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Other disciplinary case - PI021709
Public interest case February 2017 | Partly Justified
We identified a number of procedural errors in the University of Gloucestershire’s management of a student disciplinary case.
The University investigated the student’s conduct on a field trip, which she had joined to participate in laboratory work but was restricted from entering the field on health and safety grounds following surgery.
After the field trip the University wrote to the student to tell her that investigative procedures would be instigated in relation to an allegation of misconduct. The University did not notify the student informally before it sent the letter. The letter, and a second letter, did not specify the allegation against her. The student first learned of this when she attended the investigatory interview. We concluded that it would have been good practice to provide the student with copies of the written evidence before the interview and that failure to do this would have put her at a disadvantage.
Following the interview the Investigation Officer continued the investigation by consulting staff. While the student was given a copy of the investigation report there was no indication that she was informed of any new evidence that had been collated. The student was issued with a written warning.
The report went beyond the scope of the misconduct allegation. We considered this to be procedurally unfair.
The University turned down the student’s appeal. It did not provide the student with an explanation for its decision.
We decided the complaint was Partly Justified. The University had already offered to revoke the written warning and we recommended that this offer remain open. We also recommended payment of compensation for distress and inconvenience.