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Student Discipline & Appeal Policy

1. Purpose

The intent of this document is to outline the MDS Student Discipline policy and procedure.

2. Organisational Scope

Applies to faculty and students.

3. Definitions

Incident: a particular instance of an infraction by a student.

Judgement: a ruling on an incident by a student.

4. Policy Statement

It is a critical to maintain a safe, ethical, and regulatory environment at Media Design School. Any breaches to the school's rules, regulations, policies and the student behaviour and performance code are subject to disciplinary action. The accused student has rights under this policy; fair and reasonable justice must be applied. Students can be charged at any time for any infraction committed whilst a student of the school.

For the purposes of this policy a senior member of academic staff refers to the Chief Academic Officer, Programme Leader, or Senior Lecturer. However, any member of staff has delegated authority and can apply this policy in extreme circumstances where the safety of staff, students, a guest of the school, personal or school property could be compromised.

Where required, a disciplinary hearing should take place approximately 3 days after the incident is reported. The decision should be made immediately after the disciplinary hearing.

Faculty should exercise good judgement; the application of this policy should be under extreme circumstances. Faculty can handle minor infractions from the Student Behaviour Code by issuing verbal warnings. Faculty coupled with support staff should attempt to modify the bad behaviour by talking to the student away from the classroom environment.

Even after every attempt has failed to modify the student behaviour and if the student continuously fails to abide by the Student Behaviour Code then a written warning can be issued by the Chief Academic Officer (or proxy).

5. Procedure

Reporting

1. A senior member of staff receives complaints under this policy. Any member of the school community can inform the senior member of staff of an incident. The Chief Academic Officer deals with all incidents.

2. The CEO or CAO will invoke clause 6 where there is a clear danger to the school community.

Investigation

3. A full investigation of any incident will be undertaken by a senior member of staff.

4. Where required, the student has the right to attend a disciplinary hearing, when:

a. The student may be suspended from school until the hearing.

b. The Chief Academic Officer and other staff members will be present at the hearing.

c. The student can present an explanation of the alleged misconduct.

d. The student can question and confront witnesses, as detailed in the student rights. Witnesses can comprise of members of the School community or otherwise.

e. The school will present all evidence pertaining to the allegation.

f. A support person is encouraged to attend any such hearings to support the student.

g. The school may choose to utilise a disciplinary support person.

h. The student may elect not to attend a disciplinary hearing, however the student forfeits the right to question and confront witnesses.

i. The investigation concludes with consideration of the specific facts and circumstances of the situation. Following consideration, a decision is made by the Chief Academic Officer and along with other members of the investigation team, will determine the severity level of the offence (see below). The severity determines the number of days a student will be suspended or perhaps excluded.

j. The student can then (full details provided in 5-8), either:

i. Be expelled; or

ii. Be suspended; or

iii. Receive a written warning; or

iv. Receive a verbal warning; or

v. Be found innocent of all charges.

k. If suspended or expelled, the student will leave the school's premises immediately and a member of staff (other than the student's lecturer) will escort the student from the premises.

l. If a sufficient number of infractions have been accumulated by the student then clause 9 can be invoked.

Punishments

5. If expelled from the School:

a. The CEO/CAO will inform the student in writing.

6. If suspended:

a. The CEO/CAO will inform the student in writing, this will also comprise of a written warning.

b. The Chief Academic Officer may require the student to attend corrective action courses to modify undesired behaviour, at the student's own cost.

7. The student may receive a written or verbal warning from the Chief Academic Officer.

a. The student, in this case is not liable for any costs incurred by the investigation.

b. The Chief Academic Officer will inform the student in writing.

8. In any such incident, the student's records reflect such a ruling.

Accumulation of Warnings

9. If a student continues to contravene MDS policy or codes of behaviours, then the Chief Academic Officer has the right to review all warnings and actions by that student and the student may be expelled.

a. If excluded, the student will leave the school's premises; a member of staff, other than the student's lecturer, will escort the student from the premises. The CEO/CAO or proxy will inform the student in writing.

Appeals

The student is free to take a complaint to the NZQA, if and only if, they have followed this procedure.

Notes

A. The school is not liable for any costs incurred by the student when exercising the procedures within this policy.

B. Students who are suspended or expelled are not eligible for any refund of any fees of any balance of their qualification.

C. The student will incur all costs relating to a suspension or expulsion and its associated investigation, when proven guilty and liable for the incident investigated under this policy.

D. In the case where the expelled student has not paid in full, they will be required to meet the payment of their full invoice as well as any costs incurred from the investigation as well as damage reparations, etc.

E. An expelled or deregistered student cannot contact the school, members of staff or students, other than when this policy allows or if another school policy would allow such communication.

F. A suspended student cannot contact the school, members of staff or students, other than when this policy allows or if another school policy would allow such communication.

G. While expelled or deregistered the student cannot be on school property or take part in any school activities.

H. The school has jurisdiction when an act or acts are committed during or for the purpose of the student attaining the Qualification.

I.The school reserves the right to hear plagiarism or serious charges against the student up to and including the graduation day. This could result in failure to acquire the qualification, if and only if, the school has jurisdiction.

J. The school reserves the right to hear plagiarism or serious charges against the student after graduation. This could result in a permanent record of misconduct against the student, if and only if, the school has jurisdiction.

K. The school reserves the right to inform the authorities of any serious infraction that could also result in civil and/or criminal procedures.

Student's Rights

The Student's Rights under this Policy, the student has the right to:

i.attend a disciplinary hearing once per allegation.

ii.present an explanation of the alleged misconduct, at the disciplinary hearing; any form of evidence is allowable.

iii.a copy of this policy.

iv.question and confront witnesses, if and only if, the school believes there is no chance of retaliation against the witness or if the witness does not require protection and if the witness is able to attend the hearing.

v.view all evidence pertaining to the allegation and only the evidence that is under consideration.

vi.a support person to be present during any hearing.

vii.cross examine witnesses:

a.If and only if, the school believes there is no chance of retaliation against the witness,

b.If the witness does not require school protection.

c.If, by attending, the witness would not undergo undue personal stress.

d.If the witness is able to attend the hearing, all due effort will be made to ensure as many witnesses as possible can attend the hearing.

Student Warnings

Faculty in dealing with students from day-to-day can issue verbal warnings. Faculty should document each verbal warning for future reference. Faculty will provide the student with a copy of the documentation detailing this warning. The verbal warning documentation is kept on the student's file. Faculty can then request written warnings, once they have exhausted all avenues of behavioural modification.

The school will issue verbal and written warnings, in certain circumstances that include but are not limited to the following:

  • unacceptable absenteeism
  • disrespect for another person's personal property
  • disrespect shown towards another student, member of staff or guest of the school
  • misuse of school property, information or services
  • use of abusive or offensive language
  • discrimination
  • breach of security procedures
  • disrupting the class or leading the class in major disruption, resulting in the breakdown of a constructive learning environment breaching the Student Behaviour and Performance Code.

Student Expulsion

Circumstances that could result in student expulsion include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Committing or conspiring to commit any act warranting immediate student expulsion, extreme behaviour likely to jeopardise the safety of members of the school community or their property.
  2. Jeopardising the academic integrity of the School, Staff Members or Student or members of the School Community.
    1. Cheating & Plagiarism.
    2. Providing false information on application(s).
    3. Offering bribes.
    4. Attempting to acquire academic credit via extortion or other nefarious means.
  3. Jeopardising the safety of a person or persons within the school.
    1. Assault including sexual assault.
    2. Supplying or using narcotics on school premises.
    3. Possession of weaponry on school premises.
    4. Harassment of any kind.
    5. Causing serious damage to members of the school.
    6. Committing criminal acts on school property.
  4. Jeopardising the reputation of the School or a member of the School Community.
    1. Conspiring to undermine the reputation of the school.
    2. Offering bribes.
    3. Committing criminal acts on school property.
    4. Commits perjury or bears false witness against another.
  5. Jeopardising the property of the school or member of the School Community.
    1. Wilful damage to school property, including software.
    2. Stealing school property.
    3. Stealing property belonging to a member of the school community.
  6. Jeopardising the effectiveness of the faculty member performing their duties.
    1. Disobeying legal directives of faculty member.
    2. Lying to the faculty member.
    3. Undermining the faculty member's authority
    4. Undermining the faculty member's ability to maintain a safe learning environment.
    5. Disrespecting the faculty member.
  7. Jeopardising the learning of others.
    1. Disrupting the smooth running of the class-room.
    2. Blatantly and wilfully disrupting the class by continuously disregarding the Student Behaviour and Performance Code.
    3. Does not give credit where credit is due.
    4. Undermines the save learning environment.
    5. Disrespecting other students.
  8. Jeopardising the student's own learning.
    1. Blatantly disobeying legal directives that are set in motion to enhance the student's ability to complete the qualification successfully
    2. Continuously failing to submit work.
  9. Breaching the Student Behaviour and Performance Code.

a. For example - downloads, produces, distributes or modifies pornographic or offensive material

Determining Severity

The CEO/CAO will use these guidelines to decide the severity, which will be used to determine the punishment (if any) to be dealt to the student.

The Cheating and Plagiarism Policy details another severity rating system. This system should be applied to acquire the punishment to fit the incident. The degree of plagiarism can result in expulsion, written warnings or verbal reprimands depending on the severity.

Usually, incidents deemed to be in severity 1 would result in expulsion. Severity levels 2 through 5 would usually warrant expulsion.

Incidents rated 6 through 9 could result in a written warning and/or some form of suspension. Depending on the impact of the student's disruptions the suspension could be from 1 day to 3 days in duration. Students should be aware that if this form of behaviour persists, this could result in expulsion.

In extreme circumstances, the CEO/CAO will immediately invoke clause 5.

6. Policy Owner

This policy is issued by: Chief Academic Officer

7. Approval

This policy is authorised by: Academic Board

This policy takes effect from: Feb 2013

This policy will be reviewed by: Feb 2015

8. Associated Documentation

Student Handbook

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