What is happening?
In May 2018, the Women’s Officer and ten members of Regent House called a Senate House discussion on reforming the student disciplinary procedure, following an open letter signed by 700 members of the university. Over the last twelve months since that initial discussion, we have seen the revised disciplinary procedure pass through internal and external decision making and consultative bodies, including a university-wide consultation in February 2019. We want a disciplinary procedure that is fit for purpose: one that has staff trained to support survivors and acknowledges that it is a civic case, not a court of law, and must update its outdated and patchwork approaches to cases of student discipline.
The revised Disciplinary Procedure is at the final stage of approval by the university. There is a ballot on adopting the procedure which involves two votes: the first on approving the changes to the student disciplinary procedure, and the second which concerns adopting the civil standard of proof in disciplinary cases (the balance of probabilities). It is important that members of Regent House vote in favour of both of these proposals. Voting will be open for members of Regent House from 18th June to 28th June.
Before voting opens, there is a Discussion of the Senate-House, which can be attended by all members of the university, including current students, who can speak on the topic of the Disciplinary Procedure reform. The Discussion, including remarks by those who were unable to speak, are circulated as part of the Regent House vote.
What is the Regent House?
The Regent House is a central part of the governance of the university. There are 5,670 members of Regent House, who are academic and senior administrative staff of the University and College. This includes senior management, heads of colleges, fellows of colleges and other university and college staff. It does not include students. Find out more about the Regent House by clicking here.
Those on the Roll of the Regent House are sent voting information and instruction to their registered details, and voting is conducted electronically, unless the member of Regent House has requested hardcopy ballot papers. The ballot on the Student Disciplinary Procedure will be open from 18th June until 28th June 2019. The result of the ballot will be announced on 3rd July 2019. If the vote is in favour of the revised disciplinary procedure and the change to the standard of proof, the revised Student Disciplinary Procedure will be in place for October 2019.
What can I do?
The student body has shown their support for the proposed changes to the disciplinary procedure during each stage of the decision-making process. In the most recent university-wide consultation, 86% of respondents (staff and students) were in favour of supporting the balance of probabilities as the standard of proof. Students and staff continue to state the importance of a disciplinary procedure that is transparent, consistent and accessible for those who chose to use it.
It is important that students encourage members of Regent House to turn out to vote to ensure that the final decision on the student disciplinary procedure is democratic and reflects the opinion of the university. The CUSU Women’s Campaign will also be encouraging the 5,670 members of Regent House to vote in the ballot. This may involve emailing the members of Regent House such as our heads of houses and teaching staff.
We also need members of the university to speak at the Discussion in the Senate-House on Tuesday 21st May at 2pm: this include current students, graduates of the university, members of the Regent House and members of the Faculties. There are a few formalities, such as wearing a gown and keeping speeches to under 15 minutes, but all members of the university are welcome to speak on the proposed reforms. This can be a revised version of the email you sent in favour of the reforms during the university-wide consultation in February 2019, and you can contact the Women’s Officer for any advice or guidance. The Facebook event is here: Senate House Discussion on Disciplinary Procedure reforms.