colleague of the date, time and place of the interview or Committee. The friend or colleague 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. The Conduct Officer may be accompanied by a note taker. 

    8.7 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.

    8.8 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.

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

    8.10 While every decision in relation to the case shall be for the Conduct Officer or University Conduct Committee, they shall give consideration to the views of the complainant about the original circumstances and any subsequent developments. A complainant is expected to fully co-operate with the Conduct Officer throughout the proceedings. 

    8.11 Many circumstances that constitute a breach of these regulations may also constitute a breach of the Professional Standards required of certain professions and, hence, of students on certain courses.  As such, the Standards of Conduct: Fitness to Practise Policy may be invoked, and will take precedence, in which case the case file would be shared with appropriate University staff.

    8.12 Many 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 the Wellbeing Team informed of proceedings and/or outcome as necessary.

    8.13 All staff and students who become aware of anyone who may have 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.

    8.14 If a student is the subject of a criminal investigation or has criminal proceedings pending against them or has been convicted of a criminal offence, the University may initiate, proceed with and/or suspend its investigations under the Student Conduct procedure as seems appropriate.  

    8.15 If, at any time following the initiation of these Regulations, the Conduct Officer has reason to believe that the student may:

    • 8.15.1 interfere with the investigation or any witnesses
    • 8.15.2 repeat the alleged breach or commit another similar breach
    • 8.15.3 pose a danger to themselves or others 
    • or
    • 8.15.4 the nature of the alleged breach is such that it is not reasonable to expect staff and/or other students to continue to associate with the student while the allegation is investigated

    the Conduct Officer may refer the matter to a Suspension Officer with a recommendation that the student be suspended from one or more (or all) of the services, facilities, activities, premises and grounds of the University and/or an associated organisation and/or required to have no contact with one or more identified people pending the conclusion of this procedure. 

    8.16 Any such suspension shall be subject to the following conditions and safeguards:

    • 8.16.1 The details and conditions of the suspension shall be proportionate to the risks identified
    • 8.16.2 The student shall be informed of the details and conditions of the suspension and the reasons for them in writing as soon as reasonably practicable and shall be given an opportunity to make representations about them
    • 8.16.3 The suspension shall be reviewed regularly and in the light of changing circumstances.

    8.17 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.

    8.18 All investigated cases will be recorded and the information logged with the Student Disputes Officers.  Conduct Officers, 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.

    8.19 If a student has completed the conduct procedure and the appeal process 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.