The majority of students will cruise through University without ever coming across the ideas of ‘misconduct’ or ‘discipline’ in a University setting, which is great. If you do, however, find yourself in a situation where you are being investigated by the University, it can be a very daunting and stressful experience. Don’t worry though – we’ve put together some advice below to help walk you through the process.
Students can be investigated and disciplined by the University for a range of behaviours. The University describes these as “any act or omission, within or outside of the University, which disrupts, frustrates or interferes with the proper functioning of activities of the University or of those who work or study in the University, or otherwise damages the fabric of the University or its reputation.” This could be anything from disorderly behaviour at college to vandalism within the community.
There are a number of places that you can seek support if you are going through the discipline process.
Your college support team can offer you procedural advice about the discipline process, even if they are the ones disciplining you. A member of staff at your college will be automatically appointed to provide you pastoral care – you can find your specific college support contact here. You can also approach the University’s counselling service for support, should the impact of your circumstances be particularly distressing or worrying for you. You can find more information about the Counselling Service here.
You can seek independent advice or advocacy from the Advice Service at the Students’ Union should you need it. If you would like to access this service, please give us a bit more information about your situation here and a member of our team will be in touch as soon as possible.
In some severe cases of student misconduct, students can also seek legal advice for their case (although they are not permitted to have legal representation at any misconduct meetings).
While it is true that most cases of student misconduct are unique and will be dealt with on an individual basis, there are a couple of common stages that you can expect to occur during the process.
If you are not already aware that you are being investigated by the University, you will likely first be made aware when you are called to a meeting with your college or when you receive a letter inviting you to a meeting. You should be given details in this first contact about the nature of the investigation, so you can attend the meeting prepared. You have the right to be accompanied to any meeting throughout this process by either a member of the university community or by the Students’ Union.
When/if you are called to a meeting, you need to be prepared to explain why you acted in the way that you did, and consider whether there were any additional circumstances that could explain your behaviour (otherwise known as ‘mitigation’). This is your opportunity to take responsibility for your actions, if you wish to do so, and it would also be a good idea to let the University know if you have taken any positive steps, following the incident, that they should know about.
The University has a couple of different classifications of student misconduct and, depending on which classification your behaviour falls under, there are different pathways that the University may choose to go down. You can find out more about the different classifications Student Behaviour in Appeals and Complaints: A Code of Practice.
This very much depends on whether your misconduct is classed as major or non-major. A non-exhaustive list of potential sanctions can be found here, under General Regulations VI Discipline (8).
If you have gone through the student discipline process, and are unhappy with the outcome of your case, you have the right to appeal and can seek independent advice regarding this from the Students’ Union. Please tell us a bit more about your case here. Appeals must be submitted within 14 days of receiving the outcome of your case, and the process for appealing differs based on whether your case was classified as being a major or minor offence.
You can find more information about the different types of appeals process on the University’s website here, under General Regulations VI Discipline (9).
Page last reviewed:11/03/2019