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Disciplinary Code For Students

This code is made under Article 12.2 of the Articles of Government, approved by the Court of Governors on 10 July 2006, superseding the previous version approved in 1992.

This Disciplinary Code observes the Common Law rules of Natural Justice in accordance with the Articles of the Human Rights Act 1996. However, the detailed procedural requirements of the act for civil and criminal proceedings, do not apply to the application of this code.

The code applies to all students in respect of University activities (but not in their dealings with its subsidiary companies, such as London Artscom Ltd).

Adjustments to the process may be made to accommodate students defined as having disabilities under Disability Discrimination and allied legislation.

1. Introduction

In each School the Dean shall ensure that:

  • Each student receives a copy of this Code on his/her initial enrolment; and
  • Each student shall be reminded of the Code as well as the University’s further policies on Equal Opportunities and Health and Safety through their induction to their course.

The following terms in this document have the meanings indicated below:

“A Dean” refers to the member of staff responsible to the Pro-Vice Chancellor for the circulation and operation of the Code to students within each constituent College of University of the Arts London, and to any member of staff formally acting for the Dean in disciplinary matters.

“A Dean” also refers to members of staff who have cross-University roles and designated Dean status.

“Senior Manager” refers to a Dean, Director or Head of Department or equivalent. “Staff at the level of Dean” refers to staff with managerial responsibility, directly reporting to a member of the University Management Team.

“A friend” includes a fellow student in University of the Arts London, a representative from University of the Arts London Students’ Union or a relative.

“Duty Manager” refers to the most senior manager responsible on site, including managers responsible for student residences.

“Conduct” refers to the day-to-day activities of fellow students and/or University staff in teaching, learning, research, social or residential environments managed by, or on behalf of the University, and to alleged gross misconduct off-site (see section 3).

“The Code” refers to this document as a whole.

2. Conduct


2.1  It shall be a breach of the code if a student

i. Engages in any conduct that prevents, obstructs or disrupts:

  • Teaching, learning or research within the University
  • The administration of the University
  • Any member of staff from discharging his/her duties
  • Any other student from pursuing his/her studies
  • The occurrence or conduct of any lawful meeting within the University or organised by it.

ii. Obstructs or attempts to obstruct access of staff, students or members of the public entering as normally permitted any building or premises within the University’s control.

iii. Commits any breach of regulations, including policies and codes relating to Health and Safety, Equal Opportunities and the use of emails, software and datasets and all other services, facilities and resources.

Offences against the person

iv. Assaults, sexually harasses or otherwise intimidates any fellow student, member of the University’s staff or person visiting the University, or engages in discriminatory behaviour in contravention of the University’s Diversity policy.

Offences against property

v. Misappropriates, deliberately misuses, maliciously damages, retains (without authorisation) any equipment, learning materials, student work, furniture or fittings belonging to, or under the control of the University or the Students’ Union or being the personal property of any student or member of staff.

vi. Misappropriates any funds or assets of the University or the Students’ Union.


vii. Enters or remains in an area from which excluded, or takes part in any trespass or unauthorised occupation of any buildings or premises owned or used by the University.

Occupation will be deemed to be unauthorised if it is carried on after reasonable notice to desist has been given by University staff or if the student has occupied a building or premises or part thereof where access by students is normally prohibited, or scheduled to take place.

Anti-social behaviour

viii. Behaves in a disruptive or violent manner in learning and teaching or social environments and/or residential accommodation managed by the University.

ix. Engages in alcohol or drug misuse and/or the illegal supply of Class A or Class B drugs within the learning and teaching or social environment or residential accommodation owned or managed by the University.

x. Engages in communication with staff or other students which is offensive or slanderous.


xi. Commits or is implicated in cheating or plagiarism in relation to an examination or assessment; or attempts to achieve any form of unfair advantage using others’ work, including creative artefacts, whether completed or in progress.

Such offences shall be investigated and any sanction determined according to this Code. In addition, it will be for the Board of Examiners or examining body, as appropriate, or if such arrangements do not apply, the Academic Board, to decide upon the standing of the candidate’s result or award if already made. Additionally, see the Course Regulations.

The use of files and documents

xii. Invades, abuses or attempts to abuse the security, integrity or privacy of any files or confidential material, whether or not subject to protection under the Data Protection Act, including computerised systems of the University or the Students’ Union.

Criminal offence

xiii. Commits any criminal offence (including the infringement of copyright) or conducts himself/herself on the premises of the University in a manner that would amount to a criminal offence were it committed in a public place.


xiv. Otherwise commits a breach of any Regulation, Rule or Code of Practice authorised by the Court or the Academic Board.

2.2 The offences specified in 2.1 are not intended as a definitive list. Where there is doubt, the University Secretary and Registrar and the Dean of Students shall decide the procedure to be followed in a particular situation, having regard to the standards of conduct implied in 2.1 generally.

3. Gross misconduct

Any offence (including allegations of criminal behaviour as further detailed in section 4.4 below) in which the offender commits physical violence, malicious abuse, theft, fraud or other fundamental breach of trust or negligently endangers staff or students or visitors must be regarded as gross misconduct and may therefore lead to immediate suspension pending a disciplinary hearing and possible expulsion.

Nothing in this code shall prevent a student from being suspended immediately on grounds of gross misconduct

4. Action on misconduct

Immediate Action – incidents on premises under University control

4.1 Any member of staff may with good cause require a student to leave a specific room or area should a situation develop that cannot after reasonable endeavours, be otherwise resolved. However, members of staff do not have the authority to bar students from University facilities and resources beyond the immediate resolution of a difficult situation.

Following a requirement to leave, the matter can only be extended into a formal suspension of the student through the procedure detailed within this Disciplinary Code.

4.2 Any refusal to leave or similar escalation of the situation should be referred immediately to a member of staff at the level of Dean, or if the latter is not available, the Duty Manager for the site. The police will be called if the senior staff member present deems this appropriate.

4.3 The request to leave with summary detail of the incident leading to it, together with any refusal to leave shall be reported to the student’s Dean as soon as reasonably practicable, normally using the ‘Student Incident Report Form’ available from the Student Services website, Human Resources or University Secretary and Registrar’s Office. The Dean will then revert to the sections of this code.

Immediate action – alleged criminal behaviour and police involvement

4.4 Allegations of criminal behaviour (on or off-site) may come to staff’s attention in three ways:

  • Allegations by another member of the School/ College/ University community (e.g. student, staff or visitor)
  • Allegation by an external party (e.g. neighbour, member of public)
  • Report/enquiry from the police.

In all cases, the office of the Dean or equivalent should be informed; and advice from the University Secretary and Registrar and/or Dean of Students may be sought on the questions of liaison with police and informal progress respectively.

4.5 In cases (a) and (b), if the allegation is potentially gross misconduct, the matter should be directed to the police. That is, the person making the allegation should be advised to contact the police. Staff should consider the merits or otherwise of assisting in this, according to circumstances.

4.6 Once the police are involved with the alleged incident, their advice should be sought as to what further action the School/College/University might take. The relevant member of the University's Executive Board – Pro Vice-Chancellor or Deputy Vice-Chancellor, as well as the University Secretary and Registrar, and Dean of Students – should be informed, if not already aware. Apart from suspension, it is likely that the police will require that no further investigation is undertaken, as this might damage the proper proceedings for a charge.

4.7 If the matter is not referred to the police or the police refer the matter back for School/College/University internal action only, it should be dealt with promptly utilising the procedures indicated in this section or Section 5 below, but with an awareness of the particular problems around cases of an interpersonal nature (e.g. student allegations about fellow students). In such instances, a counter allegation is often offered/ made as a defence. Hence, suspension (if the police are not involved) should be used very sparingly, as a suspension of only one party leaves the School/College/University in a very vulnerable position.

5. Initial and extended suspension

5.1 Staff in the following posts have the Vice-Chancellor’s authority to suspend students: Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Deans, Senior Managers, Duty Managers. Initially, suspension may be imposed for up to three complete working days. A suspension imposed by a Dean or Duty Manager must be notified immediately to the Pro Vice-Chancellor where the student is registered. No further action of a disciplinary nature shall then be taken in relation to a residential issue without consulting the Pro Vice-Chancellor concerned.

5.2 Within three working days of their suspension, students must be sent to their registered (QL) address written confirmation (by post or email), explaining why they have been suspended and for how long. Extensions to suspension should also be communicated clearly and promptly, once the decision to extend suspension has been made. In cases in which suspensions are extended the lead manager (see above) should meet the suspended student to discuss the situation with him/her.

5.3 Where the University has been notified that the police are involved, proceedings may be deferred until police guidance concerning further legal action is received.

In such cases, an explanatory meeting will be held within 72 hours to keep relevant parties informed. If the student is already suspended by the University, this may be extended and the student will be notified accordingly.

5.4 After the initial suspension, a further period may be imposed if more time is needed to complete an investigation or if exclusion is necessary until a disciplinary hearing is held. At the beginning of the extended period of suspension the student should receive in writing a statement of the allegation(s) being investigated and confirmation of the reason for suspension. In all cases, unless the Vice-Chancellor determines otherwise, suspension shall debar the student from all University sites, premises and activities (except with express consent). However, reasonable opportunity to respond to an allegation would normally be permitted, and it is also recognised that special considerations could arise in relation to a student’s access to his/her place of residence.

5.5 A student who has been under continuous suspension for two weeks or more may appeal to the Vice-Chancellor for the matter to be expedited unless a disciplinary hearing has been held or the date for a hearing set. If a disciplinary hearing is to take place the date should normally be notified to the student within three weeks of the initial suspension.

6. Informal and formal proceedings regarding infringements of the Code

6.1 All infringements of the Code shall be investigated to establish the facts. Any student against whom an allegation has been made has the right to be accompanied by a “friend” at an investigative interview or disciplinary hearing. At this stage the process is led by the lead manager (usually the manager who has initiated the suspension).

6.2 Prompt and informal resolution should always be sought for minor infringements. Deans or Duty Managers will seek early resolution without further reference to this procedure. In other circumstances, following investigation, the procedure should move to a formal disciplinary hearing, if necessary.

6.3 The Dean of Students will act in an advisory and consultative manner to assist in informal resolution. Staff should consult the Dean of Students on matters to do with initial continuing suspension, including exploratory investigations.

An informal resolution will seek to rectify a problem that has arisen, but will not be designed to punish the student. Suitable informal resolution led by the local College Dean may include:

i.  Successful mediation between students, or students and staff
ii.  Righting a wrong by paying for damage (but no fine)
iii. Apologising to those affected by inappropriate behaviour
iv. Agreement to certain standards of behaviour in the future.
v.  Agreement to seek a medical assessment if appropriate

7. Mental illness

7.1 If it appears to those considering an allegation of misconduct (as described in Sections 2 and 3 above) that the student in question is suffering from mental illness or mental instability, the proceedings may be adjourned for the preparation of a medical report following advice from the University’s Head of Counselling, Health and Disability.

7.2 If there is medical evidence that the student is suffering from mental illness or mental instability, those dealing with the case may suspend or terminate the proceedings, if it is felt appropriate to do so. It may be made a condition of the deferment or termination of the proceedings, or the lifting of the suspension itself, that the student seek medical treatment.

8. Formal resolution

A student shall be informed in writing of the allegations against him/her ten working days in advance of any disciplinary hearing. Documentation relating to the hearing will be provided to the student no later than two working days before the meeting. Disciplinary hearings will usually occur no more than 15 working days after the Dean’s or Senior Manager’s investigation has been concluded. In cases involving health assessments this period may necessarily be longer.

9. Disciplinary Hearing Panel

9.1 The Disciplinary Hearing Panel will be convened by the University Secretary and Registrar and should normally consist of one Pro Vice-Chancellor or Dean (not from the student’s College), one senior member of Central Services staff (who shall be Chair), the Students’ Union President or their nominee, and the University Secretary and Registrar’s nominated representative as Clerk, none of whom should have been directly involved in interim action taken to investigate up to that date.

9.2 The panel will receive a report from the Dean of the student’s School on their investigation. The Chair will be empowered to request additional documentation and/or evidence.

9.3 Any documentation (including a tariff of sanctions) and evidence presented to the panel should be made available to the student at the earliest opportunity and no later than two working days ahead of the meeting.

9.4 Disciplinary hearings will normally be chaired by a Senior University Manager. However, when gross misconduct has been alleged, or previous warnings have not produced a satisfactory response, or persistent infringements of the Code have occurred, the hearing will normally be conducted by an Executive Board member nominated by the Vice-Chancellor. The conduct of all disciplinary hearings should follow the standard University procedure.

10. Conducting disciplinary hearings

A record shall be kept of a disciplinary hearing, including the report of the investigation and of the action taken in consequence of the hearing. If misconduct is established, the hearing record and the detail of action taken shall be held for the duration of the student’s registration at University of the Arts London.

In all cases:

i. The student must know the case against him/her and the likely sanctions should the infringement be proven.

ii. Relevant evidence and documents must be disclosed two working days in advance of the hearing.

iii. Students will be permitted to make representations and question the evidence in a manner determined by the Chair of the Panel who shall be the final arbiter of the procedure to be followed at the hearing.

iv. There is no absolute right for a student to require a witness to attend a hearing. The Chair has the discretion to allow witness’ written statement as evidence, or to arrange for the panel to interview them separately (in camera) if he/she believes it to be in the interest of natural justice to do so. However, the more serious the allegation and the more contentious the statement the greater the presumption should be towards witness attendance.

v. A student or staff member, or their representatives will be allowed to challenge evidence through questions for witnesses, which should formally be directed through the Chair of the Panel. Confrontational or aggressive cross-examination will not be permitted and any restrictions shall be at the sole discretion of the Chair.

11. Disciplinary hearing (and appeal) panel decisions

i. In reaching a conclusion in disciplinary matters, the Chair should be satisfied that the student has done what has been alleged.

ii. The ‘test of proof’ should be considered by the panel to be on a sliding scale depending on the seriousness of the allegation, with a heightened probability required, the more serious the allegation.

iii. The Panel Chair will have a casting vote.

11.1 If as a result of a disciplinary hearing the student is found to be blameworthy and further action necessary, one or more of the sanctions below may be applied:

i. An apology may be required from the student to the member of staff or other student(s) involved in the original incident

ii. An oral warning to be recorded on the student’s file for a specified period

iii. A reprimand to be written on the student’s file

iv. A written warning and/or requirement to give a written undertaking as to future conduct

v. Payment to be made for any loss or damage caused either fully or in part

vi. Withdrawal of registration for a period of up to 12 months

vii. Recommend expulsion.

Except in the case of withdrawal of registration or ongoing suspension, exclusion from facilities for any significant period is not an acceptable sanction.

Indeed in all cases it should be made clear at the end of a hearing when the student can and should return to College, either to collect belongings or to return to study, which should be at the earliest reasonable time.

11.2 If the Chair of a disciplinary hearing recommends the student’s expulsion to the Vice-Chancellor, the student will be suspended until the Vice-Chancellor has come to a decision. The Vice-Chancellor shall receive the recommendation within three working days of the hearing, and promptly consider all relevant factors so that a decision is made and notified in writing to the student within no more than 15 working days.

12. Appeals

12.1 Any student dissatisfied with a decision relating to an allegation of misconduct may give written notice of intention to appeal.

12.2 The notice of appeal must be made by notifying the University Secretary and Registrar in writing no later than the tenth working day after the notice of the decision was issued.

12.3 The notice must specify the grounds on which the student wishes to appeal. The grounds on which the student may appeal are:

  • Evidence at the hearing was factually incorrect; and/or
  • Fresh evidence, which was not available at the original hearing and which may have affected the outcome of the hearing, is available; and/or
  • The hearing was flawed on procedural grounds; and/or
  • The findings of the hearing were inconsistent with the evidence provided to the hearing; and/or
  • The sanctions imposed were not reasonable in the circumstances.

12.4 The University Secretary and Registrar may reject an application to appeal if the notice of appeal does not include one or more of the grounds stated above and/or if the explanation given in support of the grounds stated discloses no reasonable basis for an appeal.

12.5 The appeal will be heard by a person or persons who are independent from the first hearing.

12.6 On hearing the appeal the University may:

  • Confirm and/or uphold the disciplinary action taken; or
  • Uphold the appeal and set aside the original disciplinary action entirely; or
  • Substitute an alternative form or level of disciplinary action or penalty if they think it is appropriate to do so. This means that the penalty could be less or more severe than the penalty originally imposed.

12.7 The University will inform the student of the final decision within a reasonable time after the appeal hearing. The decision made at the appeal will be final and there is no right of further appeal within the University.

12.8 A student whose appeal has been dismissed has the right to refer the matter to the Office of Independent Adjudicator.

Right to postpone

12.9 Any student who is the subject of a disciplinary or appeal hearing may request a postponement of that hearing providing there are reasonable grounds to do so and the length of the requested postponement is reasonable.

12.10 The University may at its absolute discretion grant a student’s request for a hearing to be postponed.

12.11 The University may postpone a disciplinary or appeal hearing providing there are reasonable grounds to do so and the length of the requested postponement is reasonable.

12.12 The final decision on whether to postpone a disciplinary or appeal hearing lies with the University.

Failure to attend

12.13 Any student who is the subject of this procedure must make all reasonable efforts to attend any hearings or meetings he or she has been requested to attend. If the student fails to attend without good reason, the University may proceed with the hearing or meeting in the student’s absence and draw such inferences as are appropriate for the material in its possession and from the student’s absence.