Home > Policy and analysis > Reports > Guidance for higher education institutions: how to handle alleged student misconduct

Guidance for higher education institutions: how to handle alleged student misconduct

These guidelines, drafted by Pinsent Masons LLP, relate to all types of student misconduct which may constitute a criminal offence and provides some specific recommendations in relation to sexual misconduct.

In 1994, the Council of Vice-Chancellors and Principals (CVCP), now Universities UK (UUK), published the Final Report of the Task Force on Student Disciplinary Procedures - commonly referred to as the Zellick Report. These non-statutory guidelines provided advice to UK universities on handling circumstances where a student’s alleged misconduct may also constitute a criminal offence.

In 2016, a Taskforce established byUUK to examine violence against women, harassment and hate crime received evidence highlighting concerns about the Zellick guidelines. In particular, it was noted that, since the guidelines were published, there had been substantial and important developments in the sector and in the law (for example, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010). As a consequence, there were concerns that the guidelines did not adequately reflect the various duties and obligations that universities have in relation to their students or assist universities in handling the most complex and sensitive incidents, particularly those involving sexual violence.

The Taskforce therefore initiated a review of the Zellick Report. Pinsent Masons LLP worked closely with members of a steering group to produce new guidelines for the sector on how to handle student disciplinary issues where the alleged misconduct may also constitute a criminal offence. These guidelines relate to all types of student misconduct which may constitute a criminal offence and provides some specific recommendations in relation to sexual misconduct.

The guidelines are drafted in general terms and are relevant to all UK institutions.

News

Universities asked to take action against online harassment

2 September 2019
UUK has published new guidance to help universities prevent and respond to all forms of online harassment.

UUK response to the latest UCAS Undergraduate application figures

11 July 2019
Universities UK responds to the news that a record amount of young people in England are applying to study at university

Blog

Higher education policy priorities for the new prime minister

31 July 2019
UUK's Karmjit Kaur on how new Prime Minister Boris Johnson can can help maximise the role of universities for both his domestic and global ambitions.

Women studying

University disciplinary processes under the microscope

8 February 2019
Ian Hynes, CEO of Intersol Global, discusses steps universities can take to improve their disciplinary processes.