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Student Conduct Procedure

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Student Conduct: Our Values

What is student conduct?

Being a proud member of the Staffordshire University community means engaging with your studies and supporting others to do so. As a student you are entitled to respect. As a member of our University, we expect you to respect and be tolerant of others, including other students, staff and the public. This means listening to others, celebrating the diversity of our community and following the University policies, regulations and the law.

The following list will help you understand what conduct is expected of you as a member of our University community;

Treat others with tolerance, dignity and respect, either in person or online.

Follow all University regulations and policies.

Respect your environment, both on and off campus.

Treat University property with respect

 Follow health and safety rules and guidelines

Act within the law and do not negatively impact on the University’s reputation

Why is this important?

We want to create a safe and supportive space where you can enjoy your studies and achieve success. Setting out how we will treat each other, the University and our community, will help the University to do this.

It’s not just about what you do at Staffs. Good conduct will always be expected of you, be it in University, work or the community. Being clear on what is expected of you while you are studying with us will help you to understand and meet real-world expectations, preparing you for the next step on your journey. 

Student Misconduct: An Explanation

What is student misconduct?

Misconduct is where you act in a way which does not meet the expectations outlined above.  The University provides an indicative list of examples of student misconduct under Decisions on your Student Conduct. 

Misconduct in University accommodation

There is a Code of Conduct for students living in University accommodation. This explains what level of conduct is expected of you in University accommodation and gives examples of misconduct. All reports of misconduct will be dealt with, in the first instance, by the ResLife Team, not your School.

If it is reported that you have breached the Accommodation Code of Conduct, a ResLife Manager will be the nominated person who will decide whether to start an investigation. If so, an Investigating Officer will be appointed. Please see the section Investigations into your Student Conduct.

Once the investigation is concluded, the nominated person will consider the recommendation and make a decision as outlined in Decisions on your Student Conduct.

How does student conduct apply to me?

What if I am studying with a college or other educational provider?

If you are studying on a Staffordshire University course which is being delivered by a partner institution, it is the partner’s rules on student conduct, not these, which will apply to you.

Please contact your institution for more information. 

What if I am studying on an apprenticeship course?

If you are studying on an apprenticeship course the University will discuss this issue with your employer and will agree whether employer or University procedures will be followed.

What if the Students’ Union are concerned about my conduct?

The Students’ Union has its own procedure for considering student misconduct which happens in its venues or within clubs and societies. However, if the reported misconduct is one of the listed Examples of Serious Misconduct, it will refer your case to the University to decide what action to take.

If the University does act, as part of any outcome, the University may decide to refer your case back to the Students’ Union to decide whether it wants to also restrict your access to its facilities.

If the University decides not to take any action, the Students’ Union can still do so, under its own procedure.

What if I am arrested or the Police are investigating me?

If you are arrested or are being investigated by the Police, you must tell the University straight away.

The University may decide that a Temporary Suspension is the right thing to do, for example if we are concerned about your safety or the safety of others, or if the offence would impact on the reputation of the University.

The University will not investigate your case while the Police are. We will wait for the outcome of the Police investigation or court case before deciding what to do. However, if the case is taking a long time, and you are not able to move on with your course, you may need to take a Break in Study.

Once the outcome of your legal case is known, the University might decide to take action against you, even if the Police do not.

What should I expect and what can you expect of me?

We understand that going through a student conduct investigation will be difficult for you. However, we will treat you in a sensitive and non-judgmental way. We will handle your case confidentially and the only people who will know about your case will be those involved in providing us with evidence or making a decision. We will share with you all the information we are using to reach a decision and give you every opportunity to tell us your side.

We know that this is a difficult time for you, but we expect you to be honest and respect those dealing with your situation and we will treat you in the same way.

Support and reasonable adjustments

If you have a disability you can request that a reasonable adjustment is made to prevent you from being disadvantaged. For example, you may ask us to move the location of a meeting or give you extra time to read paperwork. Please let us know as soon as possible if this applies to you. Remember our support and wellbeing services are available to you throughout this process.

Investigations into your student conduct

Temporary Suspension

The University has a duty to consider the safety and wellbeing of the University community. Because of this, if the allegation of misconduct is on the List of Examples of Serious Misconduct, the University may decide that a Temporary Suspension is the right thing to do.  This does not mean that the University has decided that you have done something wrong, but it is thought to be in the immediate best interest of either you, staff or other students.

How are concerns about my conduct raised?

The University can receive reports about your conduct from other students, staff, members of the public or the Police. Where a concern or report is received, the University will refer it to the nominated person to decide whether to start an investigation.

If the report relates to an incident in University accommodation, the nominated person will be a ResLife Manager. For all other cases it will be a Dean/Associate Dean or nominee in your School. However, if the concern relates to something which has happened in an area managed by Student Services, such as the library, decisions on your student conduct will be made in conjunction with a senior representative from Student Services.

Investigation

If the nominated person decides that there is enough evidence to show that the concerns are an example of misconduct, they may issue one or more of the outcomes for misconduct (See Examples of Outcomes for Misconduct).

If they need more information, or think that the issues are more serious, they they will ask a member of staff to investigate the concerns raised. This person is called the Investigating Officer and will have been trained by the University to carry out investigations.

The Investigating Officer will meet with the people who have raised the concerns and anyone else who can provide evidence about the case. They will also meet with you. We recommend you contact the Students’ Union as soon as you can to arrange representation. Alternatively, bring along a supportive student friend.

We will try to carry out the investigation as quickly as possible and normally within 4 weeks. However, the investigation may include evidence from a number of people, and we need to make sure that we have enough information about your case to make a decision. The Investigating Officer will write a report and make a recommendation to the nominated person about what should happen next. The recommendation will take account of the following:

  1. Is there evidence of student misconduct?
  2. Is there evidence of multiple instances of student misconduct?
  3. Is there evidence that this has had an impact on other members of the University community?
  4. Is the misconduct a serious offence?

School/Service Conduct Decisions

The nominated person will review the Investigation Report, including  any recommendations, and will decide one of the following:

a)   Take no further action

b)   Apply one or more of the student conduct outcomes other than those outlined for serious misconduct

c)   Refer you case to a Student Conduct Panel

You will be informed in writing about the sanction of the investigation and the decision we have reached. If a student conduct outcome has been applied (option b), you will be advised of your right to appeal. 

Student Conduct Panel

If it is judged that your case should be referred to a Student Conduct Panel, the Registry will arrange this meeting. 

The Student Conduct Panel will include;

A Dean or Director (Chair)

A member of the Quality Enhancement Committee or Academic Board.

A nominee of the Students’ Union with no connection to your case

The Investigating Officer will normally attend to answer questions about their report. A member of the course team may attend to answer course related questions.

An agenda for the meeting will be sent to you with your invitation to attend. If you do not attend the meeting, or provide a valid and timely reason why you are unable to attend, the meeting will proceed in your absence.

We know this can be a difficult time, so we always give you time to prepare, this is one week (excluding bank holidays). We recommend you contact the Students’ Union as soon as you can to arrange representation. Alternatively, bring along a supportive student friend. If you want to, you can write a statement before attending. You will need to send this to us at reguations@staffs.ac.uk 48 hours before the meeting.

The Student Conduct Panel can apply one or more sanctions in the list.

Someone will take notes at the meeting and you will be sent a copy of the decision within one week (excluding bank holidays).

Decisions on your student conduct

Examples of Behaviour which migh be viewed as Misconduct

Below is a list of examples of the types of behaviour which might be viewed as misconduct. It is not intended to be exhaustive.

Examples of Student MisconductExamples of Serious Student Misconduct
  • Antisocial behaviour;
  • Disruptive behaviour on University premises such as setting off fire alarms or obstructing access to buildings or rooms;
  • Inappropriate, abusive or threatening behaviour, in person or through social media;
  • Compromising the safety and/or wellbeing of staff, other students or visitors;
  • Behaviour likely to damage the reputation of the University, such as disruptive behaviour in the community;
  • Damage to University property or abuse of its facilities;
  • Causing a health and safety concern;
  • Internet access abuse, such as visiting inappropriate websites, uploading or downloading inappropriate content and sharing computer viruses;
  • Conduct which may be considered to be a minor criminal offence.
  • Repeated instances of misconduct
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Violence, harassment and hate crimes
  • Fraud
  • Refusal to comply with a Student Conduct decision (subject to the right of appeal)
  • Conduct which may be considered a significant or serious criminal offence.

Examples of Outcomes for Misconduct or Serious Misconduct

 Below is a list of examples of the types of behaviour which might be viewed as misconduct. It is not intended to be exhaustive.

Outcomes for Misconduct or Serious MisconductAdded outcomes for serious misconduct
  • A written warning;
  • Formal reprimand;
  • Agreement to a behavioural contract;
  • Requirement to submit a written apology;
  • Submission of a reflective account;
  • A temporary restriction on access to buildings or facilities;
  • A requirement to pay reasonable costs for any damage or losses incurred by the University;
  • A written or final written warning about your conduct in University accommodation;
  • Issue a Notice to Quit University accommodation.
  • Restricted access to University facilities or resources.
  • Suspension from study
  • Recommend to the Vice Chancellor that you should be expelled from the University.

 

What if I think the decision is wrong?

Can I appeal?

If you feel that a decision on your conduct is wrong, you can appeal. You will need to put this in writing, to regulations@staffs.ac.uk with your evidence, within two weeks (excluding bank holidays) of the decision.

You may appeal against a conduct decision for the following reasons which you must make clear in your appeal:

That the procedure was not followed properly and this has affected the outcome;

That the decision reached was unreasonable due to bias or the harshness of the sanction. 

That you have new evidence which you were unable to provide earlier in the process for valid reasons;

The Registry will check that your appeal is:

•    On time, within 2 weeks (excluding banks holidays) of the decision.

•    Meets one of the reasons to appeal.

and

•    Is supported by evidence.

If your appeal does not meet all the above, we will not consider it and we will write to you explaining the reason why. 

The Appeal

If your appeal is eligible, it will be considered by a Student Conduct Appeal Panel. This will always be held at Staffordshire University and may require virtual attendance if you are a distance learning student.  The Panel is made up of the following;

A Dean or Director or a member of the University Executive, (other than the Vice Chancellor) (Chair) *

A University Dean or Associate Dean from another School

A nominee of the Students’ Union with no connection to your case

* This person will be more senior than the original decision maker or Chair

The Chair of the Student Conduct Panel or person making the original decision will attend to give evidence.

If you do not attend the meeting or provide a valid and timely reason why you are unable to attend, the meeting will proceed in your absence. 

We always give you time to prepare, this is one week (excluding bank holidays). We recommend you contact the Students’ Union as soon as you can to arrange representation. Alternatively, bring along a supportive  student friend. If you want to you can write a statement and send it to us 48 hours before attending.

Someone will take notes at the meeting and you will be sent a copy of the decision within one week (excluding bank holidays).

The Appeal Decision

The Appeal Panel will make one of the following decisions:

a)      To agree with the previous decision

b)      To start a new investigation because our procedure was not followed.

c)      To change the decision of the Student Conduct Panel (but not to increase the penalty) because there is new evidence to consider or the previous decision was unreasonable or biased.

What if I still think the decision is wrong?

If you disagree with the appeal decision, you have the right to make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) within one year of the decision. 

Other information

How does student conduct relate to other procedures?

If you are registered on a course with professional or Fitness to Practise requirements, and we find that misconduct has happened, we may refer your case to the member of the School Management Team with responsibility for Fitness to Practise. They will decide if we need to refer to the Fitness to Practise Procedure.