What is it?
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.
The Code applies to all students of the University. It applies to students when they are taking part in University activities, using University services or facilities, in or near Students’ Association and Sports Union buildings and any other activity which negatively affects the reputation of the University or the safety of members of the University community.
A full copy of the Code of Student Conduct
More information on the University’s website
What kind of behaviour is considered to be misconduct?
Unacceptable behaviour may include, but is not limited to: disrupting University activities; using threatening, offensive behaviour or language; sexually, verbally or physically harassing someone; discrimination against, or bullying of, another person; academic misconduct, such as plagiarism; damaging or stealing property belonging to the University or a member of the University. This list is not exhaustive but gives some examples of behaviour which would be considered inappropriate.
Further examples of misconduct offences can be found under paragraph 12 of the Code of Student Conduct.
Coronavirus and conduct
In response to Scotland's current Covid-19 guidelines and restrictions, the University released the Good Citizen Guide. This sets out how the University expects its community to behave in order to keep others safe and slow the spread of Coronavirus. If a member of the University community repeatedly or purposefully acts in a way that puts others at risk, they can be reported to the University and investigated under the Code of Student Conduct. This could lead to disciplinary action from the University.
You can read more about reporting a member of the University community's behaviour to the University here: Good Citizen's Reporting Form.
What happens when I complain about another student?
If a student breaches the Code, the University may take disciplinary action against them. Even if their behaviour does not breach the Code of Student Conduct, there is still scope for the University to assist you in resolving the issue.
If you wish to report another student for misconduct, you can make a complaint via the University’s Complaint Handling Procedure.
If you feel the situation could be resolved at a local level, you may wish to involve a third party who can speak to the student about their behaviour e.g. a Personal Tutor, Student Support Team or Supervisor. This would be considered the ‘Frontline Resolution’ stage of the University’s complaints procedure. However, this step is not relevant or appropriate in all situations.
Instead of this 'frontline' stage, you can report a conduct issue as a complaint, either via the University’s Complaint Form or in a format that suits you best e.g. by email. You can read more about this in the Making a complaint to the University section of our website.
Remember, we are here to help you. You can discuss any issues you wish with us in confidence. Our advisers can discuss the complaints process with you in detail and support you to complete a complaint form.
Once you submit your complaint, and any relevant evidence, the complaint handling team will decide if the student will be investigated using the Code of Student Conduct. When the University receives a complaint from one student against another, which seems to contravene the Code of Student Conduct, this complaint is passed to a Conduct Investigator to look into.
What if there is immediate danger?
Where a complaint raises immediate concerns for the safety and wellbeing of students or staff, the University can take ‘precautionary action’.
The University will carry out a risk assessment and, based upon this, may place the student who is the subject of the complaint on a full or partial suspension. For example, this may mean that the student is not allowed to go to certain areas of the University or not allowed to have any contact with certain other students. This is not a penalty or any confirmation of misconduct, but is intended to keep people safe whilst the investigation is underway.
See our pages on Harassment, Safety and Crime here.
As the person who reported the alleged misconduct, you will likely be invited to be interviewed by the Conduct Investigator as part of the investigation. The Conduct Investigator is impartial and their role in this meeting is to gather the facts. Our advisers can talk you through what to expect, help you prepare and accompany to you any meetings relating to your complaint.
The student who is the subject of the complaint will also be contacted by the Investigator and informed of the allegation. They will be made aware of who made the complaint. They will be given the opportunity to respond to the allegation and will also likely be interviewed. Other people relevant to the investigation may also be asked to attend interviews.
Once the investigation is complete, the Conduct Investigator will decide whether or not the alleged misconduct has taken place. They decide this based on the evidence available and on the ‘balance of probabilities’, which means that they are satisfied that an event was more likely to have occurred than not. This is the standard of proof used in civil law (as opposed to the ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ used in criminal law).
If the Investigator determines that the misconduct has taken place, they will refer the case to either a Student Discipline Officer or a Student Discipline Committee to apply penalties.
What if the police are involved?
If a student is being investigated by the police, the University will not normally carry out its own conduct investigation until the legal process is complete. Following the completion of any legal case, the University will consider whether it is necessary to pursue its own investigation into the alleged misconduct. This may happen relatively quickly or it may take a significant amount of time.
See our pages on Harassment, Safety and Crime here.
Can I do it anonymously?
Complaints can be submitted anonymously, although this often means that the University is not able to carry out a full investigation.
As the person making the complaint, you are usually interviewed and this makes up an important part of the investigation. Additionally, the University deem it necessary to share the name of the complainer to allow the student complained about to have the fair opportunity to respond to the complaint. However, if you have any questions or concerns about your anonymity then please contact us and we’d be glad to discuss different ways to approach this.
Sometimes people wish to inform the University of another student’s behaviour but not name the person, perhaps because they don’t know the person’s name or would rather keep it anonymous. In nearly all cases it is necessary for the University to speak with the subject of the complaint in order to address the issue. This means it may not be possible for the University to investigate a complaint without sufficient details, however we can speak further with you about this and potential options.
How long will it take?
The University’s complaints procedure states that you should receive a response to your complaint within 20 working days. However, when a complaint is referred for investigation under the Code of Conduct, the timeframes often become a little less set. For example, there may be delays relating to the availability of interviewees.
The University tries to investigate these kinds of complaints as quickly as possible, however they can take some time to investigate.
Will I hear what happens?
As the person who has raised the complaint about another student, you will be informed at the end of the investigation of whether the complaint has been upheld, partially upheld, or not upheld.
However, due to the other student’s confidentiality, details of their responses to the allegation will not be shared and you will be unlikely to hear full details of any disciplinary action taken against the other person, if any is taken.
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