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Disciplinary issues (non-academic): Use of evidence - PI051502


University of East London

A student at the University of East London appealed the decision of a disciplinary panel to exclude her from the University for gross misconduct, following a break-in on the campus during which examination papers were stolen.

The decisions of the disciplinary and appeals panels rested on CCTV footage. The student complained to us that the CCTV footage alone was insufficient evidence that she had been party to or aware of the incident.

The Disciplinary Panel had watched the footage and reached the "unanimous decision" that the student’s actions including being present when the break in took place, greeting the culprit and showing "jubilation" on seeing the examination papers, were sufficient "on the exercise of the balance of probabilities, to convince them that the appellant knew what was going on, and was a willing party in the disciplinary offence".

We were offered, but did not take up, an opportunity to review the CCTV footage. We reviewed the detailed written notes on the footage considered by the disciplinary and appeals panels at the University, the student’s responses to questions, and the notes of discussions at the Appeals Panel.  We were satisfied that the Appeal Panel’s conclusion that the decision of the Disciplinary Panel that the student had been party to the incident was reasonable, noting that the "balance of probabilities" is the standard of proof required by the University disciplinary procedures.

We found the complaint Not Justified.