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Discipline procedure

The Students’ Union’s discipline procedure outlines how the Union will deal with any report of an incident of misconduct of individual members, as well as sports clubs, societies, Union-affiliated groups and visitors. The sanctions imposed on individuals or groups who breach this policy include indefinite removal of all of the privileges of membership of the Union. 

What is considered misconduct?

The following may be considered misconduct by any Union member or Union-affiliated group while on Union-managed premises, at a Union-organised event or an event organised by a Union society, club, media outlet or any other affiliated group, or elsewhere while on Union business, or representing the Union, or a society etc., in an official capacity, including as a volunteer. This includes but is not limited to:

  • threatening, offensive, indecent, intimidating, bullying, harassing (including sexual harassment), abusive conduct (including emotional abuse), or conduct otherwise detrimental to the wellbeing of a student, staff member or others working, visiting or studying at the University, or of any other person outside of the University setting
  • violent conduct or assault, including sexual violence
  • breach of the current Union Equality and Diversity Policy, Safer Space Policy and Zero Tolerance Policy, or other policy regarding behaviour on Union premises or at Union events
  • causing significant damage to, loss of, or unauthorised removal or use of, Union property and data or property and data under its control
  • anti-social behaviour 
  • use/sale of illegal substances 
  • possession of weapons

This policy extends to online communication, communication by text, email and instant message which are made through official and student media accounts and directly linked to content published by the Students’ Union. 

Please note, misconduct by a full-time elected officer or the returning officer will be dealt with through the Union’s Staff Disciplinary Procedure. 

How can I report an incident of misconduct by a Union member or affiliated group?

If you witness, experience or are informed of an incident which you feel may be considered misconduct by a Union member you can report this to any member of Union staff or full-time elected officer who can formally report this on your behalf. Alternatively, you can submit the details of the incident through our online reporting tool.  

What will happen once I have reported an incident?

1. Report received

When a report of misconduct is received, this will be forwarded for the responsible people to be considered (this will usually be the President of the Students’ Union and the Chief Executive): they will let you know that they have received your report and notify you how it is to be dealt with.

At this point, the Union has the right to take immediate action to suspend a student where it is considered that this action is necessary to safeguard the member or others whilst an incident is being investigated.

An officer will write the accused member(s) outlining any action that has been taken. 

2. Initial investigation

The responsible staff member and full-time elected officer within the Union will initially consider and investigate any allegation of misconduct. 

After they have initially investigated the allegation, they will then provide a written response detailing what further action (if any) will be undertaken. 

They may decide to:

  • Take no further action.
  • Take action as a result of their investigation and detail this action in their response.
  • Decide that the incident should be a referred to a Students’ Union Discipline Panel.
  • Determine that the nature of the incident is sufficiently serious that it should be referred to the University’s disciplinary proceedings.

In each case, the response provided will give reasons for the decision reached, and explain the option to request a review of the decision made.

3. Discipline Panel

If the incident is referred to a Discipline Panel, at least five clear days’ notice of the date and time of any Panel should be given to all those involved. The Secretary of the panel will ensure that the accused member(s) are notified of the case against them as soon as possible, as well as providing a copy of the discipline procedure. When the Panel meets, it will take into account all of the evidence provided, including that provided by the complainant, any witnesses and the accused member(s). The accused member(s) will then be invited to respond and the Presenter and the Panel will be given an opportunity to ask the accused member(s) questions. *Both the complainant the accused member(s) have the opportunity to call on witnesses and cross-examination each other's witnesses before responding to final questions and making final statements. Where the Panel finds that misconduct is likely to have occurred, they may impose a number of sanctions against an individual Union member or group. 


* We recognise that it is not always appropriate to allow cross-examination of witnesses, or for witnesses to be present or in the same room as accused members. As such, any individual involved in the process may request a variation of the procedure. They may do this by writing to the Panel Chair, setting out the variation sought and the reasons why the variation is required. The Chair will then have the discretion to decide whether any such variation will be permitted.

4. Right to Appeal

In all cases, if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the initial investigation or the outcome of a Discipline Panel then you will then have 14 days to request a review of the decision made. You will have to provide a written response outlining reasons as to why you are not satisfied with the outcome. 
Please note, an exception to this time limit may be authorised in the case of an exceptional circumstance such as illness or disability.

Support and advice

If you have experienced, witnessed or been informed about an incident, and wish to receive support or advice about this, they can contact the University’s Student Life Centre

Alternatively, they can contact the Students’ Union’s Support and Advocacy Team:

Email: advice@sussexstudent.com

Phone: 01273 877038

Or in person at the Support and Advocacy Team, located in the Campaigns and Representation Department, 1st Floor, Falmer House, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.