Part F: Senate Student Discipline Committee (SSDC)

 

Overriding objectives

The overriding objective of this Part is to deal with proceedings fairly. This means that:

i.              Proceedings should be resolved as quickly as is consistent with due process.

ii.             That where a Participant requires reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 in order to participate, such adjustments will be made.

iii.            Where a provision of the Regulations or this Part is unclear a decision-maker should interpret them in the way most consistent with the requirements of substantive and procedural fairness to you, the student.

 

Definitions

Senate Student Discipline Committee (SSDC) is a committee authorised by the Senate of the University of East Anglia. It comprises a Chair and Deputy Chair of the Senate Student Discipline Committee and members of the Committee who are appointed by Senate from time to time. The current membership of the committee is set out in the University Calendar under ‘Statutory Bodies and Committees’. The Secretary to the Committee is the Head of Learning and Teaching (Quality).

The Chair of the Senate Student Discipline Committee and the Deputy Chair have the power to make a summary determination for certain types of cases. A summary determination means that they make the decision as an individual in a shorter process. In other cases, or if they prefer to do so, they can appoint a Panel to hear each case referred to it.

The members of the Panel will be drawn from the Panel Pool. The Panel Pool comprises (a) those members of the Senate Student Discipline Committee who are academic staff as described in Statute 7 and who are not Principal Officers of the University; and (b) students who have been recruited and selected by the Student Union, the Chair of SSDC and the Head of Learning and Teaching from time to time. The Panel sits in different modes according to the nature of the allegations against you. In Professional or Research Misconduct Mode the Panel will also include two additional people.

There will be various Participants at the panel hearing. These are:

•             you

•             any Companion that you bring to support you at the hearing

•             any other students involved in the same incident who are also being disciplined

•             the Panel members

•             the Hearing Secretary, who is usually a senior member of staff of the Learning and Teaching Service (or, for postgraduate research students, the Postgraduate Research Service). They do not take part in the deliberations as they are not a member of the Panel, but they may advise on matters of procedure or the powers that the Panel has

•             the representative(s) of the University who are asserting the University’s case, such as the University’s Disciplinary Officer or a School plagiarism officer. This person is known as the Presenter.

•             any witnesses approved by the Panel Chair

•             any other person whose presence the Panel Chair deems necessary to resolve the proceedings fairly, or who (with your agreement only) is there for the purpose of training.

 

1              Training of Panel Members

1.1          The Secretary to the Senate Student Discipline Committee must ensure that all members of the Panel Pool and Hearing Secretaries have been trained before sitting on a Panel for the first time and at least every two years thereafter.

1.2          No person may remain within the Panel Pool unless they have undertaken the training specified in 1.1 above as and when it falls due.

 

2              Reasonable adjustments

2.1          The University will apply this Part F in accordance with its Equal Opportunities Policy for Students.

2.2          The University will also comply with its legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010. Reasonable adjustments are person specific but could include use of an intermediary or support worker, provision of documents in a different format, regular breaks, or adaptation in the style of questioning used.

2.3          You must tell the Hearing Secretary if you or your Companion or witness requires reasonable adjustments to be made because of a disability. You must do this no later than two working days before the hearing.

 

Guidance: Participants should contact lts.ssdc@uea.ac.uk.

 

3              Making a referral to Senate Student Discipline Committee

3.1          Referrals to the SSDC can be made by the Disciplinary Officer, the student’s Head of School, the Director of Student and Academic Services, the Director of Student Services, or the Director of the Research and Innovation Division, or any person to whom they have delegated that task. A referral is made by completion of a referral form, to which the referrer should attach the evidence on which they wish to rely and (if possible) identify any evidence they are yet to obtain. It is important that the evidence forwarded should be as full as possible, in order for the Chair of the Senate Student Discipline Committee to consider the appropriate route forward under paragraph 4 below, which may include Summary Determination.

3.2          Upon receipt of a referral, the Secretary of SSDC should write to you (the student) and tell you that the matter is now being considered by the Chair of Senate Student Discipline Committee under paragraph 4 below.

 

4              Powers of the Chair of the Senate Student Discipline Committee

The Chair or Deputy Chair will consider all referrals made to the Senate Student Discipline Committee and can take one or more of the following actions:

4.1          Return a referral with a request for further and better information to be provided within 10 working days so that the Chair can consider the matter further.

4.2          Determine that the issue should be dealt with under Fitness to Study in preference to a Panel hearing and require the School to commence such a process and confirm within 10 working days that it has done so.

4.3          Refer the matter onto or back to the Head of School or Disciplinary Officer where the Chair believes that other more appropriate procedures or steps should be used first. The Head of School or Disciplinary Officer should consider what action to take within 10 working days.

4.4          Where you are no longer registered as a student, determine whether the case against you should proceed, or not proceed, or be suspended, taking into account the factors listed in Part A paragraph 3 of these Procedures and Powers.

4.5          Determine that on the balance of probabilities there is no case to answer.

4.6          Determine that the case should proceed to a full Panel hearing and specify the relevant mode and select a Panel from the Panel Pool. Where the allegations comprise both academic and non-academic breaches, which the Chair decides should be heard together, the mode shall be Standard Academic Mode.

4.7          Where the alleged breach involves more than one student, decide whether the students should be dealt with separately or at a single hearing, or refer such a decision to the appointed Panel Chair.

4.8          In the case of an alleged breach or breaches of Regulation 13, proceed in accordance with paragraph 5 below.

4.9          In the case of an alleged breach or breaches of Regulation 18, proceed in accordance with paragraph 6 below.

4.10        In the case of an alleged breach or breaches of Regulations 20, proceed in accordance with paragraph 7 below.

 

5              Summary Determination: Regulation 13 (engagement)

5.1          Where it appears to the Chair of Senate Student Discipline Committee on consideration of the referral papers that there is evidence of a breach of Regulation 13, the Head of Learning and Teaching will contact you to:

5.1.1      tell you what the allegations are; and

5.1.2      invite you to submit a written statement and evidence that may mitigate your alleged breach;

5.2          If you do not respond within 10 working days of this contact, the Chair may, at their discretion, withdraw you from the University. This power does not limit the Chair’s power to refer the matter to SSDC for a full hearing.

5.3          You may request a full hearing if you are not satisfied with the summary determination of the Chair.

5.4          Any appeal from a decision to withdraw a student by summary determination goes to Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee.

5.5          If you respond within 10 working days the Chair may either:

5.5.1      summarily determine whether a breach has, on the balance of probabilities, occurred and, if so, consider any evidence of mitigation provided and impose any penalty or penalties other than one which would have the effect of permanently expelling you from the University or otherwise causing you to be withdrawn. Any appeal from this decision goes to Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee. Or

5.5.2      refer the matter to SSDC for a full hearing, for example because the appropriate penalty or penalties may include expulsion from the University or otherwise have the effect of withdrawing you from the University.

Guidance: Summary determination means that the Chair makes a decision by themselves using a shorter, simpler, process than if the matter went to a full hearing by a Panel of SSDC.

Guidance: Where the Chair decides to refer to SSDC, the chair should not then summarily determine, on the balance of probabilities, that a breach has or has not occurred, but leave that to SSDC.

Guidance: In all cases where the Chair imposes a penalty or penalties, the Secretary must keep a careful note of the breach, the admission, any mitigation offered by the student, and the reasons for the penalty imposed.

Guidance: Where you are enrolled on a programme of study that may lead to admission to a regulated profession overseen by a Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body, it may well be appropriate for the matter to be referred to SSDC. This is because SSDC is better placed to determine whether the breach has involved you in dishonesty. Dishonesty can be the principal concern of certain professional regulators and determine whether you will be admitted to a profession. A finding that the breach did not involve you in dishonesty may therefore facilitate you in gaining entry to the profession despite the breach, but conversely a finding of dishonesty may lead a regulator to deny entry to the profession or make entry conditional.

Guidance: However, if you are a student who is a Tier 4 visa holder, you may find that you are also in breach of the conditions of leave of your Tier 4 visa and that the University may withdraw sponsorship of your visa. Please refer to Part E paragraph 2 of these University Disciplinary and Investigative Procedures and Powers.

 

6              Summary determination: Regulation 18

6.1          Where it appears to the Chair of Senate Student Discipline Committee on consideration of the referral papers that there is evidence of a breach of Regulation 18 which, if proven, is likely to be classified as a low or medium level breach, the Chair may either

6.1.1      summarily determine that a breach has, on the balance of probabilities, occurred; consider any evidence of mitigation provided; and proceed thereafter to impose any penalty or penalties other than one which would have the effect of permanently expelling you from the University or otherwise causing you to be withdrawn. Any appeal from this decision goes to Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee.

or

6.1.2      refer the matter to SSDC for a full hearing, for example because the appropriate penalty or penalties may include expulsion from the University or otherwise have the effect of withdrawing you from the University.

6.2          If the Chair decides that the matter be dealt with by way of summary determination they will write to you by email and

6.2.1      tell you what the allegations are; and

6.2.2      the penalty, if any imposed.

6.3          If you notify the Chair within 10 working days that you object to summary determination, the Chair will refer the matter to a full hearing by an SSDC Panel.

Guidance: Summary determination means that the Chair makes a decision by themselves using a shorter, simpler, process than if the matter went to a full hearing by a Panel of SSDC.

Guidance: Where the Chair decides to refer to SSDC, the chair should not then summarily determine, on the balance of probabilities, that a breach has or has not occurred, but leave that to SSDC.

Guidance: In all cases where the Chair imposes a penalty or penalties, the Secretary must keep a careful note of the breach, the admission, any mitigation offered by the student, and the reasons for the penalty or penalties imposed.

Guidance: Where you are enrolled on a programme of study that may lead to admission to a regulated profession overseen by a Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body, it may well be appropriate for the matter to be referred to SSDC. This is because SSDC is better placed to determine whether the breach has involved you in dishonesty. Dishonesty can be the principal concern of certain professional regulators and determine whether you will be admitted to a profession. A finding that the breach did not involve you in dishonesty may therefore facilitate you in gaining entry to the profession despite the breach, but conversely a finding of dishonesty may lead a regulator to deny entry to the profession or make entry conditional.

Guidance: However, if you are a student who is a Tier 4 visa holder, you may find that you are also in breach of the conditions of leave of your Tier 4 visa and that the University may withdraw sponsorship of your visa. Please refer to Part E paragraph 2 of these University Disciplinary and Investigative Procedures and Powers.

 

7              Summary Determination: Regulation 20

7.1          Where it appears to the Chair of Senate Student Discipline Committee on consideration of the referral papers that there is evidence of a breach of Regulation 20 which, if proven, is likely to be classified as a medium level breach, the Chair may either

7.1.1      summarily determine that a breach has, on the balance of probabilities, occurred; consider any evidence of mitigation provided; and proceed thereafter to impose any penalty or penalties other than one which would have the effect of permanently expelling you from the University or otherwise causing you to be withdrawn. Any appeal from this decision goes to Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee.

or

7.1.2      refer the matter to SSDC for a full hearing, for example because the appropriate penalty or penalties may include expulsion from the University or otherwise have the effect of withdrawing you from the University.

7.2          If the Chair decides that the matter be dealt with by way of summary determination they will write to you by email and

7.2.1      tell you what the allegations are; and

7.2.2      the penalty, if any imposed.

7.3          If you notify the Chair within 10 working days that you object to summary determination, the Chair will refer the matter to a full hearing by an SSDC Panel.

Guidance: Summary determination means that the Chair makes a decision by themselves using a shorter, simpler, process than if the matter went to a full hearing by a Panel of SSDC.

Guidance: Where the Chair decides to refer to SSDC, the chair should not then summarily determine, on the balance of probabilities, that a breach has or has not occurred, but leave that to SSDC.

Guidance: In all cases where the Chair imposes a penalty, the Secretary must keep a careful note of the breach, the admission, any mitigation offered by the student, and the reasons for the penalty or penalties imposed.

Guidance: Where you are enrolled on a programme of study that may lead to admission to a regulated profession overseen by a Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body, it may well be appropriate for the matter to be referred to SSDC. This is because SSDC is better placed to determine whether the breach has involved you in dishonesty. Dishonesty can be the principal concern of certain professional regulators and determine whether you will be admitted to a profession. A finding that the breach did not involve you in dishonesty may therefore facilitate you in gaining entry to the profession despite the breach, but conversely a finding of dishonesty may lead a regulator to deny entry to the profession or make entry conditional.

Guidance: However, if you are a student who is a Tier 4 visa holder, you may find that you are also in breach of the conditions of leave of your Tier 4 visa and that the University may withdraw sponsorship of your visa. Please refer to Part E paragraph 2 of these University Disciplinary and Investigative Procedures and Powers.

Full hearings of SSDC

8              Pre-hearing preparation by the University

8.1          The Secretary to SSDC must notify you that a referral to SSDC has been made and tell you which Regulations you are alleged to have breached and a brief outline of why/how you are alleged to have breached the Regulations.

8.2          The Secretary to SSDC must also notify you if the Chair of SSDC has decided that that the case will be heard by a full panel hearing.

8.3          If a full panel hearing is being held, the Secretary to SSDC will request that the referrer provides a Presenter to present the case against the student. The Secretary will also book a room or rooms for the hearing, prepare a draft hearing pack for consideration by the Panel Chair, and seek any further information or evidence that the Panel Chair has requested in order to consider the case fairly.

8.4          Where the Panel hearing is to be held in Special Measures (see paragraph 24 below), the Secretary to SSDC will liaise with the Panel Chair and Hearing Secretary to implement the measures identified.

8.5          Nearer the hearing, the Secretary to SSDC will provide you, by email letter,  with a formal summons to the hearing and you will be provided with an online shared file link to the hearing pack (see Summons, at paragraph 15 below).

Guidance: Scheduling of hearings: The University will try to schedule the hearing to avoid clashes with your timetabled academic activities. If that is not possible, the hearing will take priority.

 

9              Role of the Panel Chair

The Panel Chair appointed for the hearing will:

9.1          Review and approve the hearing pack before the hearing

9.2          Lead the hearing and ensure that the schedule is followed.

9.3          Ensure that any reasonable adjustments notified in accordance with paragraph 2 are made

9.4          Liaise with the Hearing Secretary to ensure the identification and implementation of any Special Measures (paragraph 23)

9.5          Ask any questions the Panel wish to ask the student, Presenter or witnesses during the hearing.

9.6          Have the final decision on the inclusion of any evidence or witnesses.

9.7          Approve the outcome letter written by the Secretary.

 

10           Composition of Disciplinary Panel

The Panel shall sit in one of three Modes: Professional or Research Misconduct Mode, Academic Mode and Non-Academic Mode.

10.1        Professional or Research Misconduct Mode

10.1.1    A Panel shall be convened in Professional or Research Misconduct Mode for cases arising under General Regulation 14 and/or 15. A Panel convened under this Mode may, in addition to considering matters relating to Regulations 14 and 15, also consider allegations and determinate penalties relating to any other Regulations that are alleged to have been breached.

10.1.2    In Professional or Research Misconduct Mode, the Panel shall comprise two non-student members of the Panel Pool, one of whom shall be appointed to act as Chair; and two non-student co-opted Panel members who do not need to be members of Senate Student Discipline Committee:

10.1.2.1                one co-opted Panel member who has expertise within the same or a similar discipline to you; and

10.1.2.2                one co-opted Panel member who is not a member of staff or officer of the University but who has expertise within the same or a similar discipline to you

10.1.3    Where you are enrolled on a programme that may lead to admission to a regulated profession overseen by a Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (or are already regulated by that Body), at least one of the two co-opted Panel members must be regulated by the same Body.

10.2        Academic Mode

10.2.1    All cases arising under Regulations 13 and 17¬¬–23 inclusive shall proceed in Academic Mode. A Panel convened under this Mode may, in addition to considering matters relating to Regulations 13 and 16–23, also consider allegations and determinate penalties relating to any other Regulations that are alleged to have been breached.

10.2.2    In Academic Mode, the Panel shall comprise three non-student members of the Panel Pool, one of whom shall be appointed to act as Chair.

Guidance: Where a case involves allegations of both academic and non-academic misconduct and the Chair of Senate Student Discipline Committee has decided they should be heard together (which may be appropriate in some cases, for example where there is a close causal link or common facts), then the case will be heard in Academic Mode. 

10.3        Non-Academic Mode

All cases not arising under either Academic Mode or Professional Research Misconduct Mode shall be heard in Non-Academic Mode. The Panel shall comprise two non-student members of the Panel Pool, one of whom shall be appointed to act as Chair, and one student member of the Panel Pool.

10.4        A Panel must comprise the requisite constitution as set out above (10.1, 10.2 and 10.3) in order to proceed to hear a case. Where the Panel Chair determines that the composition of the Panel is incorrect, they shall adjourn the hearing and refer the matter back to the Chair of the Senate Student Discipline Committee for reallocation to a new Panel.  However, where the Head of Learning and Teaching (Quality) has used their best endeavours to obtain a suitably trained student member of the Panel Pool for a scheduled hearing under Non-Academic Mode but has not been able to do so, and the hearing cannot be expeditiously rescheduled, the hearing shall proceed with three non-student Panel members.

 

11           Conflicts of interest

No person may be appointed to a particular Panel if they have knowingly taught or been the personal adviser or supervisor of a student appearing before the Panel or if they have been involved with the disciplinary proceedings at an early level, such as because they are the plagiarism officer, disciplinary officer, or fitness to practise lead who dealt with the case in question.

Guidance: Panel members must be alert to the risk not only of actual prejudice or bias but to the appearance of prejudice or bias, and should consider removing themselves from the Panel where a reasonable person may consider that there is an appearance of prejudice or bias.

 

12           The evidence

12.1        The Panel has the power to summons and question any person who is a member of staff, officer, or student at the University, but can only ask a member of the public to provide evidence.

12.2        The Panel Chair will decide at their absolute discretion:

12.2.1    whether or not to hear from some or all witnesses giving oral evidence in person; and/or

12.2.2    whether to accept witness statements and other documents instead of or in addition to oral evidence; and/or

12.2.3    whether to hear oral evidence or read a statement from a person (who is attending or not attending) about a conversation they had with a non-attending third party.

Guidance: When considering best evidence, the Panel Chair may like to consider:

•             Whether the witness and/or third party is a member of staff, officer, or student of the University or a member of the public

•             Whether the hearing is during a University semester or outside of semesters

•             The nature and seriousness of the allegations

•             The nature of the evidence to be given and the degree to which it is accepted or likely to be accepted

•             The importance of that witness’s or third party’s evidence

•             Why the witness and/or third party is not proposing to attend

•             Whether a student can adequately challenge the case against them in the absence of oral evidence and the ability to question that witness and/or third party

 

13           Language

13.1        All documents (other than assessed work prepared for a language module) must be in English or accompanied by a certified translation into English. A certified translation is one that is made by a professional translator or translation company and which includes the credentials of the translator, confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document, the date of the translation, and the original signature of the translator or an authorised official of the translation company.

13.2        The Panel shall conduct its proceedings in English. No member of staff, student, or officer of the University shall have the use of a translator.

 

14           Standard of proof

14.1        The standard of proof is the balance of probabilities. This means that allegations must be shown to be ‘more likely than not’ to be true.

14.2        The burden of proof is upon the University (or, if you are a student at INTO UEA, INTO UEA).

14.3        If you have been found guilty of a criminal offence, or accepted a caution, this is at a minimum, a breach of Regulation 10.1.15 and the Panel may proceed on the basis that facts found proven within those proceedings/admissions made by you are true.

Guidance: What is the standard of proof?

The presenting officer has to prove the allegation(s) against you on what is called ‘the balance of probabilities’. This means that it is 51% or more likely that you are in breach of the regulation.

So, in a plagiarism case, the panel might ask itself ‘Is it more likely that the student copied these phrases than that the student came up with the same wording as a published journal article, by accident?’

This standard is used throughout all non-criminal legal proceedings from the trivial to the life-changing. Even though the panel may instinctively want more evidence for more serious allegations, that is legally wrong, as described in the case Re B (Children) [2008] UKHL 35. Even if an allegation is being made that is very serious in nature (such as an allegation of sexual misconduct under Regulation 10) or has serious consequences for you or someone else (as with fitness to practise under Regulation 14), the standard is still the balance of probabilities.

This is also why someone can be found not guilty in a criminal trial where the standard of proof is higher (‘beyond reasonable doubt’) but found responsible by the university using the lower ‘balance of probabilities’ standard.

In deciding whether something is ‘more likely than not’ true, the panel should take the inherent probabilities of that event/issue happening into account. This can depend upon the context. As Lady Hale says in the above case, ‘Consider the famous example of the animal seen in Regent’s Park. If it is seen outside the zoo on a stretch of greensward regularly used for walking dogs, then of course it is more likely to be a dog than a lion. If it is seen in the zoo next to the lions’ enclosure when the door is open, then it may well be more likely to be a lion than a dog.’

There is ‘no logical or necessary connection’ between the seriousness of an allegation and the likelihood of it having happened. Some serious events are common; some are not.

 

15           Summons to the hearing

15.1        The Secretary to SSDC must give you access to

15.1.1    a copy of the General Regulations and any other Statutes, Regulations, Student Charter, Codes of Practice, Rules, and Procedures that you are alleged to have breached

15.1.2    a copy of these University Disciplinary and Investigative Procedures and Powers

15.1.3    a copy of all of the documentation provided by the referrer and Presenter that will be considered by the Panel. (This is known as the ‘hearing pack’.)

15.2        The Secretary to SSDC must tell you

15.2.1    the Regulation(s) that are alleged to have been breached

15.2.2    the nature of the breach

15.2.3    the time, place, and mode of the hearing

15.2.4    whether special measures are to be used (if known)

15.2.5    the identity of the Panel members

15.2.6    the identity of any Presenter

15.2.7   the identity of any witnesses, to the extent known

15.2.8   that the Panel may proceed in your absence if you do not attend

15.2.8    your ability to bring a Companion to the hearing subject to paragraph 17 below.

15.3        The summons will be sent to you by email

15.3.1    no fewer than 20 working days before the hearing in the case of a hearing under Professional or Research Misconduct mode.

15.3.2    no fewer than 5 working days before the hearing in Academic or Non-Academic Mode.

15.4        A copy of the summons will be sent to the following:

•             The Chair of SSDC

•             The Deputy Chair of SSDC

•             The Chair of the Panel

•             Your Head of School or Academic Director at INTO if on a Taught Programme or Head of the Postgraduate Research Service if a research student

•             Adviser, Supervisor or Programme Manager at INTO

•             Your School’s Senior Adviser

•             Your Learning and Teaching Service Manager or your Academic Support Team at INTO (Taught programmes only)

•             Your Senior Adviser or School Director of Postgraduate Research

 

Guidance: Your pre-hearing preparation

Senate Student Discipline Committee has considerable powers, including the power to exclude you from the University. You should therefore prepare carefully and seriously for the hearing, gathering together all the information you want to discuss and considering all the papers provided to you. We recommend that you seek advice from the Students’ Union Advice Centre.

At the hearing there are several stages and you need to be prepared for each one.

You will receive a folder of the papers relevant to the hearing, including these Procedures, the relevant Regulation(s) and any written evidence against you. You should consider these papers carefully and make notes of any points that you want the Panel to know about. Sometimes students think that Panels automatically assume that students are guilty. That is not the case. The Panel is independent of the School or Disciplinary officer that is bringing the case and will consider the evidence on both sides carefully and fairly. You should try to help the Panel as much as possible to reach the decision that you want it to make,

You must confirm your attendance in person (if you are in the UK) or via videoconferencing (if abroad) (see paragraph 18) and whether or not you are bringing a Companion with you (see paragraph 17).

At the hearing, you will be given the opportunity to respond to what is said about the case. However, you also have the right to submit a statement prior to the hearing if you want to do so, setting out your position. You can also submit evidence in support of your defence if you want to do so. Please see paragraph 16 below.

Please note that all evidence must be in English or accompanied by a certified translation: see paragraph 13 above.

If you want to call a witness or witnesses, you must notify the Hearing Secretary about who they are and why you want to call them as a witness. The Panel Chair will decide whether you can call each person. Any witness must be able to provide evidence that is relevant to the alleged breach(es) and/or any mitigating circumstances.

If the Panel decides that you have breached the Regulation(s) then it will want to hear from you about whether there are any circumstances that would explain or mitigate why you breached the Regulation(s). If you believe that there are mitigating circumstances that you wish to bring to the Panel’s attention if found guilty of a breach of the Regulations, you should ensure that you tell the Panel about those circumstances and provide evidence in support, such as a doctor’s report or death certificate.

You should ensure that you have submitted evidence no later than two working days before the hearing to the Hearing Secretary. While the Panel will consider whether there are any mitigating circumstances and listen to what you say about that, it may take the view that the breach is of a nature that cannot be mitigated

You cannot appeal to the Senate Student Discipline Appeals Committee on the ground that you did not tell the Panel about mitigating circumstances unless you could not reasonably have obtained that evidence for this hearing, or where you are unable to prove the truth of those circumstances on the balance of probabilities. If there is important evidence that you cannot get in time for the hearing, you should ask the Secretary to SSDC about an adjournment (delaying the hearing).

 

16           Evidence submitted by you

16.1        You may (if you wish) submit a statement setting out your position and/or submit evidence in support of your defence. These documents should be sent to the Hearing Secretary no later than two working days before the hearing.

16.2        Your statement will be put into the hearing pack. The Panel Chair will consider any evidence that you submit under paragraph 16.1 above and will decide whether it is relevant. If the Panel Chair believes the evidence to be relevant, they will also ensure that this is added to the hearing pack.

16.3        You may bring a witness or witnesses to the hearing. If you want to do this you must notify the Hearing Secretary no less than two working days before the hearing of the identity of any witnesses that you want to bring and why you want to bring them. Any witness must be able to provide evidence that is relevant to the alleged breach(es) and/or any mitigating circumstances. The Panel Chair will decide whether you can call each person. If you are allowed to being them, you are responsible for notifying them of the date, time, and location of the hearing.

Guidance: Send your statement and/or evidence and/or witness information to lts.ssdc@uea.ac.uk.

 

17           Bringing a Companion to the hearing

17.1        You have the right to be accompanied by one Companion, whose role is to offer you support. The Companion must have no connection with the allegations and therefore no material interest in the matter.

17.2        You must tell the Hearing Secretary no later than two working days before the hearing of the identity and status (for example Student Union Adviser or fellow student) of the Companion. If you do not tell the Hearing Secretary within this timescale, the Panel Chair may decide that you are not allowed to bring a Companion at all.

17.3        The Companion may present the case on your behalf and help and support you. However, they cannot answer questions on your behalf, or attend the hearing in your absence.

17.4        It is your responsibility to tell your Companion about the date, time, and location of the hearing. If your Companion does not attend the hearing, the hearing may proceed in their absence.

17.5        Your Companion may be excluded from the hearing if they are so disruptive as to impede the conduct of the hearing. In such a case, the Panel Chair will decide whether or not to continue with the hearing even though your Companion has been excluded.

Guidance: Members of the Student Union Advice Centre are available to act as Your Companion on your request. You must notify the Hearing Secretary of the identity and status of any Companion by emailing lts.ssdc@uea.ac.uk.

 

18           Attending the hearing

18.1        The hearing will be held in closed session, which means that only Participants can attend the hearing.

18.2        You must attend the hearing if you are present in the UK, unless you have been told you must not come onto campus (see paragraph 18.4 below). It is a separate disciplinary offence to fail to attend a disciplinary hearing when summoned to do so (a breach of General Regulation 13). It may also severely harm your case, in that the Panel will not be able to gain a direct impression of you or hear your perspective first-hand. If you do not attend, the Panel may proceed anyway.

18.3        If you are no longer in the UK, you may, by prior arrangement, use an agreed videoconferencing facility to call into the hearing. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are contactable at the given time.

18.4        Even if you are in the UK, the University may decide to require you to use a videoconferencing facility instead of physically attending campus if it believes that there may be a risk to you or to others if you come onto campus. A decision to hold a hearing by videoconferencing for this reason is a precautionary measure and does not indicate that the University has concluded that you have committed a breach of the Regulations or a criminal offence.

Guidance: For adjournments, see paragraphs 22 and 23.

 

19.          What happens at the hearing

19.1        The procedure at the hearing will usually include the following elements in the following order. However, the Panel Chair has the power to vary the structure and content of the hearing (for example because there are other students being heard at the same time, or a change is needed as a reasonable adjustment).

19.2        The Hearing Secretary should remind the Panel Chair what reasonable adjustments or special measures are in place for the hearing.

19.3        If you have not attended in person or by an agreed videoconferencing facility, the Panel will decide whether to proceed with the hearing or adjourn it.

19.4        If the hearing proceeds, the Hearing Secretary will invite you and other Participants (other than witnesses) into the room or rooms. The Panel Chair will introduce themselves and ask the other Participants to introduce themselves and in what capacity they are there. The witnesses will stay outside the hearing room(s) until the Hearing Secretary calls them to give evidence.

19.5        The Hearing Secretary will then briefly state what Regulations it is alleged that you have breached, and how. You will be asked whether or not you admit the allegation(s).

19.6        The Panel Chair will invite the person presenting the case against you to outline the allegations and the evidence in the case. It is not always necessary for there to be a Presenter if the documents are clear. The Presenter may call witnesses to support the allegations. You (or your Companion) will have the opportunity to ask questions of the Presenter (if any) and to challenge their evidence.

19.7        You (and/or your Companion) must then respond to the allegations. You must also answer any questions from the Panel and the person presenting the case, and your Companion cannot answer questions on your behalf. You may also call your witnesses to support your defence.

19.8        The Panel may also call any witnesses not called by another party. 

19.9        You (or your Companion) and the Presenter will have the opportunity to question any witnesses, as will the Panel, regardless of who has called those witnesses. The Panel Chair may not permit questions that are irrelevant to the issues and/or only have the purpose of being vexatious (deliberately rude or upsetting).

19.10     If you have a Companion with you, and you wish to speak to them privately at any time, you should ask the Panel Chair to pause the hearing, so you can step outside. If at any time you need a short break to gather your thoughts, you should also ask the Panel Chair. The Panel Chair will try to accommodate these requests.

19.11     The Presenter will be given the opportunity to make a closing statement. They can also outline what penalty or penalties they are seeking in the event that you are found guilty of a disciplinary offence.

19.12     You (or your Companion) will also have the opportunity to make a closing statement. You should use this opportunity to (a) summarise your defence (if any) and (b) to make the Panel aware of any mitigating circumstances that exist. Mitigating circumstances will only be relevant if the Panel finds you guilty of an offence.

19.13     You may wish to raise issues of mitigation which are of a private nature. In this situation, you can ask to speak to the Presenter, the Panel and the Panel Secretary in the absence of anyone else. However, in order to be fair to everybody, if what you say is relevant to another Participant (for example that you blame another student for the situation) then the Panel Chair will need to invite that person back into the room and tell that person what you have said. However, it should not be necessary to tell them things like health or personal problems. Any mitigation that you offer may be included in the outcome letter and seen by others who are sent that letter.

19.14     The Panel Chair should then ask you whether there is anything in particular that you think that the Panel should look at or anything you want to the Panel to know that hasn’t been considered.

19.15     The Panel will then end the hearing and ask you, the Presenter, and any witnesses to leave.

19.16     The Panel will confer among themselves and decide whether the allegations against you are proven on the balance of probabilities.

19.17     If the allegations are proven, then the Panel will decide

19.17.1  on the balance of probability, whether you have been dishonest (see paragraph 20)

19.17.2  what penalty or penalties should be applied for the proven breach(es).

19.18     In making this determination, the Panel will consider

19.18.1  whether there are any mitigating factors that you or the Presenter have raised but may take the view that the breach is of a nature that cannot be mitigated.

19.18.2  written details of any prior proven breaches dealt with under these University Disciplinary and Investigative Procedures and Powers or previous Disciplinary Procedures.

19.18.3  what weight it would be fair to give to uncorroborated, challenged, evidence that was given other than by oral evidence at the hearing.

19.18.4  where a conviction has already occurred in a court of law in respect of the same facts, the court’s penalty shall be taken into consideration in determining any penalty or penalties under these Procedures.

 

20.          Findings of dishonesty

Where possible, the Panel should determine whether any proven breach, or your defence, has involved you in dishonesty. Such dishonesty could relate to the breach itself or to the way in which you have responded to the investigation or determination.

Guidance: Dishonesty can be the principal concern of certain Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies and it is important that we record at this time whether a proven breach or defence is dishonest so that this finding can be provided to the relevant professional regulator if required in accordance with Part A paragraph 2 (confidentiality). If the outcome letter is silent on this, it can be unhelpful to both the regulator and (if you seek admission to a regulated profession) you.

Note that simply making the University prove its case on the balance of probabilities does not by itself mean you are being dishonest – whereas a positive assertion of a false defence may be dishonest.

 

21.          Remitting a case back to the Committee Chair

21.1        Where the Panel Chair believes that the hearing should not proceed (or, if commenced, continue) because

21.1.1    evidence (or a witness) is missing or unavailable and that evidence is necessary to resolve the case fairly; and/or

21.1.2    there is strong reason to believe that you have not received the summons and are not deliberately avoiding the summons; and/or

21.1.3    you present at the hearing with serious mental or physical health issues that affects your ability to respond to the allegations such that it would be unfair to continue at the present time; and/or

21.1.4    you have requested an adjournment and have very strong reasons for making that request; and/or

21.1.5   there is another very substantial reason for not proceeding on that occasion

the hearing shall be remitted back to the Chair of Senate Student Discipline Committee.

21.2        The Chair of Senate Student Discipline Committee should then consider the matter afresh under the provisions of paragraph 4. They are free to refer the matter to the same or a differently composed panel of SSDC but may alternatively choose another option outlined in paragraph 4.

 

22.          Part-heard hearings

22.1        A Panel Chair has the power to bring a hearing to a halt and to adjourn the rest of the hearing for a period not exceeding 10 working days without giving any reason for this adjournment.

22.2        A Panel Chair has the power to bring a hearing to a halt and to adjourn the rest of the hearing for a period not exceeding 20 working days where the purpose of the adjournment is to enable you to obtain a report from a licensed psychiatrist or alternative appropriately qualified medical practitioner in response to questions identified by the Panel and such a delay is necessary to dispose of the case fairly.

22.3        A hearing above must be resumed using the same Panel as heard the matter prior to the adjournment.

 

23.          Designation of a proceeding as requiring special measures

23.1        The Chair of SSDC or their nominated representative shall determine whether a hearing requires the implementation of Special Measures, taking into account the preference of the student Participants and the need for procedural and substantive fairness.

23.2        The Panel shall proceed as Academic Mode (Special Measures), or Non-Academic Mode (Special Measures), or Professional or Research Misconduct Mode (Special Measures) if

23.2.1    a Participant is aged under 18; and/or

23.2.2    the case involves an alleged breach of the Policy on Student Harassment and Sexual or Physical Misconduct and a Participant is an alleged victim of such misconduct who does not object to Special Measures; and/or

23.2.3    a witness other than you will give evidence only if Special Measures are provided.

23.3        The purpose of these special measures is to enable an alleged victim to give the best quality evidence that they can so that the Panel can make an accurate determination of whether or not a disciplinary offence has been committed. The existence of special measures does not in any way indicate that the allegations are true, as this is for the Panel to determine after hearing the evidence; nor does it deflect from the need for careful due process.

Guidance: Special Measures are different to Reasonable Adjustments for a disability, which should be considered a routine part of the preparation and conduct of a hearing in any Mode.

 

24.          Conduct of proceedings in Special Measures

A hearing in Special Measures may involve the implementation of a number of measures that are designed to assist a Participant in providing the best quality evidence that they can. These measures will be situation specific but may include:

24.1        use of more than one hearing room, with a Participant giving evidence by an agreed videoconferencing facility or listening to evidence by an agreed videoconferencing facility; and/or

24.2        All questions to a witness being directed via the Hearing Chair, who will relay questions appropriately put; and/or

24.3        use of a screen to separate a Participant from another Participant or Participants, other than the Panel; and/or

24.4        use of an appropriately qualified or experienced support worker by a Participant (who is in addition to any Companion); and/or

24.4        regular breaks.

 

25           Notification of outcome to student

25.1        The Hearing Secretary will normally notify you by email of the outcome within 5 working days and the reasons for the Panel’s decision. This emailed letter may also be copied to:

•             the Presenter, if any

•             the Panel Chair, who will have approved the letter

•             those involved in the management or administration of the proceedings, such as the Secretary to the Committee (the University’s Head of Learning and Teaching (Quality)) and staff within the University’s Student and Academic Services division

•             those responsible for you (such as your Head of School, adviser or supervisor, and (where relevant) the Fitness to Practise Lead and/or Degree Apprenticeship Partner and/or employer.

25.2        As stated in Part A paragraph 2 in some circumstances it may be necessary, now or in the future, to provide that information to other organisations.

25.3        In the case of a new suspension or expulsion, the Panel Secretary will also notify Student Records of the fact of the suspension or expulsion. Where you are a Tier 4 visa holder, the Panel Secretary will also notify the University’s Visa Policy, Operations and Compliance Manager

 

26           Post-hearing actions by Learning and Teaching Service

26.1        Upon receipt of an outcome letter, the relevant Learning and Teaching Service Manager must action any academic penalty such as referral to reassessment. In the case of suspension, the Manager should action any suspension not already actioned by the Vice-Chancellor and record when any suspension must be lifted and you can return to study. Further information can be found in Part E.

26.2        The Learning and Teaching Service Manager should notify all of your Module Organisers about the suspension, that if you attend one of their classes they should ask you to leave, and if you refuse to leave they should call security.

 

27           Post-hearing actions by the Postgraduate Research Service

27.1      Upon receipt of an outcome letter, the relevant Postgraduate Research Service Manager must action any academic penalty such as referral to reassessment. In the case of suspension, the Manager should action any suspension not already actioned by the Vice-Chancellor and record when any suspension must be lifted and you can return to study. Further information can be found in Part F.

27.2      The Postgraduate Research Service Manager should notify your supervisory team and Faculty Training Coordinator about the suspension. You will not be able to attend supervisory meetings or training sessions during the period of suspension.

 

28           Post-hearing actions by the students Head of School (Regulation 14 only)

If a Panel finds you to be in breach of Regulation 14, your Head of School will decide whether the University should make a report to the relevant Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body. In doing so, the Head must bear in mind the requirements of Part A paragraph 2.