Student discipline procedure

As a member of the University, you are expected to conduct yourself in a manner that is responsible and respectful to others, whether they are other students, members of staff, visitors to the University or members of the local community. The University is committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals regardless of gender, age, disability, colour, race, ethnic or national origin, socio-economic group, sexual orientation, marital status, family responsibilities, religious or political beliefs. By accepting an offer of a place at the University, you agree to abide by all relevant policies and regulations of the University (including Regulation B1: Student Discipline) which have been designed to support the University’s key values. All members of the University community have a responsibility to support each other in maintaining good order and creating a safe environment which is conducive to study, living and working.

The discipline regulation applies to all registered students of the University as well as those who have accepted the offer of a place at Keele. 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.

An offence is any behaviour which: 

  • negatively impacts Keele staff, students and visitors, and/or;
  • adversely affects the functioning or activities of the University or its reputation.

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) a first or second minor breach of University regulations,  policies, accommodation licence agreements, terms and conditions, mutual resolution agreements or codes of conduct e.g. smoking in non-designated areas, ignoring fire alarms, using University IT equipment or their University IT account for downloading material from the internet which breaches copyright, or breaching the attendance monitoring policy by repeatedly falsely claiming attendance via the KeeleApp or other methods of attendance recording; 

(b) failure to respond to reasonable requests or directions (verbal and written) by University staff; 

(c) failure to disclose name and other relevant information to University staff, or not respond truthfully, when reasonably asked to provide this; 

(d) noise disturbances, for example in halls of residence, teaching venues, or the library; 

(e) possession or use of drugs that are prohibited by the University and/or possession of drug paraphernalia for personal use. This also applies where a student knowingly allows another person to bring such or use such drugs within their allocated University accommodation; 

(f) conduct which, by whatever means, disrupts the work of students or staff of the University such as disruptive behaviour in class, in the library or hindering the work of security staff; 

(g) antisocial, disorderly or reckless conduct which results in minor damage to University property, or the property of staff, students and visitors that is caused intentionally or recklessly; 

(h) antisocial, disorderly or reckless conduct (including via social media) which is unconducive to study, work and/or rest, or which affects the good health and safety of students, staff or visitors; 

(i) inappropriate behaviour against members of the University or its visitors, including via social media; 

(j) failure to self-isolate when required to do so. 

Major offences

(a) a serious or persistent breach of University regulations, policies, accommodation licence agreements, terms and conditions, mutual resolution agreements or codes of conduct;

(b) persistent minor offences, or multiple concurrent minor offences;

(c) complaints against the University or its members which are vexatious or frivolous in nature, for example motivated by malice or designed specifically to cause disruption or annoyance;

(d) inappropriate, abusive, offensive, indecent, or threatening behaviour against members of the University or its visitors, including via social media;

(e) causing or attempting to cause physical harm, injury, or mental distress, including where this was caused by controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour;

(f) failure to comply with a temporary exclusion or restriction or with a penalty imposed under this regulation;

(g) 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);

(h) possession of firearms, other weapons and explosives, either real or imitation, on University premises;

(i) falsification or serious misuse of University documents, including certificates, transcripts, permits and letters, or falsified evidence brought forward for consideration under any University process;

(j) impersonation of others or allowing another to impersonate you, within or outside the University, in connection with academic attainments, attendance monitoring, or visa checking points;

(k) theft, fraud, misapplication of or gross negligence in connection with funds or property of any kind;

(l) offences against the criminal law, where these offences either involve other students, raise concerns regarding the safety or well-being of members of the University community, or directly affect the interests or reputation of the University;

(m) failure to declare a relevant criminal conviction or ongoing criminal legal proceedings at enrolment or re-enrolment;

(n) supply of drugs**, or possession with intent to supply drugs, that are prohibited by the University as listed in the Discipline Procedure. This also applies to the cultivation or preparation with the intent to supply such drugs within their accommodation. This also applies where a student within their allocated University accommodation knowingly allows another person to do so;

(o) offences which are covered by the University’s policies on bullying and harassment, sexual misconduct, or are otherwise in breach of the University’s core values on dignity and respect;

(p) conduct which is likely to bring the University into disrepute. 

** 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).

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, please read the University's guidance via the following link:

When an allegation of misconduct has been received, the University will decide if there has been a potential breach of the discipline regulation and, if  so, whether it would constitute a minor or major breach.

Minor breaches will be investigated by an authorised officer who can impose penalties set out for minor offences. Offences initially classed as minor may be pursued as major offences if this is deemed more appropriate by the University following an initial enquiry.

Major offences will be investigated by an investigating officer who will carry out a formal investigation and submit a written report which may then be considered by a Discipline Committee. For more details on how minor and major offences are investigated please refer to the relevant sections below.

Where an allegation of serious misconduct has been made against you, a risk assessment may be carried out which can result in immediate measures (exclusions or restrictions) being imposed on you. The purpose of any such measures is to safeguard you, or others, whilst a full  investigation is undertaken  by the University or the police, or both. More details about this process are given below.

A list of University officers who are authorised by the Head of Student Conduct to deal with minor offences and can impose penalties under Regulation B1 can be requested by emailing:

Please note that the librarian, or nominee, is also authorised to take urgent measures under the discipline regulation if your behaviour in the library disrupts other students’ ability to study uninterrupted or the running of the library service The librarian or nominee can temporarily exclude you for up to 48 hours or may limit your access to the library to certain times for up to 72 hours.

A list of University officers who are authorised to investigate potential major offences under Regulation B1 is maintained by Student Conduct and can also be requested by emailing:

The University aims to take a supportive approach to a first allegation of a minor offence (except where there is damage to University property), dealing with the matter via an educational conversation in the first instance.

The conversation will, normally, be carried out by an authorised officer or a trained member of staff.  During the conversation, the member of staff will explain why your alleged behaviour may constitute a minor offence and you will receive advice regarding your future conduct. In addition, the penalties that may be imposed on you should you be involved in a further incident of a similar nature will be highlighted to you.

Please note, if you are registered on a programme that is subject to Regulation B5 (Fitness to Practice), the allegation will be disclosed to your school (see Regulation B1 7.4 for further details).

You will receive an email from an authorised officer informing you of the allegation together with the details of the information/evidence that has been considered. The email will contain the proposed outcome (including the proposed penalty) to the allegation. You will be given the opportunity to submit a response to the allegation and proposed outcome. Your response should include any mitigation, evidence or information that you wish the authorised officer to consider. If you wish to submit a response, this must be done within 14 calendar days of the email from the authorised officer. After this time, the authorised officer will consider your response (if submitted) and then issue a final outcome letter via email which will detail their decision and the penalty that has been imposed for the offence.

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.

Where your conduct suggests that a major offence under the discipline regulation may have been committed, and disciplinary action may need to be taken, and advice on how to proceed will be sought from Student Conduct. If it is determined that your conduct may constitute a sufficiently serious breach of the regulation, a formal investigation will be initiated. The University will appoint an investigating officer who will undertake an investigation.

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

Upon completion of the investigation, the investigating officer will submit a written report to the Head of Student Conduct, or nominee, who will determine whether to dismiss the case, send it back to the investigating officer as a minor offence, refer it to a formal meeting of the Discipline Committee, or refer it for consideration by chair’s action on behalf of the Discipline Committee.

If you are asked to attend a meeting of the Discipline Committee, you will be provided, normally at least 7 calendar days in advance of the meeting, with a letter (via email) 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 investigating officer will be calling to the meeting. You have a right to make a submission, call witnesses, and to be accompanied by a representative from ASK, a member of staff, a current student, or an elected officer of the Keele Students' Union or the Keele Postgraduate Association. 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. Normally, witnesses must have given a written statement during the investigation. 

You will be invited to submit a statement in response to the allegation(s), a copy of any documentation you wish to be considered, and the names of any witnesses you wish to call to the meeting 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 normally consist of:

a chair (which will be a senior academic or administrative member of staff);
a member of staff (either academic or administrative)
an elected officer from either Keele University Students’ Union or Keele Postgraduate Association

Optional other member(s) of staff may be co-opted onto the Committee where appropriate.

At the meeting, the allegation(s) will be presented by the investigating 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.

Where an allegation of serious misconduct has been made against you, the University may conduct a risk assessment. This can result in immediate measures, such as exclusions or restrictions, being imposed on you. An opportunity to meet with the Risk Assessment Panel will be given to you before a decision is taken as to whether ongoing temporary exclusions or restrictions are necessary. The purpose of any such immediate measures is to safeguard you, or others, whilst a full investigation can be carried out by the University or the police, or both, as appropriate. 

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 from campus and/or studies, or impose restrictions on you which can include limiting your access to parts of the campus and/or University facilities and activities. Such measures are precautionary and are intended to manage risk. They are not a penalty and they do not indicate that the University believes that you have committed a breach of the regulation. 

As soon as temporary restrictions or exclusions have been imposed, you will be informed of this in writing, of the timescale and manner by which the restrictions and exclusions will be reviewed, and of your right to appeal. Efforts will be made to limit, where possible, the impact of such temporary restrictions or exclusions on your studies. Any temporary exclusions or restrictions will normally remain in place while an investigation is carried out or until the outcome of criminal proceedings and/or the disciplinary process is known. 

Where immediate measures have been imposed, you will be provided, normally within no more than 21 calendar days, with an opportunity to meet with the Risk Assessment Panel. The Panel will consist of representatives from Student Services and Student Conduct and, where appropriate, with others such as a representative from your school. You will be given at least 72 hours’ written notice of the meeting. You are allowed to be accompanied to the meeting by a member of the ASK (Advice and Support at Keele) team, a current student, an elected officer of the Keele University Students’ Union or Keele Postgraduate Association, or a member of staff. The Panel will consider any evidence available to them at that point and you will have the opportunity to describe the impact of any restrictions already imposed on you. The Panel will then determine the appropriate course of action and inform you of this in writing which may include additional measures being taken.

Where the Panel decides that you need to be temporarily excluded from campus and/or suspended from your studies, this needs to be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor or nominee. 

Following the imposition of temporary exclusions or restrictions by the Risk Assessment Panel, you have the right to appeal, in accordance with Regulation B1. You must fully outline the basis of your appeal on the following form and return it within 14 days from the date of the letter from the Risk Assessment Panel to

To download the form click here: Appeal Form for Temporary Restrictions August 2023 onwards  

Following the imposition of exclusions or restrictions, there will normally be an investigation of the case conducted by an investigating officer in line with the procedure set out above for major offences. Where the case is investigated by the police, or is subject to criminal proceedings, the University’s investigation may be postponed. 

The University will review temporary restrictions and/or exclusions, normally, every six weeks unless you have agreed that there is no need for regular reviews until your circumstances change. You can contact the investigating officer or Student Conduct if you wish to contribute to these reviews or if your circumstances change. You will then normally be invited to submit a letter outlining your change of circumstance to the Panel, or, exceptionally, the Panel may invite you to meet with them.

In exceptional circumstances, where a risk assessment finds an immediate threat of harm, it may be necessary to impose emergency measures. These can be authorised by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor or nominee, or the Director of Student Services or nominee, or the Head of Academic Quality and Student Conduct or nominee. Where a temporary exclusion was the result of an emergency measure, this will be followed, within no more than 21 calendar days, by a meeting of the Risk Assessment Panel, the details of which are given above.

Regulation B1 sets out the University’s expectations regarding appropriate student behaviour and provides an indicative list of behaviours and actions which would be considered to be minor or major offences under the regulation. The regulation enables authorised officers and the University’s Discipline Committee to impose penalties. The choice of penalty will be at the discretion of the authorised officers (for minor offences only) and the Discipline Committee (for minor offences and major offences).  Where appropriate, more than one penalty can be imposed for the offence(s). Student Conduct will advise on appropriate penalties.

The Senate-approved list of penalties is as follows:

Penalties for minor and major offences

  • A written warning, to be held permanently on the student’s record, indicating that the student’s behaviour was unacceptable and that they must not commit any further offences in the future;
  • A fine up to a maximum of £250 for minor offences and up to a maximum of £500 for major offences. The penalty amount will be determined on the severity of the offence and whether it was a first or subsequent offence;
  • A charge to cover any financial loss or damage to property resulting from the offence(s);
    A written apology from the student to the University and/or to those affected by the offence(s);
  • A statement (minimum of 1000 words) on specific aspect(s) of the student’s behaviour, to demonstrate their understanding of the consequences of their conduct relevant to the findings of the Committee;
  • Completion of an appropriate training and/or development activity.

Penalties for major offences only

In addition to all the penalties listed above, the following penalties can be levied by the Discipline Committee for major offences only:

  • A ban from attending the student’s graduation ceremony;
  • Exclusion from specified University facilities, including University accommodation, either for a specified period or permanently;
  • Exclusion from the University, either for a specified period or permanently.

In an attempt to ensure consistency and fairness to all students, the University has a tariff of recommended penalties for the most common offences, which can be found here: Discipline offences and penalties 2023 .

This file may not be suitable for some users of assistive technology. To request an accessible format, please email the following: 

Please note, the tariff is for guidance only; penalties/safeguarding measures may vary depending on the nature of the individual circumstances of each case.


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.

If you require advice and support, please contact Advice and Support at Keele (ASK) in the Students' Union:

Tel: +44 (0)1782 734800

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

If you are a student or a member of staff, you can report concern/complaint about a student’s behaviour by emailing Student Services via the following:  

On receipt of your email, a member of staff will assess the information you have provided and will contact you, if necessary.   

If you would prefer to discuss your concern/complaint with Student Services first, you can book an appointment with your Student Experience and Support Officer here. 

If you are a member of the local community, information on how to report concerns about a student's behaviour, can be found here.