Student Disciplinary Procedure
This is a brief introduction to the University's Student Disciplinary Procedure. This guide will tell you what happens if you are accused of a disciplinary offence in your time at the University.
This guide is NOT a substitute for reading the University's Student Disciplinary Regulations which can be found at:
Other guides you may want to read include:
Important: this guide is a brief summary of the disciplinary regulations. Remember to read the information provided in your Residents Guide, Programme Handbook and on the University web-site.
The conduct the University expects of its students and staff (taken from the Student Disciplinary Regulations 2014/15)
'The University of Surrey Student Charter sets out the general standards of conduct the University expects of its students. When students register or re-register to study with the University they agree to abide by its general Regulations, the regulations that apply to their programme of studies, any applicable local regulations (for example, the Conditions of Residence), and these Regulations, which further specify the acts of misconduct and offences that the University penalises (see Regulation 9 below). Students are responsible for the conduct of their visitors, including those they have expressly or impliedly invited onto the University's premises.'
What you do on campus or in the local community has an impact on you, other members of the University and on the University's reputation in the community. In University Residences in particular there are rules and regulations designed to keep all students living there safe and secure. The University takes all breaches of the Disciplinary Regulations very seriously.
How does the University Disciplinary Procedure work?
Minor offences are dealt with by one of the University's 'Authorised Persons'. These are members of staff with particular responsibility for student discipline within a defined area, for example, in Residences the Authorised Person will be one of the Warden team for that Residence, in the Faculty it will be the Dean of the Faculty.
When an alleged offence is reported to the Authorised Person they investigate. If they find that, on the balance of probabilities, that the offence occurred and decide it is a minor offence they can issue one or more of a range of penalties. These can include warnings (oral or written) or fines – for a full list of possible penalties that an Authorise Person can issue please refer to the Student Disciplinary Regulations (see link above).
The Authorised Person records the details of the incident and punishment and gives a copy of this record to the student and to the Office of Student Complaints, Appeals and Regulations (OSCAR). It is important to remember that if you repeat the offence or commit other offences that would normally be dealt with as minor then the Authorised Person can refer the case to OSCAR to investigate as a possible major offence.
Can I appeal against the decision of an Authorised Person?
You have the right to appeal the decision of an Authorised Person. To do this you need to lodge an appeal with OSCAR, on the standard form available on their website http://www.surrey.ac.uk/registry/resources/oscar/index.htm
We recommend that you contact us for advice if you are thinking of making an appeal. OSCAR will allocate a Case Officer who will investigate if there is a need for a Disciplinary Appeal Panel. If your request for a panel is rejected you can challenge that decision but the grounds for doing this are limited so again it is useful to contact us for advice about presenting your case.
When an alleged major offence occurs (or when following an investigation into a reported minor offence the Authorised Person decides that it could be viewed as a major offence) they will report the alleged offence to OSCAR. An OSCAR Case Officer investigates the alleged offence and may recommend to the Deputy Registrar that a Disciplinary Panel is convened. The decision as to whether a panel is convened is made by the Deputy Registrar based on the evidence file provided by the OSCAR Case Officer.
Disciplinary Panels have the power to exclude, suspend or expel a student so if you have been told that you are to have a Disciplinary Panel or even that you might have to attend one of these panels, it is important to seek advice as soon as possible.
Can I appeal against the decision of a Disciplinary Panel?
You do have the right to appeal the decision of a Disciplinary Panel but again only on certain grounds, which are described fully in the Student Disciplinary Regulations. Speak to us if you would like further advice and information about the appeal process.
What is a 'Managed Exclusion Order'?
Some alleged offences might indicate that there is a potential for the student to be a risk to themselves or others. In some cases the OSCAR Case Officer may ask the Deputy Registrar to request that the President and Vice-Chancellor or a Vice-President of the University issue a 'Managed Exclusion Order'.
The Student Disciplinary Regulations define a Managed Exclusion order as follows:
'A Managed Exclusion Order is a way of managing the access of a student to University premises and services for a specified period of no longer than 20 working days (in the first instance) in the student's interest, in the interests of other students and staff, and in the interests of enabling a fair hearing. The granting of a Managed Exclusion Order does not signify a view on the part of the Deputy Registrar, OSCAR, the Case Officer, or the University that the student has committed an alleged offence. Students who are the subject of a Managed Exclusion Order may not represent the University at sporting or other public occasions.'
It is important to realise that a Managed Exclusion Order is not a punishment or a decision that you are guilty of the alleged offence. It is more a way of protecting other students, staff etc and protecting you – for example, if someone has made an allegation against you it would be difficult for all parties if you were to come into contact with that person. You could be temporarily excluded from University Residences (in which case OSCAR will arrange alternative accommodation for you while you are on the Managed Exclusion Order) or from named parts of campus e.g. the Library, the Students Union or the Sports Park.
Can I appeal against a Managed Exclusion Order?
You have the right to appeal against a Managed Exclusion Order, for example if the terms are excessive or you can show you are not a risk to yourselves or others. A full list of grounds for appealing a Managed Exclusion Order can be found in the Student Disciplinary Regulations and as with any stage of the Disciplinary Procedure you can contact us for advice.
What if appeal against the decision of a Disciplinary Panel or Disciplinary Appeals Panel and my appeal is rejected?
You will be issued with a 'Completion of Procedures' letter.
You then have the right to take your case to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, an independent body who investigate complaints against Universities who may have breached their own procedures or not been fair within those procedures. We are not able to offer assistance in taking your case to the OIA as we have limited resources and it is a long process that can take several months or longer. Further information on the OIA can be found on their website www.oiahe.org.uk You must take your case to the OIA within a year of receiving your Completion of Procedures letter.