***26 March 2020: Following Government Guidance in the UK to stop all non-essential contact and stay at home wherever possible, the University has made changes to the way in which we hold Disciplinary Committee Meetings. This can be found here.***
***Revisions to Regulation 23 were last confirmed by the Senate via Chairs Action on 14 July 2020, with changes taking immediate effect.***
Regulation Governing Student Misconduct and Disciplinary Committees
1.1 Misconduct is defined as improper interference in the broadest sense with the proper functioning or activities of the institution, or with those who work or study in the institution, or action which otherwise damages the institution whether on University premises or elsewhere. (Examples of misconduct can be found here.)
1.2 The standard of proof is the level of proof required to determine whether or not an incident occurred. In the civil law the standard of proof is based upon the ‘balance of probability’. This is the standard of proof used by the University.
1.3 Balance of probabilities means that the University is satisfied that an event is more likely to have occurred than not. Decisions are based on all available evidence and not simply a belief that something is likely to have happened.
1.4 ‘Without prejudice’ means that there is no implication of admission, liability or acceptance of the alleged misconduct having occurred by the respondent.
(2) Basis of Jurisdiction
2.1 All students of the University are subject to the jurisdiction of the Vice-Chancellor and the Senate, in respect both of their studies and their conduct.
2.2 Where any offence committed under any Ordinance or Regulation, Policy or Code is considered as falling within the definition of misconduct set out in section (1) 1.1 it will be dealt with under this Regulation. This will include, but is not limited to misconduct under the following:
- Regulation 11 Procedure to be adopted in the event of suspected cheating in a University test
- Regulation 22 General Library Regulations
- Regulation 26 Safety Regulations
- Regulation 27 On-Campus Residential Accommodation Regulations
- Regulation 29 Regulations Covering Freedom of Speech
- Regulation 31 Use of University Computing Facilities
- Dignity at Warwick Policy
- Policy on Recording of Lectures by Students
- Policy on Parking and Traffic in the University
- Safeguarding Policy
- Sexual Misconduct Policy
- Data Protection Policy
2.3 Offences which take place on licensed University premises may also be subject to additional action by the licensee, who has a legal duty not to permit drunken, violent, quarrelsome or disorderly conduct to take place on the premises. This may include a ban from the premises.
2.4 The Students’ Union operates separate disciplinary regulations to which its members are also subject.
2.5 Where a disciplinary sanction is imposed on a student under these regulations for misconduct and that student has another status within the University, for example they are employed by the University, the Registrar or their nominee (may also be referred to as the Authorised Officer) will consider whether any further action is required.
2.6 Where at any point in the disciplinary process there is concern about a student’s health or capacity to study the Registrar may refer the matter either to be dealt with through the University’s Fitness to Attend Protocol or by direct referral to a Continuation of Registration Committee in accordance with Regulation 36 (Regulations governing Student Registration, Attendance and Progress). In a case referred directly to a Continuation of Registration Committee the disciplinary process will normally be suspended until the Registrar determines that it should be reactivated.
2.7 Where a student is enrolled on a degree apprenticeship, the University reserves the right to notify the employer if the apprentice is involved with a student disciplinary process.
(3) General Principles
3.1 Any University role named in this Regulation may appoint a nominee to act on their behalf, and references to that officer will be taken to include reference to such a nominee.
3.2 No-one involved in deciding an appeal under this Regulation will have had a prior involvement with the disciplinary case.
3.3 A student under investigation who is alleged to have committed misconduct under this Regulation will always be specifically informed of the details of the alleged offence and be given the opportunity to defend themselves.
3.4 Where an allegation of misconduct has been made against a student they may be accompanied at any meeting with the authorised officer, the Investigating Officer, or any disciplinary or appeal hearing by another student from the University or a member of staff from the University or Students’ Union who has not been part of the complaint/case. The student will normally be expected to speak on their own behalf. The accompanying individual is there in a support role not as an advocate.
3.5 Where a student has been given due notice of a hearing and without prior notification does not appear and has not provided a satisfactory explanation for their absence, the committee may proceed to deal with the case and if appropriate, impose an appropriate sanction in their absence.
3.6 The Discipline Committee or the Appeals Committee will also be subject to any further University guidelines approved by the Senate. Subject to the terms of this Regulation and any set procedural guidelines, the Chair of the Committee has the power to determine their own procedure for hearing a case, always providing that they observe the rules of natural justice at each stage. The Chair of the Committee may postpone, continue or adjourn the case at their discretion.
3.7 Both the student and the University may call witnesses to give evidence at any disciplinary hearing, provided that details of witnesses (and copies of any written evidence or other documents) are provided normally at least five working days in advance of the date of the hearing.
3.8 In all cases a written record of the proceedings will be kept.
3.9 The student will be notified in writing of the outcome of any formal disciplinary process under this Regulation normally within six University working days of the Committee reaching its decision.
3.10 In cases where the allegation is admitted or on the balance of probabilities the allegation is considered to have occurred, a record of the misconduct and of the sanction will be filed, in the office of the Registrar, the Academic Registrar and on the student’s University record.
3.11 The outcome of any disciplinary or appeal hearing will include a determination as to the length of time for which the decision will be retained on the student’s University record and which, for instance, might be highlighted in any reference requested during that period. Where the student has been either temporarily or permanently withdrawn on the grounds of disciplinary action, this will form part of the student’s formal record and transcript.
3.12 The University may vary any part of this Regulation in order to comply with its duty to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities.
(4) Precautionary Action
4.1 Where a student’s alleged misconduct may be considered to pose a risk to other members of the University community or where a student’s continued access to University facilities may interfere with the investigation of an allegation , the student may be suspended from classes, any part of the University or the University as a whole, or issued with a no contact order, at the Vice-Chancellor’s discretion, pending the conclusion of any action under these regulations and/or any criminal proceedings. This action is not a sanction and is ‘without prejudice’. It is used to protect the individuals concerned, the wider University community or reputation of the University.
4.2 The reasons for the action will be put in writing and will be subject to periodic review with the student being informed of the outcome of any such review. The student may request a review or appeal the precautionary action and/or conditions imposed if there is a relevant change in their circumstances. The request should be made in writing to the Vice-Chancellor (or their nominee), who will ensure a response is provided within ten University working days.
4.3 Where a precautionary action is imposed on a student under these regulations for misconduct and that student has another status within the University, for example they are employed by the University, the Registrar or their nominee will consider whether any further action is required.
(5) Criminal Conduct
5.1 The fact that criminal proceedings have been instituted or have concluded does not preclude the University from taking its own disciplinary action, if it is thought fitting or necessary to do so.
5.2 The fact that the Police are unable or unwilling to proceed does not preclude the University from taking its own disciplinary action.
(6) Reported Misconduct that Requires Investigation
6.1.1 When an allegation is reported and the Director of Student Discipline and Resolution decides that a disciplinary route is to be taken an Investigating Officer (IO) will be appointed. The IO will have the power to carry out such investigations as they deem appropriate, including interviewing the student and any other witnesses.
6.1.2 Having received the report of findings from the IO, the Director of Student Discipline and Resolution or the SDRG will determine whether further investigation is necessary or whether the allegation should be heard by a disciplinary committee or whether a sanction can be applied without the case being heard.
(7) The Discipline Committee - *** Please note the updated advice at the top of the page dated 26 March 2020 ***
7.1 The Discipline Committee deals with misconduct referred to it by the Director of Student Discipline and Resolution or the Student Discipline Review Group (SDRG) due to the severity of the allegation in cases where either:
(i) the student has accepted the allegation and is presenting mitigation or
(ii) the student has rejected the allegation and wishes to present their case
7.1.1 The ability of the Director of Student Discipline and Resolution or the SDRG to request an investigation and/or convene a Discipline Committee to hear a case of alleged misconduct or hold a mitigation hearing also applies to cases referred by the Students’ Union or a license holder of a venue on the University’s campuses.
7.2 The membership of the Discipline Committee is set out in the Disciplinary Procedures Document. The Committee is normally chaired by a Pro-Vice Chancellor and has at least five other members of University staff / Student Union Sabbatical Officers on it.
7.3 The quorum of the Discipline Committee is three members, the Chair plus at least one student member and one member of University staff.
8.1 The Discipline Committee may impose one or more sanctions, taking into account the specific allegations, the particular features of the case, the relevant mitigation brought forward and in certain cases any impact statement provided by the complainant. The sanctions available to the Committee range from a fine or formal reprimand through to suspension or expulsion from the University. A separate range of sanctions is set out for cases of sexual misconduct and form part of the briefing and training given to those involved with student discipline cases.
8.2 Where the student is registered on a course which falls within Regulation 34 (Regulation for the Determination of Fitness to Practise) the Discipline Committee must in addition refer the matter to be dealt with in accordance with that Regulation. Cases considered under Regulation 34 may also be considered under this Regulation where appropriate and as determined by the Registrar in consultation with the relevant academic department.
8.3 Where a student is known to be engaging in regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults, any matter which may call into question their suitability must be reported to the Director of HR Group and the University’s Designated Person for Safeguarding.
8.4 The Discipline Committee may suspend the implementation of any sanction subject to conditions notified to the student.
(9) Right of Appeal
9.1 Discipline Appeals Committee of the Senate
The membership of the Appeals Committee is set out in the Disciplinary Procedures Document. The Committee is normally chaired by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (also known as the Provost) and has at least five other members of University staff / Student Union Sabbatical Officers on it.
9.1.2 The appeal will normally take the form of a paper review unless the Chair of the Discipline Appeals Committee decides that a new hearing is required.
9.2 Both Parties have the right of appeal from any decision of the Discipline Committee to the Discipline Appeals Committee of the Senate.
9.2.2 The Discipline Appeals Committee will consider appeals made on the following grounds:
- a) that there was a material irregularity or failure in procedure in the conduct of the original hearing;
- b) that there appears to be evidence of prejudice or of bias during the original hearing;
- c) that relevant new evidence has come to light which either party had a good reason for being unable to present either to the IO, University Officer or Disciplinary Committee prior to or during the original hearing which may make a material difference to the sanction applied