BYE LAW F: DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES FOR MEMBERS OF CUSU
The Executive of CUSU is responsible to its members for disciplinary action against members who breach the Membership Code of Conduct (Bye Law O), policy, procedures, rules and regulations of CUSU or who may otherwise bring CUSU into disrepute. Therefore, the following procedures may be invoked when required to investigate allegations of misconduct by members and to determine any sanctions. CUSU reserves the right to refer students when necessary for disciplinary action to Coventry University or its appropriate subsidiary.
- The Principles of the Procedures
The Disciplinary procedures shall follow the principles of natural justice: a member shall be considered innocent until proven otherwise; shall have the right to representation, call witnesses, ask questions and submit evidence. There will also be the right of appeal.
- How the Procedure shall be used
- These procedures may be started by a complaint about a members’ behaviour, by any ordinary or associate member of the Union, member of CUSU or CU staff or the general public.
- All incidents must be reported within 15 calendar days of their occurrence. Matters outside this timeline will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
- The student will be informed of the complaint made against them and asked for a statement/evidence.
- The General Manager or nominee will carry out an investigation normally within 10 working days to determine whether or not there is a legitimate case against the member. The General Manager or nominee may ask for additional evidence at this stage, contact witnesses and offer mediation services where appropriate.
- In circumstances where the General Manager considers the behaviour of a member to be a danger to themselves, others and/or the reputation of CUSU immediate exclusion can be recommended from specified premises or services or rights without prejudice to a disciplinary hearing the student may also be reported to the University Registry.
- If the General Manager or nominee determines that there is a case to answer they shall inform the member in writing and using their registered email address of the allegations that have been made against them, including
- a copy of these procedures
- the date, time and place of the panel meeting(giving at least 10 working days’ notice)
- a recommendation to seek advice from the Students’ Union Advice Centre or another source of independent advice and representation
- the names of who will be on the Panel
- copies of the evidence collected in the investigation
- the recommended sanction for the offence (without any mitigation)
- The student will have the opportunity at this stage to admit or deny the offence/s. If the student accepts their guilt they can either
- Attend the Panel hearing to offer mitigation
- Accept the outcome of the investigation in writing. Doing this removes the right to appeal
- If the student decides to attend the Panel Hearing they must inform the Personnel Manager 5 working days before the hearing, submitting evidence and the names of any witnesses they wish to call.
- The role of Investigator and Chair of the Panel must be separated.
4. The Procedure for the Disciplinary Panel
- The Chair of the Panel (which shall consist of the General Manager or nominee and two members of the Executive) shall open the hearing stating the allegation(s). Members of Executive, who are experts in the area of enquiry, will be invited to sit on the panel as non-voting members.
- A secretary to the Panel shall attend to record the proceedings and act as advisor to the Panel but shall not have a vote. Typically this will be a member of the Advice Centre.
- The presenting staff member, who will be a member of the Senior Management Team, shall state the case against the member, ask questions, discuss the evidence and call witnesses as required.
- The member (or representative) shall have the right to question the presenting staff member, the evidence submitted and the witnesses.
- The member (or representative) shall then put the defence to the panel, call witnesses and discuss the evidence submitted as required by the defence.
- The presenting staff member shall have the right then to question the evidence and the witnesses in defence.
- The Panel may ask questions at any time of the member, the presenting staff, the witnesses and the evidence in order to clarify and may ask for further evidence or witnesses if required to assist in deciding the facts.
- The presenting staff member shall then sum up and introducing no fresh evidence or argument.
- The defending member (or representative) shall then sum up introducing no fresh evidence or argument.
- Either side may request an adjournment to the hearing which shall be granted by the Panel if it is thought helpful to the proceedings.
- The member (and representative) and presenting staff shall withdraw and the Panel shall decide if the allegation is proven and what, if any sanction is appropriate.
- The member (and representative) and presenting staff shall return to hear the decision of the Panel which shall be given by the Chair. The decision shall be confirmed in writing by the Chair of the Panel as soon as possible.
The panel shall decide on the sanctions to be taken in cases where the allegations are proven and depending on the severity of the allegation, previous conduct of the member and other matters it considers relevant. The sanctions include:
- To send the member a final written warning on their conduct
- To withdraw membership for a stated period;
- To withdraw membership until stated actions are carried out by the member (e.g. a written apology, or ‘community service’ for CUSU).
- To withdraw access to specified services and/or premises; Removal from Sports and Societies positions or to recommend the removal from official positions within CUSU;
- To refer the matter to the University for disciplinary action
- To recommend compulsory attendance at a workshop / training session.
This list is not exhaustive
6. The Right of Appeal
- A member has the right to appeal on the following grounds:
- the severity of the sanction does not match the offence;
- fresh evidence is submitted which was not available at the time of the original decision;
- the procedures were not carried out correctly.
- The member shall submit an appeal in writing to the Chair of Executive (or nominee) within 10 working days of receiving the Panel’s written decision.
- The General Manager (or nominee) shall determine if there are grounds for an appeal and shall inform the appellant accordingly.
- An appeal granted shall be heard by the Appeal Panel which shall consist of three Trustees, and the Chair determined by the Panel and who were not involved in the case previously.
- A secretary to the Panel shall attend to record the proceedings and act as advisor to the Panel but shall not have a vote
- The appellant (or representative) shall present the case for appeal, fresh evidence, witnesses, etc. Then the case against the appeal shall be made by the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel.
- A record of the hearing shall be made by a CUSU staff member present acting as Secretary to the Appeals Panel.
- The procedure shall allow for questioning of evidence and witnesses by the Chair of the Standards and Disciplinary Panel and the Appeals Panel members may ask questions for clarification.
- The appellant (and representative) and the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel shall withdraw whilst the Appeals panel considers its decision.
- The Panel Chair shall inform the appellant of the Panel’s decision which shall be confirmed in writing. This decision is final.
- The sanctions against the appellant shall remain in place until a successful Appeals Hearing.
- Records of Hearings
A confidential record of all hearings shall be maintained except where the allegation(s) is not proven or the Appeal Panel overturns the Standards and Disciplinary Hearing’s destroyed.