Being complained about

Code of Student Conduct

The Code of Student Conduct sets out how students are expected to behave and the procedures the University uses to resolve matters when a student’s behaviour is deemed unacceptable.  


All students at the University are expected to comply with the Code of Student Conduct. When the University receives an allegation that a student has breached the Code of Student Conduct, it will normally investigate that allegation. 


Further information can be found on our webpage Code of Student Conduct here 


A full copy of the Code of Student Conduct can be found here 


Examples of misconduct offences can be found under paragraph 12. 



How we can support you

We are here to support all students: if you are being investigated under the Code of Student Conduct then we can explain the process to you and accompany you to meetings. 


One of our advisers can discuss the situation in more detail with you. It can often be helpful for the adviser to see any communication you’ve had from the University about the alleged misconduct. 


We understand that being involved in disciplinary procedures can be difficult and stressful. We are here to support you. 



What will the University do?


Precautionary action

Once a complaint has been made (for example, by another student, a staff member or member of the public) the University will carry out a risk assessment. If there are any immediate concerns for the safety and wellbeing of students or staff, the University can take precautionary action by placing you on a full or partial suspension. For example, this may mean you are not allowed to go to certain areas of the University or not allowed to have contact with certain other students. Suspension in this case is not used as a penalty and does not prejudge the outcome of the conduct investigation, but is instead intended to keep everyone safe. You are entitled to make representations regarding any suspension within five working days of receiving the decision. The decision to suspend a student is reviewed by the University every 20 working days. 


Misconduct and the law

If you are facing a police investigation or criminal charges, then the University will not normally carry out its own conduct investigation until the legal process is complete. However, the University will still carry out a risk assessment and may take precautionary action, as explained above. 


Following the completion of any legal case, the University will consider whether it is necessary to pursue its own investigation into the alleged misconduct. 


The University may report to the police any allegation that a criminal offence has been committed. 


See our webpage on Accused of a Crime – Academic Consequences here


Conduct investigation

The University will then conduct an investigation into the allegation(s) of misconduct. You will be contacted by the Conduct Investigator and informed of the allegation made against you and any details of what will happen next. You will have the opportunity to respond fully to the allegation and will most likely be invited to a meeting as part of the investigation. 


One of our advisers can help you to prepare for your meeting and accompany you on the day. It can helpful to prepare a statement which explains the situation from your point of view. Your adviser is not able to answer questions of your behalf or ‘defend’ you but we can clarify what is being asked of you and ensure the procedure is being followed correctly. 


The Conduct Investigator is impartial and their role in this meeting is to gather the facts. Minutes from the meeting will be shared so you can check these are a true and accurate reflection of what was discussed. Other relevant people may be interviewed as part of the investigation. 


Following the investigation, a decision will be made whether or not the alleged misconduct has taken place. This is decided based upon the available evidence and the ‘balance of probabilities’. This is the standard of proof used in civil law and means the investigator is satisfied that an event was more likely to have occurred than not (as opposed to ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’). 


If the Investigator determines misconduct has taken place, they will refer the case to either a Student Discipline Officer or a Student Discipline Committee to apply penalties. 



Disciplinary action: Student Discipline Officer

The Student Discipline Officer reviews the investigation report and decides whether disciplinary action is needed, and if so, what penalty to apply. The Student Discipline Officer will not re-investigate the case and can apply a penalty without meeting with you. Sometimes you may be invited to a meeting with the Student Discipline Officer and an adviser can accompany you to this. 


They will either 1) close the case if there is none to answer 2) impose an appropriate penalty, or 3) refer the case on to the Student Disciplinary Committee. You will be informed of the Discipline Officer’s decision within three working days. 



Disciplinary action: Student Discipline Committee

If a case is very serious in nature, it may be referred to the Student Discipline Committee. You will be given notice of a hearing date and be sent the report from the investigation in advance. The hearing can take some weeks to be confirmed as it requires a committee of staff and students from across the University to come together. At the hearing, you will be asked to admit or deny the allegation against you. You will then present your case to the committee, whether that be by reading out a statement or also calling witnesses or presenting evidence to support your case. Our advisers can help you to prepare for this and accompany you on the day. They cannot answer questions on your behalf or ‘defend’ you, but can support you, clarify any questions or read out a statement on your behalf. 


You will be informed of the Discipline Committee’s decision within three working days. 



Possible outcomes

The Code of Student Conduct includes penalties such as a fine, reprimand, suspension of privileges, the requirement to move out of University accommodation and, in very serious cases, exclusion. 


For a full list of the potential penalties which can be applied by a Student Discipline Officer please see section 51, and for the penalties which a Student Discipline Committee can apply please see section 71 of the Code of Student Conduct


Can I contest the outcome?

If you are found guilty of the alleged offenses and wish to appeal any penalty you have received then you are able to appeal this via the University’s Appeal procedures. Please note, there are strict deadlines involved in the appeals process and you would need to lodge an appeal within 10 working days of being informed of the outcome. You would also need to have specific grounds for an appeal.  We have more information on our website in the Appeal section here and our advisers can support you with this process. 



What not to do

Once you are aware that an accusation has been made, we strongly recommend that you cease all contact with the person who has made a complaint. If you are the subject of a criminal investigation, you will need to seek legal advice from a solicitor. 


Don’t feel you need to deal with the situation on your own; our advisers can support you in your dealings with the University. You should be aware that you must inform the University if you are charged or convicted of some criminal offenses while you are a matriculated student at the University. Our advisers can offer advice as to which criminal offenses need to be disclosed. 


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