University is a cross-section of society. Not everyone will get along, and with so many people studying and living in close proximity to each other, there can be problems.
For this reason, there are regulations that all students agree to abide by when they matriculate as members of the University. These set out codes of behaviour students are expected to adhere to, and the methods the University can use to sort out any problems that arise as a result of student conduct.
The main regulations are published every year as the University Calendar. In addition, there are a number of specific regulations relating to use of, for example, University Accommodation; and the University Library. Students are expected to be familiar with the regulations.
The most common student discipline cases are related to:
These have their own web pages with more information at the links.
Whether due to academic misconduct, a Halls party that got out of hand, or an argument with a friend that went too far, finding yourself the subject of a disciplinary hearing can be stressful and intimidating.
However, the procedure is actually relatively straightforward, and the Advice Hub is here to support you through it.
The University Calendar describes a minor offence as an:
"Offence of a general nature which is prejudicial to good conduct and good order within the University"
(There is a short illustrative list of these in Regulation 5.4.2 of the Calendar)
Minor offences are dealt with by 'Disciplinary Officers', who are the Directors of University Services, and the Deans of Faculties. If you have been sent a letter by a Service Director, Dean, Head of Department or similar, then this is the stage you will currently be at.
Once you have been advised of the investigation, you will be given a date for a hearing within the following 4 weeks. At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to admit to or deny the accusation, and to give any mitigating circumstances that apply to your conduct.
Hearings are stressful, and it can often be helpful to prepare a written statement in advance of the hearing. If you submit this to the hearing in advance, they will know what you want to say, and can ask any further questions they have. You can also then be sure that they have a record of all of the points you want to make.
The Advice Hub can help you to prepare a statement, and can accompany you to the hearing if you wish.
If you disagree with the decision of the Disciplinary Officer, or think the penalty is too harsh, you can appeal the decision to the Senate Disciplinary Committee. The procedure for appealing to the Committee is at Regulation 5.10 of the Calendar. Again, members from the Advice Hub can advise and assist you with submitting a Disciplinary appeal.
If the Disciplinary Officer thinks that the offence is more serious than they can deal with, it will be referred to the Chief Operating Officer of the University. If they agree that the breach of discipline is a major one, it will be referred to the Senate Discipline Committee.
A hearing of the Senate Discipline Committee will be held within six weeks of the referral, and you will be given at least two weeks' notice. As with hearings for minor offences, you have the opportunity to attend the hearing and give your side of the story. Again, it can be very useful for you to prepare a personal statement in advance of the hearing, and Advice Hub staff can help you to put this together.
The Senate Discipline Committee usually has 5 members. Wherever possible (and it usually is), none of these will be a member of your Faculty. There will also be a clerk to the Committee, and 2 members of your Department will be invited to the hearing.
There is a list of the penalties that the Disciplinary Committee can impose in the Regulations, at 5.9.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of a Senate Disciplinary Committee hearing, you may be able to appeal to the Senate Discipline Appeals Board. ASK can advise and assist you with submitting an appeal.