The Student Code of Conduct is designed to supplement the College’s Code of Ethics by providing detailed explanations and examples of unacceptable behaviour.

The purpose of this Code is to encourage and maintain standards of conduct by students consistent with the values and expectations of the Imperial community. The Code applies to conduct both on and off the College’s campuses and premises, as well as online. It also applies to students engaged in Imperial College Union (ICU) activities.

The Code is complementary to, and does not replace, other standards, regulations, Imperial Values, or professional conduct requirements applying to students in the College.

In addition to the summary below, the full code of conduct is available to browse: Student Code of Conduct 2023-24.

Respect for each other and our surroundings

Students should treat others as they themselves would like to be treated, with dignity and due respect at all times. The College community is one in which discrimination, bullying, harassment, and victimisation are never tolerated.

Students should treat others equitably and work to create an inclusive environment in which everyone is safe to speak up and share their perspective. Students are encouraged to be curious and seek to understand diverse perspectives.

Students should take responsibility for their behaviour and their impact on others. Students should consider and respond to the needs of others, ensuring communications with others are considerate and respectful.

Our campuses, property, and facilities should be treated with respect. They are for the safe and enjoyable use of all our community and should be used for their designated purposes and not intentionally or recklessly damaged or defaced.

Whilst freedom of speech or expression is an important right for all in our community, it is not an unqualified right. It is important to remember that a person’s right to freedom of speech means lawful freedom of speech. That means that speech that might be criminal in nature, or otherwise in breach of civil law, is not protected by a person’s right to freedom of speech or expression.

What are other examples of this form of misconduct?

  • Disruption of, or improper interference with, the academic, administrative, sporting, social or other activities of the College or Imperial College Union;
  • disruption of College business, including teaching, research and studying that is not authorised pursuant to a College recognised ballot or process;
  • misuse or unauthorised use of College premises, facilities, or items of property;
  • disregard of the health and safety of self or others whilst on College campuses or undertaking College activities;
  • disregard for laboratory safety requirements following a warning from teaching staff or laboratory technicians;
  • wearing clothes, other items, or having visible tattoos with slogans or symbols that might constitute a breach of the criminal or civil law of England and Wales;
  • distributing material, including online material, which is intimidating, threatening, indecent or illegal; and intentionally or recklessly harming other individuals or putting others at risk of harm.

Honesty and Integrity

Students should demonstrate a commitment to independence, honesty, and transparency. They should be honest and truthful in their dealings with each other and with third parties. 

Students engaged in research activities should conduct their research in a way that supports public trust and confidence in the College’s research methods and findings. They should demonstrate rigour, honesty and integrity, and abide by relevant ethical and legal standards.

Students should not become complicit in any activities in which a student gains an unfair advantage, through plagiarism, self-plagiarism, collusion, examination offences, dishonest practice, or other means. Students should comply with the College’s Policy on Academic Misconduct.

What are other examples of this form of misconduct?

  • Behaviour which brings the College into disrepute [this does not include whistleblowing];
  • academic misconduct: cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, collusion, facilitating academic dishonesty, and claiming authorship of others’ work; or the submission of work for assessment which has been generated through an artificial intelligence of translation programme without acknowledgement or authorisation;
  • research misconduct: fabrication or falsification of information or data, misrepresentation of data and/or interests or involvement, plagiarism, and failure to follow accepted procedures or to exercise due care in carrying out research;
  • failure to disclose one’s name or other relevant details to an officer or employee of the College or ICU in circumstances where it is reasonable to require that such information be given;
  • making vexatious (such as frivolous allegations, or repeated allegations based on substantively the same matter that has been dealt with), allegations against a member of the College (allegations that are made in good faith are not vexatious, even if they are not upheld after they have been investigated); and
  • professional conduct violations.

Sexual misconduct and abuse

Sexual misconduct (i.e., sexual harassment, sexual violence) is never tolerated. All students are expected to act to ensure a working and learning environment free from these behaviours.  

Sexual misconduct is any act of violence or harassment which is sexual in nature or any kind of unwanted, non-consensual sexual touching, or harassment, within or outside a relationship. This may include rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation or groping. It also covers behaviours such as grooming, coercion, the promise of a reward for sexual access and sexual demands or threats.

What are other examples of this form of misconduct? (sexual)


  • Sexually explicit remarks, innuendos or banter;
  • sexual insults, jokes, teasing or songs;
  • wolf whistling, cat calling or making other offensive sexual noises;
  • offensive comments about someone’s dress, appearance, or private life, including their sexuality or gender identity;
  • unwanted or inappropriate physical contact including touching, pinching, groping or smacking;
  • unwanted requests to engage in or discuss sexual activity;
  • lifting or removing clothing;
  • stalking; which is defined as persistent and unwanted conduct of one or more kinds of behaviours described above. It can be physical or psychological and take place directly against a person, or by approaching a third party about a person. The more common examples of stalking are following a person home, following a person around, between or to/from campus, sending or leaving them unwanted and repeated messages, bullying them on social media or making intrusive or unwanted visits;
  • using humour to cover or deflect where sexual misconduct has occurred;
  • display or distribution of pornographic or sexually explicit material.

Bullying, harassment, and discrimination

We do not tolerate bullying or harassment and we do not tolerate any form of discrimination against any other person on grounds of any protected characteristic (age, disability, race, including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, being pregnant or on maternity leave, being married or in a civil partnership, or gender confirmation). Nor do we tolerate any form of targeting an individual on account their personal attributes.  This includes but is not limited to a medical condition, e.g. HIV or AIDS status, or socio-economic status. 

Harassment occurs where an individual engages in unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating another person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading or offensive environment for that person. An individual may feel harassed or offended even when the inappropriate comment or conduct is not made towards or about the individual personally.

Harassment can take a variety of different forms which can be written, verbal, nonverbal or transmitted electronically, may consist of a single incident or a series of incidents, and may or may not be intentional. Examples include repeatedly ignoring a person through to subjecting him or her to unwelcome attention, ridicule or humiliation. More extreme forms of harassment and bullying include intimidation, physical threats or violence. 

Types of harassment include sexual harassment, and harassment based on a protected characteristic, or about the personal attributes of a person. This may include but is not limited to inappropriate gestures or jokes about, or gratuitous references to, a person’s characteristic. It can also include inappropriate displays of posters, or other offensive material, and singling out of a person for different treatment based on a characteristic.

 Victimisation is when a person is treated unfairly because they have complained about being discriminated against or harassed. We will not tolerate victimisation against an individual because they have made, or intend to make, a complaint or allegation, or has given, or intends to give, assistance and/or evidence in an investigation. 

There is no legal definition of bullying. Whether an individual considers that they have been bullied is subjective and so it is very important to be mindful of whether your behaviour could be interpreted as being bullying. However, there are behaviours that are generally recognised as constituting bullying, such as the exercise of power over another person through persistent, negative acts or behaviour that undermines an individual, personally and/or professionally. 

What are other examples of this form of misconduct? (harassment)

  •  Racial harassment may also include offensive remarks about dress, culture or customs which have the effect of ridiculing or undermining an individual or fostering hatred and/or prejudice towards individuals or particular ethnic groups. In some circumstances it can include pressure to participate in political/religious groups.
  • Harassment of disabled people can take the form of individuals being ignored, disparaged, ridiculed, or denied opportunities because of mistaken assumptions about their capabilities. In such cases, disability, rather than ability, has become the focus of attention.
  • Harassment on the grounds of actual or perceived sexual orientation or sexuality can include queerphobic remarks or jokes relating to a person’s sexuality, or threats to disclose a person’s sexuality to others. 
  • Harassment on the grounds of religious belief can include jokes or insults about items of clothing, religious artefacts, religious beliefs, or rituals.
  • Harassment on the grounds of gender confirmation or gender identity can include transphobic remarks or jokes, name calling, humiliation, and exclusion.
  • Harassment on the grounds of age can include jokes or insults about a person’s age or singling a person out for different treatment as a result of their age.
  • Harassment on the grounds of other characteristics which can include but is not restricted to pregnancy, maternity and paternity status, marital status including civil partnerships.
  • Persistent invasion of personal space, whether of a sexual or non-sexual manner.
  • offensive or inappropriate comments, body language, jokes, innuendos, or gestures.
  • openly hostile, insulting, abusive or embarrassing comments or criticism.
  • persistently demeaning, ridiculing, excluding, or isolating someone.
  • threats to disclose, or disclosing, private or personal information, including photographs (this includes posting information online)
  • comments, notes, publications, or posts on social media that are derisory, disparaging, abusive, offensive or intimidating.
  • knowingly addressing or referring to someone using a pronoun (for example, he or she) with which an individual does not identify.
  • impersonating another person (e.g. by setting up an online profile in their name).
  • microagression, where it is subtle and/or indirect.



Acts of bullying, harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct are not acceptable. The College uses a variety of tools and offers services which allows you to disclose and seek support if you have experienced any unwelcoming behaviours such as bullying, harassment, sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, racial discrimination and more. 

Find out more by visiting the Student Support Zone.