Making an Allegation of Misconduct against another Queen's Student
This guide relates only to allegations of misconduct against another Queen’s student.
If you are unhappy or have a concern about a member of staff’s conduct, course delivery, a service or facility at the University, you should use the Student Complaints Procedure and refer to the Student Complaints – A Student Guide.
This guidance should be read in conjunction with the Conduct Regulations. Where there is any doubt, the Regulations take precedence over this guidance.
You may submit an allegation of misconduct against another Queen's student by completing a Formal Statement of Allegations Form.
Advice and support is available from Student Wellbeing. You may also wish to consider making a report via Report and Support.
Below are answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
Examples of misconduct which would be investigated under the Conduct Regulations
The most common examples of misconduct are listed in Conduct Regs Annex 1 - Standard penalties for offences
Definitions of sexual misconduct and bullying and harassment are provided in section 3.1.1 and 3.1.2 of the Conduct Regulations.
- How do I submit an allegation of misconduct about another student’s behaviour?
Firstly, you should consider whether this complaint could be resolved informally.
You should submit a Formal Statement of Allegations Form, along with any evidence, to the relevant department (see below):
- For allegations of off-campus misconduct, contact the Community Engagement Team
- For allegations of misconduct in University Accommodation, contact the Accommodation Team
- For allegations of on-campus misconduct (including alleged misconduct on a fieldtrip or placement, or on social media), contact the relevant School.
However, where appropriate, cases may be dealt with by another University department.
The Appeals and Complaints team are able to provide advice on where your complaint form should be sent.
Depending on the nature of the allegations, you may prefer to make a report via Report and Support.
- When should I raise an issue or concern?
There is no deadline for submission of a Formal Statement of Allegations Form; however, it may be difficult for the University to investigate allegations of misconduct which occurred some time ago as evidence may be lost and the recollection of witnesses may have faded.
- What if my circumstances are confidential or sensitive?
All information provided will be treated by the University within the normal bounds of confidentiality and in accordance with Data Protection requirements. However, any information or documentation submitted by you as part of a complaint will normally be shared with anyone against whom the complaint has been made or from whom a response is required. Please be aware that if you do not want to share all the details of your concerns with the University, this may result in the full details of your situation not being taken into account during the investigation of your complaint.
If the allegations of misconduct is serious or the case is complex, the University may invoke the Serious Misconduct Protocol (see section 9 of the Conduct Regulations).
- Will the person against whom I have raised a complaint be told about my complaint?
Yes, normally the person against whom allegations of misconduct have been made will be made aware of the allegations against them, and will normally be provided with a copy of your Formal Statement of Allegations Form. However, they won’t be given information or documentation about any other elements of the complaint that do not relate to them.
Advice and Guidance is available from Student Wellbeing, the Students’ Union and AdviceSU.
You have the right to be accompanied to any meetings by a registered student of the University (including a Sabbatical Officer from the Students’ Union) or by a member of staff of the University (including a member of staff from Advice SU or your Safe and Healthy Relationships Advocate) or University Chaplaincy at any stage in the procedure. The role of the person accompanying you is one of support, not representation, and you will normally be expected to present your own case.
- Can I make an allegation of misconduct anonymously?
Allegations of misconduct made against a student anonymously will not normally be investigated. However, students may make anonymous reports via Report and Support.
- Can someone else make an allegation of misconduct on my behalf?
You will normally be expected to make a Formal Statement of Complaint and provide any relevant evidence. However, a student who is concerned about the conduct of a Queen’s student towards another student should contact Student Wellbeing or make a report via Report and Support.
- What kind of outcome can I expect?
For reasons of confidentiality and data protection, you will be advised whether the Conduct Regulations have been invoked and whether a penalty has been imposed on the student against whom you brought the allegations. However, you will not be told the penalty imposed (see Section 3.2.7 of the Conduct Regulations).
The standard penalties to be applied for specific offences are set out in the Conduct Regs Annex 1 - Standard penalties for offences.
- Frivolous, vexatious or mischievous complaints
You may wish to seek advice and support before about making a complaint. The onus is on you to present sufficient evidence to warrant investigation under the Conduct Regulations.
A student who makes an allegation of misconduct against another student which is found to be frivolous (i.e. has no reasonable chance of success) or vexatious (i.e. where there can be no additional remedy beyond that which the student has already been offered) or where the allegation is found to be mischievous (where the motive for making the allegation is malicious, spiteful or vindictive) may be investigated under the . If the student is found to have breached the Conduct Regulations (see, in particular, 3.1.12 x), a penalty may be imposed on them.
Unsubstantiated allegations / defamatory comments
You should be careful not to make unsubstantiated or defamatory allegations or comments about other students. If the University considers that an allegation or comment may be deemed to be defamatory, it may require you to retract the allegation or delete the comment before commencing an investigation.
- I have submitted a Formal Statement of Complaint about another student’s behaviour, what happens next?
If, on receipt of your Formal Statement of Complaint, it is not clear that you have presented a prima facie case, the Disciplinary Officer will forward your complaint to Academic Affairs for consideration. For full details of this process, please see section 2.22 of the Conduct Regulations.
Your complaint and any evidence submitted by you will be considered by a Screening Panel. If the Screening Panel accepts your complaint, it will be investigated; however, if it does not accept your complaint, you may appeal the decision to a Review Panel, whose decision is final.
If it is clear that you have presented a prima facie case, your allegations will be forwarded to an Investigating Officer for investigation. The Investigating Officer may deem it necessary to meet with you or to request additional information in order to clarify elements of your allegations.
At the end of the investigation, the Investigation Officer will present a report of their findings to a Disciplinary Officer. After considering the case (which may involve calling the responding student(s) to a Disciplinary Hearing), the Disciplinary Officer may either:
- Dismiss the case;
- Find that a disciplinary offence has been committed and impose one or more penalties as detailed in section 15.1 of the Conduct Regulations;
- Refer the case to the Committee of Discipline (see section 13 of the Conduct Regulations); or,
- Refer the case to Academic Affairs for the University Fitness to Practise procedure to be invoked.
At the conclusion of the disciplinary procedure, you will normally be advised whether the Conduct Regulations were invoked and, if so, whether a sanction was imposed on the student. However, details of the outcome (such as the penalty imposed) will not be disclosed.
- The Screening Panel did not accept my complaint for investigation, what can I do?
If the Screening Panel does not accept your complaint for investigation, you may appeal this decision to a Review Panel.
If you wish to appeal the Screening Panel’s decision, you may appeal on one or both of the following grounds:
- There is substantive and relevant new evidence which could not have been presented to the University at the time of making the allegations.
- There was a procedural irregularity in the consideration of the case and/or the decision by the Screening Panel which had a demonstrable impact on the decision (e.g. that evidence was not considered).
On receipt of your appeal, the Review Panel will consider all of your complaint documentation and will decide whether or not you have presented a prima facie case. If it is decided that you have not presented a prima facie case, your complaint will not be investigated further.
- What do I do if I am unhappy that the Review Panel did not accept my complaint for investigation?
There is no further internal right of appeal against the decision of the Review Panel.
However, you may submit a complaint about maladministration to the Office of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman. Complaints to the Ombudsman must be made within 6 months of notification of the Review Panel’s decision.
- Can I withdraw an allegation of misconduct?
If you wish to withdraw an allegation of misconduct you have brought against another student, you may speak to the Investigating Officer or Academic Affairs (email@example.com). You may be required to explain the reasons for your request to withdraw the allegations.
When will I be informed of the outcome?
Throughout the process, the University will remain in contact with you regarding the progress of your complaint.
At the conclusion of the disciplinary procedure, you will normally be advised whether the Conduct Regulations were invoked and, if so, whether a sanction was imposed on the student. However, details of the outcome (such as the penalty imposed) will not be disclosed to you.
- What do I do if I am unhappy that the Disciplinary Officer did not invoke the Conduct Regulations?
If you are dissatisfied with the Disciplinary Officer’s decision to dismiss the case, you may refer the matter to the Director of Academic and Student Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Director of Academic and Student Affairs will review the case and may instruct the Disciplinary Officer to take action under the Conduct Regulations or take any other action deemed appropriate. The decision of the Director of Academic and Student Affairs is final.
- What do I do if I am unhappy with the decision of the Director of Academic and Student Affairs?
There is no further internal right of appeal against the decision of the Director of Academic and Student Affairs.
However, you may submit a complaint about maladministration to the Office of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman. Complaints to the Ombudsman must be made within 6 months of notification of the Director of Academic and Student Affairs’ decision.
- My neighbours are causing excessive noise, what can I do?
The Belfast City Council Noise Team and the Police will deal with complaints about excessive noise. They will attempt to resolve the situation but will also report the property address to the local universities who will then investigate the incident further.
You may also wish to speak to the Community Engagement Team if you are experiencing difficulties with your neighbours.