Personal Tutors will rarely have to become directly involved with student disciplinary matters but they should be aware of College policy regarding discipline and how procedures work.
If one of your tutees is the subject of a disciplinary allegation they may come to you for advice and support which might extend to you writing a character reference for them and possibly accompanying them if they are called to a Disciplinary Panel.
Cheating/plagiarism are the offences most commonly seen within departments. They are initially investigated within departments and you may become involved through any of your roles as tutor, teacher, examiner or invigilator. Senior colleagues will normally give advice if needed.
How is discipline handled?
Discipline at Imperial College is governed by a code agreed between College authorities and the Students’ Union.
How alleged offences are dealt with is dictated by the location of the incident, so, for example, an offence on Student Union premises is dealt with by the president of the Student Union and offences in student residences are dealt with by the hall warden. Within departments the head of department has jurisdiction but this will often be devolved to the Senior or Postgraduate Tutor. Offences in other College areas, or in multiple areas, or misconduct of a nature likely to bring the College into disrepute (wherever it occurs), or misuse of ICT facilities are all dealt with by the College Tutors.
Generally the responsible authority will investigate a case and then follow a course of action which might be:
- taking no further action;
- issuing summary punishment (typically a reprimand, a fine or a direction of community service within College, or any combination);
- referring the case, if deemed serious enough, to a College Discipline panel;
- senior staff may suspend a student with immediate effect and ban them from campus if it is thought they pose an immediate threat to the wellbeing of themselves or other individuals.
What should Personal Tutors do?
If personal tutors become aware of a disciplinary issue with one of their students (either as victim or aggressor) they should seek advice from their departmental Senior Tutor, who in any case needs to know of the case. It is very rare for one of our students to be an out-and-out troublemaker; nearly all incidents are those that occur in the heat of the moment and are later regretted. It is normal to offer a student advice and support, even where they appear to be the guilty party. It is normal for departments to protect a student’s academic status and assist in continuing his/her education while an allegation of misconduct is being investigated.
What is expected of students?
What is expected of students is defined in a set of Student Regulations, which include measures designed to protect our neighbours and the good name of the College. These tend to be used against students when high-spirited behaviour, often after drinking, gets out of hand and exceeds common decency or results in damage or causes offence.
Thankfully nearly all our students are well behaved nearly all the time. They have worked hard to get here and are keen to protect the good name of the College, and by implication, the value of their degrees.