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No 6549

Thursday 30 May 2019

Vol cxlix No 31

pp. 615–646



30 May, Thursday. Ascension day. Scarlet day.

8 June, Saturday. End of third quarter of Easter Term.

9 June, Sunday. Whitsunday. Scarlet day. Preacher before the University at 11.15 a.m., His Eminence A. Angaelos, OBE, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of the Diocese of London (Ramsden Preacher).

11 June, Tuesday. Discussion in the Senate-House at 2 p.m. (see below).

Discussions (Tuesdays at 2 p.m.)


11 June

19 June, Wednesday at 2.45 p.m. (Honorary Degrees)

  9 July

26 June, Wednesday at 10 a.m. (General Admission)

27 June, Thursday at 10 a.m. (General Admission)

28 June, Friday at 10 a.m. (General Admission)

29 June, Saturday at 10 a.m. (General Admission)

19 July, Friday at 10 a.m.

20 July, Saturday at 10 a.m.

Discussion on Tuesday, 11 June 2019

The Vice-Chancellor invites those qualified under the regulations for Discussions (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 105) to attend a Discussion in the Senate-House on Tuesday, 11 June 2019 at 2 p.m., for the discussion of:

1. First-stage Report of the Council, dated 30 May 2019, on the refurbishment of the Royal Cambridge Hotel (p. 629).

Further information on Discussions, including details on format and attendance, is provided at

Senate-House Yard and the University Combination Room: Closed on 19 June 2019

Both the Yard and the University Combination Room will be closed on Wednesday, 19 June 2019, on the occasion of the Honorary Degree Congregation. Access to the University Offices will be from Trinity Lane. Only those with admission tickets for the Congregation and other authorised persons will be allowed to enter the Yard during the closure.

Joint Report of the Council and the General Board on a revised student disciplinary framework: Notice in response to Discussion remarks

28 May 2019

The Council has received the remarks made at the Discussion on 21 May 2019 (p. 632) concerning the above Report (Reporter, 6546, 2018–19, p. 531).

The Council welcomes the remarks made in support of the Report’s recommendations by the great majority of the twenty-one speakers, including the Chair and some members of the Review Committee on Student Discipline which put forward the revised framework. The Council notes the remarks made by the following: Ms Sosienski Smith, Ms O’Brien, Dr Sutliff Sanders and others highlighting the civil nature of the University’s student disciplinary process and therefore the appropriateness of applying the lower, civil standard of proof; Dame Barbara Stocking, Ms Swain and others on the importance of the University considering cases that might also amount to a criminal offence, even if the University does not have the powers available under the criminal justice system; and Mr Ahmed and Dr Page on the current under-reporting of harassment and sexual misconduct and the importance of having people with appropriate training available to support the investigation of such cases.

The Council notes Dr Cowley’s suggestion to provide the Chair of Examiners or the Student Discipline Officer with the authority to reduce a student’s assessment mark to zero where the student admits to academic misconduct, rather than require a referral to the Discipline Committee, with all of the resource that this entails. The Council refers Dr Cowley to the guidance on sanctions that was published in the 2019 consultation on student discipline, alongside the plans for a revised student disciplinary framework (available at The Council agrees with Dr Cowley that academic misconduct is a serious matter and the penalty for such misconduct should reflect this; the starting point for sanctions imposed for a finding of plagiarism is a mark reduced to zero and a reduced class. Only where significant mitigation exists can the sanction be reduced. The Council therefore considers it appropriate for allegations of academic misconduct, even where the student admits to such misconduct, to be considered by the Discipline Committee, where any evidence in mitigation can be fairly assessed and the appropriate level of sanction determined. It also believes that the most serious penalties should be reserved to the Discipline Committee.

Dr Cowley explains why it might be important in some academic misconduct cases for the Discipline Committee to be able to understand the academic arguments supporting the case. The Council is confident that the Discipline Committee will weigh all evidence carefully and seek clear explanations where necessary. Should experience reveal weaknesses in evaluating academic evidence, changes will be made to rectify those issues.

Dr Cowley also expresses concern about the student disciplinary procedure being established in General Board Regulations rather than in Ordinance – that is, as a procedure that can be amended by the General Board by Notice instead of requiring approval by Grace of the Regent House. The proposed arrangements follow the pattern of those currently in place for student discipline, where detailed procedural matters are set out in the Practice Statement of the Discipline Committee, and for other formal student procedures, including the Student Complaint Procedure. The Council considers that it is appropriate that only the critical elements of the student disciplinary framework remain in Ordinance.

Dr Cowley makes a number of points about the standard of proof, especially in respect of the most serious academic misconduct cases. The Council recognizes the importance of achieving a just outcome in all disciplinary proceedings. For the reasons set out in the Report, the Council is recommending a change to the standard of proof to ‘on the balance of probabilities’ for all cases. This issue will be decided by a ballot of the Regent House.

Professor Evans queries the basis of the University’s authority to discipline students. The Council notes that the Terms and Conditions issued to all students prior to them accepting an offer create a contract obliging students to abide by the disciplinary procedures of the University. Currently students who are not matriculated are subject to local disciplinary procedures. An advantage of widening the student disciplinary framework to cover all registered students is that there will be one procedure covering all students pursuing a course of study leading to an award.

The Council is submitting two Graces (Graces 1 and 2, p. 631) for the approval of the recommendations of this Report. As previously reported, in the ballot there will be separate votes on the two Graces, the first seeking approval of Recommendations I and II (new student disciplinary framework) and the second seeking approval of Recommendation III (adoption of the civil standard of proof under that framework) (Reporter, 6546, 2018–19, p. 528). The deadline for fly‑sheets is 1 p.m. on Friday, 7 June 2019. Voting will open at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 18 June 2019 and close at 5 p.m. on Friday, 28 June 2019.