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If you have received an allegation that you have broken one of the University’s codes of conducts, policies or regulations, then you are likely to be undergoing the University’s Disciplinary Process. The University processes these allegations differently depending on the severity of the alleged offense.
For minor offenses, you will be contacted by an Authorised Person (eg. Security) to inform you of the allegation and you usually will be given an opportunity to respond with your account of what happened. The Authorised Person will then respond to you with their decision in your case. If they conclude the misconduct happened, they may issue a minor penalty. This can involve requiring you to attend a compulsory workshop, paying a fine, or another minor penalty. That would be the end of the disciplinary process. You can appeal if you think you have grounds to do so.
If you have too many similar minor penalties with the University, they may consider this to be a potential major offense, which means you may have to attend a hearing with the University.
For major offenses or repeated minor offenses, you may be asked to attend a Panel hearing. This will only happen after an investigation led by OSCAR (Office of Student Complaints, Appeals and Regulations) so you should already be aware of what the panel are going to discuss and why you have been called to a panel.
The Students’ Union know that disciplinaries can be very stressful and difficult for students, which is why we strongly recommend you seek support from the Students’ Union and our academic advice team. We highly recommend that you have someone to accompany you to your panel, you can bring a friend that you trust or a SU representative. You can also appeal the decision made at a disciplinary panel.
What can the Students’ Union do?
It is strongly advised that you seek advice from our Academic Advice team if you have been asked to attend a panel disciplinary. We can help you navigate the process and talk through the allegations to prepare you for the panel. Advisors can look through the evidence with you and see where you can provide evidence to support your case. Our advisors can help you consider the questions that you might be asked by the panel members and what the likley outcomes might be.
Our advisors can also come to the panel with you to support you, depending on availability. Although we can’t speak on your behalf, we can ensure that procedure is being followed, support you in the panel, and remind you of the things you might wish to say.
Our advisors can also support you through the investigation stage if you would like support in meeting with OSCAR and the team investigating your case, or in responding to allegations at an earlier stage.
We recommend that you email us: email@example.com
What is a minor penalty?
A minor penalty may be because you have breached a code of practise or condition of living, such as making too much noise or covering your smoke alarm. You will be given a penalty from an authorised person within the University community (usually someone like Security).
Penalties can include attending a compulsory workshop, a fine of up to £200, a final written warning or a temporary ban of University premises. You must make sure that the conditions of your minor penalty are met before the deadline that you are given, otherwise you could face further disciplinary action.
Where there have been several minor misconduct penalties for the similar offenses, you also might face further disciplinary action by having to attend a panel hearing.
Remember that you are able to appeal a fine or minor penalty. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is a disciplinary Panel?
Disciplinary panels are convened when the alleged misconduct is too serious to be considered minor, or where there are several similar minor offenses. You will be asked to attend the panel to give your account of what happened to the panel, to present any evidence you have gathered, and to answer any questions the panel may have about the alleged misconduct.
Usually members in a Panel include:
- A chair of the meeting who will be a member of University staff
- Another member of University staff
- A student representative, usually a Sabbatical officer
- A secretary to the meeting, usually a member of staff from OSCAR
You may be put on an MEO (Managed Exclusion Order) in advance of the Panel. You can find out more about MEOs here: https://www.ussu.co.uk/wellbeing/academicadvice/managedexclusion
What happens in the panel?
Before the panel hearing, you will be sent a Dossier of information, informing you of the allegations against you, and all the evidence that will be presented to the panel. You will be asked questions relating to the allegations and what happened. You will be given the chance to respond to all the allegations.
Once the panel have asked all of their questions and you have said everything you wish to say, you will be asked to leave the room with your friend/SU representative whilst the panel make their decision. You will then be invited back into the room where the panel will give you their decision: either upheld allegations, partially upheld or dismissed. For any allegations that the panel have upheld (namely, decided that these events did happen), the panel will also let you know the details of any penalties that they have imposed as a result of those upheld allegations.
Know your rights:
- You are able to bring someone with you – a friend or a SU representative
- You have the right to reply to any comments made about or against you
- You are able to take a break at any time throughout the panel
- You will find out the outcome of the panel immediately after the panel is finished, or you will be informed why the panel are unable to reach a decision that day
What do I need to do first?
- Read the University’s Disciplinary Regulations. These can be found on the web-site of the Office of Student Complaints, Appeals and Regulations (OSCAR) – https://www.surrey.ac.uk/office-student-complaints-appeals-and-regulation
- Read through the information that you have been given
- You can prepare a short statement to read at the start of the meeting or panel
- Gather any evidence that supports the points you would like to make. Your invitation should explain when this evidence should be submitted.
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