If an undergraduate fails to fulfil the criteria for good academic standing (see Section III of the Blue Book on the college Intranet), academic disciplinary procedures may be initiated. These are primarily intended to be rehabilitative, with the main aim of helping the undergraduate to get back on track and to bring their studies to a successful conclusion.
At each stage, care will be taken to ensure that the undergraduate concerned understands what is required in terms of compliance with rules or levels of performance, and the likely consequences of failure to conform. As far as possible, objective measures of compliance or performance are applied, and care is taken to ensure impartiality. The undergraduate’s explicit acceptance of the fairness and reasonableness of the measures taken will be secured whenever practicable.
Matters of academic discipline are kept quite separate from disciplinary action for other forms of misbehaviour. The requirement to pay College and University fees and charges is also a separate issue. Information about these will not influence academic decisions.
Records will be kept of any formal meetings between an undergraduate and the Senior Censor, and the undergraduate concerned will be consulted about the accuracy of these records.
Stages in academic disciplinary procedure
When Tutors raise concerns about an undergraduate’s academic work, these should be discussed with whoever can appropriately seek to resolve them (typically, the undergraduate and one or more Subject Tutors, but also where appropriate the Personal Tutor). If the Tutor(s) or the undergraduate so desires, the concerns will then be discussed by the undergraduate and the Senior Censor. If any mitigating or complicating factors come to light, they will (with the permission of the undergraduate) be noted on the file. At all stages the Tutor(s) and the Senior Censor will be alert to such issues and be prepared to give advice, which may be academic advice, but may include reference to College welfare support and to professional services such as the College Doctor, the Counselling Service, or the Disability Advisory Service. Advice will be recorded and the record agreed with the undergraduate.
First Formal Warning
If, having discussed the concerns with the undergraduate, the Senior Censor and the Subject Tutor(s) believe that it is necessary to issue a formal warning to the undergraduate, the Senior Censor will invite the undergraduate to a meeting. At that meeting the undergraduate may be accompanied by another member of the College, and the Senior Censor will make sure that the undergraduate understands the nature of the concerns which have been raised and has the opportunity to make known all the material circumstances. The Senior Censor may then issue a First Formal Warning, which will specify to the undergraduate what is expected of them in the future (conditions may include, for example, attendance at tutorials, completion of assignments and/or attainment of appropriate levels in ‘Special Collections’). Failure to comply with any of these conditions may lead to a Second Formal Warning. The Subject Tutor(s) will advise on the appropriate conditions (including any appropriate levels of attainment). Where possible, these will be agreed between the Senior Censor and the undergraduate, but in the event of disagreement the Senior Censor shall decide upon the matter taking into account the advice of the Subject Tutor(s). Typically, Special Collections in these circumstances will be marked internally and in other respects will be less formal than Final Collections (see ‘Second Formal Warning’), although in an appropriate case the Senior Censor may propose the use of University Examinations to fulfil the functions of Special Collections. In all cases, a First Formal Warning will be embodied in a formal letter, which will also remind the undergraduate of the College’s rules and procedures for academic discipline, refer to individuals available to provide support or advice to the undergraduate, and explain the implications of matters being taken to a Second Formal Warning. If the undergraduate thinks that any conditions demanded are unreasonable, they may appeal to the Academic Disciplinary Board (see ‘Formal Disciplinary Hearing’).
Second Formal Warning
If the undergraduate fails to comply with the conditions set out in the First Formal Warning, the Senior Censor may invite them to a further meeting. Again, at such a further meeting the undergraduate may be accompanied by another member of the College, and the Senior Censor will make sure that the undergraduate understands the nature of the case against them and has the opportunity to make known all the material circumstances. The Senior Censor may then issue a Second Formal Warning, which may set out further conditions (for example, attendance at tutorials, completion of assignments and/or attainment of appropriate levels in ‘Final Collections’). Failure to comply with any of these conditions may lead to suspension on academic disciplinary grounds or sending down (permanent termination of the undergraduate’s course). The Subject Tutor(s) will advise on the appropriate conditions (including any appropriate levels of attainment). Where possible, these will be agreed between the Senior Censor and the undergraduate, but in the event of disagreement the Senior Censor shall decide upon the matter taking into account the advice of the Subject Tutor(s). The conditions shall be set out in writing and communicated to the undergraduate, together with a statement of the possible consequences of non-compliance or failure to meet the conditions. If the undergraduate thinks that any conditions demanded are unreasonable, they may appeal to the Academic Disciplinary Board (see ‘Formal Disciplinary Hearing’).
Sufficient time will be allowed to enable the undergraduate to prepare adequately for the Final Collections. Final Collections will be marked by two external assessors (i.e. from outside the College) appointed by the Senior Censor. Care will be taken to ensure that the paper(s) set is (or are), in terms of level and content, appropriate for the candidate sitting the Collections. As far as possible, the assessors will be kept uninformed of the identity of the candidate and of the circumstances of the case; however, they will be told of the stage in the course that the undergraduate has reached and instructed to take this into account when deciding on an appropriate mark. The mark more favourable to the undergraduate will be adopted. The examination will be taken in appropriate circumstances, with due safeguards against noise and disruption, and will be properly invigilated.
In appropriate cases the Senior Censor may propose the use of University Examinations to fulfil the functions of Final Collections.
Formal Disciplinary Hearing
If the undergraduate fails to comply with the conditions set out in the Second Formal Warning, the Senior Censor may recommend to an Academic Disciplinary Board that the undergraduate be suspended on academic disciplinary grounds or sent down.
The Academic Disciplinary Board will be constituted in such a way as to ensure that the hearing is as fair and impartial as possible, and will not include the Senior Censor. It will be made up of three Tutors, and will normally include one Tutor with legal expertise or experience in academic discipline, and at least one Tutor in the same Division of the University as the undergraduate. The undergraduate’s Subject Tutor(s) and Personal Tutor, and any other Tutors who have been involved at any stage of the academic disciplinary proceedings relating to the undergraduate, shall be ineligible to serve on the Board. Well in advance of the hearing, the undergraduate will be given a clear statement of the grounds for action and a copy of the evidence, such as Tutors’ reports, which the Senior Censor proposes to place before the Board. The undergraduate will be given the opportunity to bring forward material considerations and mitigating circumstances. These may include, but need not be confined to, medical evidence. The undergraduate will be allowed to take advice in advance of the hearing and may be accompanied by another member of the College at the hearing itself.
Along with the undergraduate and anyone accompanying them, the Subject Tutor(s) and the Senior Censor involved in the presentation of the case against the undergraduate will withdraw before a decision is made.
The Academic Disciplinary Board will ensure that a careful record is made of the proceedings, clearly setting out the grounds for action, the factors that were taken into account, the final decision and the means by which that decision was reached.
The penalties available to the Academic Disciplinary Board are suspension of studies for such periods and on such other terms (including academic conditions to be satisfied by the undergraduate before they may return into residence) as the Board may decide, and sending down. The Academic Disciplinary Board shall issue a written notice of its decision to the undergraduate and to the Senior Censor.
Where the Academic Disciplinary Board imposes penalties on an undergraduate, that undergraduate may appeal to the Censor Theologiae in writing within 7 days of receiving the written notice of the Board’s decision. In hearing such an appeal, the Censor Theologiae shall review the decision of the Academic Disciplinary Board, but shall not re-hear the case against the undergraduate ab initio. The Dean may confirm the decision of the Board; substitute any other penalty which would have been available to the Board; require a fresh Board to be convened to re-hear the case; or quash the decision of the Board and dismiss the case against the undergraduate.
In addition, Christ Church is a participating College in the Conference of Colleges’ Appeal Tribunal. An appeal to the Tribunal can be made only after the remedies available within the College have been exhausted. This means that any undergraduate wishing to appeal against a decision of the Censor Theologiae may do so by filing a written application with the Secretariat of the Conference of Colleges within 5 days of the date of the decision appealed against. Details of the procedures for making such an appeal are available from the Academic Registrar.
In exceptional cases where the Senior Censor decides that it is inappropriate to initiate a process of academic rehabilitation, the Senior Censor, in consultation with the undergraduate’s Subject Tutor(s), may recommend that the undergraduate be suspended on academic disciplinary grounds or sent down without implementing preliminary procedures. In such cases the matter will be dealt with directly by the Academic Disciplinary Board at a Formal Disciplinary Hearing.