Accommodation disciplinary procedure

Introduction

This procedure will be used when a Resident’s conduct in the Halls of Residence is called into question. For the purposes of this procedure:

  1. Halls of Residence: is defined as all types of accommodation administered by the University
  2. Resident: is defined as someone who has accepted the University’s offer of a room in Halls of Residence by signing the Licence Agreement
  3. Misconduct: is defined as, if you behave in a way that has a negative impact on others, breaches any of the terms and conditions of your Licence Agreement or commit a criminal offence

The procedure can also be used where the misconduct takes place outside of the Halls of Residence (this includes electronic communications while in residence and use of the internet facilities) and affects other Residents or affects the University’s property or affects the University as the provider of accommodation.

The Accommodation Student Code of Conduct applies in addition to the University’s Disciplinary Regulations (contained within the Student General Regulations). Misconduct that is not related to a Resident’s occupation of Halls Residence will be dealt with under the disciplinary procedures contained within the Disciplinary Regulations.

Scope

The purpose of this procedure is to:

  • Establish whether the incident took place
  • If so, consider whether the Resident's misconduct constitutes a breach of the Residents' Handbook; and
  • If so, determine the measures that should be taken against the Resident.

If the University considers that the Resident's misconduct constitutes criminal activity, the University reserves the right to inform the Police. In such circumstances, any investigation by the University may be suspended pending the outcome of the investigations by the Police and/ or other external agencies.

The University reserves the right to carry out, at its discretion, whatever action is required to prevent further breaches of the Residents' Handbook, to remedy the effect of any Resident's breaches and to repair or replace any damaged property. This may include levying charges, the costs of cleaning or repairs. The University reserves all its rights and remedies in that regard. Such action may be taken immediately and prior to undertaking any steps to investigate the alleged breaches under this procedure.

The University will have regard to the individual needs of the Resident with a view to varying this procedure as appropriate to enable the Resident to access and/or participate in this procedure.

This procedure does not affect the contractual position between the University and the Resident under the Licence Agreement.

Stage 1 - Informal Resolution

The University aims to resolve all complaints efficiently and promptly, and where possible expects that most incidents of misconduct can be resolved informally.

All incidents will be recorded on an ‘Incident Report’ form. These reports may include the Residents’ name, the type of incident, the date it occurred and the action taken.

Incidents will be investigated by the Student Accommodation Team and the Resident will be notified in writing of the action to be taken. This includes (but is not limited to) discussing the matter informally at a local level, written warnings and fines.
The Student Accommodation Team will exercise their discretion to take reasonable steps to comply with the terms of the Residents’ Handbook.

If the Student Accommodation Team considers that the informal procedure is inappropriate or has not been effective, Stage Two of this procedure should be followed.

Stage 2 - Formal Disciplinary Process

  1. A disciplinary meeting (Disciplinary Meeting) will be held between the Resident and the Student Accommodation Manager or the Student Accommodation Deputy Manager if it is appropriate to do so in the circumstances.
  2. Preparation for the Disciplinary Meeting: The Student Accommodation Team will arrange the Disciplinary Meeting. The Resident will be given not less than five teaching days’ notice of the date and location of the meeting in writing, together with all relevant evidence about the allegation made against him/her. Such notice may be left in the Resident’s Room.
  3. All relevant evidence about the incident, including statements from other residents or evidence from members of staff will be gathered by the Student Accommodation Team. In accordance with the requirements under data protection law the Student Accommodation Team may redact evidence to be sent to the Resident to protect the identity of witnesses if necessary.
  4. The Resident will be provided with a written copy of this procedure. The Resident will be asked to provide a written response to the allegation not less than 2 teaching days prior to the Disciplinary Meeting. The Disciplinary Meeting will take place whether or not a response is provided by the Resident.
  5. Resident Support: The Resident may be accompanied at the Disciplinary Meeting by a representative in the Students Union. The Disciplinary Meeting is an internal proceeding, not legal proceedings, and legal representation is unnecessary.
    Conduct of the Disciplinary Meeting: The Disciplinary Meeting will be conducted in a suitable room in an informal manner and all those present will have a reasonable opportunity to ask questions, take notes and make appropriate comment. Everyone is expected to show courtesy, restraint and good manners.
  6. Conduct of the Disciplinary Meeting: The Disciplinary Meeting will be conducted in a suitable room in an informal manner and all those present will have a reasonable opportunity to ask questions, take notes and make appropriate comment.  Everyone is expected to show courtesy, restraint and good manners.
  7. Procedure: The Resident is expected to be present at the Disciplinary Meeting. The evidence will be considered by the Student Accommodation Manager and the Resident will be given an opportunity to make oral representations. The Student Accommodation Manager may invite witnesses to attend the hearing and to conduct further enquiries as he/she sees fit. The Resident will have the opportunity to ask questions and/or to ask question of witnesses attending the Disciplinary Meeting if appropriate.
  8. Further Investigation: If it is deemed necessary by the Student Accommodation Manager, he/she may consider further evidence by way of additional statements by existing and/or new witnesses submitted after the initial Disciplinary Meeting. This may include a further meeting with the Resident and in which case, the above procedure for the Disciplinary Meeting shall be followed. The University reserves the right to suspend the Resident pending further investigation and/or until the Student Accommodation Manager reaches a decision.
  9. Decision: The Student Accommodation Manager will reach a decision based on the civil standard of proof, the balance of probabilities. This includes:
  • Dismissing of the allegation of misconduct
  • Upholding the allegation of misconduct and applying a sanction that is proportionate to the breach/es
  • Referring the case to the Police and/or other external agency if the breach is considered to be a criminal act; or
  • Invoking more appropriate disciplinary procedures in accordance with the University Disciplinary Regulations.

Sanctions

In addition to the decision reached at clause 4.9, the Student Accommodation Manager may impose one or more the following sanctions:

  • A written formal warning to the Resident
  • A suspended penalty if the Resident is found to have acted in further breach of the Residents' Handbook within the relevant period specified
  • A requirement for the Resident to make good any damage caused;
    exclusion from any specified area of the Halls of Residence or the wider University grounds
  • A fine not exceeding £100
  • A requirement for the Resident to give undertakings as to his or her future behaviour
  • Termination of the Licence Agreement and expulsion from the University Halls of Residence.  

The Student Accommodation Manager will inform the Resident in writing of his/her decision within five teaching days of the Disciplinary Meeting. The decision notice may be left in the Resident's room.

If more time for further investigation is required before a decision can be reached, the Student Accommodation Manager will be inform the Resident in writing within five teaching days of the Disciplinary Meeting of the revised timescales, including whether the Resident is required to participate.

Stage 3 - Appeal

Should the Resident wish to appeal the decision reached and/or sanction imposed at the Stage 2, he/she must submit a request in writing to the Student Accommodation Manager within five teaching days of receiving notification of the Stage 2 decision. 

Grounds for appeal: The Residents’ request to Appeal must state the grounds on which he/she is basing the Appeal. These must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Whether there is a significant procedural flaw or irregularity that compromised the fairness of the procedure at Stage 2
  • Whether the facts of the case were sufficiently proved. The civil standard of proof, namely, ‘the balance of probabilities’ will apply; and/or
  • Whether the outcome reached or sanction(s) imposed at Stage 2 was proportionate to the breach of the Residents' Handbook and to the legitimate aims of the University’s policies.

The Student Accommodation Manager or Deputy Student Accommodation Manager will acknowledge the Resident's request within five teaching days of receipt of the request. 

Constitution of the Appeal Committee: As soon as reasonably practicable an appeal committee (Appeal Committee) will be appointed by the Student Accommodation Manager or Deputy Student Accommodation Manager and comprised of  three individuals who have no detailed prior knowledge of the case and are able to hear the Appeal from the Resident.  The Appeal Committee will appoint one member to act as the Appeal Committee chair.

Preparing for the Appeal Interview: The Appeal Committee chair will arrange a date and location for the Appeal Meeting and will notify the Resident of this in writing no later than ten teaching days from when the Appeal Committee has been appointed.  The Appeal Committee may invite witnesses that will be required to attend the Appeal Meeting.

The notification will inform the Resident of his or her right to be accompanied at the Appeal Meeting, by a representative of the Students’ Union who has no detailed knowledge of the alleged Misconduct.  The Appeal Meeting is an internal proceeding, not legal proceedings, and legal representation is unnecessary.  The notification will also confirm the identity of the members of the Appeal Committee and any witnesses attending the Appeal Meeting. 

Conduct of the Appeal Interview: The Appeal Meeting will be conducted in a suitable room. All those present will be entitled to make their own notes and will have a reasonable opportunity to ask questions and/or make representations.  Everyone is expected to show courtesy, restraint and good manners.

Procedure: The Resident is required to attend the Appeal Meeting.  The Appeal Committee will consider the evidence at Stage 2, including representations made by and/or on behalf of the Resident during the Disciplinary Meeting.  The Appeal Committee may invite witnesses to attend and conduct further enquiries as its sees fit.  The requirements of natural justice will apply.

Appeal Committee Decision: The role of the Appeal Committee is to consider whether reasonable grounds for appeal have been submitted by the Resident and to  reach one of the following decisions:

  • Uphold the Resident's appeal
  • Uphold the decision reached at Stage 2; or
  • Substitute a different decision and/or sanction(s) to those reached/imposed at Stage 2.

Decision: The Appeal Committee chair will notify the Resident of the Appeal decision in a Completion of Procedures Letter within five teaching days of the Appeal.  The Completion of Procedures Letter will state reasons for the Appeal Committee's decision and confirm that that the decision represents the conclusion of the disciplinary process.  The letter will also inform the Resident of his or her right to submit a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education ('OIA') if he/she remains dissatisfied by the outcome of the disciplinary procedure. 

Recording and Record Keeping

All records of the incidents will be kept in accordance with the University’s data protection policy on the retention of information.

In the event that the misconduct is to be investigated by the Police and/or other external agencies, information will be shared as appropriate and in line with the University’s data protection policy.