General Regulation VI - Suspension
A suspension3 is not a punishment; it is a temporary measure taken in response to an allegation of misconduct. It is not meant to be punitive but rather to facilitate an investigation to proceed unimpeded or to protect the student or other members of the University whilst the discipline process proceeds.
Suspension is therefore a non-judgemental process and alternatives to suspension will be considered where appropriate.
By comparison, exclusion and expulsion are sanctions imposed as the outcome of a discipline procedure.
An order of exclusion involves sanction or sanctions that may include (but are not limited to) restrictions on student status or restriction on access to University or College facilities or activities, or contact with named person(s); whereas an order of expulsion is a permanent, compulsory withdrawal from the University.
2. Cases in which suspension can be considered
Suspension can therefore be considered as appropriate in the following cases:
(b) where a police investigation is pending into an allegation that the student has committed an offence or offences against the criminal law, where the offences involve other students or affect or have the potential to affect the interests of the University or have the potential to seriously affect the health and safety of staff or students. Please refer also the University’s Code of Practice on Notification of Misconduct to the Police and Internal Action in Volume 1 of the University Calendar;
(c) On rare occasions where a student suffering from mental health difficulties (supported by evidence from a Medical Practitioner) may be causing disruption to others or may be severely damaging their own academic prospects;
(d) As a short term emergency measure to facilitate an investigation.
3. Jurisdiction over suspension
(a) As an emergency measure and following consultation with the Head of the student's Department and the Head of his or her College, any Authorised University Officer may suspend a student from the entire or specified parts of the University for up to 10 days, where the Authorised University Officer is of the reasonable opinion that it is urgent and necessary to take such action. Emergency suspension will normally only be considered where the alleged misconduct poses a serious risk to the health, safety, welfare or property of the student or others. In the event that an emergency suspension is put in place the Authorised University Officer must on the same day provide to the student, the Head of the student's Department and the Head of the student's College (or nominees) written notification of the emergency suspension including the reasons for that suspension and this regulation and notification of the student’s right to make oral or written representations to the Authorised University Officer within 2 days receipt of the notice of suspension. These representations will be considered by the Authorised University Officer as soon as practicable. The Authorised University Officer will then confirm to the student, the student's Head of Department and the Head of the student's College whether the suspension is to be lifted or remain in place. In any event during the period of the suspension the Authorised University Officer shall keep the suspension under review in light of any representations, developments or information which are brought to his or her attention and which in his or her reasonable opinion change the nature of the suspension or warrant its lifting. In addition a case conference or investigation must take place during the period of the suspension to establish whether the suspension should be lifted or whether the Authorised University Officer should recommend to the relevant University Authorities that the suspension be continued under a different ground within section 3 of these regulations.
(b) Any Authorised University Officer may suspend a student for a period of up to four weeks from any part of the University or any University or College facilities or activities for which that authority has responsibility, by providing written notification of the suspension to the student and a copy of this regulation.
(c) A student who is suspended by an Authorised University Officer under 3 b) above may not use, access or enter any such University or College buildings or facilities as may be specified by the Officer for a defined period, but may use, access or enter all University or College buildings or facilities not thus specified. An order of suspension may include a requirement that the student have no contact of any kind with a named person or persons.
(d) Any teacher shall have the right to require any person to leave his or her class for one particular teaching session. Where the teacher believes it is necessary to raise an allegation of misconduct under University discipline regulations, he or she may seek to suspend the student from that particular class for a period not exceeding four weeks, pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation. In such a case, the teacher should seek approval from the Head of Department or his/her nominated Deputy. The Faculty Office should be informed in writing of the suspension.
(e) A Head of Department shall have the right to exclude any student from attending any part of a module for which he or she is not registered, if this is appropriate to ensure the proper conduct of the class.
(f) Except in the case of its own members, the right to visit a Durham College is at the discretion of the Head of that College, who also has the right to exclude any non-members, if it is the Head’s reasonable opinion that it is appropriate to do so, to ensure good order in the College and/or the health and safety of College members.
(g) Following consultation with the Chair or Deputy Chair of Senate Discipline Committee, the student’s Department and College, the Registrar or his/her nominee may suspend a student from the entire University pending completion of a police investigation, or criminal proceedings or the outcome of a Senate Discipline Committee Hearing.
(h) Following consultation with the Registrar and Secretary (or other Officer nominated by him or her) and the student’s College and Department, an Authorised University Officer may suspend a student from the University on Mental Health Grounds with immediate effect, for a period of up to twelve months. The student must be advised to seek pastoral support and medical attention.
(i) In all cases where the suspension might involve removing the student temporarily or otherwise from his or her College accommodation, the Colleges Office must be contacted as soon as possible for advice on how to proceed. If it becomes apparent that the student may have mental health support needs, then proceedings should be adjourned and advice sought from the Deputy Academic Registrar’s Office, in accordance with the University’s mental health policy.
4. Review and appeal
(a) The Chair or Deputy Chair of the Senate Discipline Committee, the Head of the student’s College and his/her Head of Department must be notified where:
(ii) the suspension is for four weeks or more.
(iii) the suspension is from the entire University.
(b) The Chair or Deputy Chair of the Senate Discipline Committee (or his/her nominee) will then review the suspension within the period of four weeks in the first instance. It should be reviewed at four weekly intervals within term-time thereafter. Outside term time the suspension will be reviewed at intervals deemed appropriate by the Chair or Deputy Chair of the Senate Discipline Committee (or his/her nominee) in consultation with the student’s Head of College and the Head of his/her academic department.
(c) However, where a student is suspended pending completion of a police investigation, or the outcome of an investigation under Notification of Academic and Personal Details for Admission, Matriculation and Registration Purposes (NAP) regulation in the University Calendar Volume II or the conclusion of criminal proceedings or a Senate Discipline Committee hearing, the suspension will be reviewed as appropriate, by the Chair or Deputy Chair of Senate Discipline Committee, or another appropriate University officer, following receipt of corroboration from a relevant authority confirming the outcome of the police or NAP investigation, criminal proceedings or a Senate Discipline Committee hearing.
(d) Where a student is suspended on mental health grounds (as indicated in 3(g)) the Registrar and Secretary or other Officer nominated by him or her, will initiate the suspension review process one month before the suspension ends. Before permitting the student to re-register with the University the Registrar and Secretary or nominee will require a satisfactory report confirming the student’s fitness to return to the University and resume his/her studies. The report must include a medical report provided by a General Practitioner from the Claypath and University Medical Group and a report from an appropriate Authorised University Officer to include clear, unambiguous medical evidence confirming that the student is fit to resume their studies and evidence that satisfactory support and monitoring arrangements have been put in place with relevant College, Departmental and administrative support services and external agencies (if appropriate). In compiling the report the Authorised University Officer will draw upon colleagues well placed to provide advice and guidance including (but not limited to) the relevant Senior Tutor, the University’s Medical Adviser (or his/her nominee), the Director of the Counselling Service, the Director of the Service for Students with Disabilities and the Deputy Academic Registrar. The arrangements for a student returning after suspension may include specifying a series of periodic assessments.
(e) Except in the case of a suspension as set out in 4 (c) or (d) above, a student may appeal to Senate Discipline Committee against suspension where his or her suspension is continued beyond four weeks. The student should appeal in writing via the Registrar within three weeks of the notification of the suspension, as set out in General Regulation IV, Discipline 8 (a). The letter should state the grounds for appeal. If the Chair or Deputy Chair of the Senate Discipline Committee dismisses the appeal the student shall be told that he or she may appeal to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator within a period of three months of the issue by the University of a Completion of Procedures Letter.
(f) A student suspended in accordance with 4(c) and (d) above may appeal to the Council Student Appeals Committee. The student should appeal in writing via the Registrar within three weeks of the notification of the suspension, as set out in General Regulation IV, Discipline 8 (j). The letter should set out the grounds for appeal. If the Chair of the Council Student Appeals Committee dismisses the appeal the student shall be told that he or she may appeal to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator within a period of three months of the issue by the University of a Completion of Procedures Letter.
5. Attendance during suspension
Except in the case of a student suspended in accordance with 4 c) or 4 d) above, students are expected to fulfil all academic commitments during a period of suspension, where feasible. The student cannot however be granted access to classes or areas from which they are suspended. At the request of the student concerned, the Head of the Academic Department(s)/School(s) or another member of staff designated by the Head of Department/School should advise on how and to what extent academic commitments can be fulfilled during suspension.