Disciplinary Procedure: Misconduct

Disciplinary Procedure: Misconduct

Background

This document sets out the procedures under which a resident may be disciplined for misconduct constituting a breach of the Resident Code of Conduct (JCU Halls of Residence), including the rights and responsibilities of residents and staff.

Definitions

CRL: Coordinator of Residential Life, JCU Halls of Residence.
Residential Agreement: Written agreement entered into between a resident and JCU.
Residential Assistant: Residential Assistant, JCU Halls of Residence.
Resident Code of Conduct: A code of conduct applicable to all residents of JCU Halls of Residence. Includes a list of misconduct matters for the purposes of these procedures.
SRA: Senior Residential Assistant, JCU Halls of Residence.

Procedures

1. Procedure to be followed by RA/SRA when handling possible misconduct constituting a breach of the Resident Code of Conduct

1.1 The following procedures will be followed by a RA/SRA when handling possible misconduct constituting a breach of the Resident Code of Conduct. Before the sanctions referred to in section 7 may be imposed, the RA/SRA will observe the following procedures.

1.2 Where a RA/SRA’s attention is drawn to a possible misconduct matter constituting a breach of the Resident Code of Conduct, the RA/SRA will make a decision whether to impose an appropriate sanction, taking into consideration the circumstances of the matter. If a misconduct matter is accompanied by one or more serious breaches of the Resident Code of Conduct, the matters will be dealt with together in accordance with section 1.8 of the document titled ‘Serious Breaches of the Resident Code of Conduct - Disciplinary Procedure’.

1.3 If a RA/SRA makes a decision to impose an appropriate sanction, the resident will be notified in writing. The RA/SRA will advise of the decision, provide brief allegations of the misconduct and any sanction in a letter to the resident. Details of where a full copy of these procedures may be obtained will also be included in the letter to the resident.

The RA/SRA is responsible for conveying to any resident (or group of residents) who may be affected by the misconduct, such information on the outcome as may be necessary to keep them informed. In doing so, the RA/SRA must give due regard for considerations of privacy and confidentiality.

If after the RA/SRA has made a decision, new or significant evidence which is not merely corroborative or repetitive and which was not known (or could not have been known) at the time of the original decision comes to light and may have produced a different decision, the resident should provide that evidence and request that the RA/SRA reconsider the matter. The RA/SRA will reconsider a matter at his/her discretion.

2. Appeal to Coordinator of Residential Life, JCU Halls of Residence

It is possible that a resident may disagree with a RA/SRA’s decision and wish to have it reviewed by the Coordinator of Residential Life (CRL), JCU Halls of Residence. The following protocol outlines the procedures that will be followed:

2.1 A resident asking for a RA/SRA’s decision to be reviewed must lodge with the CRL a letter outlining the reasons for the request. Except in exceptional circumstances, this request must be received by the CRL within three (3) working days of the written notification of the RA/SRA’s decision being received by the resident.

2.2 If a resident lodges such a request, any sanction imposed by the RA/SRA is suspended until the CRL has made a decision on the appeal.

2.3 In constructing this letter, the resident should be mindful that the basis for appeal would normally be limited to the following grounds:

  • the RA/SRA did not follow the correct protocol for RA/SRA’s in making the decision (refer section 1);

  • evidence or circumstances that should have been taken into account by the RA/SRA in reaching a decision were overlooked or were not given sufficient weight; and/or

  • the inconsistency of the sanction with the nature of the breach of the Resident Code of Conduct.

2.4 New or significant evidence, which is not merely corroborative or repetitive and which was not known (or could not have been known) at the time of the original decision and has come to light, and may have produced a different decision, may not be introduced as grounds for appeal. Refer section 1.3.

2.5 When a resident requests a review of a RA/SRA’s decision, the burden of proof resides with the resident. In other words, the resident must demonstrate to the CRL:

  • the RA/SRA did not follow the correct protocol for RA/SRA’s in making the decision (see section 1);

  • evidence or circumstances that should have been taken into account by the RA/SRA in reaching a decision were overlooked or were not given sufficient weight; and/or

  • the inconsistency of the sanction with the nature of the breach of the Resident Code of Conduct.

2.6 Upon receiving an appeal, the CRL will decide whether the resident has presented an adequate prima facie case to justify further consideration of the appeal.

2.7 If the CRL decides that an adequate prima facie has not been presented, the CRL will inform the resident of this in writing and will confirm the decision and the basis on which it was made.

2.8 If the CRL decides that an adequate prima facie case has been presented, the CRL will review the RA/SRA’s decision.

2.9 A mutually convenient time will be arranged at which the CRL and the resident are available to attend. The resident may be accompanied by another resident who may act in the role of a supporter.

2.10 Prior to the meeting, all parties will be provided with a copy of any documentation pertaining to the matter.

2.11 If the resident fails to attend the meeting, the CRL may, without further notice, proceed in the resident’s absence or dismiss the appeal. If there are medical or compassionate reasons for the absence, the CRL should be notified immediately. The CRL will determine the acceptability of such reasons and whether the meeting should be adjourned.

2.12 The appeal will be conducted by considering only those matters to which the resident’s appeal is related. For example, if the grounds for the resident’s appeal are that the sanction imposed by the RA/SRA is inconsistent with the nature of the breach of the Resident Code of Conduct, then the CRL will address only this issue.

2.13 The CRL is not bound by the rules of evidence or other technicalities or legal forms.

2.14 The CRL will invite the resident into the meeting room to present the grounds of the appeal. The resident will then be asked to leave the meeting room and the RA/SRA will be invited into the meeting room to explain the matter from his/her perspective.

2.15 The CRL will make a decision to confirm, put aside, modify (in full or in part), or increase the sanction(s) originally imposed by the RA/SRA.

2.16 The CRL will firstly inform the RA/SRA and then the resident of the decision in the matter and confirm this in writing to the resident.

3. Communication with residents

For the purposes of this policy, a letter addressed to a resident’s room or an E-mail addressed to the resident’s University E-mail address shall be deemed to have been received by the resident.

4. Proceedings of Meetings

All proceedings (including any initial meetings between residents and a RA/SRA) will be carried out in a manner which is informal but at the same time assures natural justice.

5. Supporter

A resident, who is required to meet with a RA/SRA, or the CRL, may be accompanied by another resident acting in the role of supporter.

The supporter’s role is to observe the meeting and provide support and guidance to the resident, as requested. The supporter may not represent the resident or speak on the resident’s behalf.

In choosing a supporter, the resident should be mindful of any potential conflict of interest. For example, a RA, SRA, a witness or another resident involved in the matter under consideration may not act in this role.

6. Standards of Evidence

Formal rules of evidence are not applicable. If a resident denies responsibility for an alleged breach of the Resident Code of Conduct, the RA/SRA will make a decision based on the balance of possibilities.

In a case where the facts are contested there is generally a “weight” of evidence on each side. The RA/SRA will place greater emphasis on evidence which, when fairly considered, produces the stronger impression and is more convincing. After considering all the available evidence, the RA/SRA will decide whether there is a greater weight of evidence that the resident was responsible for the breach than the resident was not.

This standard is not the same as ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ which is a more rigorous requirement demanded by the courts in criminal cases. Given this, the RA/SRA need not attain the degree of certainty that is required to justify a criminal conviction.

7. Sanctions

Where a resident has been found in breach of the Resident Code of Conduct, a RA/SRA may impose a sanction. Such sanctions are designed to hold residents accountable for their inappropriate behaviour and are imposed for their educative effect. The discipline process should be one in which residents are encouraged to examine the motives for, and consequences of, their actions. Sanctions should enable residents to examine their own actions, and heal any ill feelings or unease in the community caused by their behaviour.

In determining an appropriate sanction for a misconduct matter, a RA/SRA will evaluate each situation and resident individually. The RA/SRA will consider multiple factors, including the details of the current breach, the resident’s previous conduct, history and attitude in arriving at the best sanction for that individual.

A RA/SRA may apply either a fine or community service order, or a combination of both. An order for restitution for damage caused to or misappropriation of property and/or an alcohol ban may also be imposed.

If a fine is imposed, the total amount must be paid to JCU Halls of Residence within 7 days. Similarly, a community service order must be performed within 7 days and under supervision as directed by the RA/SRA. Failure to comply is constituted as being a serious breach of the Resident Code of Conduct and more severe penalties will apply.

The sanctions that may be applied for misconduct matters are outlined below:

Misconduct:

Sanction:

Burning of incense, candles or other flammable substance

$25 or 2.5 hours community service and/or confiscation (if applicable)

Cooking in rooms and other non-cooking areas

$30 or 3 hours community service

Smoking upon any part of the JCU Halls of Residence, except in outside designated smoking areas

$20 or 2 hours community service

Creating or permitting noise which disturbs or is likely to disturb residents

Maximum $50 or 5 hours community service and/or loss or restriction of privileges (if applicable)

Failure to sign in overnight guests

Maximum $50 or 5 hours community service and/or loss or restriction of privileges

Drunk and disorderly behaviour

Maximum $50 or 5 hours community service and/or imposition of alcohol ban and/or loss or restriction of privileges (if applicable)

Possession of, or consuming alcohol, if under the age of 18 years

Maximum $50 or 5 hours community service and/or imposition of alcohol ban and/or loss or restriction of privileges (if applicable)

Consuming alcohol in any public part of the JCU Halls of Residence

$20 and/or 2 hours community service

Possession of an open container of alcohol in any public part of the JCU Halls of Residence

$10

Inappropriate dress/footwear in the Dining Room

$10

Failure or refusal to authenticate/sign in for meals

$10

Failure or refusal to authenticate/sign in dining room guests

$20 and restitution payable for cost of meal

Removing or permitting the removal of food, crockery or cutlery from the Dining Room without the permission of the Conference and Catering Supervisor or Team Leader

$20 or 2 hours community service and restitution payable for property misappropriated (if applicable)

Failure to return communal areas to a clean and reasonable condition after use

$30 and 2 hours community service and/or loss or restriction of privileges (if applicable)

Failure to secure any doors to a room, unit or floor at George Roberts Hall, Rotary International House and University Hall

$10

Failure to attend mandatory induction without prior approval of absence

$5

Calling upon a Residential Assistant, Senior RA or staff between midnight and 8.00am for a lock-out, or having 3 or more lockouts throughout the term

$10

Inappropriate use of a communal telephone including acceptance of reverse charge calls, operator connected calls, nuisance or harassing calls

$20 or 2 hours community service, and restitution payable for call costs and/or loss or restriction of privileges (if applicable)

Urinating on/from a balcony or any part of the JCU Halls of Residence other than the designated amenities

$20 or 2 hours community service, and restitution payable for cleaning costs (if applicable)

Littering upon any part of the JCU Halls of Residence

$20 and 2 hours community service

8. Avenues of Appeal

Apart from the procedures for an appeal outlined in Section 2, there will be no further avenues of appeal and the decision of the CRL is final.