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Student Complaints

The University requires all registered students (any student studying towards an award of the University) to behave in accordance with University regulations and rules.  Where it appears that a student may not have behaved as required this will be investigated and where a breach of the rules has occurred penalties or sanctions may be imposed.

Where the misbehaviour occurs before the 1st October 2019 then the regulations and procedures outlined here will be followed: https://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/so/2018/chapter02-section19.html and Discipline Committee: Practice Statement.

Where the misbehaviour occurs on or after 1 October 2019 the Student Discipline Procedure outlined below will be followed.

If you are a student who wishes to report a student’s behaviour relating to physical misconduct, sexual misconduct or abusive behaviour then more specific information is available on the 'Reporting' webpage under the heading 'Student Discipline Procedure'. 

The Rules of Behaviour

Students are required to adhere to the following Rules of Behaviour, specified within the University's Statutes & Ordinances:

1. A student must:

 (a)     comply with instructions issued by any person or body authorized to act on behalf of the University, in the proper discharge of their duties;

 (b)     comply with all health and safety regulations and instructions issued by the University, a College or other associated institution;

 (c)     inform the University of any relevant unspent criminal conviction;

 (d)     comply with the terms of the code of practice issued under the provisions of section 43 of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 regarding meetings and public gatherings on University Premises;

 (e)     comply with the Statutes and Ordinances and any rules and procedures established under the Statutes and Ordinances.

2. A student must not:

 (a)     interfere or attempt to interfere in the activities of the University, a College, or any member of the collegiate University community in the pursuit of their studies or in the performance of their duties;

 (b)     damage, misappropriate or occupy without appropriate permission any University or College property or premises, or any property or premises accessed as a result of a College or University activity;

 (c)     interfere in the freedom of speech or lawful assembly of a member of the collegiate University community or visitor to the University;

 (d)     engage or attempt to engage in physical misconduct, sexual misconduct or abusive behaviour: towards a member of the collegiate University community; or towards anyone within the precincts of the University or during the course of a University or  College activity;

 (e)     damage or misappropriate property belonging to a member of the collegiate University community; or belonging to anyone within the precincts of the University or during the course of a University or College activity;

 (f)      endanger the health and safety of anyone within the precincts of the University or in the course of a University or College activity;

 (g)     engage in any form of academic misconduct;

 (h)     forge, falsify or improperly use information to gain or attempt to gain an academic or personal advantage.

3. A former student must not forge, falsify or improperly use examination results, academic achievements, data, documents, or awards from the University.

In order to help students understand the Rules of Behaviour, the Student Discipline Procedure includes further definitions of the rules.  The University has also created Student Protest Guidance to help students understand what actions they can take without disciplinary consequences.

Flow chart of discipline procedure

If anyone has reason to believe that a student has breached the Rules of Behaviour then they can submit a Concern Form to OSCCA@admin.cam.ac.uk.  The diagram below shows the different stages of the disciplinary procedure:

Useful things to know

All concerns are considered on the ‘balance of probability’ standard of proof – whether the rule breach is more likely to have taken place than not.  However, decisions must be evidence-based and the burden of proof is on the University to prove that the rules have been breached.

All students involved in the procedure can bring a supporter along to any meeting or hearing.  A supporter can be a College Tutor, the Students’ Unions’ Advice Service, someone from a specialist service such as the Sexual Assault and Harassment Advisor, or someone else of the student’s choosing.  All students will be given specific advice on supporters and representatives when involved with the disciplinary procedures.

The University ensures it makes consistent decisions about penalties and sanctions by having guidance as to the typical sanctions put in place for breaches of the rules and what factors may make the sanction more or less severe.  The guidance on sanctions is publicly available and is updated following case outcomes to ensure it remains up-to-date.

Whilst a disciplinary investigation is ongoing it may be necessary to limit the respondent student’s communication with other students or access to particular buildings, facilities or services using the precautionary action procedure.  Those involved will be given relevant information.

The investigator, the Student Discipline Officer (who commissions and investigation and impose minor sanctions) and the Discipline and Appeal Committee are all members of the University who have received specialist training in order to carry out their role.  However, if anyone has any concerns about the process at any time then they can email OSCCA@admin.cam.ac.uk.  If a student is dissatisfied with the disciplinary process then there will be an avenue to raise a complaint or appeal the decision, which will be explained at the appropriate time.

Whilst discipline procedures can look scary their purpose is to protect all members of the University community and ensure the integrity of the University’s academic awards and research.  Ignorance of the rules is never an excuse for breaking them, so if you have any questions contact OSCCA@admin.cam.ac.uk.