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Student Support

Procedures and Policies

Student Code of Conduct

Last updated: 3 February 2021

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Scope and Purpose
  3. Student Standards of Conduct
  4. Misconduct & unacceptable behaviours
  5. Online behaviours
  6. Unacceptable behaviour towards staff
  7. Investigating alleged student misconduct

1. Introduction

1.1. The University is committed to providing a fair, consistent and accessible service for all students, supporting equality, diversity and inclusion, and to building a strong sense of community.
1.2. The Student Code of Conduct (the Code) is based upon respect for the University community, the wider local community, for individuals, property and the environment. It is expected that all students are aware of it and abide by its principles
1.3. Unacceptable behaviour impacts on the University’s ability to do its work and provide a service to others, and it may be necessary for the University to take appropriate and proportionate action to protect staff. Consequently, it is expected that students, and those acting on their behalf, should act reasonably and fairly toward staff and treat University processes and procedures with respect.
1.4. Whilst it is recognised that people may act out of character in times of trouble or distress, behaviour which is deemed to be unacceptable, verbal or written, will not be tolerated by the University and may result in a student’s access to a procedure, service or member of staff being limited or withdrawn. The Code sets out how the University will approach unacceptable behaviour.

2. Scope and Purpose

2.1. This Code applies to all students of the University from enrolment (or arrival in halls of residence, if earlier) up to completion of their programme of study at the University (or departure from halls of residence, or completion of a University procedure, if later).
2.2. This Code applies to student conduct both off and on the University’s campus/premises (including on-line). It also applies to those living in or visiting University student accommodation.
2.3. For those registered on professional programmes of which impose their own professional standards or fitness to practise regulations, this Code is complementary to, and does not replace, those standards, regulations or professional conduct requirements.
2.4. In applying this Code, the University seeks to comply with all relevant legislation including that of promoting privacy, equality of opportunity and anti-discrimination.
2.5. Incidents of alleged student misconduct may lead to the invoking of formal University Investigatory Procedures for Student Matters, Disciplinary Procedures for Student Matters, and / or Fitness to Practise Procedures (if relevant).

3. Student Standards of Conduct

3.1. The University’s Student Charter sets out what our students can expect from the University and what the University expects in return.
3.2. All students are expected to be considerate to the needs of fellow students, visitors and staff and to positively integrate with local residents.
3.3. The University has excellent relationships with the police constabulary.
Where an informal approach has not been effective or where offences are more serious or repeated, a criminal investigation may be deemed necessary; where this is the case, the University will fully support such action or instigate it if appropriate.

4. Misconduct and Unacceptable Behaviours

4.1. Our students are expected to act appropriately and conduct themselves as respectful citizens of both the University and the local community. It is expected therefore that our students are seen as positive co-ambassadors for the University whilst they are enrolled on their programme of study.
4.2. The following actions, whether occurring on University premises or
elsewhere, including on-line, are examples of conduct which are not acceptable to the University and the Students’ Union, and may lead to the invoking of formal University Investigatory Procedures for Student Matters.
4.3. The University’s definition of ‘unacceptable behaviour’ and misconduct might include, but is not necessarily restricted to:
4.3.1 Behaviour or the use of language (whether expressed orally, in writing, or electronically) which is abusive, offensive, defamatory, distressing, aggressive, threatening, coercive, intimidating, unreasonably persistent, violent or disorderly; including sexual violence or abuse of any person
4.3.2 Conduct which constitutes a criminal offence, including but not limited to:

4.3.3 Any form of bullying or harassment – through virtual (on-line), verbal or physical actions
4.3.4 Harassing, victimising or discriminating behaviour against any other
person on grounds of age, disability, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity, marriage or civil partnership, colour or socio-economic background.
4.3.5 Any behaviours that manifest as persistent and unwanted that leaves others to feel intimidated, pestered and harassed (often classed as ‘stalking’).
4.3.6 Behaviour that puts the health and wellbeing of others at risk. During the period of the period of the Coronavirus pandemic and the associated national restrictions, this includes all behaviour that puts others at risk of transmission of the Coronavirus. This Code therefore requires full compliance with all restrictions, requirements and guidance issued by the Government, Public Health England or the University which are designed to minimise virus transmission and to keep students, staff and the whole University community and visitors Covid-19 safe.
4.3.7 Unacceptable behaviour arising from excessive consumption of alcohol and/or drugs (legal highs or illegal)
4.3.8 Damage or vandalism to property
4.3.9 Misuse or unauthorised use of University premises
4.3.10 Action likely to cause injury or to impair Health and Safety procedures
4.3.11 Leading or taking part in any form of ‘initiation ceremony’, including those linked to a sports club, society or social group. This includes any behaviour that has the effect of coercing or pressurising others into behaviour that is dangerous, indecent, threatening or inappropriate in relation to joining, or remaining in, the membership of any club, society, team or group.
4.3.12 Making slanderous/libellous claims against the University or a member of the University’s community
4.3.13 Making false, frivolous, malicious or vexatious complaints
4.3.14 Any behaviour that brings the University into disrepute
4.3.15 Failure to respect the rights of others to freedom of belief, speech, or conscience
4.3.16 Disruption of, or improper interference with, the academic, administrative, sporting, social or other activities of the University or Students’ Union
4.3.17 Obstruction of, or improper interference with, the functions, duties or activities of any student, member of staff, or visitor of the University
4.3.18 Failure to disclose personal details to a member of staff of the University or Students’ Union in circumstances in which it is reasonable to require that such information be given
4.3.19 Breaches of any codes, policies, procedures or regulations adopted by the University or the Students’ Union
4.3.20 Direct or indirect association related to a behaviour classified as misconduct

5. Online Behaviours

5.1 Students need to be mindful of how their behaviour on-line, whether it be through e-mails, websites, blogs, social media or messaging platforms, can cause offence to others and therefore break the Student Code of Conduct.
5.2 In addition to those outlined in Section 4, the University regards the behaviours listed below as on-line misconduct:
5.2.1. Posting personal information about someone on-line without their consent
5.2.2. On-line impersonation (e.g. setting up on-line profiles in someone else’s name)
5.2.3. Sharing or creating private sexual materials (i.e. those made of an individual with the understanding that such material would not be shared) on-line or in digital spaces
5.2.4. Sharing or creating public sexual materials (i.e. pornographic materials that are widely available via media outlets) on-line or in digital spaces with the intention to sexually harass and/or incite gender-based violence
5.2.5. On-line communication that employs forms of coercion to extort sexual favours from the victim
5.2.6. Distribution or publication of any electronic publication including audio-visual material, social media post, blog or webpage, which is offensive, intimidating, threatening, indecent or illegal
5.3 Please note, these are examples of on-line misconduct, and do not form an exhaustive list.
5.4 There have been incidents where students have shared inappropriate and/or offensive comments on-line through ‘private’ messaging and chat platforms, where group members have reported concerns and shared evidence with the University about such content, and as a consequence formal investigatory/disciplinary procedures have been invoked. Students therefore are strongly advised to not engage in such discussions, and we encourage any student who is aware of such discussions to report them to the University for investigation

6. Unacceptable Behaviour Towards Staff

6.1 When behaviour is deemed to be unacceptable (see 4.3 above), we will explain the reason(s) for this and will ask the student, or those communicating with the University to act on their behalf, to modify their behaviour. If the unacceptable behaviour continues, a member of staff may take appropriate action at the time of the incident to initially restrict communication in connection with the policy, procedure, or provision of service in question e.g. they may inform the student that they will not respond to further correspondence if the behaviour continues,
or they may end a discussion or telephone call.
6.2 A member of staff may report unacceptable behaviour to senior staff who will decide whether to restrict or withdraw a student’s access to a procedure, service or member of staff. This decision will not be taken lightly and will normally be made by a relevant manager who is a member of the University Management Forum (i.e. the relevant Head of Professional Service or Head of School.)
6.3 The student will be told in writing, the reason(s) why their behaviour has been deemed unacceptable and the action(s) that will be taken including any restrictions to / withdrawal of access arrangements and the timeframe that these will be in place. Any restrictions / withdrawals imposed will be appropriate and proportionate and may include but is not limited to the following:
6.3.1 Requiring the tone/language of the communication to be respectful and moderate
6.3.2 Requesting contact in a particular form e.g. by letter only
6.3.3 Restricting contact to a nominated member of staff who will deal with future communications with the student
6.3.4 Restricting contact to specified days and times or by appointment only
6.3.5 Requiring that the student appoint a representative to communicate on their behalf
6.3.6 Requiring that the student enters into an agreement about their future
conduct
6.4 Instead of the actions listed above, the relevant manager may rather seek to invoke the University’s Investigatory Procedures for Student Matters.
6.5 In the event that a student’s access to a procedure, service or member of staff is restricted or withdrawn, they may appeal the decision within 10 working days of being notified in writing to the Deputy Vice Chancellor or nominee. Upon receipt of the letter the Deputy Vice Chancellor or their nominated representative will respond to the student within 10 working days. The decision of the Deputy Vice Chancellor or nominee will be final.

7. Investigating Alleged Student Misconduct

7.1 Cases of alleged student misconduct vary in their nature and complexity but where deemed appropriate they will be investigated under one or more of the following:

7.2 Students under investigation for alleged misconduct are strongly advised to seek advice and assistance from the Students’ Union.
7.3 If an instance of alleged misconduct is the result of a physical or psychological problem, a student may be referred to Student Services for assistance and advice either in addition to or instead of another formal procedure.
7.4 Following the outcome of an investigation the University may need to invoke the Student Disciplinary Procedures and/or other such procedure as appropriate or relevant. These include but are not limited to:

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