Quality Manual

Procedures for Requiring a Student to Withdraw Temporarily or Permanently from the University on the Grounds of Health and Safety


1. Statement of Policy

1. In circumstances where there is serious concern about an individual's physical and/or mental welfare, the University will take all reasonable steps to provide help and support to the student. In some exceptional circumstances, however, it may be inappropriate to allow a student to continue with his/her studies, and the University has the right to require the individual to withdraw on the grounds of health and safety. The University's approach in all matters where there is a question of continuing attendance at the University through behaviour, performance or health is to be thoughtful, measured and supportive. Concerns surrounding the health and safety of other students and staff are also central to the decision-making process.

2. This process is intended to allow for every opportunity to resolve difficulties by negotiation. It is expected that a decision to require a student to withdraw will be exceptional. It is expected also that the individual will be encouraged at every stage to make use of specialist support services available within the University.

3. Where it is alleged that the student has committed an offence against the Code of Discipline for Students, the matter will normally be dealt with through the disciplinary procedures.

4. Where there are concerns about a student and the difficulties have not been resolved within the student’s home School , and the matter cannot appropriately be dealt with as a disciplinary matter, the Registrar may make a recommendation that a student be required to withdraw, either temporarily or permanently, from the University, or from some part of it. The Registrar may draw upon such professional/specialist advice as necessary in making a recommendation. The recommendation will be presented to a Special Committee of Senate appointed under this procedure.

5. In any case where the Registrar is of the view that the student should be suspended or excluded immediately, pending a decision of the Special Committee, he may do that by exercising powers under Section XXIV(2) of the University Ordinances (see further paragraph 2.5 below).

2. Procedure

1. If a School has serious concerns about an individual student's health or safety, the member of staff with primary responsibility (e.g. the tutor or supervisor) should in the first instance discuss the difficulties with the student. (At any point in this process the tutor or other member of staff may seek advice and guidance from the Head of Student Services or a member of the University Health Service, including advice on personal matters the student has given consent for him/her to discuss, and advice on referrals to University services.) The concerns should be clearly identified and appropriate support offered if possible. The content and outcome of the meeting should be recorded and the record retained by the School for the duration of the student's course.

2. If the situation is not resolved satisfactorily by this discussion, a further meeting may be convened with the student involving the Head of School (or his/her nominee). The content and outcome of the meeting should be recorded and the record retained by the School for the duration of the student’s course.

3. If the situation remains unresolved, the matter should be referred to the Registrar (and the Director of Student Operations and Support notified). On receipt of a report from the Head of School detailing any steps taken in paras 1 and 2 above and setting out the circumstances of the case (including matters occurring since the meeting in para 2 above), if the Registrar is satisfied that a prima facie case exists for the student to be required to withdraw from the University, the case will be referred by him/her for consideration to a Special Committee of Senate and/or (in the case of a recommendation for immediate suspension or exclusion) exercise powers under Section XXIV (2) of the University Ordinances. In cases of urgency, the Registrar and Vice- Chancellor may act notwithstanding that some or all of the steps under paras 1 to 3 have not been taken.

4. Where concerns about an individual student arise elsewhere than in a School, the Warden (for residential accommodation), the Chief Security Officer or another member of the University staff concerned should make a report to the student's Head of School and the Director of Student Operations and Support so that appropriate action may be taken in line with in 1 to 3 above.  

5. Under the provisions of Section XXIV (2) of the University Ordinances the Vice-Chancellor, the Registrar or a Pro-Vice-Chancellor acting on the Vice-Chancellor’s behalf may suspend or exclude any student from any part of the University pending a decision by a Special Committee of Senate.

3. Special Committee of Senate  

1. The Senate will appoint a Special Committee to deal with recommendations that a student should be required to withdraw either temporarily or permanently on grounds of health and safety. 

2. The Committee will consist of:

i. A senior member of the University appointed by the Senate as Chair of the Committee.
ii. Two members of Senate nominated by the Vice-Chancellor.
iii. Two full-time registered students nominated by the Students’ Union on the recommendation of the Welfare Officer. The presence of student representatives will be subject to the explicit consent of the student facing a recommendation. There will be no student members if the student facing a recommendation so requests. 

3. The Registrar will appoint a member of staff to act as Secretary to the Committee and will appoint an Investigating Officer to put the case that a recommendation to suspend or exclude be upheld.

4. The members of the Committee will be selected to ensure that any persons who have had any direct connection with the case or with the student concerned are excluded.

5. The student may object to any member of the Committee chosen to hear his/her case on giving reasons for supposing that member not to be impartial. The validity or otherwise of the objection will be determined by the Chair of the Committee, or by the Registrar where the objection is made about the Chair of the Committee. If a committee member is excluded following an objection, an additional member will be nominated by the Vice-Chancellor or the Students' Union, as appropriate.

6. The Committee reserves the right to seek specialist mental health advice when considering the case. 

7. The Committee will convene a formal hearing, at which the student has the right to be accompanied by a friend or adviser. Students with a disability may also be accompanied by a support worker (e.g. a sign language interpreter or mental health worker) as appropriate to their needs.

8. The student has the right not to attend a hearing. In all such circumstances, a representative of the student may attend on his/ her behalf to present his/her case.

9. The Committee may in its discretion conduct or conclude a hearing in the absence of the student if, for example, the student fails to attend the hearing after all reasonable effort has been made to invite him/her to be present. In such circumstances, the Committee will take steps to ensure that the process continues in a fair manner.

10. The Investigating Officer will provide the Committee with a written case supporting the recommendation to suspend or exclude the student.

11. The student facing any recommendation will be given a copy of the case to uphold the suspension/exclusion and notice in writing of the date and time of the committee meeting to allow time to prepare his/ her case. He/she will be given a copy of the Rules of Procedure governing the meeting, which will include information about the right to be represented or accompanied at a meeting and to present medical or other relevant evidence. 

12. The Special Committee of Senate has the power to confirm or not to confirm a recommendation to require a student to withdraw temporarily or permanently from the University on the grounds of health and safety under the provisions of University Ordinances Section XV (20).

4. Rules of Procedure for the conduct of a formal Special Committee of Senate hearing

1. The Committee (with the Committee Secretary) will meet briefly in private to discuss procedure and ensure that there are no conflicts of interest. If the Committee is to hear oral testimony, the student, his/her representative, the Investigating Officer and any other University representative(s) with information relevant to the case will be asked to convene in a waiting area.  

At the start of the meeting, the Chair will introduce everyone present, explain their roles and outline the procedure which will be followed. The Chair will also confirm that the student and/or his/her representative has received all of the documentation and, if not accompanied, was aware of his/her right to bring a representative and therefore had chosen to waive that right. The Chair should also confirm that the Investigating Officer has received any documentation submitted to the Committee by the student.

2. The Chair will invite the Investigating Officer to make a brief opening statement, and will then invite the Committee to ask questions. If other University representatives are present, they will be afforded the same opportunity to make a statement, and may themselves be questioned.

3. The Chair will invite the student or his/her representative to make a brief opening statement and will then invite the Committee to ask questions.

4. At each stage the Chair has discretion to allow reciprocal questioning by the various parties.

5. The Chair will ask the Investigating Officer and any other University representative(s), in turn, and finally the student (or the student’s representative) if they wish to make any closing statement and if they are satisfied that they have had a full opportunity to explain their case to the Committee.

6. The student, his/her representative, the Investigating Officer and any other University representative(s) will withdraw while the Committee considers its decision.

7. Any decision will be communicated to both the student and School in writing within two working days. 

8. In all cases, a record of the proceedings will be kept and the student provided with a copy.

5. Powers of the Special Committee

1. The Committee will determine whether a student should be required to withdraw permanently, or temporarily until certain specified conditions have been met, or for a specified period (with or without a requirement to meet conditions). The student will be informed in writing of the decision and the reasons for it.

2. Any exclusion that is not on a permanent basis will be subject to periodic review in the light of developments and any written representations made by the student or anyone acting on their behalf. Such a review would include medical evidence from the individual's medical practitioner, and would also allow for assessment from the University's own appointed medical specialists. Any such representations should be made in writing to the Registrar.

3. A student may appeal in writing against the Committee's decision within seven working days of receipt of written confirmation of that decision. Any suspension or exclusion will remain in place for the duration of the appeal and for any further period during which the matter is under consideration by a Special Committee of Senate.

4. An appeal against a decision of a Special Committee of Senate will be to a nominated Pro-Vice-Chancellor and can only be made on the following grounds: 

i. That there was a procedural irregularity that resulted in unfairness to the student.
ii. That the decision of the committee was manifestly unreasonable.
iii. That there is fresh evidence or evidence which was for good cause not presented to the Special Committee of Senate and which might reasonably have resulted in a different decision.

5. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor may disallow the appeal or refer the matter back to the same or a new Special Committee of Senate for further consideration.

6. Further steps

A Student who has had their appeal rejected at this or an earlier stage can request a completion of procedures letter and put their case to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). For more information see http://www.oiahe.org.uk 






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