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Internal News - 25 October 2007

Revised Student Disciplinary Procedures

A message from Mark Humphriss, University Secretary:

Senate approved on 24 October the results of a review of the University’s disciplinary procedures which took place over the summer.

The review was a recommendation of the Effectiveness Review of Senate, and was conducted by a group comprising the University Secretary (as Chair), the Head of Student Services, the Director of Computer Services, the Head of Security Services, the Student Accommodation Manager, the President of the Students’ Union, and the General Manager of the Students’ Union.

We concluded that the University’s disciplinary procedures were largely effective, and noted that breaches of student discipline are not commonplace. However, there were a number of areas which needed to be looked at to ensure they were up to date, took account of changes in legislation, reflected the changing attitudes of society, and were appropriate to meet the needs of the University and its students.

The review resulted in a number of recommendations, including:

1. Changes to the way in which the University deals with students found in possession of illegal drugs, by means of a new University Drugs Policy. This will result in a consistent approach to this matter being taken across the campus and student residences. It will reflect the seriousness with which the University regards the use of illegal drugs but is intended also to facilitate accessing support services.

2. A widened use of financial penalties for breaches of student discipline, particularly in relation to anti-social behaviour.

3. Procedural changes which mean that in future:

• Students who are required to attend a disciplinary interview or formal disciplinary hearing will be able to accompanied by either a fellow student or Students’ Union representative

• Academic departments will be notified of any written warnings or formal disciplinary action against one of its students

• The choice of whether a formal disciplinary hearing should be held before the Vice-Chancellor or the Disciplinary Committee will now be made by the University Secretary

• Certain breaches of discipline will be considered ‘spent’ after a set period of time.

4. Modest changes affecting how discipline is exercised in relation to the Library and by IT Services.

5. Greater autonomy for the Students’ Union in respect of its own disciplinary procedures.

6. Further work be undertaken in respect of student mental health issues, with a student capability policy being considered to avoid the need to use disciplinary procedures when a student cannot continue their studies for mental health reasons.

These changes are effective from 1 November 2007.

Further information can be found in the paper considered by Senate, which can be found by clicking the links in the Related Links column.