When the University is told about potential misconduct there are several different steps that can be taken. These can include a fixed penalty fine under the summary procedure or referral to a disciplinary panel. Often a full investigation is required before any disciplinary action is taken.

Should the University receive a report of potential misconduct, we are obligated to investigate the accusation.

In order to address any cases of potential misconduct, the University will explore a number of options for managing this depending on the nature and severity of the accusation. These options include:

  1. i) Suggest informal resolution such as mediation;
  2. ii) Issue a fixed penalty fine under the summary procedure;
  3. iii) Invite you to an informal meeting with a senior member of staff;
  4. iv) Refer it to a Level 1 disciplinary panel;
  5. v) Refer it to a Level 2 disciplinary panel.

Summary Procedure

If a member of staff witnesses misconduct and this is corroborated by either a second member of staff, or CCTV footage, a fixed penalty fine of £50 can be issued. You have the option of choosing not to pay the penalty. If you choose this option the case will be considered by a Level 1 disciplinary panel. The University will keep a record of any fines issued.

Informal Meeting

If the alleged misconduct is minor you might be invited to an informal meeting with a senior member of staff. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the allegation and how it breaches the Student Code of Conduct

You can be accompanied to the meeting by a member of the University - usually an advisor from the Students’ Union Advice Centre. After the meeting you will receive a letter. This will summarise the meeting and if necessary give you a warning about your future conduct. This letter will be kept on file by the University until you graduate.

Investigation

The University may need to conduct a full investigation before deciding how to proceed with a misconduct case. If there is an investigation you may be invited to an investigatory meeting. This will not be a disciplinary hearing but notes will be taken and these notes may be used in a disciplinary hearing. You can be accompanied to the meeting by a member of the University - usually an advisor from the Students’ Union Advice Centre.

Disciplinary Panels

There are two levels of disciplinary panel:

• Level 1 – Most misconduct cases are considered here

• Level 2 – For serious misconduct cases. These panels have the power to expel you from the University.

If the case is referred to a Panel you’ll be sent a letter detailing the allegations and inviting you to a hearing. For Level 1 panels you’ll be given two working days’ notice. For Level 2 panels you’ll get 10 working days’ notice. You will also receive copies of any documentary evidence that is being considered.

You have the right to call witnesses. You can also be accompanied to the meeting by a member of the University - usually an advisor from the Students’ Union Advice Centre.

You’ll normally receive a verbal outcome on the day and then a full written outcome will follow within 10 working days.

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof in misconduct cases is the balance of probabilities. This means that if the panel decides you are more likely to have committed an offence than not committed an offence, they will find you guilty. This is lower burden of proof than from a criminal court which has to decide beyond reasonable doubt that you committed an offence.

Sanctions

You can read the full list of penalties in section C26 of the Student Code of Conduct. These can include:

• A formal warning;

• Paying costs or damages;

• A fine of up to £150;

• Temporary withdrawal of services or exclusion from certain areas of the University;

• Up to 10 hours of non-academic work (such as working to support the local community);

• Being moved to another room in Halls of Residence;

• Termination of the licence agreement for Halls of Residence, meaning you’d have to move out and find alternative accommodation.

In addition to these, Level 2 Panels can impose:

• A fine of up to £200;

• Permanent exclusion from particular areas of the University;

• Suspension from the University;

• Expulsion from the University.

 

Review

If you disagree with the decision of a disciplinary panel you can request a review. You can request a review on the following grounds:

(i) that new information has come to light, which calls into question the validity of the conclusion reached by the disciplinary panel;

(ii) that there was a material irregularity in the conduct of the process;

(iii) that the sanction imposed by the disciplinary panel was disproportionate to the offence committed.

If you do this your case will be reviewed by a senior member of staff. You’ll be invited to another hearing.

Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education

Following the review stage, if you are still unhappy with the outcome you can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) to review your case. The Students’ Union Advice Centre can provide you with independent advice about submitting a complaint to the OIA.

Suspension During an Investigation

When the University receives an allegation of serious misconduct, or where you are under investigation for a criminal offence, a risk assessment will be conducted. If the University decides one of the following conditions is satisfied you may be suspended from the University while the investigation is conducted:

(i) your continued presence compromises the reputation of the University;

(ii) there is a reasonable suspicion that you have been supplying illegal drugs;

(iii) there is a risk that you might harm others;

(iv) there is a risk that you might cause damage to property;

(v) there is a risk that your continued presence may inhibit a proper criminal or University investigation;

(vi) there is a risk that your continued presence may cause serious distress to other students or staff.

Suspensions can include being not permitted in a particular part of the University, a requirement to move out of Halls of Residence, or not being permitted onto campus at all. Suspensions are imposed by a senior member of staff. If suspension is being considered you will be allowed to make representations to the senior member of staff to explain why you feel you should not be suspended. Sometimes you might be suspended immediately. If this happens you still have 10 working days to make representation. If you are in this position you should seek advice from the Students’ Union Advice Centre

If a suspension is imposed you have the right to appeal it by contacting complaintsappeals@mmu.ac.uk The appeal will be considered by the University Chief Operating Officer. Their decision is final but if at any point there is a change in your circumstances you can ask for the suspension to be reviewed.

If you are under police investigation, or awaiting a court case, the University will normally wait for this to be completed before referring you to a disciplinary panel. This is to avoid prejudicing any legal action. The legal process can be slow so you could therefore be suspended for a long time. You should seek advice from the Students Union Advice Centre.

If you are sent to prison your registration with the University will be cancelled with no right of appeal. If you ever want to return to the University you would need to apply in the normal way but your application would be subject to a risk assessment.

If you would like further information or have any questions about the information on these pages, you can contact the Student Case Management Team at complaintsappeals@mmu.ac.uk or by calling the team on 0161 247 1095

Guidance for Students