D. Disciplinary Procedures

1. Introduction

1.1      A student who, whilst a member of the College, brings the College into disrepute and/or indulges in conduct inimical to the orderly life of the College will be liable to disciplinary action by the College.  Action may be brought against members in respect of such behaviour, inter alia, within other colleges, within the precincts of the University, or elsewhere within the City.  The University includes the student press, social networking sites, weblogs and online sites associated with the University.

1.2     The standards of behaviour expected of all members of the University are set out here.  Contravention of the University’s conduct regulations may result in action under the University’s Disciplinary Procedures which are under the jurisdiction of the Proctors. Contravention of any of the University’s regulations purely within the context of the College may be subject to the College’s Disciplinary Procedures. Where an offence concerns both the University and the College, the Proctors’ jurisdiction will take precedence, but the College may also conduct its own investigations under its own procedures and impose its own penalty provided this is compatible with any decision of the Proctors and/or the Student Disciplinary Panel.

1.3     Any student who has been convicted of a criminal offence of such seriousness that an immediate term of imprisonment might have been imposed (and whether or not such a sentence was in fact imposed) is required to inform the Dean, who will instigate the Formal Disciplinary Procedure, which is set out in section 6 below.

1.4     It is an offence for a student to fail to take reasonable steps to prevent disruptive or offensive behaviour on the part of anyone that they invite into College.

2.  Advice and support

 Students who find themselves subject to these Disciplinary Procedures may wish to seek advice and support from the officers of the JCR/MCR, or from the Oxford University Student Union Advice Service.

3.  Disciplinary offences

A disciplinary offence is:

3.1       a contravention of any regulation or code within the College Regulations; or

3.2       a contravention of any University regulation or code as found by the appropriate University authority; or

3.3       any other conduct which disrupts or attempts to disrupt the lawful activities of members of the College or its staff or is otherwise seriously detrimental to the interests of the College.

4.  General principles in imposing penalties

In determining whether a contravention has occurred, the principle that the weight of the evidence should be commensurate to the seriousness of the contravention shall be applied. In imposing penalties under these procedures, regard shall be had to the principle of proportionality.

5.  Jurisdiction of the Dean and Junior Dean – minor offences

5.1       In the case of minor offences the student will be informed of the penalty and the reasons for its imposition. The student will be given the opportunity to attend a meeting with the Dean or Junior Dean before the penalty comes into force if they wish.  In circumstances where there is doubt as to fact, responsibility or identity, the student shall normally be summoned to appear before the Dean or Junior Dean.  Such a summons will also normally be issued in cases of repeated offence or where the seriousness of the offence makes it appropriate.  At any meeting the student may be accompanied by a member of the JCR/MCR with the exception of anyone who in the opinion of the Dean or Junior Dean has an involvement with the incident.   The Dean or Junior Dean will keep a brief confidential record of the offence and penalty imposed and will communicate the penalty by letter to the student.

5.2       Disciplinary powers exercised by the Dean or Junior Dean normally include:

(a) fines up to £100 (Dean) or £30 (Junior Dean),

(b) charges for damage to property (sufficient to cover the costs of repair and/or replacement) up to £500 (Dean),

(c) exclusion of the student or any of their guests from parts of the College,

(d) disconnection from the IT network,

(e) confiscation,

(f) community service.

The Dean shall have power to send a student out of residence, or exclude the student from all or any part of the College premises for up to eight weeks of full-term.

5.3       A student may appeal to the Dean against any sanction imposed by the Junior Dean.

5.4       Appeals by students against penalties arising from minor offences should be received in writing by the Principal no later than seven days following the receipt of the letter communicating the penalty.  The Principal will convene a Disciplinary Committee (as outlined in 6.3 and 6.4 below) which will meet to consider the penalty within two weeks (see further 6.6 below).  The penalty will not normally be suspended pending appeal, but the student may apply to the Principal for the penalty to be suspended on reasonable grounds. The student may not appeal the decision of the Disciplinary Committee to a College Appeal Committee but may appeal to the Conference of College Appeal Tribunal (see 3.11 in Section G below).

6.  Disciplinary Committee – serious offences

 6.1       Where the Dean considers that an incident is sufficiently serious (considering the nature of the allegations and how far they can be substantiated; the number of incidents and the probable range of sanction) the Dean shall ask the Principal to set up a Disciplinary Committee to investigate the breach of College regulations and to impose sanctions.  Penalties available to the Committee include:

(a)        fines in excess of £100 and charges above £500;

(b)        community service of greater than 10  days;

(c)        denial of access to College facilities (including  Library, Computer Room, IT facilities, Hall, accommodation);

(d)        suspension;

(e)        permanent withdrawal from the course;

(f)        combinations thereof.

6.2       The Disciplinary Committee shall consult the Academic Administrator on the practicality of the proposed penalty before agreeing its final decision.

6.3       The Disciplinary Committee shall consist of four senior members at least one of whom shall be a teaching fellow holding a University or College post, and excluding the Dean and the Subject and/or Supervising Tutor(s)/College Adviser/Supervisor of the student.  The Principal shall appoint one of the members to act as Chair of the Committee.

6.4       The Committee’s hearing shall take place as soon as practicable; normally within one week of the Dean’s informing the Principal.  The Committee will proceeds as follows:

6.4.1    The student will be given 3 working days’ notice in writing of the date, time and place of the hearing, the composition of the Committee, the grounds for their being referred to the Committee and a copy of all documentation with which the Committee is provided.     This will include a list of any witnesses to be called by the Dean.  The hearing may go ahead earlier by agreement between the student and the Chair

6.4.2    The student shall be allowed to take advice in advance of the hearing.

6.4.3    The student may ask for any witnesses to attend the hearing.    The Dean may also call witnesses.

6.4.4    Any documents which the student wishes the Committee to consider, and the names of any witnesses, must be provided to the Chair of the Committee at least 24 hours before the time of the hearing.

6.4.5    The student shall be entitled to make representations to the Committee in person or by electronic link. S/he can be represented by any current member of the College, senior or junior (except the Senior Tutor or any tutor who has taught him/her), or a representative of Oxford University Students Union, or may ask the Principal to appoint a member of the Governing Body to represent him/her.    Any such representative may speak at the hearing on behalf of the student.  The student shall also be allowed to make written submissions.   The student may also submit a character reference (e.g., from a tutor) which the Committee may treat as relevant to any sanction proposed.

6.4.6.   The hearing may proceed if the student fails to attend as notified, or to make a submission.

6.4.7    The hearing shall be conducted in a fair way in accordance with the principles of natural justice.  It will begin with the Chair reading the statement of the grounds for the student being referred to the Committee.  The Dean, Junior Dean, student and witnesses may be asked to speak in an order and format to be determined by the Chair of the Committee.  The student or their representative will be given an opportunity to make an opening statement; cross-examine any witnesses; submit evidence (written or otherwise) and/or argument; make a closing statement after any closing statement by the Dean.  The Chair will be responsible for making a written record of the hearing.

6.4.8    The Committee will ask the student, the Dean, Junior Dean and any witnesses to withdraw before deliberation.  They may re-summon any of the above; the student will be given the opportunity to be present for any further summons.

6.4.9    The duty of the Committee is to establish all relevant facts, based upon the evidence submitted and statements made by the Dean, Junior Dean, the student, witnesses and the student’s representatives and then to decide whether the case is proven.  If it is so decided, the Committee will then determine, bearing in mind the interests of the College and the student, the proportionate, appropriate and practical penalty.  The Committee may ask the Dean to propose a penalty.

6.4.10  Having considered the matter, the Committee will agree its decision by vote: the Chair’s vote will be the casting vote in the event of a tied vote.  The Committee may confirm, increase, decrease or set aside any penalty proposed by the Dean.  The decision will be communicated in writing to the student and to the Principal within 3 working days.

6.4.11    If the decision of the Committee or (if an appeal has taken place) the College Appeals Committee, is that the student is to be permanently withdrawn from the College, the decision, together with a report of the hearing, shall be brought before the next Governing Body meeting.   A decision that the student be permanently withdrawn from the course requires, as a final stage, confirmation by the Governing Body.      The student will be given 3 working days’ notice of the Governing Body meeting and may submit in writing a plea in mitigation of the penalty.   The decision of the Governing Body will be communicated to the student within 3 working days.

6.5    For offences involving more than one student, the Committee may choose to hear each case separately or to hear all offenders’ cases together before the Committee.  All offences will be decided on their individual facts.

6.6    When considering appeals against minor offences the Committee may choose to allow written evidence and written submissions only.  Decisions will be communicated by the Chair in writing to the student(s) and copied to the Dean.   The decision of the Committee shall be final; there shall be no further appeal from its decision, except to CCAT and/or the OIA under 3.11 and 3.12 of Section G below.

Procedure for serious offences involving sexual misconduct, violence of coercive behaviour.

This procedure is for use in cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct, violence or coercive behaviour, taking into account specific considerations and arrangements that may apply in such cases.

6.7    In cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct, violence or coercive behaviour at the Dean’s discretion, the Dean shall appoint an investigator who is trained and experienced at dealing with such cases. The investigator will interview both the person who reported the facts giving rise to the allegations (‘the reporter’) and the student who is the subject of the allegations (‘the student’) and, at the discretion of the investigator, where appropriate in consultation with the Dean, any other potentially relevant witness and will take a written statement from each of them. Each will have the opportunity to comment upon and agree a final version of their statement before these are provided to the Dean by the investigator.

6.8    Any such written statements and any other evidence available to the Dean shall be reviewed by the Dean, who shall, taking account of the nature of the allegations and how far they appear to be substantiated by the evidence, determine whether or not they should be referred to a Disciplinary Committee “ the Committee”. Where the Dean considers that an incident is sufficiently serious (considering the nature of the allegations and how far they can be substantiated) the Dean shall ask the Principal to set up a Committee to investigate any allegation of breach of College regulations, to determine whether any such allegation is substantiated and where appropriate to impose sanctions.

6.9    The Committee shall consist of four senior members at least one of whom shall be a teaching fellow holding a University or College post, and excluding the Dean and the Subject and/or Supervising Tutor(s)/College Adviser/Supervisor of the student. Wherever possible the Committee should comprise members of more than one gender. The Principal shall appoint one of the members to act as Chair of the Committee.

6.10    The Dean shall, before asking the Principal to set up a Committee, draw up the grounds upon which the Dean proposes that the student be referred to the Committee. These will specify the breaches of the University and/or College rules or regulations alleged and will include particulars of the conduct said to constitute those breaches. In cases alleging sexual misconduct, violence or coercive behaviour they will include any allegation that the reporter did not consent to any conduct of the student and any allegation that the student knew or was reckless that the reporter did not consent to that conduct.

6.11    The Committee’s hearing shall take place as soon as practicable. The Committee will proceed as set out in paragraphs 6.14 to 6.17.

6.12  The duty of the Committee is to establish all relevant facts, based upon the evidence submitted, and then to decide which, if any, allegations of breaches are made out. The onus of proof shall be on the Dean. The standard of proof shall be that which is commensurate with the seriousness of the allegations of breaches, and shall be decided upon by the Committee in relation to each allegation before the hearing. In setting the standard the committee will have regard to any submissions from the student or the Dean on this point.   The Committee must notify the Dean and the student of the standard of proof it has set in relation to each allegation at least three days before the hearing.

Before the hearing

6.13.1   The student shall be given three working days’ notice in writing of:-

  1. the date, time and place of hearing;
  2. the composition of the Committee;
  3. the grounds of referral to the Committee;
  4. all documentary evidence with which the Committee has been provided;
  5. a list of all witnesses to be called at the hearing by the Dean;
  6. the procedure to be adopted at the hearing.

6.13.2  The student may:

  1. take any advice they choose including legal advice;
  2. make written submissions to the Committee,
  3. submit a character reference (eg from a tutor) which the student considers to be relevant to their liability or any sanction proposed,
  4. submit any other documents they wish the Committee to consider,

provided that all submissions, references and other documents must be submitted at least 3 working days before the hearing.

6.13.3   The Dean and the student have the right to make written submissions to the Committee, via the Academic Administrator, if they wish to apply to the Committee to alter any matter in section 6.14 below, provided they serve a copy of the written submissions on the other party.     The Committee will then make a decision on the application.

The hearing

6.14.1.   The reporter, the student and any witness may address the Committee in person or by electronic link. In the case of the use of an electronic link, the person seeking to use it must give 3 days’ notice and Skype or equivalent details to the academic administrator.

6.14.2   The student may:

  1. attend the whole of the hearing.
  2. make representations to the Committee.
  3. be represented by any person they choose, including a legally qualified person. The student must notify the Academic Administrator as soon as possible whether they intend to be represented.   They must notify the Academic Administrator no later than 3 days before the hearing of the name of any representative.  They may be accompanied by a supporter (in addition to or instead of a legal representative)
  4. call any witnesses they choose.   The student must give the Academic Administrator and the Dean one day’s notice of the name of any witness they intend to call
  5. give oral evidence and present documentary evidence to the Committee.
  6. request the attendance at the hearing of any witness upon whose evidence the Dean proposes to rely.
  7. only question the evidence of the reporter through the student’s representative or, where the student is unrepresented, by providing written questions to the Committee in advance of the hearing.     In the latter case, the student’s questions to the reporter shall be asked by a member of the Committee, and the student can ask follow up questions of the reporter during the course of the hearing by providing these in writing to the member of the Committee asking their questions.   For the avoidance of doubt, the student may not directly question the reporter.

6.14.3 The Dean may:

  1. Be represented by any person, including a legally qualified person.
  2. Call any witnesses they deem appropriate, including the reporter.   The Dean must give the student 2 days’ notice of the names of any witnesses called.
  3. Cross-examine the student and any witnesses called by the student.
  4. Make representations to the Committee.

6.14.4   The hearing can proceed if the student fails to attend as notified, or to make a submission, if the Committee, in the exercise of its discretion, so decides.

6.14.5. The reporter may attend the whole of the hearing in person and, if they so wish, the reporter is entitled to sit behind a screen. Alternatively, if the reporter so wishes, they can attend via electronic link from another location arranged by the College, or of the reporter’s choice. The reporter can bring a supporter to sit with them while attending the hearing and giving evidence, but the supporter cannot assist the reporter in answering questions or in giving evidence.

6.14.6 The hearing will be recorded. The recording will be kept securely by the College in accordance with all data protection regulations. In the event of an appeal or for other proper purposes, it will be made available to the student on application to the Chair of the Committee, subject to such conditions that the Chair reasonably imposes.

6.14.7   The hearing shall be conducted as follows and in the following order. It shall, at all times, be conducted in a fair way in accordance with the principles of natural justice. The Dean, the student or the reporter may make an application to the Chair or the Committee at any time to vary the following procedure and the Chair or Committee shall determine the application taking into account any representations made by the other parties to the proceedings having invited such representations before determining the application.

The Chair will read a statement of the grounds for the student being referred to the Committee, including all allegations of breaches of University or College rules and regulations.

  1. The student shall be asked to state whether they accept that they have committed the breach or breaches.   If all the breaches are accepted, the hearing will proceed as set out in paragraphs 6.14.10 to 6.14.13.   If one or more alleged breaches are not accepted, the hearing will proceed as set out in paragraphs 6.14.7 to 6.14.9. The Dean will address the Committee by making an opening statement setting out the facts and arguments relied upon in support of the allegations.
  2. The Dean will call the reporter as a witness. If they so choose, the reporter can give evidence either behind a screen so that they cannot see the student or, again at their choice, by electronic link.
  3. The student can cross-examine the reporter either through a member of the Committee, as set out in 6.14.2.vii above, or via the student’s representative.
  4. The Dean can ask the reporter any further questions arising out of the cross-examination.
  5. The Committee can ask the reporter questions at any time.
  6. The Dean can call any further witnesses of which notice has been given in accordance with 6.14.3.ii above. The student will be given the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses called by the Dean. The Committee can ask witnesses questions at any time.
  7. The student or their representative can make an opening statement.
  8. The student shall give evidence, if they choose to do so. The Dean can cross-examine the student. The Committee can ask the student questions at any time.
  9. The student can call any witnesses of which notice has been given in accordance with 6.14.2.iv above. The Committee can ask witnesses questions at any time.
  10. The Dean shall make a closing statement.
  11. The student or his representative can make a closing statement.

6.14.8    The Committee will ask all people present to withdraw before deliberation.   They may re-summon any witness to answer further questions.   The Dean, the student and the reporter shall be entitled to be present for any such further hearing.

6.14.9    The Committee will then retire agree its decision by vote: the Chair’s vote will be the casting vote in the event of a tied vote.

6.14.10    If the Committee decide that any allegations of breaches have been made, it will then resume the hearing to determine the proportionate, appropriate and practical penalty, bearing in mind the interests of the College, the student and the reporter. The Committee may ask the Dean to propose a penalty. A victim impact statement from the reporter shall be produced by the Dean.   If the Committee are considering any penalty other than that set out in 6.14.11, they will indicate this so that it can be addressed by the Dean and the student in their submissions. The student will be given the opportunity to address the Committee in mitigation of penalty, and can, if they wish, call witnesses in relation to penalty.   The Dean can call evidence and make submissions in reply.

6.14.11    Penalties available to the Committee include, but are not limited to:

  1. A fine
  2. Denial of access of the student from any part or parts of the College
  3. A no contact arrangement
  4. Suspension
  5. Permanent withdrawal from the course.

6.14.12.    The Committee shall consult the Academic Administrator on the practicality of the proposed penalty before agreeing its final decision.

6.14.13    The Committee may confirm, vary, increase or decrease any penalty proposed by the Dean.

6.15.    The decision will be communicated in writing to the student and to the Principal within 3 working days of the conclusion of the hearing. The reasons for the decision can be communicated later.

6.16.    If the decision of the Committee or (if an appeal has taken place) the College Appeals Committee, is that the student is to be permanently withdrawn from the College, the decision, together with a report of the hearing, shall be brought before the next Governing Body meeting.   A decision that the student be permanently withdrawn from the course requires, as a final stage, confirmation by the Governing Body. The student will be given 3 working days’ notice of the Governing Body meeting and may submit in writing a plea of mitigation of the penalty.   The decision of the Governing Body will be communicated to the student within 3 working days.

6.17   For offences involving more than one student, the Committee may choose to hear each case separately or to hear all alleged offenders’ cases together before the Committee. All offences will be decided on their individual facts.

6.18     The student may appeal against any decision of the Committee to the College’s Appeal Committee by giving notice of appeal in writing to the Principal not later than 7 days following receipt of the letter communicating the reasons for the decision. The notice must set out the grounds for the appeal.   Pending any appeal, any decision of the Committee shall be binding, but the Principal may stay the effects of the decision.

7.   Serious Cases: Appeals

7.1         Except in the case of minor offences (see 5.3 above), a student may appeal against a decision of the Disciplinary Committee to the College’s Appeal Committee (see Section G below).  Pending any appeal, any decision of the Disciplinary Committee shall be binding.   Details of any external appeal mechanisms available to the student are also in Section G.

7.2         In cases where the student is subject to proceedings under both disciplinary and academic grounds, the Principal may convene a joint Disciplinary Committee and, if required, a joint Appeals Committee (see section G below).  In such cases, the Principal shall determine which procedure should take precedence.

7.3         Very serious offences that may involve criminal proceedings will be reported to the police.  Until the completion of the police investigation, any proceedings in the College will be postponed.

7.4         The Principal may suspend a student pending the hearing of an appeal or completion of an investigation by the police, where it is judged on reasonable grounds that the continuing presence of that student would be disruptive to the College and University community.  Such a suspension would be precautionary rather than punitive.