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Non-academic disciplinary - PI071907
Public interest case July 2019 | Not Justified
An undergraduate student was suspended and invited to a disciplinary meeting after a member of staff at their provider raised concerns about their behaviour. At the meeting the student said they had mental health difficulties.
The provider investigated and, after a final disciplinary meeting, the student was permanently excluded. The student appealed against this decision. The provider rejected the appeal.
The student complained to us that they were not given the opportunity to defend themselves against the allegations of misconduct. They asked for an apology and financial compensation.
We decided that the complaint was Not Justified.
We concluded that the provider could have explained the different stages of the procedure to the student more clearly. But we were satisfied that this had not affected the outcome of the case, or the decision the provider had made. The provider had met with the student, had clearly explained clearly to the student what the purpose of those meetings was, and had explained the allegations clearly. The account of the incidents leading to the disciplinary action was supported by evidence. The student did not deny the incidents took place. The provider gave the student the notes of its investigation before the final disciplinary meeting.
We decided that the provider reached a reasonable conclusion that the student had breached the code of conduct. The student was given extra time to provide medical evidence but they did not do so, and the student accepted that their behaviour had not been linked to their mental health difficulties. The student did not offer any other mitigation.
It would have been good practice if the provider had explained to the student why it decided to exclude them rather than to impose a lesser penalty. But given the evidence, we were satisfied that the penalty was reasonable.
We made suggestions about how the provider could improve its disciplinary process.