Student Conduct

Student Misconduct
All students are expected to adhere to a code of conduct whilst at University. Any disciplinary complaints against students are dealt with under the University’s Regulation 7: Student Discipline Procedure. All University of York students are bound by this code of conduct, under which the University can investigate student misconduct and apply a range of different sanctions against reported students where it is found, on the balance of probabilities (i.e. more than 50% likely) that they did carry out the alleged behaviour.

If you wish to report misconduct or make a complaint against another student, or if you are the subject of a disciplinary investigation, we can help to guide you through the University’s procedure. We can also attend investigatory or formal meetings with you, and help you prepare for these. Please read on for further information.

 

Reporting student misconduct
If you have been subject to or witnessed an incident of student misconduct (e.g. verbal or physical abuse, harassment, sexual misconduct or assault, hate speech) you may be in need of support and/or wish to report the misconduct to the University. If you would like to discuss the situation in a confidential and safe environment before going through the reporting system, please contact us and we will explain the process and help signpost you to relevant support, if necessary.

 

The University’s Report & Support Service
The University’s Report & Support Service webpage contains information and guidance for students who have suffered bullying, verbal or physical assault, sexual harassment or violence, domestic abuse, discrimination or a hate crime. The webpage includes a link to an online form which enables students to report incidents of misconduct by other students to the University.

 

How do I report the behaviour of another student to the University?
Using the online report form, found on the web page above, you will be asked to provide some details concerning the incident which you suffered. You will only need to provide those details that you are comfortable with. You can report the incident with your contact details, or anonymously.

Note that if you choose to report the incident anonymously the University will not be able to identify you or contact you to offer direct support, nor will they be able to initiate an investigation or formal process. They do however use anonymous reports to better understand the issues impacting University of York students, to monitor trends and inform proactive and preventative work.

 

What would happen if I reported an incident?
If you choose to report the incident with your contact details, a member of the Conduct & Respect Team (the University team that makes initial contact with students who report an incident and who will subsequently conduct an investigation – if this is what you would like to happen) will get in touch with you to discuss the issue further, gather some more details and offer you support. As with the online report form, you only have to tell them what you are comfortable with disclosing; however the more information you are able to provide, the better they will be able to understand the incident that you experienced and provide you with information regarding what the options would be for you in regards to the University helping you to deal with the situation.

The Conduct & Respect team member will talk to you about how you’re feeling and any ongoing concerns you have for your safety and wellbeing. They’ll also talk you through what sources of support are available to you both from within the University, and in the wider community (including local and national organisations).

They will be guided by you about whether or not you would like the University to proceed with a formal misconduct investigation and what sort of outcome you would be looking for from such an investigation (e.g. a formal apology from those involved, sanctions against the reported student(s), etc). Whether or not to go ahead with an investigation will be completely your decision: just because you have reported an incident does not mean you will be under any obligation to proceed with a formal misconduct investigation. You could simply discuss it with the team and choose not to proceed, or to have a think about your options before making a decision.

 

What would a University investigation into student misconduct involve?
If you would like the University to proceed with an investigation, a member of the Report and Support team would take a statement from yourself and then would initiate an investigation into the incident. This would include gathering evidence by talking to the other students involved, including the student whom you have reported and any witnesses. Once the evidence has been gathered a manager from the Report and Support Team will then decide if there is a case to answer, and if so, a further hearing with the reported student will be arranged and sanctions will be considered and put in place as appropriate.

 

What if the incident concerns a University society?
If the incident with another student occurred in the context of a sports club, society or volunteering group at YUSU, then this behaviour will be covered by the YUSU Code of Conduct which specifically concerns the conduct of students within the context of a YUSU society. You can raise a complaint or concern with the relevant member of YUSU staff in the first instance. Please get in touch with us and we will direct you to the right YUSU team.

Please note, that this does not mean that you cannot still report students / incidents via the Report & Support service if you wish too. If you’re not sure what the best route is, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to advise you.

 

What if the incident involved a University staff member?
If you wish to report an incident which involved inappropriate or offensive behaviour by a University staff member (e.g. harassment, bullying or a hate incident), then you would need to do this via the University’s Complaints of Misconduct Procedure. The University takes allegations of staff misconduct seriously, and as with the Report & Support service, any student reporting an incident involving a staff member would also be offered appropriate support.

The University’s Complaints of Misconduct Procedure sets out an ‘informal resolution’ stage and a ‘formal complaint’ stage. The ‘informal resolution’ stage can either involve you contacting the relevant staff member yourself (via an email or a meeting) to make them aware of the effect of their behaviour and how they may be able to prevent it happening again (if you feel able to do this and that it is safe and appropriate) and/or contacting your college manager (if the incident occurred in your accommodation or college environment) or head of department (if the incident occurred in an academic environment). Your college manager/head of department will then take appropriate measures to investigate and resolve your concerns (e.g. facilitating a conversation between yourself and the staff member, reinforcing appropriate policies, procedures and University expectations on behaviour to the relevant staff member, or referring the matter to the formal complaints stage).

Please note that matters relating to academic support, teaching and supervision should be raised under the University’s complaints procedure.

 

What if the incident involved individuals who are not University students or staff?
If the incident involved individuals who are not University students or staff members (e.g. unknown member of the public, spouse/partner, friend, family member), then the University will not be able to investigate this on your behalf. However, by using the Report and Support Service an experienced member of the Conduct and Respect Team will still contact you to discuss the incident, how you are feeling, what support is available and what your options are for reporting the incident further (e.g. to the police). Alternatively, you can contact one of our advisors at the Advice and Support Centre to discuss the situation in a confidential and safe environment and to receive advice and guidance on what you could do next and what sources of support are available.

 

What help can I get from the YUSU Advice & Support Centre team?
YUSU is the University of York Students Union. We are independent from the University, and have student advisers who offer free, confidential advice and support to students. We specialise in offering advice and support to students who are going through University processes, as well as on welfare issues and signposting students to appropriate support.

We don’t represent students, or speak on their behalf, but work with you to understand your situation, and to help you navigate University processes. If you wish to report misconduct or make a complaint against another student, we can help to support you with this and to guide you through the University’s procedures, including

Meeting with you to discuss your situation and advice on how to go about reporting the incident/student/staff member and what sources of support are available to you both on and off campus
Discussing any questions you may have about the process
Helping you to prepare for meetings relating to the investigation
Helping you to prepare written statements and evidence (including reviewing draft responses)
Attending University meetings with you as an independent source of support

Please note, we’re not like a legal counsel and we can’t speak on your behalf, but we can be there to make sure you feel supported, to make sure you have had the chance to get across what you would like to in the meeting and to clarify any procedural issues that come up in the meeting
Helping you to understand the outcome of the investigation
Helping you to access support and guidance from other relevant services and advising on sources of support for your health and wellbeing during this time
If you are not happy with how you have been treated by another student, a staff member or someone else, please just get in touch and we’ll do all that we can to advise and support you.

Also, for more information on the student misconduct process, please see the University’s Regulation 7: Student discipline Procedure webpage or get in touch.

 

Also, please remember…

You can get help on campus with a simple tap on your phone by installing the SafeZone app: https://www.york.ac.uk/about/departments/support-and-admin/sas/slaw/security/safezone/ 
Useful phone numbers to save to your mobile

Call the Police Non-Emergency number 101 for advice, support and potentially intervention from the police
If you feel unsafe whilst on campus you can call Security 24 hours a day every day of the year: for an emergency, ring freephone 0800 43 3333; for non-emergencies call 01904 32 4444
If you ever feel unsafe, are in danger or are injured call the Emergency Services by dialling 999 or 112

 

What if I’ve been contacted to say that I am being investigated for student misconduct?
If another student has made a complaint or report about your conduct/behaviour and the  University is investigating this issue, you will initially be contacted via phone or email by a member of the Conduct & Respect Team (the University team that conduct investigations into student misconduct) to inform you of this and to invite you to attend an initial investigation meeting (usually within 7 days) with a member of the Conduct & Respect team.

Being required to attend an investigation meeting regarding suspected academic misconduct can feel very daunting, but please bear in mind that at this point the University has only heard one side of the alleged incident – the initial investigation meeting is your opportunity to understand and address the allegations made against you. You will be given time to explain how these instances of misconduct occurred (or indeed refute them), discuss the wider context of the situation and the events leading up to them, as well as any mitigating circumstances that you wish the Conduct and Respect Team to be aware of (these can provide an explanation, but not an excuse for the alleged behaviour). The investigator will likely ask you some very detailed questions regarding the relevant events and the alleged behaviours; therefore it may help you to discuss how to prepare for the meeting with one of our advisors (see below).

The best approach to such a meeting is to be open and honest, talk through the events as they unfolded (including any circumstances leading up to the events and anything relevant that has occurred since), acknowledge if or where your behaviour was incorrect and caused harm to others and/or to University property, and  give an explanation as to how and why you think the relevant events occurred. It is also good to highlight any lessons you think that you have learned and actions that you will take to ensure that such behaviour does not occur again.

If you do not believe that you carried out the alleged behaviours, or were not involved in the alleged incident, you may also, of course, use the meeting to deny that you were involved and, if possible, provide some explanation/evidence to back up your report. However, we cannot emphasise enough how important it is for students to be open and honest with the Conduct & Respect Team.

As well as attending the initial investigation meeting, you may also choose to submit a written statement before or after the meeting in which you could provide some further detail of the relevant events, the wider context, any mitigating circumstances and to offer an apology and reassurances regarding your future behaviour, as appropriate.

As part of their investigation, the Conduct & Respect team member will interview any witnesses and gather relevant evidence. They will then write a report of their investigation and senior members of the Conduct & Respect Team will use this to decide whether or not there is a case to answer and, if so, if there can be an outcome at this stage (e.g. a formal apology or sanctions) or if they need to convene a further meeting or hearing with yourself to gather more information (e.g. if there are concerns about the situation and they feel that further information is required, or if new details have become available during the initial investigation which the team then want to discuss with you). Please note that if they do decide to proceed to another meeting it doesn’t mean that they have reached a determination of what the ultimate outcome might be, it just means that they want some more details and to get a clearer sense of how you are now and if there are any further risks with regards to your conduct and behaviour.

You’ll hear about the outcome of the initial investigation meeting via a follow-up email; the University’s guidelines state that such investigations should be completed within 60 days, but the Conduct & Respect Team try to have these student misconduct investigations completed sooner wherever possible.

Through their investigation, the Conduct & Respect Team are trying to ascertain what actually happened and if it is decided that, on the balance of probabilities (i.e. more than 50% likely), that you did carry out the alleged behaviours, what the impact of the behaviour has been to yourself, your fellow students and University property, what (if any) ongoing risk you may pose, what sanctions may need to be put in place, and what help and support you may need to prevent such behaviour from occurring again (depending on the severity of the incident, this could range from a written apology, and paying for damages, being required to attend a course, being banned from certain areas of the campus or suspension or expulsion from the University).

 

What help can I get from the GSA Advice & Support Centre team?
The GSA is the University of York Graduate Students’ association. We are independent from the University, and have student advisers who offer free, confidential advice and support to students.  We specialise in offering advice and support to students who are going through University processes, as well as on welfare issues and signposting students to appropriate support.

We don’t represent students, or speak on their behalf, but work with you to understand your situation, and to help you navigate University processes. Receiving a notification regarding a misconduct investigation can be quite stressful and upsetting. The Advice and Support Centre team can to guide you through the University’s procedures, including

Talking you through what the process will be like and answering any questions you may have about this
Helping you to prepare for meetings relating to the investigation
Helping you to prepare written statements and evidence (including reviewing draft responses)
Attending University meetings with you as an independent source of support

Please note, we’re not like a legal counsel and we can’t speak on your behalf, but we can be there to make sure you feel supported, to make sure you have had the chance to get across what you would like to in the meeting and to clarify any procedural issues that come up in the meeting
Helping you to understand the outcome of the investigation
Helping you to access support and guidance from other relevant services and advising on sources of support for your health and wellbeing during this time
If you receive a notification that you are being investigated for suspected student misconduct, please just get in touch and we’ll do all that we can to advise and support you.

Also, for more information on the student misconduct process, please see the University’s Regulation 7: Student discipline Procedure webpage or get in touch.

 

Sources of support
Finally, receiving notification that you are being investigated for misconduct can be quite stressful and upsetting. If you do find yourself feeling stressed by the situation and would like someone to talk to, please do consider contacting the University’s Open Door Service – they are a team of Mental Health Practitioners and Student Wellbeing Officers providing support to registered students going through times of stress and difficulty – they’ll listen to how you’re feeling and talk things through with you. Please also see the University’s Health & Wellbeing web page for the full range of services and support for students’ wellbeing (including out of hours services, enabling you to talk through how you’re feeling with someone at any time of day). We can also advise on other sources of support for your health and wellbeing.

 

YUSU Advice and Support Centre (ASC)

YUSU Advice and Support website
email: asc@yusu.org 

GSA advice service (for postgraduates) GSA website
email: advice@yorkgsa.org

Key documents and info:
Regulation 7
Student Misconduct ‘Report and Support’ reporting
‘Help and support’ webpages