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Disciplinary procedures (non-academic) - CS041904
Case summary April 2019 | Justified
An international student was reported to the police for an alleged assault on another student. The provider suspended the student, but made arrangements for them to sit their final assessments.
A note was placed on the student’s file that they should not be permitted to graduate while the matter was unresolved, but an error was made and the student was awarded their degree. Shortly afterwards, the police told the provider that they were taking no further action. The student returned to their home country.
The provider began its own disciplinary process. It concluded that the student had breached its disciplinary code, and expelled them without a qualification. The student appealed against this decision on procedural grounds and on the basis that the decision was not reasonable. The provider rejected this appeal. The student complained to us.
We decided that the complaint was Justified. The provider had let the student graduate, and its procedures did not allow it to take disciplinary action against a former student. The process itself had not been carried out in a fair way. There had been a substantial delay before the student was told about the proceedings. A key witness could not attend on the date proposed for the hearing but the provider did not try to get the witness’s evidence on another day or in writing. The provider did not give adequate reasons why it had concluded that the assault had occurred and did not explain why it had applied the penalty that it did.
We recommended that the provider should overturn its decision that the student had breached its disciplinary code. We also recommended that the provider should pay the student £2,000 compensation for distress and inconvenience.