The University amended its disciplinary regulations last week in an attempt to make them “less daunting” to students.
University officials announced plans in the Gazette – the University’s weekly newsletter – to tone down the “austere” wording of current disciplinary measures. The changes, which will come into place on 27th May, mean that ‘offences’ will now be considered ‘alleged breaches’ and a ‘summons’ is now a ‘notice’. In addition, panel members must refer to statements as ‘evidence’, complaints as ‘allegations’ and sentences as ‘penalties.’
However, some students have been unconvinced by the substance behind the changes. 1st year Physics student Joey Failkner said: “It’s interesting they’re introducing these changes to make the procedure sound less intimidating because, frankly, I find the word ‘breach’ a lot more daunting than the word ‘offence’.”
One 2nd year student agreed, saying: “I wouldn’t say this has made things less daunting. All they seem to have done is carefully gone through the regulations and turned anything that sounds remotely austere into a euphemism. I don’t see how this will bring about any tangible change in how the disciplinary committees are carried out. That said, at the least the meetings would feel less like a court case.”
The committee also clarified its rules regarding the Student Appeal Panel. Whereas previous members had to “hold a legal qualification”, they must now be “barristers or solicitors with at least eight years’ standing or judicial experience”.
Another student described the changes as “superficial, pedantic tweaks in an already woefully confusing set of procedures”.