Student Disciplinary Procedure
The Student Disciplinary Procedure is 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 behaviour, harassment and abuse, 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.
If you have been invited to meet for an informal discussion (preliminary interview) under the Student Disciplinary Procedure, 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.
In some cases the Dean of School (or nominee) may appoint a member of staff to undertake an evidence gathering process (investigation). The role of this member of staff (the Investigator) is to collect available evidence, it is not to ‘make’ a case.
ACTION PENDING A HEARING(INCLUDING SUSPENSION)
Where allegations are considered most serious, particularly, but not exclusively, those relating to aggravated, aggressive and violent acts, the University may decide to take action pending a hearing. This is a precautionary measure and does not assume that misconduct has occurred.
This form of action is flexible, and where practicable the University will seek to minimize the disruption to the studies of the student against whom the concern is raised. However, in some instances this is not possible. Any such action will be taken on the basis of a risk assessment based on the available evidence at the time.
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 relevant section of the Procedure for further details).
HOW CASES ARE CONSIDERED
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).
You will have received a letter advising of the case and the detailed nature of the allegation. You will normally be given the option to have the matter dealt with via paperwork only or via a hearing. Should you request a hearing the date and time of the hearing will be confirmed to you in writing. You will have the opportunity to submit a written response and also, where there is one, 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.
University Student Disciplinary Panel
This will occur where any alleged misconduct is deemed to be most 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 nominee of the Students’ Union. A member of staff who acts as Secretary to the meeting, but does not take part in the deliberative process, will also be present.
The Dean of School/Director of Professional and Administrative Services or nominee will speak to the alleged misconduct whilst you/your representative will be able to speak in response. Additional guidance is available from email@example.com.
As in the case of a Summary Hearing the outcome is decided on the balance of probabilities. 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. A School level hearing has a more restricted range of sanctions, excluding sanctions relating to suspension, removal of academic credit and expulsion.
The sanctions that can be applied at a Summary Hearing are:
A written undertaking from you for future good conduct, this may include a written reflection, action plan, an agreement not to contact named individuals:
A first written warning;
A final written warning;
A fine and/or Compensation;
Performance of unpaid services.
The sanctions available to the Student Disciplinary Panel include those available to a Summary Hearing, plus:
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.
You should be aware that, where there has been a finding against you or an ongoing consideration of an allegation under a University procedure such as Academic Misconduct, Code of Conduct, Fitness to Practise or Student Disciplinary, then you 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. You will not normally be allowed to attend Graduation Ceremonies whilst a case is outstanding.
Should you choose to withdraw partway through a case the University will normally continue to complete the case, for example to a formal hearing, or exceptionally pause the case putting on note on your file and should you wish to return to the University the University would reserve the right to re-open the original case before you would be able to re-join.
FURTHER ACTION (APPEAL/REVIEW)
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).
Third parties cannot challenge decisions made through this Procedure.
If you are unhappy with the result of the review/appeal 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 seek to resolve all matters promptly. Where investigators need to speak to a range of people, including external to the University this can add to the time it takes.
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. This can extend the process significantly.
RAISING A CONCERN
Depending on the nature of the concern, if you wish to raise a concern about the behaviour of another student you can do so with Report + Support https://reportandsupport.salford.ac.uk/, your Personal Tutor, the askUS/Wellbeing team or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 a 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 Investigator within the School, your Personal Tutor or Programme Leader. The Quality and Enhancement Office can advise you on general enquires about the procedure by emailing email@example.com.