Student Discipline Procedure

All students of the University are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is responsible and respectful to others, whether they be other students, members of staff, visitors to the University or members of the local community. 

When you enrol, you agree to abide by the University’s regulations. This includes Regulation B.1: Student Discipline. The University treats disciplinary offences very seriously and penalties will be given for proven cases, including withdrawal from the University for very serious or repeat offences. It is therefore very important that you are aware of Regulation B.1 and the types of behaviour that will not be tolerated.

 

What can I be disciplined for?

The discipline regulation applies to all registered students of the University. It applies to behaviour wherever, and whenever, it may have taken place when it is considered by the University to be detrimental to another member of the University, University property or the interests and reputation of the University itself. It includes behaviour arising at any time when you may be regarded as representing the University as an individual or as part of a team or group. It also applies whether you are living or studying on campus or at some location away from the University either as part of your studies or following an arrangement made through the University or the Students’ Union.

Behaviour which improperly interferes with the functioning or activities of the University or of those who study or work at the University, or damages the University or its reputation shall be considered as offences under the discipline regulation. This includes but is not limited to the behaviours listed below. Offences initially classed as minor may be pursued as major offences if this was deemed more appropriate by the University following an initial enquiry.

 

Minor Offences

  • a first or second minor breach of University regulations or policies /terms and conditions e.g. smoking in non-designated areas, ignoring fire alarms, using University IT equipment or their University IT account for downloading unauthorised material from the internet;
  • failure to respond to reasonable requests or directions by University staff;
  • noise disturbances in halls of residence;
  • possession or use of drugs that are prohibited by the University and which are listed here:
    • Illegal drugs covered under the misuse of drugs act 1971.
    • Prescribed Medications covered under the Medicines Act 1968, that have not been prescribed to that individual student, or which have been tampered with to deface the details of the person to whom they have been prescribed.
    • Novel Psychoactive Substances and Compounds that produce a psychoactive effect by stimulating or depressing the central nervous system & affect mental functioning or emotional states.
    • In addition students shall not use without reasonable excuse (or permit the use or preparation within their accommodation) any substances that are unfit for human consumption in a way that is potentially hazardous to health (i.e. the inhalation of solvents or gases).
  • the above also applies where a student knowingly allows another person to use such drugs within their allocated University accommodation.

 

Major Offences

  • a serious or persistent breach of University regulations or policies or terms and conditions;
  • persistent minor offences, or multiple concurrent minor offences;
  • vexatious complaints and/or statements against the University or its members;
  • verbal abuse or threats made against members of the University;
  • refusal to pay a fine or observe another penalty imposed under this regulation;
  • significant breach of health and safety requirements, endangering the wellbeing of students, staff and visitors (including but not exclusive to tampering with fire alarms/smoke detectors or other safety equipment in a University building);
  • possession of firearms, other weapons and explosives either real or imitation, on the University premises;
  • falsification or serious misuse of University records, including degree or diploma certificates;
  • false pretences or impersonation of others, within or outside the University, in connection with academic attainments, attendance monitoring, or visa checking points;
  • theft, fraud, misapplication of or gross negligence in connection with funds or property of any kind;
  • causing physical harm; threatening, offensive or indecent behaviour;
  • offences against the criminal law, where these offences involve other students or directly affect the interests of the University;
  • supply of drugs, or possession with intent to supply drugs that are prohibited by the University and which are listed above under Minor Offences, or the cultivation or preparation with the intent to supply of such drugs within their accommodation. This also applies where a student within their allocated University accommodation knowingly allows another person to do so;
  • offences which are covered by the bullying and harassment policy or the domestic and sexual violence policy, or are otherwise in breach of the University’s values expressed in its Dignity and Respect Framework;
  • conduct which is likely to bring the University into disrepute.

Many of the breaches of the discipline regulation are also regarded as breaches of the University Residential Terms and Conditions; therefore it is very important that you familiarise yourself with the accommodation contract terms and conditions, which can be found here

The University acknowledges many different groups within its community which exist for a variety of reasons; to participate in specific activities (e.g. sporting), to share passion for a particular subject or lifestyle, culture, or religion. Groups often hold social events at various times throughout the year, which are good team-building and morale-boosting exercises. In order to ensure that these events take place in a safe and respectable manner, the University has a Code of Conduct for Group Social Events. This policy sets out how the University expects group social events to be conducted. Initiation events are not permitted. Students have the right to be a member of a group and attend these events without facing embarrassment, humiliation, or abuse from others and should not feel coerced, pressured, or forced into taking part in any games or activities. All members of the group should be sensitive to the needs, beliefs and feelings of others and should be aware of their own attitudes and behaviours, and their impact on others.

It is a disciplinary offence to breach the University's IT Conditions of Use. You should also ensure that you are familiar with this and the accompanying guidance. In particular, you should be careful about your conduct online and via social media. For more information on this, please read the University's Social Media Policy and the University's Social Media Guidance for Students and Staff.

I've been accused of a disciplinary offence. What happens now?

All allegations will be investigated by an authorised officer appointed by the University. Alleged offences will be categorised into either a minor or major offence before being investigated.  Though offences initially classed as minor may be pursued as major offences if this was deemed more appropriate by the University following an initial enquiry.

For more details on how minor and major offences are investigated please refer to the relevant sections below.           

If the police are involved, the University won’t normally investigate the matter until the police case is complete; however the Deputy Vice-Chancellor may temporarily exclude a student under Regulation B.2 (please see the section below for guidance on this Regulation).

Who are the officers who are authorised to deal with student discipline?

All allegations of minor and major offences will be investigated by an authorised officer appointed by the University. Authorised Officers of the University are approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Click on this link for the list of Authorised Officers.

Investigation of Minor Offences

You will receive an email from an authorised officer explaining the allegations and asking you to attend an interview. You may take During the interview, you will be given all of the details and asked for your version of events. The authorised officer will then decide if the allegations are upheld and will inform you of the decision and any penalties via email. The authorised officer is empowered to impose any of the penalties set out for minor offences in the section below. 

If at any point the authorised officer believes that the offence merits a greater penalty, or that the offence can no longer be classed as minor in accordance with this regulation, then the matter will be referred for a full discipline investigation, and the major offences procedure as set out in the section on the investigation of major offences will be initiated.

 

Investigation of Major Offences

Where a student’s conduct suggests that a major offence under the discipline regulation may have been committed, and disciplinary action may need to be taken, advice on how to proceed will be sought from the Student Appeals, Complaints and Conduct Team in the Directorate of Student and Academic Services. If it is determined by the team that the student’s conduct may constitute a sufficiently serious breach of this regulation then a formal investigation will be initiated.

The Student Appeals, Complaints and Conduct Team will appoint an authorised officer from the approved list (see above) who will carry out a detailed investigation.

If you are accused of a major offence, the authorised officer will conduct a formal interview with you and any named witnesses and other persons who may be able to provide information which will assist the authorised officer to make their report. A record of each meeting will be taken. The authorised officer may also gather other forms of evidence and documentation that are relevant to the case, such as photographs or CCTV footage.

Upon completion of the investigation, the authorised officer will submit a written report to the Student Appeals, Complaints and Conduct team. The report will then be presented to a Chair of the Discipline Committee who will either dismiss the case or invite you to a formal meeting of the Discipline Committee.   Where you have admitted to an offence and a standard penalty can be applied, then this may be dealt with by Chair’s action on behalf of the Committee without the need for the case to be considered by a full meeting of the Discipline Committee, if this is acceptable to you.

Discipline Committee

If you are asked to attend a meeting of the Discipline Committee, you will be provided, normally at least seven calendar days in advance of the meeting, with a letter which sets out the nature of the allegation(s), a copy of  the documentation that will be presented to the Committee, and a list of any witnesses which the authorised officer will be calling to give evidence. You have a right to give evidence, call witnesses, and to be accompanied and/or represented by a member of staff, a friend, elected officer of the Keele Students' Union or ASK representative. Witnesses, who may or may not be members of the University, will only be allowed to attend the meeting by agreement of the Chair of the Discipline Committee and their attendance is restricted to the part of the meeting set aside to hear witness evidence.

You will normally be required to submit any statement you wish to make in response to the allegation(s), a copy of any documentation you wish to rely upon and a list of any witnesses you wish to call to give evidence at least 48 hours before the meeting is to take place. The Committee may disregard any mitigation that is not accompanied by supporting evidence and/or any information or evidence which is not provided to it within the prescribed time period (normally at least 48 hours before the meeting).

You will normally be required to submit any statement you wish to make in response to the allegation, a copy of any documentation you wish to rely upon and a list of any witnesses you wish to call to give evidence at least 48 hours before the meeting is to take place. The Committee may disregard any mitigation that is not accompanied by supporting evidence and/or any information or evidence which is not provided to it within the prescribed time period (normally at least 48 hours before the meeting).

The Discipline Committee will consist of:

  • a Chair (which will be a senior academic or administrative member of staff nominated by the Vice-Chancellor);
  • a member of staff (either academic or administrative) nominated by a Dean or Director;
  • an elected officer from either Keele University Students’ Union or Keele Postgraduate Association.

At the meeting, allegations will be presented by the authorised officer and you will have the opportunity to give your version of events. At the end of the meeting, the Committee will decide if an offence has been committed or if the allegation should be dismissed. Where the Committee decides that an offence has been committed, the Committee is empowered to impose any of the penalties set out for minor/major offences in the section below. In cases where the Discipline Committee recommends that you should be permanently excluded from the University, the decision will require ratification from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor. After the meeting you will be informed of the Committee's decision in writing.

Discipline Appeals Committee

Full details of the process to appeal against decisions of authorised officers and the Discipline Committee can be found here.

Temporary Exclusion under Regulation B.2

Temporary exclusions are governed by Regulation B.2 (Temporary Exclusion of Students). For the purposes of this regulation, temporary exclusion is defined as a partial or total ban on attendance at the University, including at learning, teaching or assessment activities, including placements; and/or on participation in University activities, and/or on attendance at or access to specified facilities or parts of the University (including residential accommodation); and/or on exercising the functions or duties of any office or committee membership in the University or the Students’ Union.

In the event that the University believes that you present a threat of harm to yourself, other students and/or members of the University or to University property, the University may temporarily exclude you or place temporary restrictions upon you. Temporary exclusions are precautionary, they are not a penalty and do not indicate that the student has committed an offence.

Where an allegation of misconduct has been made against you, the University may impose immediate conditions on you to ensure that a full and proper investigation can be carried out and/or to safeguard you or others whilst the allegation is being considered under Regulation B.1. For example, you may be required not to contact a named member of members of the University.

A temporary exclusion will be based upon the outcome of a formal risk assessment. It can normally only be authorised by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, or their nominee, based on a recommendation from the Temporary Exclusion Panel, and will be for a specific period of time or until the outcome of criminal proceedings or the disciplinary process is known.

The formal risk assessment, in order to decide if a temporary exclusion is appropriate, will be carried out by the Temporary Exclusion Panel. This Panel will consist, as a minimum, of two people from the following: Director of Student Services or nominee, the Head of Academic Quality and Student Conduct or nominee, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students), Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education), or the University's Academic Registrar. In addition, the Panel may co-opt, on a case by case basis, members of the Student Support team, members of the Student Appeals, Complaints and Conduct team, Accommodation, Security Services, or other members of the University as required. If you are the subject of a risk assessment, you will be invited to meet with the Temporary Exclusion Panel and given at least 72 hours' written notice of the date and time of the meeting. You may give evidence and call witnesses who may, or may not, be members of the University in support of your case. Witnesses will only be allowed to attend the meeting by agreement of the Temporary Exclusion Panel members and their attendance is restricted to the part of the meeting set aside to hear witness statements. Notification of the names and status of any witnesses must be given to the secretary to the Panel at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. You can be accompanied to the meeting by a member of staff, a friend, elected officer of the Keele Students' Union or ASK representative. They may support and/or represent you and may attend the whole meeting. Notification of the names and status of the friend or representative must be given to the secretary to the Panel at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Following the meeting, the Temporary Exclusion Panel will make a recommendation to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor as to whether you should, or should not, be temporarily excluded or if temporary restrictions should be put in place. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor will then make a decision based on that recommendation. The decision of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor will be notified to you in writing.

Following the temporary exclusion, there will normally be an internal investigation of the case conducted by an authorised officer in line with the procedure set out in Regulation B.1. Where the case is investigated by the police or is subject to criminal proceedings, the internal investigation may be postponed as set out in that regulation. The Temporary Exclusion Panel will review the temporary exclusion periodically from the date that it came into effect and you will be given the opportunity to make representation to this review, either in person or in writing. At each review, the Temporary Exclusion Panel will make a recommendation to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor regarding whether the temporary exclusion should be lifted, modified or remain in force. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor will then make a decision based on that recommendation. The decision of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor will be notified to you in writing.

The temporary exclusion shall normally remain in place until such time as any police investigation and/or criminal proceedings and / or any internal investigation and/or disciplinary proceedings by the University have been concluded.

In exceptional circumstances, where it is deemed that urgent measures are required based on a risk assessment which finds a potential threat of harm, either the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, or nominee, the Director of Student Services or nominee, or the Head of Academic Quality and Student Conduct or nominee may impose a temporary exclusion upon you as an emergency measure.

Where a temporary exclusion was the result of an emergency measure, this will be followed, within no more than 14 calendar days, by a meeting of the Temporary Exclusion Panel. Following the meeting, the Temporary Exclusion Panel will make a recommendation to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor regarding whether the temporary exclusion should be lifted, modified or remain in force. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor will then make a decision based on the recommendation from the Panel and send a letter, via email, will be sent to you to inform you of the decision.

What are the penalties for discipline offences?

The Schedule of approved penalties for major and minor offences can be found here.

Penalties can only be imposed by the Discipline Committee, or, in the case of minor offences, by an authorised officer. Failure to meet the terms set out for compliance with a penalty may lead to further disciplinary action.

All discipline cases are considered according to the individual circumstances of each case; however, in an attempt to ensure consistency and fairness to all students, the University has a standard tariff of penalties for the most common offences that it deals with which can be found here - Discipline Offences and corresponding penalties.

The Hall Bars Guidance Framework on Disciplinary Sanctions lists the sanctions that will be given for offences that take place in halls bars.

The standard tariff of penalties applies to first offences. Students found guilty of an offence and who have already been found guilty of previous offences will receive more severe penalties.

This information is for guidance only; these are not strict instructions and penalties and fines may be varied depending on the nature of individual cases.

How do I submit an appeal against a discipline decision?

In very exceptional circumstances, you may be entitled to lodge an appeal against disciplinary action taken against you. To do so, one or more of the follow criteria must be fulfilled: 

i) Procedural irregularity in the conduct of the case;

ii) There is new evidence that can be substantiated, including exceptional circumstances, which was not known at the time, and may have affected the outcome had it been known to the Authorised Officer / Discipline Committee and that there is a valid reason for not making it known at the time. 

Details of the appeal process can be found here.

Who can I go to for advice?

Advice and support can be obtained from:

Advice & Support at Keele, Students’ Union

Tel: 01782 734800 

Email: su.ask@keele.ac.uk

 

If you have any questions about the disciplinary process, please contact the Student Appeals, Complaints and Conduct Team.