Guidance for Sanctions 2021/22

Adopted 4 October 2021

General guidance

Authorised Officer/Disciplinary Panel Discretion

This guidance is intended to suggest a starting point for typical/simple offences. Discretion will always rest with the Authorised Officer or Disciplinary Panel determining the sanction.

Consistency in the use of Formal Written Warnings and Fines

Formal written warnings will normally only be imposed where there is no other penalty and should be referred to as a ‘Formal Written Warning’. However, such warnings may be imposed alongside other sanctions where it is considered appropriate to warn a student of the likely consequences of being found guilty of a further offence. For example, where a student is found guilty of an offence at the top end of S2, they may be issued with a formal written warning (alongside a fine and/or any other sanction imposed) that if they are found guilty of a further, similar offence it is likely that it will be dealt with at s3 level, noting that the sanctions available to S3 Panels are more far-reaching than those available to Authorised Officers at S2, up to and including recommending to Senate that the student’s registration at the University should be terminated.  

Fines at S2 will be imposed in the following amounts: £25, £50, £75, £100, £125, £150, £175, £200, £225 and £250.

The starting point for fines at S3 will be £250 and will increase at increments of £25.

Where aggravating and mitigating factors are taken into account and are sufficient to alter a financial sanction, the effect will be to move one or more points up or down the scale (e.g. a fine of £75 might move down to £50 or up to £100, but not to £65 or £85).

Differential between sanctions at S2 and S3

The maximum financial penalty that can be imposed for a single matter at S2 will be £250.

Whilst the Student Disciplinary Panel will have absolute discretion about the level of penalty imposed, S3 matters are generally considered to be more serious than S2 matters. Where a fine is being considered at S3, there will be a presumption that the starting point will be £250.

Responsibility for discharge of fines or costs

Students are expected to take full personal responsibility for the discharge of fines and costs imposed on them as sanctions under Ordinance XVII. Students who attempt to pass on the responsibility for discharging a financial sanction in a way which is inappropriate and/or has the potential to damage the reputation of the University (e.g. by coercion, or by the use of fundraising on social media) may be subject to further disciplinary action.

Suspended Sanctions

All financial penalties will be immediate, with no part of any financial penalty to be suspended.

This does not prevent an Authorised Officer giving clear guidance as to the starting point for any future penalty in the event of further offending.

Suspended penalties for non-financial penalties may still be imposed – e.g. removal from halls, suspension of registration.

Suspended sanctions will not be activated unless there is a finding of guilt for a new offence. 

Suspended Termination of Studies

A suspended termination is generally seen by a disciplinary panel as a very serious sanction, second only to termination of studies. A suspended termination would normally be accompanied by an additional penalty recognising the matter as deserving of an immediate, as well as a suspended sanction.

Invitation to Graduation

A Disciplinary Panel may judge that the matter is sufficiently serious that a student should not be invited to attend a graduation ceremony. In particular a Panel may wish to impose such a sanction where offences are committed so close to graduation that there is no alternative effective sanction. An exclusion from a graduation ceremony may also be imposed on a suspended basis as a means of ensuring compliance with another disciplinary sanction (e.g. if a fine is not paid by a date prior to the graduation ceremony, the suspended exclusion will be activated).

Repeat Offences – Relocation of Room or Removal from Hall

Recent practice has been to relocate persistent offenders between halls, particularly in the case of repeated possession of drugs.

Wardens retain the authority to require a student to move rooms within a hall where it is felt that this is likely to help resolve an issue or minimise the likelihood of a recurrence.

Relocation to a different hall of residence will now only be considered in exceptional circumstances, for example where it appears necessary to reassure or protect a specific individual. It will not normally be used for repeat offenders see specific sanctions below.

Guidance: 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 table 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

Halls/General Offences

Halls/General Offences

OffenceSuggested range for a first offenceSuggested range for subsequent offences
  • Breach of hall rules
  • Abuse of hall facilities
  • Fail to comply with instruction
  • H & S transgression in hall (not including letting off fire extinguishers, tampering with fire detection equipment or false activation of a fire alarm)
  • Interference with hall function or activity
  • Noise and rowdiness
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Fail to control hall guest
  • Failing to provide ID/Providing false identity
  • Possession of alcohol in a prohibited area

Written warning - £50

 

Breaching University or Government COVID-19 requirements in hall.

Written warning, fine up to £250

Suspension of registration at the University for the remainder of the academic year

Breaching University or Government COVID-19 requirements in hall may cover a range of activities depending on the specific requirements in place at the time.

First offences will normally be dealt with at section 2 level, with the imposition of a formal written warning and/or a fine. Cases involving multiple breaches, or a single egregious breach will normally be dealt with at section 2 level, with the imposition of a fine at the top end of the scale, or at section 3 level. Breaches will be considered to be more serious (and therefore more likely to be dealt with at section 3 level) where the perpetrator knowingly or recklessly engages in behaviour which puts others at risk.

  • Smoking in hall
  • Failure to meet with University Officers to assist with disciplinary enquiries when requested to do so.
  • Failure to attend a hearing of the Student Disciplinary Panel as a witness or defendant if required to do so with reasonable notice.
  • Failure to inform the University immediately on being cautioned or convicted of any criminal offence (not including motoring offences for which no more than a fine and 3 penalty points are imposed.)

 

£50 - £100

 

Minor damage or damage caused through recklessness (also see Serious or malicious damage below).

£50 - £100 plus the cost of repairs

A 2nd offence should include a presumption of suspended exclusion from University accommodation.

A 3rd offence should include a presumption of exclusion from University accommodation.

  • Misuse of University premises or property, including misuse of IT systems and services.
  • Disruption of, or improper interference with, the academic, administrative, sporting, social or other activities of the University.

£50 - £100 plus the cost of repairs/loss.

More serious offences may require resolution at Section 3:

Presumption of a minimum fine of £250/£300 plus the cost of repairs/loss.

 

 

 

 

  • Serious misuse of safety and fire equipment – to include setting off fire extinguishers, interfering with detectors and false activation of fire alarms.
  • Use or possession of Class B or C drugs, banned performance drugs or psychoactive substances (often referred to as ‘legal highs’).
  • (Where drugs use in halls is suspected it is often the case that students will say that they have not used or stored drugs in their accommodation, but rather all of these activities have occurred off campus. The use of drugs may be dealt with as a disciplinary offence by Hall Wardens even if found to be outside the immediacy of halls, including the immediate environs of our campus).

£100 minimum and a presumption of suspended exclusion from University accommodation.

A 2nd offence should include a minimum £200 fine and a presumption of exclusion from Halls.

  • Bullying/harassment (including cyber bullying). *
  • Threatening behaviour. *
  • Physical assault. *+
  • Failing to respect the rights of other to freedom of belief and freedom of speech. *
  • Possession of an offensive weapon, firearm or replica firearm.

 

* To note, behaviour that appears to be motivated by, aggravated by or includes behaviour associated with discrimination against a vulnerable victim or a person based on a protected characteristic will be presumed to be a S3 matter.

Offensive comments, bullying or harassment based on an actual or perceived protected characteristic will be viewed as particularly serious. Where the perpetrator either knew or should have known that their actions were either directly offensive to an individual or more generally offensive to a group, the starting point for consideration should be termination of studies.

 

+ In all cases involving assault, the Disciplinary Panel or Authorised Officer should actively consider all of the circumstances of an incident to ensure that any sanction reflects the nature and gravity of a student’s action.

  1. Greater harm (serious injury or impact) and higher culpability or other serious aggravating factors: The starting point/presumption will be for termination of studies.
  2. Greater harm and lower culpability or lesser harm and higher culpability: The starting point/presumption will be for suspended termination of studies, a financial penalty under Section 3 and consideration of residential status (if in University accommodation) and restrictions to access on campus.
  3. Lesser harm and lower culpability: The starting point will be for a Written Warning or financial penalty under Section 2.

£100 - £250 and may include suspended or actual relocation to another Hall, or exclusion from Halls.

 

More serious offences may require resolution at S3 and may include:

  • Minimum fine of £250
  • Transfer within or exclusion from University accommodation
  • Restriction from specific buildings or property
  • Restriction from involvement in University events, including graduation
  • Suspended or actual termination of registration

% Relocation to another hall should not be considered where there is a risk of the perpetrator committing similar offences and/or negatively impacting on the experience of other students in the new location.

 

 

Serious or malicious damage (also see Vandalism and minor damage above).

Section 3:

Presumption of a minimum fine of £250/£300 plus the cost of repairs.

Consideration of suspended or immediate exclusion from Halls

 

Use or possession of Class A drugs.

 

Section 3:

Presumption of exclusion.

The panel will give close consideration to aggravating and mitigating factors before any decision in relation to possession of Class A drugs.

 

Supply of Class A, B or C drugs, banned performance drugs or psychoactive substances (often referred to as ‘legal highs’).

 

 

 

Section 3:

Presumption of exclusion.

The panel will give close consideration to aggravating and mitigating factors before any decision in relation to the supply of drugs and in particular issues relating to frequency, level of involvement and the nature of the substance involved.

 

Fraud/deception against the University (i.e. deliberate actions intended to or causing financial loss to the University).

Section 3:

Presumption of exclusion.

 

Receiving a Criminal Conviction (not including motoring offences for which no more than a fine and 3 penalty points are imposed.)

S3 Sanctions will range from Formal Written Warning to recommendation for termination based on the nature of the criminal conviction.

The panel will consider the following issues:

  • The gravity of the matter
  • Whether the matter relates to University activity
  • If the issues identified represent a risk to staff, students, property or reputation
  • The degree to which any criminal sanction has addressed the impact on staff, students, property or reputation
  • The issue of double-jeopardy and the degree to which any criminal sanction has adequately reflected the position, values, needs and concerns of the University.
 

Failing to comply with disciplinary action conducted under Ordinance XVII (to include failure to abide with restrictions put in place as part of a disciplinary investigation, and a failure to pay fines or complete community service).

Direct or indirect attempts to influence or intimidate witnesses prior to or during a disciplinary process or subsequent proceedings or other internal procedures.

To note that less serious matters may be dealt with at S2 as ‘Fail to Comply with an Instruction’.

 

S3:

  • The panel will actively consider the following sanctions:
  • Minimum fine of £250
  • Transfer within or exclusion from University accommodation
  • Restriction from specific buildings or property
  • Restriction from involvement in University events, including graduation
  • Suspended or actual termination of registration
 
Unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature (including: catcalling, following, wolf-whistling, derogatory comments, sexual comments or jokes about a person’s body or clothing, asking questions about someone’s sexual life, making unwelcome sexual advances, making someone feel uncomfortable through displaying or sharing sexual material, posting pornographic pictures in shared spaces, physical or virtual, sending sexually explicit e-mail, texts or other communications via social media, stalking in person or online as set out in the Protection of Freedoms Act (2102)).

Any kind of sexual touching undertaken without explicit consent including groping, sexual penetration and rape.

 

It will be important to seek and understand the wishes of victims in any Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment case.

Sanctions will range from Formal Written Warning to recommendation for termination based on the nature of the case.

At S3 for more serious cases there will be a presumption of termination of registration, and where this sanction is not applied, the panel will actively consider the following sanctions:

  • Minimum fine of £250
  • Transfer within or exclusion from University accommodation
  • Restriction from specific buildings or property
  • Restriction from involvement in University events, including graduation
  • Suspended termination of registration
 

Community Offences

OffenceStarting PointSubsequent Offences
  • Anti-social behaviour.
  • Creating excessive noise or other disturbance in a residential area off campus.
  • Bringing the University into disrepute.

Written warning - £50

More serious offences may require resolution at S3 and may include:

  • Minimum fine of £250
  • Restriction from involvement in University events, including graduation
  • Suspended or actual termination of registration

 

 

Breaching University or Government COVID-19 requirements in the community. Final written warning, fine up to £250 Suspension of registration at the University for the remainder of the academic year

Breaching University or Government COVID-19 requirements in the community covers a range of activities depending on the specific requirements in place at the time.

First offences will normally be dealt with at section 2 level, with the imposition of a formal written warning and/or a fine. Cases involving multiple breaches, or a single egregious breach will normally be dealt with at section 2 level, with the imposition of a fine at the top end of the scale, or at section 3 level. Breaches will be considered to be more serious (and therefore more likely to be dealt with at section 3 level) where the perpetrator knowingly or recklessly engages in behaviour which puts others at risk.

Traffic Offences

OffenceStarting PointSubsequent Offence
Cycling without lights All offenders are required to buy lights and provide proof to Security within 5 working days. If they fail to do so, a fine of £50 is enforced.

 

 

Traffic offence

£100 - £200 plus a ban from bringing a vehicle onto campus ranging from 1 week to the duration of studies.

More serious offences may require resolution at S3 and may include:

  • Minimum fine of £250
  • Restriction from involvement in University events, including graduation
  • Suspended or actual termination of registration