Disciplinary differences…

…and similarities.

In an earlier blog post I noted the noted the importance of good discipline on campus. A sound disciplinary framework is important for sustaining a strong idea of community, ensuring students are able to get on with their studies without unwarranted distraction and for developing s sense of social responsibility across the student body. It was interesting therefore to happen across this disciplinary code from the (intriguingly named) Lovely Professional University in India. A few of the highlights follow:

Disciplinary misconduct constitutes but not limited to one or more of any of the acts that follow; and any student found guilty of disciplinary misconduct shall be liable for severe disciplinary action beside the action imposable under any law or regulation in force:

Physical assault or threat to use physical force, against any staff member, visitor, student of the university or any other person;

Irregularity in attendance, persistent idleness or negligence or indifference towards the classes, test or examination or any other curricular or co-curricular activity, any other work assigned or a student is expected to participate in;

Carrying of, possession of, use of, or threat of use of or abetting the use of any kind of weapons including sticks, rods, guns, swords, knifes, etc. and any kind of firework, cracker or any other explosive or anything barred by the university and/or the law;logo_lpu

Misbehaviour or cruelty towards any other student, staff of the university or any other person;

Possession, use of or dealing with or abetting the use of any kind of intoxicating material including alcohol, drugs of any kind, gutka, tobacco, cigarettes or any other sedative material or anything, except those prescribed by a qualified doctor;

Any violation of the provisions of the Civil Rights Protection Act, 1976 or any other law for the time being in force;

Indulging in or encouraging violence or any conduct which involves moral turpitude;

Any form of gambling;

Discrimination against any student or a member of staff on grounds of caste, creed, language, place of origin, social and cultural background or any of them;

Practicing casteism and untouchability in any form or inciting any other person to do so;

Drinking or smoking;

Although some of the language is a little quaint, some elements look rather strange (I fear there might be rather a lot of what might be described as moral turpitude as well as a bit of drinking and smoking on UK university campuses) and some aspects are quite specific to the national context (casteism for example), overall the code is not that different from what we might expect in any western university. So perhaps discipline arrangements at Lovely Professional University are not that remarkable.

Good discipline?

Universities’ disciplinary records under scrutiny.

Some entertaining reactions to a piece in the Guardian which reported that university students had paid over £0.5m in fines in a year:

Universities across the UK issued disciplinary and administrative fines totalling more than £550,000 to students last year.

Freedom of information requests from the Guardian have shown students were fined a total of £551,237.30 for offences such as smoking, drunkenness, and unauthorised parties in the last academic year. One institution said it used the money collected to fund the annual staff outing.

The results also revealed a number of peculiarities in the amounts fined for each offence. At Brunel University, while “assisting students with online tests for money” landed one student with a £250 fine, another was fined £50 for “hitting a member of staff”.

A student at Kent University was fined £50 for “insulting or violent behaviour including or involving racial, sexual or other abuse, harassment or threat of violence” – the same amount that many were charged for smoking offences.

Other offences that resulted in disciplinary action at universities included keeping chickens, leaving food on a window ledge, stealing loaves of bread and being prepared for a post-examination “trashing” of another student. Warwick University issued fines totalling £350 last year to students who were “drunk”, with no further reason given.

Some unusual offences here but perhaps nothing too remarkable for any readers of True Crime on Campus (apart perhaps from the keeping chickens offence, which is a new one to me).

Surprisingly unwelcome on campus

Surprisingly unwelcome on campus

Also, it’s perhaps a rather low sum given the large number of offences against regulations which will be committed by students every year. University do have rules and it is inevitable that many students will breach them at some point, often in halls of residence where they are learning for the first time about shared community responsibilities. The University of Nottingham’s Code of Discipline is outlined in its Ordinances and notes the reasons for the need for such legislation an students’ undertakings:

  1. Regulations on discipline are necessary because the University is a society in which good standards of communal life must be maintained, so that all its members may enjoy conditions enabling them to achieve their aims in joining it. Present students should also, in their behaviour, show proper concern for the reputation of the University and its effect on their contemporaries and their successors.

  2. The acceptance of an offer of admission by students is regarded as an undertaking to obey such University Ordinances and Regulations as are in force at any time during their period of study, and each student is required at registration to enter into such an undertaking.

So there can’t be any real room for misunderstandings there. Unless you decide to keep chickens of course.