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The University Code of Conduct and Adjudication Procedure

Independent Advice, Support and Representation


What is the Adjudication Process? The Adjudication Process addresses breaches of the Student Code of Conduct which is a set of standards that students are expected to ‘abide’ by in terms of their personal and professional conduct (including fulfilling course requirements such as attendance). The intention of the Process is to treat complaints as allegations and have trained Adjudication Officers investigate allegations and decide whether a breach has actually taken place (although it is possible for students to be suspended whilst an allegation is investigated). There are a range of sanctions that can be applied after investigation if it is found that a student has breached the University Code of Conduct. As a policy it is broken up into sections – the policy, the process and the Code of Conduct.

The Student Code of Conduct The Code of Conduct sets out some detailed expectations from students. It includes behaviours and attitudes both on and off campus and is broken up into the following sections: • Behaviour towards students, staff, agents, visitors and guests of the college • The use of buildings, grounds and equipment • Acting within the adjudication procedures themselves • College administration (ie. not defrauding college services, breaching confidentiality, payment of monies owed to college etc.) • Acting within other college policies eg. Equal Opportunities etc. A student, member of staff or agent of the University (eg. security staff, placement staff) can make an allegation against a student using these procedures.


The Policy The Policy documents are available on the University website or you can contact the Students’ Union Student Adviser using the contacts on the back of this leaflet for a copy. It includes information about: • confidentiality • what happens if someone makes a false allegation • the timescales in place to address allegations • what documentation is required by those involved • who the policy applies to • sanctions imposed • suspension procedures • cases which involve the police • what advice, support, representation and guidance is available to those involved • how the policy is monitored, evaluated and reviewed.

The Adjudication Process Although it is a long document, it may be helpful to have a look online and read it.

Students often become aware of the policy when they receive a letter from an Adjudication Officer. This will set out what they are alleged to have done, the rules they are alleged to have breached and should include evidence where relevant and details of what will happen next. Although, if you have been suspended your letter may not include detailed information about the exact nature of any potential breaches and may simply list any codes that you are alleged to have breached.


There will either be a request to: • write back to the Adjudication officer with a response to the allegation by a certain date • attend an Adjudication Meeting • attend an Adjudication Interview • attend an Adjudication Hearing Anyone making an allegation has to do this in writing to an Adjudication Officer. They have to include as much information as is relevant and include evidence where there is any. The Adjudication Officer will have checked that this is the correct procedure to apply and is likely to have spoken to the person making the allegation before contacting the student who is alleged to have broken the code of conduct. The Adjudication Officer involved will be relevant to the alleged breach – unless he or she is implicated in the allegation, or is the person making the allegation.

It should be remembered that although it is not assumed from the outset that a student has done anything wrong, if they have, it is worth being honest and accepting responsibility as this will be looked on positively by the Officer.


Adjudication by correspondence Adjudication by correspondence provides a student with the chance to respond to any allegations. The Adjudication Officer will contact the student in writing to inform them about any allegations made against them. Any evidence that supports the allegation(s) should be provided at this stage. The letter will ask the student to respond in writing within a certain time limit by either: •

admitting to any allegations

admitting to any allegations and submitting mitigating extenuating circumstances

denying any allegations and submitting a supporting statement or evidence

requesting an adjudication meeting The Adjudication Officer will then normally look at the student response and either make a decision about an outcome and inform the student in writing, or they may decide that a further adjudication procedure may be more appropriate.

Adjudication Meetings The meeting will take the form of a discussion about the allegations made and the student’s response to them, usually attended by a PAT or Programme Leader. By the end the Officer may feel s/he is able to make a decision: •

that there has been no breach

that there has been a breach and discuss an outcome (sanctions are mentioned

later) •

they may recommend external agencies – medical, counselling, mediation etc

they may refer the student to an Adjudication Interview

The student is generally informed of any outcomes and sanctions at the meeting, although the Officer may wait and inform the student of the outcome within five working days of the Meeting. If a student fails to attend an Adjudication Meeting, they will be asked to attend a more formal Adjudication Interview.


Adjudication interviews The Interview will take the form of a discussion about the allegations made and the student’s response to them and is conducted in a similar manner to the Adjudication Meeting but generally attended by two or more members of staff and a minute taker. By the end the Officer may feel s/he is able to make a decision: •

that there has been no breach

that there has been a breach and discuss an outcome – sanctions are mentioned later

they may recommend external agencies – medical, counselling, mediation etc

they may refer to an Adjudication Hearing

The student may be informed of any outcomes and sanctions at the interview or the Officer may wait and inform the student of the outcome within five working days of the meeting.


Adjudication Hearings A Hearing can take place either as the outcome of an Interview or if the allegation is considered serious enough.

The process is similar to an interview except that there will be a panel made up of three Adjudication Officers who have not been involved at an earlier stage and a representative of the Students’ Union. The Union involvement at the panel is to make sure the policy is followed and although s/he can contribute to deliberations doesn’t form part of the final decision making process. The student may not be informed of the decision at the end of the meeting and will need to wait to receive a letter within five working days.


Appealing against an outcome Students can appeal about the decisions made but they do need to have good reasons – speak to the Students’ Union Student Advisor if you are thinking of appealing.

What the sanctions might include: Different levels of sanctions can be applied at the different stages and are more serious at a Hearing. Although more detail can be found in the Appendix, examples include: • verbal or written warning(s) • making an apology • a fine where appropriate – up to £25 at Interview or £100 at Hearing. • Temporary or permanent exclusion from University services * or residences • Temporary or permanent suspension or exclusion from the College, withdrawal of award (can only be sanctioned by the Principal)

*Note; The Students’ Union does not fall under the umbrella of University Services. The Adjudication Officer(s) therefore, cannot suspend or exclude a student from Union services or facilities. At most they could contact the Representation Sabbatical or General Manager and make a recommendation that the Union initiates its own procedures to determine what if any action may be required.


Support and Representation The Students' Union Advice Service can help whether students want to make an allegation or are responding to an allegation. We can assist in putting statements together and strongly recommend that an Advisor accompanies students to any meetings that might take place. Contact information is on the back of this leaflet – Students should feel free to contact the Students’ Union Advice Service at any stage of the process, although we can generally be of more help if we are involved sooner rather than later.


Contacting the Advice Service

If you would like any further information, would like to arrange an appointment or want to speak to a Students’ Union Advice Service staff member then contact:

Students’ Union Student Advisors Telephone: 01524 590810 email: suadvice@cumbria.ac.uk You can also drop in to your local Students’ Union Office on each main Campus to speak to the Student Advisor in person, on the telephone or to arrange a suitable appointment.

If you’d prefer it you can arrange an online chat with the Student Advisor on MSN Messenger (Mon-Fri 10am- 4pm) email: suadvice@cumbria.ac.uk to arrange an appointment.

Why not visit the Advice Service section of the Students’ Union website so see what other information and advice we can offer?

www.thestudentsunion.org.uk

If you would like this document in an alternative format please contact Mike Taylor On Tel:01524 590810 or e-mail:suadvice@cumbria.ac.uk


UCSU Adjudication Procedure