This page sets out the processes that will be followed by the Residential Life Team following an incident which may require disciplinary action. As of Friday 13th November 2020, when an additional process was introduced for incidents where there have been breaches of the University's COVID-19 measures, the disciplinary processes are:
- a streamlined process for breaches of COVID-19 rules, guidelines and regulations
- a staged process for other breaches of University rules, guidelines and regulations
Disciplinary action taken with regard to breaches of the rules and regulations with regard to COVID-19 measures (under Regulation 27 3.1.4 Activity endangering the health, safety and wellbeing of others) will be held under the streamlined COVID-19 disciplinary framework.
Streamlined COVID-19 framework for student discipline
The University Executive Board approved the introduction of a streamlined student disciplinary process in relation to COVID-19 related offences. This process came in to effect for the Residential Life Team from Friday 13th November 2020 and will be used when determining if a student has failed to uphold the University's commitment to community responsibilities with regard to COVID-19 the health and safety measures in place to protect members of the University and wider community.
These amendments were approved by the University Executive Board and will remain in place during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures will be periodically reviewed in line with any changes recommended by Government, Local Public Health Authorities or changes in University policy or procedures.
1. Notification of disciplinary action under the streamlined process
If a student has been involved in an incident where there has been a breach of the University's COVID-19 safety measures then the student will be asked to identify themselves. They will be told what the breach is and reminded of the University's rules with regard to COVID-19 safety measures on campus. The student will also be notified verbally that there will be a formal disciplinary action taken.
All students have received the rules with regard to the University's COVID-19 safety measures in a COVID-19 safety guide. The rules are also publicly available on the University's COVID-19 web pages and Life in Halls online student accommodation handbook. These pages are updated and reviewed regularly in response to changes by the UK Government, Local Authority Public Health or other external agencies.
2. Considerations when sanctions are to be applied
The member of the Residential Life Team who is considering the breach of the COVID-19 rules and guidelines will be guided by the University's COVID-19 disciplinary framework when considering sanctions. The sanctions range from formal warnings, fines, through to being temporarily or permanently withdrawn from the University.
Previous breaches of the University's COVID-19 rules and guidance will be taken in to account and fines may double in line with police fixed penalty notices for each subsequent breach.
In addition, any student who has breached the law and Covid-19 Regulations will be reported as appropriate to the Police, Public Health or Border Agency.
Aggravating factors during the incident will also be considered such as:
- failing to co-operate with a reasonable request - such as providing identification, leaving a building, wearing a face mask, dispersing from a gathering, etc
- providing false identification
- being abusive, aggressive or confrontational
3. Notification of disciplinary outcome for the streamlined process
The streamlined process means that there is no second meeting with a student other than the meeting held at the time of the incident and the verbal notification at the time that the incident will result in formal disciplinary action. The Residential Life Team will notify the student in writing of the outcome following the incident. This will set out:
- the date, time and place of the incident
- a brief description of the incident and the breach of the COVID-19 rules
- a brief description of any aggravating factors during the incident
- the sanction to be applied
- the process for appeal
4. Appeals for streamlined disciplinary process
You have the right to appeal a disciplinary outcome under the streamlined process. Your appeals case needs to be submitted within 10 University working days of the date of the disciplinary outcome letter.
There are four specific grounds for an appeal:
- That there was a material irregularity or failure in the COVID-19 streamlined disciplinary procedure
- That there appears to be prejudice or bias in the decision making
- New evidence has come to light which was not available at the time of the incident
- That the penalty is excessive and not proportionate (consistent)
The fine tariffs for breaches of the COVID-19 rules and guidelines are in line with fixed penalty notices issued by the police. What cannot be considered as grounds for appeal is your ability to pay. If you are in financial difficulty and need advice about how to pay your fine then please contact Student Funding - email@example.com.
All monies collected from student fines goes to student hardship funds.
Standard student disciplinary process for incidents not COVID-19 related
The following will give you some idea of the standard overall disciplinary process and the steps involved.
1. Fact finding meeting overview
If you have been involved in an incident which may need to be followed-up then you will receive notification from the Residential Life Team (RLT) inviting you to a meeting. You will be offered two dates to meet and the opportunity to bring someone with you as support (a student representative - see more details about this role below).
In order to maintain social distancing guidelines and keep the University community safe, meetings have been moved online.
The following will be covered at your fact finding meeting:
- Why the meeting has been called and what University Regulation it is under.
- The role of the student representative if you have one for support (you may not feel this is necessary).
- An outline of the incident and your opportunity to explain what happened.
- A discussion of potential outcomes and possible penalties (if any) so that you are clear what consequences there may be.
- How and when the final outcome will be communicated.
- The important right of appeal - should there be any penalty.
- If there is a need to arrange a further meeting(s) to explore evidence shared or talk to witnesses.
There is often confusion around the level of proof that is required in relation to an incident which may have a disciplinary outcome. Your involvement in an incident is considered on the balance of probability.
If you are not able to meet on the proposed dates then get in touch with the RLT. The RLT will try to arrange another meeting date. If it isn't possible to meet - due to vacation or exam commitments - then the outcome will be decided on the information available.
2. What the meeting will cover
The format for the fact finding meeting can be different according to each situation - the following is a typical example of a what will be covered:
- The details of the incident will be outlined to you.
- You will be made aware of the regulation it is alleged you have breached.
- You will have the opportunity to go through the sequence of events - clarifying your involvement and what happened (what, why, how, who, where, when).
- If you indicate that there is other evidence which can be explored, witnesses or people involved in the incident who can provide further information, then the Residential Life Team may want to arrange an additional meeting(s).
- You will be given the opportunity to talk to your student representative to ensure you have shared all the information you wish to raise.
- The key incident points will be summarised to establish a common understanding of the incident - this will include any attitudes or behaviours exhibited.
- You will be made aware of the possible consequences and potential disciplinary outcomes - so that you are fully informed. There are a range of penalties including fines, which differ according to the severity and impact of the incident.
- The right of appeal will be explained.
- Finally - the meeting will be drawn to a close and there will be the opportunity for any questions.
3. What happens after the fact finding meeting
The next step is for the Residential Life Team to reflect on what was discussed during the fact finding meeting. The RLT consider the case and any other associated evidence they have obtained during the process. They come to a determination based on the balance of probability. They will then communicate the outcome to you.
If after careful consideration, the RLT are satisfied that there is a need to take disciplinary action then there are a range of penalty options (including fines). Along with your fine you might also:
- be asked to pay for damage (if damage occurred).
- be asked to partake in mediation or undertake training.
- have a temporary ban on guests, access to areas such as other blocks or kitchens, parties, gatherings, etc.
- be asked to formally apologise.
- be transferred to another residential hall.
If you have previously received a fine then the penalties may escalate for any following disciplinary incidents. If the matter is serious or you may have been involved in several previous incidents that have required disciplinary action, then you may be asked to leave halls or the case may be referred for investigation under Regulation 23.
You have the right to appeal a disciplinary outcome decided by the Residential Life Team. Your appeals case needs to be submitted within 10 University working days of the date of the disciplinary outcome letter.
There are four specific grounds for an appeal:
- That there was a material irregularity or failure in procedure.
- That there appears to be prejudice or bias in the decision making.
- New evidence has come to light which was not available at the time of the fact finding meeting.
- That the penalty is excessive and not proportionate (consistent).
What cannot be considered as grounds for appeal is your ability to pay. If you are in financial difficulty and need advice about how to pay your fine then please contact Student Funding - studentfunding at warwick dot ac dot uk.
If you have admitted the charge of knowingly being possession of and/or using Class B or C illegal substances and you wish to appeal the level of the standard penalty outcome from the RLT, then you need to write to the Director of Student Discipline and Resolution. You need to set out your case together with any additional evidence within 10 University working days of the penalty being communicated. You can submit your appeal to: studentdiscipline at warwick dot ac dot uk
If an appeal goes forward and a panel is convened to review the outcome of the meeting then please be aware that the panel has the right to increase disciplinary measures as well as rescind or reduce them.
5. What you can do to prepare
It will help the process if you:
- let the Residential Life Team know which date you can meet on from the dates you have been offered.
- make sure you know where the meeting is taking place.
- think about suitable support - if you want someone to attend with you (see the student representative role below).
- If you have a student representative make sure you have taken time to talk to them before the meeting.
- make sure you have read the regulations, Warwick's Values and the rules for Life in Halls.
6. The role of the student representative
Not every meeting will require representation as support, however, these notes provide a framework for the student representative. Whoever attends to support you, their role is the same.
Students have the right to have someone to support them through the process. This may be a friend, a flatmate or even an advisor from the Students’ Union Advice Team.
You may not bring anyone as a representative if they were involved in the incident under consideration.
The student representative:
- needs to have previously discussed with you what you want to say about the incident under consideration.
- is there to ensure that you have said everything you want to say and covered all the points you wanted to raise.
- can pause the meeting if they feel that they need to talk to you.
If a representative is present then you need to be clear with them that they are not able to speak on your behalf. It is important that you have the opportunity to talk directly with the RLT. This helps to clearly establish the facts for an incident since the student representative was not present at the time of the incident.