Guidance for Sanctions 2023-24

Guidance for Specific Offences

It must be acknowledged that each disciplinary incident should be treated on its own individual merits, and that Authorised Officers have wide discretion in the discharge of their duties.

Nevertheless, a consistency of approach will help to improve decision-making and fairer outcomes.

The following page provides guidance for Authorised Officers and the Student Disciplinary Panel when dealing with students who have come to notice for a first offence, except for a few more serious offences where guidance also is given for repeat offences.

In all cases, it would be legitimate to consider the following as mitigating or aggravating factors:

Potential Mitigating Factors

  • early admission
  • ready co-operation, including giving details of others involved
  • genuine remorse
  • significant provocation
  • the fact that the individual played only a minor role in the incident(s)
  • mental illness or disability

Potential Aggravating Factors

  • failure to respond to previous warnings
  • a record of previous disciplinary offences
  • the incident was motivated by, or demonstrated, hostility in respect of a protected characteristic (or presumed characteristic)
  • deliberate targeting of vulnerable victims
  • repeated targeting of victims
  • the incident was planned
  • the incident involved operating in a group
  • the incident involved personal gain
  • any attempt to alter, conceal or dispose of evidence
  • failure to respond to warnings or concern expressed by others
  • failure to abide with restrictions put in place as part of a disciplinary investigation (note, serious breaches may be dealt with as a separate disciplinary offence)
  • acts undertaken under the influence of drink or drugs
  • use of weapon to frighten or injure victim
  • deliberate and gratuitous violence or damage to property
  • abuse of power
  • abuse of a position of trust
  • multiple victims
  • an especially serious physical or psychological effect on the victim, even if unintended
  • a sustained or repeated assault on the same victim
  • the presence of children or vulnerable people as witnesses
  • additional degradation of the victim (for example, taking or publishing photographs of a victim)
  • action which breaches University or Government COVID-19 requirements