Guidance for staff on reporting issues other than plagiarism

All matters relating to student conduct, other than plagiarism as outlined, should be reported to the Senate Office for consideration by the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct or the Senate Student Conduct Committee.

The University cannot take action under the Code of Student Conduct unless a formal referral is made. The information contained in a report is crucial in determining whether action under the Code is instigated. The aim of this document is to provide members of the University community with a guide to reporting incidents effectively.

Please note that separate guidance and a special form are available for reporting cases of suspected plagiarism:

and for cases of improper behaviour of candidates during written examinations:

  • Reporting improper behaviour during written examinations

Basics

A report of a suspected breach of student conduct should include statements of the following basic information:

When the incident occurred;
Where it occurred;
Who was involved - including witnesses and the person who is submitting the report;
What occurred;
Why it occurred (if known);
The consequence of what occurred;
How the matter has been dealt with so far (e.g., whether the police were called).

It is helpful if you can identify how you think the Code of Student Conduct has been breached by referring to §33.19 of the Code.

What to Avoid

It is normal practice to provide the accused student with a copy of the report. Consequently, incident reports should try to avoid supposition, libel, opinion and superfluous information. Examples are given below:

1. Supposition

A substance might look like cannabis, it might smell like cannabis but only analysis will confirm that it is cannabis. It could be described as, 'a bag containing a grass-like substance'.

2. Libel

You may believe a person to be a thief, a liar, a vandal etc. but such descriptions are to be avoided in report writing. Focus on describing the incident and not the person, unless he or she is unidentified by name - and then please provide neutral physical descriptions that may help identify them at a later stage.

3. Opinion

Opinion should be avoided if at all possible. The purpose of the report is to serve as a basis for further action and it should be limited to the facts. If you must use it, show clearly that it is opinion, for example, 'In my opinion...'.

4. Superfluous information

Always include only the facts relevant to the matter upon which you are reporting. A report should be as concise as possible.

Evidence

Any available evidence should be submitted along with the report. This might include copies of correspondence with the student concerned (letter, note of meeting, e-mails, etc).

Submission of report

Once your report has been completed it should be signed, dated and submitted (in hard copy) to either to Helen Clegg in the Senate Office. The report will then be sent to the Senior Senate Assessor for Student Conduct for consideration. He will decide whether the matter should be dismissed, considered by the Senate Assessors, or escalated to the Senate Student Conduct Committee.

Senate Office
February 2017