Review evidence presented against you
Prior to meeting with the Disciplinary Officer, you should be provided with any evidence being presented against you. You should review this evidence, and prepare responses and/or counter evidence to points raised against you.
Any witness statements made in connection with the disciplinary investigation will be shared with you, as will the identity of those making those statements. Only in an exceptional case where there is clear risk of harm would the university vary this position.
Remember that the purpose of the meeting is to investigate and so the information and evidence you have so far received may not be full picture; you will need to present your points and evidence.
You should try to consider the evidence as raised in good faith unless you have strong reason to suspect it has been raised maliciously against you. This means assuming that it is more likely the allegations or concerns come from a well-meaning or genuine place, for example;
- You may have been misheard or misunderstood by someone else who was genuinely concerned
- You may not have realised how a comment or action was taken by another
- Others might see an issue with your actions/behaviour that you do not recognise as an issue
- You may have been misidentified by those who raised concerns
Drafting your response
Your response can be provided in writing to the Disciplinary Officer, or may be your own notes for use in the meeting. We recommend you write down your responses and thoughts prior to a meeting so you can be confident that you have raised everything you wish to do so before the conclusion of the investigation.
You should try to anticipate possible questions the Disciplinary Officer might have when considering your response. An advisor from Sunderland Students’ Union is well placed to help you consider possible questions and your response in advance of the meeting. They can discuss with you your response and the evidence you are planning to provide, as well as how you might best frame your response so it is as strong as possible.
The Advisor can also help you review the evidence raised against you and help you better understand the nature of the allegations if any of it is unclear.
If you believe circumstances which are exceptional, outside your control, and that have prevented you conducting yourself in an appropriate manner, then you should consider raising this in your response or at the meeting with the Disciplinary officer.
However you should note that highlighting such circumstances does not dissolve you of responsibility if you have not conducted yourself in an appropriate manner, rather this is an opportunity for you and the university to consider if there any support you might need.
Disclosure or concerns of mental health issues, connected to the allegations, will result in the Disciplinary Officer consulting the University student services team in Student and Learning Support Service during the process. This is to make sure you are properly support.
Substance misuse, including alcohol and drugs is not mitigation and can, in some circumstances, be considered an aggravating factor.
Inform the Disciplinary officer in advance of the meeting if you have any reasonable adjustments due to disability or ill health.