- what is expected of them,
- what standards of behaviour they can expect from other students,
- what happens if those expectations are not met.
Frequently asked questions
Who can make a complaint about a student’s behaviour?
A complaint about a student’s behaviour can come from a fellow student, member of staff, the Police or any other third party.
What should I do if I witness someone breaching the code of conduct?
What happens when a complaint is made about a student’s behaviour?
The University will always investigate any allegation of misconduct and if you report concerns about the actions of another student it will always be taken seriously.
When a complaint about conduct is received, the complainant will be contacted with a view to understand more about the incident and how they would like the matter taken forward. The process will be explained as well as sign posting to appropriate support services.
What is the difference between the Disciplinary Procedure and Fitness to Practice Procedure?
Any conduct matters that relate to a student on a professional programme are investigated through the relevant Fitness to Practice Policy and Procedure after an initial fact finding meeting has taken place.
What if I wish to raise a concern but remain anonymous?
There may be times when a complainant and/or witness gives consent but wishes to remain anonymous. Whilst this can be completely understandable from the complainant’s and a witness’ perspective, it does not lend itself to a fair and transparent process for the student that the complaint is against. The student may find that they are presented with a complaint that lacks detail and which may mean they are unable to have a right of reply. However, there may be instances where a piece of evidence is sufficient to take forward an anonymous complaint or witness statement, for example a screen shot of a group chat.
What is the difference between ‘minor’ and ‘major’ misconduct?
Misconduct at the University is classed as ‘minor’ or ‘major’.
Matters of misconduct are not always straight forward however the table in appendix 1 of the Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedure aims to serve as a guide to the probable classifications for examples of misconduct.
Minor misconduct will be considered by the Head of School or Service Area whereas major misconduct will be considered by a panel at a disciplinary hearing.
What penalty might be imposed?
One or more of the following penalties can be issued for cases of minor misconduct, but are not limited to:
a) Verbal caution (which can be given in the informal resolution stage)
b) Restorative actions: such as an apology, undertake training, reflective essay or activities that benefit the University community (which can be given in the informal resolution stage)
c) Written warning
d) Financial penalty to make good any damage made (up to a limit of £500).
One or more of the following penalties can be issued in the cases of major misconduct, but are not limited to:
a) Verbal warning, where mitigation is warranted
b) Written warning, where mitigation is warranted
c) Restorative actions: such as an apology, undertake training, reflective essay or activities that benefit the University community
d) Financial penalty to make good any damage made (up to a limit of £1500
e) A full suspension from the University for the remainder of the academic year, or longer as decided by the panel
f) Exclusion from a programme either temporarily (where a new application to the programme will be required), or permanently
g) Permanent expulsion from the University.
Restrictions may also be imposed and or any other penalty that is proportionate and appropriate to the offence, such as a fine.
In cases relating to a sponsored responding student with a Student (formerly Tier 4) visa, and the penalty imposed falls under e, f or g, sponsorship will likely be withdrawn.
Where the student is in University managed accommodation and the outcome of the hearing means that they are no longer a student at the University, they will be required to leave halls.
Will I be told about the outcome of my complaint/concern raised?
- after the matter has been considered and whether the complaint is being taken forward
- when the formal process has concluded and that any appropriate action has been taken.
What happens if I am unhappy with the outcome of a Disciplinary Procedure?
b) the decision reached was unreasonable
c) the student has new material that they were unable, for valid reasons, to provide earlier in the process
d) there is bias or reasonable perception of bias, during the process
e) the penalty awarded was disproportionate, or not permitted, under the procedure.
What support is available to me? What do I do if I need help and advice?
Can someone accompany me to investigation meetings/disciplinary hearings?
You can be accompanied by a member of University staff, fellow student, a Dignity and Respect Advisor or a member of the Student Union Advice Centre for support.
Legal representation may be considered in cases relating to professional programmes where an outcome could be exclusion from the programme.
What happens if I don’t attend a disciplinary meeting?
If you do not attend a fact finding or investigation meeting or provide a statement, without good reason, then the matter will be decided upon based on the facts and evidence that has already been established.
Will a disciplinary stay on my student record? Will it be disclosed to a future employer?
Your student record will be updated to reflect an outcome of a formal disciplinary process if a penalty that has been imposed affects your student status i.e. suspension, exclusion from a programme of study or permanent exclusion from the University.
When the University receives a reference from a future employer, then the University will normally treat each request in relation to the professional standards of the employer that has made the request. i.e. any conduct matter that has resulted in any penalty will be disclosed in cases where the reference request has come a health or education provider
What happens if the police are involved?
Police action is different to the University of Plymouth’s disciplinary process. If the police are investigating a matter involving a student that has also been reported to the University then the University will normally pause any internal process until the police have finished their enquiries. The outcome of a police investigation will not dictate the outcome of any University investigation. Police involvement does not automatically assume the University’s code of conduct has been breached, nor does the absence of any charge or conviction mean the code of conduct has not been breached. Once the police have concluded their investigation, or they are satisfied that the University can take forward the matter, then the University will normally instigate its own investigation under the student code of conduct and the disciplinary procedure will start.