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Regulation 7: Student discipline

The University owes a duty of care towards its students and staff.  We strive towards a community in which individuals accept their obligations and responsibilities to the whole in order to enable all to live, learn and research in a peaceful and supportive environment.  Discipline is important in safeguarding the University community as a whole and promoting well-being, equality and fairness.  This community extends beyond the bounds of the University campus.  The scope of this regulation can include, but is not limited to, incidents on University related business or events, or between students.

7.1 Disciplinary offences

Disciplinary offences are unjustified or illegal actions which cause, or may cause, injury, harm or damage to members of the University or the public, its visitors or its property, activities or reputation.  They include actions which obstruct or prevent the proper functioning of the University or impede any member of it from pursuing their study, or at work whether on campus or on placement.  They may be perpetrated intentionally, recklessly or negligently and include but are not limited to:

  • breach of any University ordinance or regulation (including this regulation or failure to comply with its procedures or any sanctions imposed) or failure to observe provisions of any University code or policy, as amended or updated from time to time
  • any action likely to cause injury to anyone on University premises
  • serious interference with University work or work of its staff, students or visitors
  • harassment or other inappropriate behaviour towards staff or students including via e-mail, telephone and writing or through use of internet social networks or similar sites
  • inappropriate posting or distributing of advertising or other unsolicited materials or notices on University premises
  • fraud, deception or dishonesty towards the University, its members or visitors
  • theft or misuse of University property or participation in wilful or negligent damage to such property or that of others on University premises and/or failure to make good such damage, or misuse of premises via serious or persistent breach of parking rules
  • possession, storage, sale, use or misuse of any controlled drug (defined by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 as amended from time to time)
  • possession and/or use of a rifle or gun, including airgun, and/or offensive or dangerous weapon on University premises
  • disorderly, riotous, violent, indecent, intimidating or offensive behaviour or language, whether or not there is any criminal charge or conviction for this
  • conduct likely to bring the University into disrepute (including repetitious antisocial activities, noise and general nuisance, or making libellous statements or unfounded allegations against the University on social networks or other sites) on University premises or in public places or within the local community or at other institutions, such as when abroad pursuant to a course requirement or on work placement - including impeding the work of a placement provider; or in any circumstances where a student is representing the University or a University of York student society
  • failure to disclose a relevant criminal conviction incurred before or whilst registered as a student at the University, or during a period of leave of absence.  A relevant criminal conviction for these purposes means one requiring to be disclosed by UCAS, under their criteria as may be amended from time to time.  ('Relevant' is currently defined by UCAS as criminal offences involving any kind of violence, offences concerning the intention to harm or resulting in actual bodily harm, the unlawful supply of controlled drugs or substances, where the conviction concerns commercial drug dealing or trafficking, offences involving firearms, arson or those listed in the Sex Offences Act 2003 or the Terrorism Act 2006).  No disclosure is usually required of motoring offences attracting fines/maximum 3 penalty points or 'spent' convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.  Some programmes (eg Medicine, Health Sciences, Social Work) are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and students are required to disclose spent or unspent convictions.  Disclosures should be made in writing to the Academic Registrar at the earliest opportunity.  Failure to disclose could jeopardise the student's enrolment status
  • failure to comply with any disclosure requirements for courses leading to membership of a profession/professional body and/or for Fitness to Practise considerations (which requirements normally include disclosure of 'spent' convictions)

7.2 Disciplinary process

7.2.1 Interim suspension and exclusion

(a) Under Statute 6.5, the Vice-Chancellor has power to suspend a student from any class/classes and to exclude a student from any part of the University or its precincts, subject to reporting this to Council.  The Vice-Chancellor has delegated this power to the Deputy and Pro-Vice-Chancellors, who may take this action in consultation with the Registrar and Secretary where he or she perceives that the continued presence of a student at the University may pose a significant danger to that student and/or other students or members of the University or to University property, and may require the student to withdraw immediately for a stipulated period.  During that time, the student may return to the University to attend any relevant disciplinary hearing or with the prior express permission of the Deputy or Pro-Vice-Chancellor, which may be subject to specified conditions as the Deputy or Pro-Vice-Chancellor deem to be appropriate.

(b) If, arising from such hearing, the student is excluded temporarily or permanently from the University, such exclusion shall apply pending the outcome of any appeal.

7.2.2 Police/Court proceedings

(a) If the police proceed against a student in relation to a matter which may be or has become the subject of disciplinary procedure under this regulation, the University may suspend the student and elect not to progress further such procedure (other than under 7.2.1) pending the outcome of police investigations and/or the completion of any criminal judicial process.  Less usually but in relevant circumstances, the University may also suspend the student and not progress further under this regulation pending the outcome of relevant civil proceedings.

(b) If the police issue a student with a police warning or caution or if they decide to proceed no further in relation to a matter which may be or has become the subject of disciplinary procedure under this regulation, then the University may, if it deems fit, proceed under the provisions of this regulation.  (The student may wish to have recourse to the support services generally made available to students by the University).

(c) If a case relating to a matter which may be or has become the subject of disciplinary procedure under this regulation, is referred to a court of law, the University may await the outcome of that and once the decision of a court of law is issued, then:

(i) in the event of the student being found not guilty, the University shall decide whether or not to take further action under this regulation, taking into account such factors as whether any threat is posed to other students or staff at the University;

(ii) in the event that the student is found guilty and a non-custodial sentence is imposed by the court of law, the University may decide, in addition, to take disciplinary proceedings under this regulation;

(iii) in the event that a student is found guilty and a custodial sentence is given, the student may have his or her current registration terminated or suspended.  If the student later applies to be re-admitted, the Registrar and Secretary shall in consultation with the Deputy or Pro-Vice-Chancellor consider this and determine whether to grant this request and, if so, whether any additional penalties or conditions shall attach to such re-admittance. If a student wishes to appeal the outcome of a decision to readmit them this would be referred by the Registrar and Secretary to three members of the Senior Management Team who have not been involved in the case for further consideration.

7.2.3 Procedure for investigating disciplinary offences

(a) Allegations of any suspected offence under this regulation shall first be investigated, where such offence relates to a breach of college rules, by the Head of the College concerned or, if such offence relates to departmental regulations or similar matters, by the relevant Head of Department or College, or otherwise (including if the relevant Head of Department or College so elect) by the Registrar and Secretary (all being Investigating Officers authorised by the University to give certain penalties and directions as specified below).

(b) The initial investigation may include a preliminary interview with any parties involved.  If it is found that there is a case to answer, the Investigating Officer shall investigate further as he or she deems appropriate and reach a decision taking into account the circumstances and evidence available.

(c) Proceedings shall be conducted without undue delay, giving the student notice of any proceedings, details of allegations and opportunity to make representations and/or rebut arguments or evidence brought against him or her.  Any decision will be delivered with reasons as fast as is reasonable, having due regard to natural justice.

(d) Any hearings seen fit to be taken under this regulation shall be in private (i.e. not in a public place).  Those conducting any hearing shall decide whether or not students who are the subject of disciplinary procedure and any relevant witnesses or alleged victims shall appear together or separately in any hearing.  Strict rules of evidence shall not apply to such hearings, but these shall be conducted with regard to rules of natural justice.  Hearings may take place in the absence of the student concerned, provided that reasonable steps to inform the student of the hearing have been taken (though the University may agree to a prior request to change hearing dates if for good reason, such as ill-health, a student or supporter cannot attend any date originally set).

(e) Students may seek independent advice and support from York University Students' Union (YUSU) and/or the Graduate Students' Association (GSA) as appropriate.  At any hearing, a student may be accompanied one of either a registered student or employee of the University, or (if an undergraduate) the Academic and Welfare Coordinator or other similar sabbatical officer of YUSU, or (if a postgraduate) the Representation, Advice or Welfare Coordinator or other similar officer or staff member of GSA.  However, any such accompanying person cannot represent the student or attend if the student is not present in person, or be a co-accused or witness to any alleged offence.

(f) A student on placement or away for other study reasons may be required to return for purposes of any disciplinary investigation and shall do so promptly on request.

(g) Where a disciplinary offence is denied but found as a result of investigation to have been committed, the student may give a statement in mitigation before a penalty is given.

(h) On reaching any decision relating to a disciplinary offence in a College, the relevant Head of College may fine individual students up to £250 and/or exclude any student for up to three days from any relevant College facility.

(i) On reaching any decision relating to a breach of departmental regulations including the student's obligations under regulation 2.5 and 6.4 and/or similar matters, the relevant Head of Department may fine individual students up to £250 and/or exclude any student for up to three days from any relevant department, laboratory, library or other study area.

(j) In reaching a decision in a matter, the Registrar and Secretary (who may elect to appoint a nominee to act on his or her behalf, and at his or her discretion consult with any relevant Head of Department, Head of College or supervisor), may fine a student up to £250 and/or exclude a student for up to 3 days from a relevant department, laboratory or other study area.

(k) In addition to a fine, students found to have perpetrated disciplinary offences may be directed by the relevant Investigating Officer to pay compensation to cover some or all of the cost of any damage caused by his or her offences and/or to offer an apology to anyone who has suffered from such offence.

(l) Failure to pay any fine imposed, or to respect an exclusion, could be treated as a separate disciplinary offence.

(m) All Investigating Officers may at any stage in the investigation, where they regard it as reasonably appropriate and, following consultation with the Registrar and Secretary, recommend that the Deputy or Pro-Vice-Chancellor consider exercising his or her power to suspend or exclude under Statute 6.5, in addition to the powers they have to impose sanctions, as referred to above.

(n) The University may involve the police in any incident it deems appropriate and notify the Independent Safeguarding Authority of conduct raising concerns of harm/risk of harm to minors or vulnerable adults.

(o) These proceedings may operate in conjunction with other University Proceedings, such as those relating to Academic Misconduct, Fitness to Practise and Harassment.

(p) References to students include full-time and part-time students, students studying abroad and students externally registered for examinations.

7.2.4 Appeal and imposing other penalties

(a) Where a student wishes to contest a decision made by a Head of Department or College and/or penalty under 7.2.3, he or she may appeal by written notice to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor within fourteen days of the date of the decision.  The Deputy Vice-Chancellor shall then appoint another senior member or officer of the University (other than any Investigating Officer previously involved in the matter) to look into the appeal, giving opportunity to the student to submit written representations upon the decision and/or penalty.  The appointee shall report to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor with recommendations, which the Deputy Vice-Chancellor shall consider in reaching a final decision on the appeal (to be notified to the student in writing as soon as reasonably possible).

(b) If any Investigating Officer reaches a finding that he or she regards as meriting a penalty which he or she is not authorised to impose, he or she can refer the case to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor who may act in accordance with powers of suspension and exclusion under Statute 6.5.

(c) In determining any appeal, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor may (i) confirm the findings and penalty or (ii) confirm the findings in whole or in part but increase or decrease or modify the penalty or (iii) uphold the appeal and quash the previous decision.

(d)Where a student remains unhappy with the outcome of their appeal to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor under (c) they may take their case to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (subject to that Office's rules on eligibility).

Regulations

Report an incident

To report a disciplinary offence, please visit the Student misconduct page.