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Disciplinary procedures (academic) - CS041901

A student was studying at a college for a degree awarded by a university. In their final year the student was accused of hiring or arranging for another person to sit one of their exams.

The college invited the student (who denied the allegation) to a disciplinary panel hearing. The student did not respond. The hearing went ahead in the student’s absence and the panel decided to terminate their registration and revoke all of the credits they had achieved during their degree. The student appealed to the college and said that they had been too ill to attend
the hearing. The provider dismissed the appeal. The student then appealed unsuccessfully to the university that awarded the degree.

The student complained to us, saying that they did not have a fair opportunity to defend themselves and that the process followed was unfair. We decided that the complaint was Justified. We decided that the college did not follow its assessment offences procedure properly. It should have referred the case to a committee of investigation to establish the facts first but instead referred the case to a disciplinary panel. It did not give the student full details of the allegations against them. It did not give clear reasons for the penalty it imposed or show that it considered the range of penalties available to it. It was not clear that the disciplinary procedure allowed hearings to proceed in the student’s absence.

In addition we decided that the awarding university did not follow its appeals procedure properly. The appeal panel was not properly constituted and was not provided with all information relevant to the case. The appeal panel (which considered the case by email) reached its decision within a few minutes of being sent the case file, which suggested that the panel did not properly consider the case. None of the appeal panel members gave reasons for their decision.

We recommended that the university should reconsider the student’s appeal and that both providers should work together to review their procedures.