Student Conduct

student conduct

 

The University operates its own rules and regulations regarding student conduct and behaviour and may take action against any student who is found to be in breach of these regulations. Students' can also report incidents of possible misconduct by other students to the Student Conduct team for investigation.

Conduct issues could range from smoking in the residences or using offensive language to more serious breaches which may also constitute criminal conduct (for example, drug use, violence, sexual misconduct).  The Code of Conduct does not only cover conduct on campus but also in the wider community and issues online via social media.  Different outcomes and sanctions may be issued depending on the type and severity of the offence, ranging from apologies and fines, to the worst case scenario of withdrawal from the University.  The safety of all members of the University will also be considered within the investigation of any allegation and in some cases, temporary suspensions, bans or no-contact orders maybe put in place whilst investigations are pending.

SU Advice is a confidential, independent and impartial advice service and our advisers are here to provide support and guidance through the processes; to help you to prepare for any Student Conduct meetings and to attend and support you at any meetings with the Student Conduct team.  Please see the different sections below for more information.

 

The University's Code of Conduct explains the expectations for standards of behaviour and what action can be taken when these standards of behaviour are not upheld.  If you experience or are witness to behaviour that does not meet these values then the University asks you to report these incidents.  The University Student Conduct team will take action to listen and investigate issues that are raised.

If the incident may also constitute a crime you are strongly encouraged to also report it to the Police.  You can report an emergency situation by dialing 999 (or if on campus extn 2222 to request Campus Patrol Staff to arrange for emergency services).  If it is not an emergency situation you can report the incident by dialing 101 or online on the Essex Police Website.  SU Advice is also a Hate Incident Reporting Centre and our advisers can support you to report any incident that may constitute a hate crime.

There are 2 ways you can report an incident to the Student Conduct team:

  1. Incident Report Form - this form can be downloaded and once completed emailed to studentconduct@essex.ac.uk (if you are unable to email it in, it can be handed in at your Student Service Hub)
  2. The University's Report + Support system - this online service can be used by staff and students to report any incidents of sexual violence, harassment and hate crime.  Using this service you can get initial support from one of the University advisers.  Reports can be made anonymously but this may limit how much investigation can be carried out.

SU Advice advisers are available to support you to report any incidents and to complete the relevant forms.

As part of the investigation into any incident, you may be asked to attend a meeting with a Student Conduct Officer as a witness.  You have the right to receive support and advice from SU Advice and the University's Wellbeing support services at every stage of the Student Conduct process and you can request for an SU Advice Adviser to attend any meetings with you.

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If there is an allegation that you have breached a Code of Conduct regulation, you will be asked to attend a meeting with a Student Conduct Investigator.  It is important that you prioritise and attend any meetings that are arranged as part of the ongoing conduct case, even if this may clash with a teaching event or other University commitment.  If you are unable to attend you must inform the Student Progress team as immediately to arrange an alternative time - studentconduct@essex.ac.uk

If you do not attend a meeting without agreeing an alternative time, then the Student Conduct Investigator may proceed without you and may decide on a case without your involvement, including issuing a penalty if appropriate.

The Conduct Investigators role is to investigate the allegation and, where appropriate, issue sanctions against minor breaches of the Student Conduct regulations.  If the allegation is of a serious nature, the Academic Registrar will decide whether the case should be referred to a Student Conduct Committee.  Sanctions can be issued by the committee if the student is found guilty.  These sanctions may have severe consequences on a student's future studies so it is really important to make sure you have prepared and understood the process.

Students who are called to meet with the Student Conduct team have the right to seek advice and representation.  SU Advice is a confidential, independent and impartial service and our advisers are here to support you, help you prepare and help represent you at the meetings.  We are also there to ensure the university processes are adhered to.  We are run by the Students' Union and therefore are not part of the University.

If you have been called to a meeting with a Conduct Investigator you will be contacted by SU Advice to offer you an appointment before your meeting and to arrange for an adviser to attend the meeting with you if you would like to.  Please see our home page for details of how to book an appointment.

 

The invitation to your meeting is unlikely to provide very much information about the allegation.  Its important to keep in mind that this will be an investigation so you will be asked questions about your recollection and involvement of the situation.

You may find it helpful to read through the Code of Conduct and consider whether you accept or deny the allegation against you.  If you accept the allegation, think about how you might explain how and why the situation occured.  Were there any mitigating circumstances that might be important for the Investigator to be made aware of?  How can you demonstrate that you now understand why your behaviour was not acceptable and how you have learnt from the experience?

If you are denying all, or part, of the allegation consider what information might be important to explain what happened.  Is there any evidence that can be provided - for example, if you were not at the place the incident occured, can you provide any proof to show you were elsewhere?  Are there any other witnesses who may be able to support you?

We suggest it might be helpful to write any key information down as a prompt for the meeting.  This could be in the form of a statement that you could read or just bullet points to remind you.

Remember you have the right to take someone with you to the meeting.  The university rules state this must be a member of the University or Students' Union.  At SU Advice we have trained advisers who can meet with you before your conduct meeting, help you to prepare and attend the meeting with you to support you.  

 

SU Advice are here to help.  We can go through the process with you to explain what might happen at each stage; help you to prepare for any meetings; attend the meetings with you; support you after the meetings to understand any sanctions or outcomes and with any appeals if you disagree with the outcomes.

Our friendly staff are here to listen without judgement.  We are confidential and independent from the University.  If you are invited to meet with the University, you will also be contacted by our team to offer you support.  Please do not hesitate to get in touch and ask us any questions - even if you decide you want to go to the meeting alone, we are happy to talk you through what to expect.

 

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