Check what to do if you are concerned about the conduct of a University student.
What we expect of our students
We expect all students to conduct themselves in a manner which respects the University, its staff, fellow students and the wider community.
This is so we can meet our central activities of teaching, learning and research with dignity and respect.
Where we take action
We may take action if a student:
- causes actual or potential distress or harm to others
- causes actual or potential damage to the property of the University or others
- disrupts the normal operation of the University
- interferes with the work or study of someone at the University.
This action can apply to all students registered at Sussex, including Visiting and Exchange students and those on a Study Abroad year.
Read our student discipline regulation [PDF 210KB] for further guidance.
Important: If you have problems with a flatmate, see our guidance on living with others.
How to contact us
If you have a concern, let us know as we may want to take action.
Anyone can submit a report, including staff and the public.
The information you provide is shared with the person concerned, for reasons of transparency, unless we think some information should be withheld to safeguard the interests of another party.
This means we cannot accept anonymous reports.
We will not accept reports which are frivolous (unfounded or trivial) or malicious (with vindictive motivation).
What happens to your report
Once you have filled in the report, you’ll get an automatic acknowledgement confirming we have received it.
Someone from the University will contact you to discuss your report further.
Important: We will endeavor to keep you informed where possible. However, because your report concerns another person, we might not be able to disclose details due to data protection laws.
How we progress your report
We will review the information you’ve given us to identify the next steps. These can include the following things.
We will assess if your report suggests a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of people at Sussex.
If this is the case, we might take precautionary action to ensure a full and proper investigation can be carried out. This is not a penalty and does not mean a student named in your report has committed a disciplinary offence.
Precautionary action can include:
- conditions, such as not contacting certain people
- suspensions or exclusions.
We may review or amend these actions throughout the investigation.
Assessing the level of misconduct
We will work out the most appropriate level of misconduct.
There are three levels of misconduct:
- Level 1 can include persistent disruptive behaviour, behaviour which causes a disturbance or nuisance to others, or behaviour which may negatively impact upon the health, safety and wellbeing of others
- Level 2 can include threatening behaviour and bullying or harassment of staff or students. It also includes failure to comply with a sanction imposed for Level 1 misconduct
- Level 3 can include behaviour that is sufficiently serious to call into question the student’s continued registration at the University. It also includes a failure to comply with sanctions imposed for Level 2 misconduct.
This is determined by an investigating officer and can be reclassified at any time.
Investigating officers at Sussex are impartial and trained members of staff who assess the information you have provided.
Their job is to:
- investigate your concerns, which may involve meeting you to fully understand your concern
- Discuss your report with the student you have a concern about and consider their response, including any evidence they may provide
- gather any extra evidence to guide the investigation, including witness statements or CCTV footage.
Determining the outcome
If your report has been classified as a Level 1 or Level 2 allegation, the investigating officer will:
- conclude if a reported student has acted against our expectations, as defined in the non-academic misconduct regulation, based on the balance of probability
- issue any appropriate sanctions in response to what they have found, depending on the circumstances of the case.
If your report has been classified as a Level 3 allegation, a student disciplinary panel will determine the case outcome and issue sanctions.
A panel comprises two approved members of University staff and a full-time elected officer of the Students’ Union.
During the meeting the investigating officer will present their investigation to the panel – you may be asked to attend.
Important: The student reported for non-academic misconduct will have the opportunity to respond to the panel in person. They will have had the chance to respond throughout the process. Reported students also have the right to appeal. Find out what to do if you have had a complaint made against you.
A sanction is a penalty imposed where an allegation of non-academic misconduct has been decided. This is called a finding.
See the student discipline regulation [PDF 210KB] for details on the different sanctions allowed at each level.
If the police are involved
If you feel what has happened to you should involve the police, it is your choice to contact them.
You can also tell us at the same time, if you wish, by submitting a report.
It’s equally your choice to inform us and not to tell the police. However, in some cases, we reserve the right to report to the police alleged misconduct that could constitute a criminal offence under the law of England and Wales.
Where a criminal investigation is ongoing, we follow guidance from Universities UK. We may take precautionary action if a report suggests a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of people at Sussex. However, we will wait until a criminal process has concluded before starting our own proceedings. This is to ensure we do not interfere with or prejudice a criminal investigation.
Comments or concerns about the process
You can be supported throughout this process. We have dedicated services who are familiar with student misconduct issues.
You can go to:
For details about being accompanied and represented, see Regulation 2 and the procedural guidance below.