non academic discipline

UEA has a disciplinary process which is used where allegations of misconduct are made against a student. In this guide, we use the term “misconduct” to mean breaches of university regulations, whether or not the conduct is also a criminal offence.  The university will consider misconduct which has been alleged to have happened both on campus (including in UEA accommodation) and off-campus.

If you find your self either having an allegation made against you, you have or would like to report the behaviour of someone else or have been asked to attend a disciplinary as a witness to something, you do not have to go it alone - we are here for you. We can be there with every step as a was as a companion at meetings or, in some cases, represent you or advocate or your behalf. 

In the sections below we set all the process of non-academic discipline at UEA. If you would like more information or arrange someone to support you through this process or at meetings, click on the link at the bottom. 

Examples of the type of conduct addressed by non-academic discipline

 

  • Smoking in UEA accommodation
  • Antisocial behaviour such as excessively noisy social gatherings
  • Theft of or damage to university or other students’ property
  • Breach of copyright and intellectual property law
  • Possession or supply of controlled substances
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Physical or Sexual assault

Allegations of academic misconduct (for example plagiarism, collusion, and cheating in exams) are dealt with under different processes (for example,  plagiarism and collusion  and conduct in exams)

If the allegation made is something which might be a criminal offence, the UEA has the discretion to postpone taking action or to deal the case using internal procedures immediately.  This decision will be made after an assessment of risk to others, the risk of interfering with criminal investigation or of jeopardising a student’s defence or prosecution.

 
What will happen when an incident is reported?

If the incident related to occupation of university accommodation, it will initially be considered by the Deputy Accommodation manager. Other disciplinary incidents are initially considered by the Student Services Co-ordinator.

At the first stage, the incident is categorised as low level, medium or high level, which determines how the case is dealt with. There is no appeal against this decision.

Low/medium level incidents

These will be investigated by the same officer who will either:

  • Give advice about the terms on the terms of occupation of university accommodation and a warning
  • Impose a penalty such as a warning, a restriction on having a guest in your accommodation, require you to undertaking relevant training ( e.g. fire safety or sexual consent up to and including requiring you to move to different accommodation, or leave university accommodation altogether, or pay for damage to be put right.
  • Refer the matter for informal resolution. This means that, in a case of allegations such as bullying and harassment, where the alleged victim consents and the case is regarded as suitable after a risk assessment, the case is dealt with by a discussion between the alleged offender and the Student Services Coordinator.

There is a right of appeal against the decision or the penalty. advice(su) can advise you about whether you have grounds for appeal and help you with the process.  Grounds for appeal include that the evidence wasn’t fully considered, or that there is new information that should be considered.

High level incidents

If an incident is categorised as high level (or there are a number of incidents at least one of which is regarded as high level), the case will be dealt with by the University Disciplinary Officer (“DO”), who will start by considering the referral; and requesting any extra information needed to resolve the matter fairly.

Based on that information, they will decide whether:

  1. there is no case to answer, in which case no further action will be taken
  2. they will consider the case at a disciplinary hearing
  3. To refer the matter straight to a Senate Student Discipline Committee. (SSDC)

 

 
Disciplinary hearing by DO

Before a DO hearing, the DO must email the student accused, at least 5 working days before the date of the hearing, stating:

  1. What the allegations are
  2. When and where the meeting will be held
  3. What penalties could be imposed, including what penalty will be imposed if you don’t respond to the email
  4. That the DO can decide to refer the matter to the SSDC at the hearing.

You have 2 working days to respond to this email. If you don’t, the DO can go ahead and make a decision on the information available without considering any additional evidence you might have.

If you accept that the allegations are true, and consider that the proposed penalty is reasonable, you can respond by agreeing to the penalty, in which case you need not attend the meeting

If you don’t agree that you have done what you have been accused of, or want to offer mitigating factors which should be taken into account when the penalty is decided, you should reply to the email saying that you will attend the meeting. You are allowed to take someone with you to the meeting to support you (this person is known as a companion), and if you do, you should give the DO at least 2 days’ notice of who you are taking with you as your companion.

Anyone who has no involvement with the alleged incidents can be your companion. advice(su) workers can help  you to prepare  for the hearing and act as your companion, including helping you present your case.  You could also take a friend or relative. Your companion cannot answer questions on your behalf, and if a companion disrupts the hearing, they can be excluded from the meeting.

 
Outcome of a DO hearing

You will receive an email with the DO’s decision within 5 working days. The DO may impose a penalty, or if the matter is considered very serious, send the case to be considered by an SSDC

Penalties include the same penalties as can be imposed for low or medium level offences, plus:

  • Requiring you to do community service
  • Requiring you to write a reflective essay
  • A fine of up to £500

You can appeal a decision of the DO. advice (su) can advise you on grounds for appeal and the process.

If the DO believes, based on the information considered in the disciplinary process, that you may be unwell,  they may recommend to your School that your fitness to study should be assessed.

 
SSDC

At an SSDC hearing, your case will be considered by a panel of two senior academics and a student. You will get at least 5 days’ notice of the hearing. It’s important to prepare for a hearing as thoroughly as you can, so contact advice(su) as soon as you know your case has been referred to the SSDC. We can help you to start to prepare for the hearing even before you get a formal notice of when it will take place.

You are entitled to advance notice of the evidence against you, and will receive this when you get notification of the hearing. We can help you prepare a response to that evidence.

The hearing itself could last several hours, and a lot of evidence may be considered. We can talk you through what to expect, and if you wish, arrange to act as your representative at the hearing. That means we can help you to put your case as well as offer you support.

The SSDC has all the powers of the DO, including fines up to £1000 and can also exclude you from your course temporarily or permanently, if it considers that your conduct has been sufficiently serious, or if it finds that you have been dishonest in your defence.  The SSDC makes its decisions on the basis of the “balance of probabilities” which means that it does not have to find the allegations are true beyond reasonable doubt – just that it is more likely than not that they are true.

So what should I do if I am called to a disciplinary hearing?

Whatever type of meeting you’ve been invited to, it’s important not to ignore the summons or delay doing anything about it.  Make sure you respond to any invitation to a meeting, and if you don’t accept that the allegations against you are true, get some advice

 
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