Student disciplinary procedure
This is a process designed to allow the University to deal with allegations relating to student discipline or behaviour. It cannot, and does not seek to, replace other civil or criminal processes which should be used where more appropriate.
The Student Disciplinary Procedure can look at a broad range of activities, including misuse of social media, academic misconduct, aggressive behavior and misuse of University property (see Procedure for a fuller list).
Some University policies, such as the ICT Acceptable Use Policy, may escalate cases to the Disciplinary Procedure where relevant.
It means there have been concerns raised about your conduct. The communication inviting you to the meeting should clearly set out what these concerns are. At this stage the University is invoking the procedure, but no formal action is currently being taken.
Where allegations are considered most serious, particularly, but not exclusively, those relating to aggressive and violent acts, the University may decide to suspend a student pending a hearing. This is a precautionary measure and does not assume that misconduct has occurred.
This form of suspension is flexible, and where practicable the University will seek to minimize the disruption to the studies of the student against whom the accusation is made. However in some instances this is not possible.
The Procedure allows for a review of suspension pending a hearing where there is evidence of significantly altered circumstances. You will need to submit the request, along with the relevant evidence to firstname.lastname@example.org (see section 3.3 of the Procedure for further details).
Many cases are dealt with informally, however where the matter is considered serious, the case may enter a formal stage. The most serious cases will be referred to a University Student Disciplinary Panel; this Panel will take an independent view on whether there is evidence the misconduct occurred, and if it did to impose an appropriate sanction.
Where a case is not considered most serious, then it may be referred to a School level hearing (Summary Hearing) with the Dean of School (or nominee).
A University Student Disciplinary Panel can impose a range of sanctions from a written undertaking to be of good behaviour, up to expulsion from the University (see section of 3.9 of the Procedure).
A School level hearing has a more restricted range of penalties, excluding the longer periods of suspension, removal of credit and expulsion.
You will have received a letter advising of the date and time of the hearing and the detailed nature of the allegation. You will have the opportunity to submit a written response and also to attend the hearing in person to address any allegation. If it is found that the misconduct did occur then any sanction applied may be mitigated if you have agreed to have the matter dealt with on a summary basis and you have admitted the misconduct at the earliest opportunity. The hearing will be with the Dean of School/Director of Professional Service (or nominee), plus one other member of staff who will take a record of the hearing.
The sanctions that can be applied are:
- a written undertaking from you for future good conduct:
- a First Written Warning;
- a Final Written Warning;
- a fine;
- Performance of unpaid services;
- Limited period of suspension.
If you do not agree to the case being considered at a Summary Hearing it will be referred to a Student Disciplinary Panel.
This will occur where any alleged misconduct is deemed to be extremely serious and the matter has been referred by the Dean of School /Director of Professional Services for consideration. The Student Disciplinary Panel comprises two academic members of staff (one who serves as Chair) and a representative of the Students’ Union. A member of staff who acts as Secretary to the meeting but does not take part in the deliberative process.
The Head of School / Director of Professional and Administrative Services will speak to the alleged breach in the Student Disciplinary Procedure whilst you / your representative will be able to speak in your defence. As in the case of a Summary Hearing the outcome is decided on the balance of probabilities. The sanctions available to the Student Disciplinary Panel include those available to a Summary Hearing, plus:
- Extended period of suspension;
- Withdrawal of academic credit or award;
For serious cases of academic misconduct referred to a Student Disciplinary Panel via the Academic Misconduct Procedure, the Panel also has recourse to the range of academic sanctions within that Procedure.
This will depend on the nature of the concerns raised, the availability of evidence and whether external processes are involved. The University will seek to resolve all matters promptly.
Cases involving matters being considered by police, criminal or civil procedures, including professional body procedures, may be put on hold until those external proceedings are completed.
Students should be aware that, where there has been a finding against them or an ongoing consideration of an allegation against them under a University procedure such as Academic Misconduct, Code of Conduct, Fitness to Practise or Student Disciplinary, then they may not be eligible to participate in some activities, such as studying or working abroad or professional placements. Restrictions may also be imposed by individual partner institutions and as such details of restrictions will depend on the programme of study and the proposed partner institution. If you have concerns about this you are advised to contact your School.
As the student against whom an allegation has been made:
You have the right to appeal against a decision taken at Summary hearing, or by a Student Disciplinary Panel, as long as the appeal is submitted on one of the three grounds set out in the Procedure and within the timescale allowed (ten working days of the formal notification of the outcome).
As a third party raising the allegation;
Third parties cannot challenge decisions made through this Procedure.
What happens if I am still not satisfied after the last (appeal) stage of the University Procedure?
There are no further stages in the University Procedure; however, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) provides an independent scheme for the review of student complaints. Further information can be found at www.oiahe.org.uk
The University will not normally take forward anonymous reports, unless corroborating evidence can be provided.
The University may withhold personal information about individuals involved in a case from other parties, if, and when, it is considered appropriate and does not have an negative effect on the intention to ensure ‘natural justice’.
Depending on the nature of the concerns raised you may also be able to get further information from the member of staff leading on the case within the School or professional service (for instance the Library)
The Quality and Enhancement Office can advise you on general enquires about the procedure. Please email email@example.com.
Documentation relating to the procedure is available via www.salford.ac.uk/qeo/StudentPolicies/student-disciplinary-procedure.