|Council, 1 December 2021
|Date Statute Took Effect
|1 January 2022
|Last approved revision
|Registrar and Secretary to the Council
1.1. This is the Student Conduct Statute 2021.
2.1. This Statute shall come into effect on 1 January 2022.
3.1. The purpose of this Statute, and the Code of Student Conduct which it contains, is to promote the safety and well-being of the University community through the cultivation of mutual respect, tolerance and understanding.
3.2. This Statute requires that fair processes be followed in relation to suspected student misconduct and that, wherever possible, the University's response to misconduct addresses the harm caused and meets the needs of all parties.
3.3. The University will investigate and respond to misconduct in ways that safeguards the physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing of all parties involved and the integrity of the University community.
4. Rules of conduct
4.1. The basic rules of conduct are those provided for in the Code of Student Conduct established by this Statute.
4.2. Secondary rules of conduct are contained in the regulations established under the Administration Statute 2011 and such other rules and regulations as may be promulgated from time to time under the authority of the Council.
5.1. “Appeals Board” means the Board of University Council members established under the Appeals Statute 2011 and having powers under that Statute to reconsider disciplinary decisions.
5.2. “Kaitohutohu Māori” means the holder of the office Kaitohutohu Māori within the Office of Māori Development who has the responsibilities under the tikanga-led processes established under this Statute.
5.3. “Proctor” means the person employed by the University to have responsibility for overseeing the investigation of alleged student misconduct and the imposition of penalties in less serious misconduct cases. In this Statute the expression Proctor extends to include any person appointed by the University as a Deputy or Assistant Proctor.
5.4. “Provost” means the member of the academic staff appointed by the Chancellor in consultation with the President of the Otago University Students' Association to hold hearings and impose penalties in relation to more serious misconduct cases. In this Statute the expression Provost extends to include any person appointed as a Deputy or Assistant Provost by the same means the Provost is appointed.
5.5. “University Official” means a person employed or engaged by the University to carry out a specific role while they are carrying out that role.
6. Code of Student Conduct
6.1. The University expects students to refrain from behaviours that endanger their own or others' safety and well-being.
6.2. Students are expected to conform to the standards contained in this Code of Student Conduct off-campus as well as on-campus.
6.3. The University rejects racism and other forms of discrimination prohibited under the Human Rights Act 1993, and this Code of Student Conduct will be interpreted and applied accordingly.
6.4. The University reserves the right to pursue through its disciplinary procedures matters that are also being, or may also be, addressed by the legal system or under the University's Ethical Behaviour Policy processes.
6.5. The basic rules of conduct require that no student shall:
- unreasonably disrupt any teaching, study or research or the administration of the University either wilfully or by engaging in conduct which ought reasonably to have been foreseen would cause disruption;
- wilfully obstruct any member or employee of the University in academic work or in the performance of duties;
- wilfully misuse, damage or deface, steal or wrongfully convert to the student's own use any property of the University or of any member of the University;
- wilfully acquire by theft or deception the benefits of any service provided by the University or any academic advantage;
- engage in actions that:
- amount to sexual misconduct as defined by the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Ethical Behaviour Policy; or
- amount to assault or which result in, or can be reasonably expected to result in, harm to a person or persons; or
- are unreasonably disruptive to other members of the University or the local community; or
- result in, or can be reasonably expected to result in, damage to property of any person; or
- are otherwise unlawful;
- threaten, intimidate, abuse or harass another person or group, including by electronic means and including in relation to matters of race or any other prohibited ground of discrimination under the Human Rights Act 1993;
- organise or participate in an event in the nature of an initiation that requires or can be reasonably regarded as pressuring a person into:
- the use of alcohol or drugs, including cigarettes and vaping products; and/or
- the undertaking of unlawful activities; and/or
- the undertaking of activities that carry risk of harm to a person or property.
- fail to comply with the proper directives of a University Official, including refusing to identify oneself;
- lie to, or misrepresent information to, the University or any University official;
- fail without good reason to co-operate with the University's disciplinary procedures;
- fail without reasonable cause to comply with any penalty imposed under this Student Conduct Statute;
- be party to or attempt to commit an act of misconduct as set out in the foregoing rules.
7. Disciplinary authority
7.1. The following persons or bodies are authorised to exercise disciplinary authority under this Statute:
- The Proctor;
- The Provost;
- The Vice-Chancellor;
- The Appeals Board of Council.
7.2. Before any party exercises disciplinary authority over a student, they shall ensure that the student has had a full and fair opportunity to respond to the allegations against them.
7.3. Where a breach appears to have involved abuse of alcohol and/or drugs the decision-maker:
- shall encourage the student to attend counselling or to receive other support in relation to such abuse.
- may delay imposing a penalty in order to be able to take into account information that the student agrees be provided by a counsellor or other source of support.
7.4. In imposing any penalty under this Statute, the decision-maker shall take into account all issues relevant to the breach and the personal circumstances of the student, including any cultural considerations and (where relevant) their financial means.
8. Powers of Proctor
8.1. The Proctor shall have power to deal with offences or alleged offences against the basic or secondary rules of conduct by such processes as are fair and expeditious in the circumstances.
8.2. If, after reasonable enquiry and after meeting with the student concerned, the Proctor is satisfied that a student is guilty of an offence against this Statute, the Proctor may deal with that student in one or more of the following ways:
- discharge the student conditionally or absolutely;
- advise or reprimand the student;
- impose a fine not exceeding $500;
- direct the return of any property acquired through misconduct;
- direct the payment of compensation of up to $5,000 in respect of any damage incurred through the misconduct;
- direct the student to carry out work of value to the University or the local community for up to 40 hours;
- direct the student not to have any contact with a specified person or persons or not to attend a specific social function or functions, or not to visit some specific part of the University, or not to visit any or all of its affiliated colleges for a period up to 31 December in the year in which the penalty is imposed.
8.3 In any case where the Proctor considers:
- that the circumstances of a student's offending or alleged offending require formal consideration; or
- that the circumstances of a student's offending or alleged offending may warrant penalties beyond those which the Proctor is empowered to impose; the Proctor may refer the student to the Provost for the matter to be dealt with.
8.4. The Proctor may appoint a lawyer or another appropriate party to assist him or her in the conduct of any interview or hearing.
9. Powers of Provost
9.1. The Provost shall have the power:
- to deal with offences or alleged offences against the basic or secondary rules of conduct including, but not limited to, those matters which may be referred to him or her by the Proctor;
- to determine appeals brought against decisions of the Proctor.
9.2. The Provost shall have the power to dismiss any complaint which in the opinion of the Provost is frivolous or unsubstantiated or for any other reason ought not to be proceeded with.
9.3. In any case where the Provost considers the circumstances of a student's offending or alleged offending render it appropriate the Provost may refer the student directly to the Vice-Chancellor to be dealt with.
9.4. Before there is any exercise of disciplinary power by the Provost, the student complained of:
- must be advised in writing of the subject matter of the complaint,
- must be afforded an opportunity of being heard before the complaint is determined and to be supported or, at the student's option, to be represented by a lawyer or other advocate, at that time; and
- must be advised of possible penalties if found guilty including, where appropriate, the possibility of exclusion following a referral to the Vice-Chancellor.
9.5. The Provost may appoint a lawyer or another appropriate party to assist him or her in the conduct of any interview or hearing.
9.6. The Provost may deal with a complaint in one or more of the following ways:
- discharge the student conditionally or absolutely;
- advise or reprimand the student;
- impose a fine not exceeding $1,000;
- direct the return of any property acquired through misconduct;
- direct the payment of compensation up to $5,000 in respect of damage to property;
- direct the student to carry out work of value to the University or the local community for up to 60 hours;
- direct the student not to have any contact with a specified person or persons, or not to attend a specific social function or functions, or not to visit some specific part of the University, or not to visit any or all of its affiliated colleges for such period as the Provost may determine;
- deny the student the right to graduate in person;
- refer the matter to the Vice-Chancellor to be dealt with by way of exclusion or otherwise.
10. Powers of Vice-Chancellor
10.1. The Vice-Chancellor may, whether on a referral from the Provost or otherwise, exercise any of the disciplinary powers afforded to the Provost under this Statute provided that the Vice-Chancellor's power of directing the payment of compensation in respect of damage to property shall extend to the full amount of any damage incurred.
10.2. The Vice-Chancellor shall, in addition to the powers under the previous clause, have the power to exclude the student from the University, or from any paper or papers, either permanently or for such period as the Vice-Chancellor may determine. The Vice-Chancellor may exclude a student on a suspended basis by establishing conditions which if observed will allow the student to remain at the University and the exclusion to be cancelled at the end of a nominated period. Where the Vice-Chancellor is satisfied after reasonable enquiry that a student excluded on a suspended basis has breached a condition of the suspension, they may direct that the exclusion come into immediate effect.
10.3. Where, before a matter is referred to the Vice-Chancellor, the Provost has completed an investigation which meets the requirements of clause 9.4, the Vice-Chancellor may rely on the findings of that enquiry in determining the matter, provided that if the Vice-Chancellor considers a student's exclusion may be warranted, the student shall be so advised and given the opportunity to provide written submissions on whether that step should be taken.
10.4. Before exercising any disciplinary authority in a case in relation to which the Provost has not completed an investigation meeting the requirements of clause 9.4, the Vice-Chancellor shall complete such an investigation.
10.5. The Powers of the Vice-Chancellor may be exercised by any person acting in that role from time to time and, in the case where the Vice-Chancellor is conflicted, by a Deputy Vice-Chancellor nominated for that purpose by the Registrar and Secretary to the Council.
11. Tikanga-led process
11.1. A tikanga-led process is available in suitable cases. Such process involves the facilitation of an open exchange of views aimed at achieving outcomes which are mana-enhancing and accepted as appropriate by all parties.
11.2. Information on the tikanga-led process will be made available to all students found to have breached the Code of Student Conduct. Where a student wishes to have a matter responded to through a tikanga-led process it shall be referred to the Kaitohutohu Māori to determine whether the process is suitable in the circumstances.
11.3. Where the Kaitohutohu Māori determines that a tikanga-led process is to be followed, the matter shall be addressed under that process.
11.4. The tikanga-led process is guided by the Kaitohutohu Māori (or nominee) who has responsibility for all aspects of the process. The process may be led in Te Reo Māori or English.
11.5. The student who has committed the breach must participate as required by the Kaitohutohu Māori. Any member of the University community who is a victim of the breach shall be entitled to an opportunity to participate in person or by written submission as they chose. All such participants have the right to be supported by whānau. The Proctor or, on the Proctor's referral, the Provost (or their nominees) are also entitled to participate.
11.6. Wherever possible, the appropriate response to a breach will be determined by the consensus of those participating in the tikanga-led process. Where that is achieved no other penalty shall be imposed under this Statute. Where consensus is unable to be reached, the Kaitohutohu Māori (or nominee) shall refer the matter back to the Proctor, Provost or Vice-Chancellor as appropriate for consideration to be given to the imposition of a penalty under this Statute.
11.7. Breaches of the Code of Student Conduct which are resolved under the tikanga Māori processes will be identified in annual reporting to the Council under clause 15 of this Statute.
12. Interim measures
12.1. At any time (whether following a complaint or otherwise) a potential breach of this Code of Student Conduct is under investigation or consideration (including under Tikanga Māori Process) the Proctor may establish and require compliance with interim measures which the Proctor considers reasonably necessary to protect:
- the integrity of the investigation; or
- the well-being of a person or persons connected with the investigation.
12.2. The interim measures which the Proctor may establish include, but are not limited to, those matters set out in clause 8.2(g).
13. Restorative Justice
13.1. In any case where:
- a student has acknowledged behaviour which amounts to a breach of this Code of Student Conduct; and
- the student and the person or persons directly affected by that behaviour so agree, the matter may be referred to a process of Restorative Justice. Any referral to Restorative Justice is to be made by the person with the authority to impose a penalty in the relevant case. Restorative Justice may take place either before or after the determination of any penalty that might be imposed under the Statute.
13.2. A referral to Restorative Justice shall only be made where the person making the referral and the intended Restorative Justice facilitator have satisfied themselves that the circumstances are suitable for submission to that process.
13.3. Restorative Justice shall be facilitated by:
- the Office of the University Mediator; or
- another person approved by the Vice-Chancellor and acceptable to all those involved.
14.1. A student against whom a disciplinary finding has been made by the Proctor may appeal the finding and/or the penalty imposed to the Provost by writing to the Provost within seven days of the communication to the student of the relevant decision. A decision by the Provost on an appeal from the Proctor shall be final.
14.2. A student against whom a disciplinary finding has been made by the Provost (other than a decision on an appeal from the Proctor) may appeal the finding and/or the penalty imposed (including a penalty imposed by the Vice-Chancellor) to the Appeals Board of the University Council. Appeals are governed by the provisions of the Appeals Statute 2011 and are to be commenced by lodging a Notice of Appeal in accordance with the provisions of that Statute within ten working days of the communication to the student of the relevant decision.
14.3. Unless the Appeals Board otherwise directs, a student lodging an appeal continues to be bound by any requirements imposed under clause 8.2(g) or 12.1 of this Statute.
15. Reports to Council
15.1. All persons authorised to exercise disciplinary authority under this Statute shall make a report to the Council following the end of each academic year containing a summary of all cases dealt with by them during that year. Such reports shall not include the names of individuals and shall as far as possible avoid reference to circumstances which might render any individual identifiable.
16.1. The Discipline Statute 2011 is repealed with effect from the commencement of this Statute.