Our Disciplinary Procedure
(Subject to revision by the College Trustees)
- A. The Relationship between this Disciplinary Policy and those of the Universities
A. The Relationship between this Disciplinary Policy and those of the Universities
These disciplinary procedures concern fitness for membership of the Hall. They do not directly concern matters of academic performance and other matters relevant to particular awards and to conduct within the validating universities. Such matters are covered by the rules of the particular award and university. However, in cases where a member of the Hall is found guilty of contravention of such rules by the duly constituted procedures and authorities, the Principal, in consultation with the Academic Dean, shall decide whether the offence raises questions of the person’s fitness for membership of the College. If the Principal deems that such questions are raised he will convene the advisory committee (AC) and continue with the procedure described in 2.4, informing the student accordingly.
- B. The issues of Discipline and Vocation to Holy Orders
B. The issues of Discipline and Vocation to Holy Orders
Disciplinary offences committed by members of the Hall, even serious ones, do not of themselves constitute conclusive evidence of unworthiness for ordination, for contrition may affect a fresh start. The responsibility for reporting to the sponsoring Bishops upon the worthiness or otherwise of ordinands falls to the Principal. Clearly the Principal will need to take note of convictions under the disciplinary code in reaching conclusions in respect of this duty. But s/he will naturally also take into account apparent positive responses on the part of an offender, seeking to judge whether there is genuine contrition. The Principal must also determine whether it is safe to judge that serious offences are unlikely to re-occur. In some cases the Principal will conclude that sadly a candidate is not, in her/his opinion, a worthy candidate for ordination and s/he will make a recommendation to the relevant bishop accordingly. Naturally in connection with these judgments the Principal will consult the staff of the Hall as also the sponsoring Bishops. But this function of the Principal must be clearly distinguished from her/his role in judging particular cases following breaches of discipline, however serious they may have been.
- 1. The Principal
1. The Principal
1.1 As the head of an institution recognised for the preparation of men and women for holy orders, the Principal undertakes to educate, train and form candidates for ordination who are sponsored by their Bishops. At the end of the process, her/his duty is to inform the sponsoring Bishops that their candidates have successfully completed the course and are judged in terms of theological education, ministerial ability and godly manner of life to be suitable for the exercise of the ordained ministry. It is also her/his duty to inform the sponsoring Bishop in the event that s/he cannot affirm a candidate’s suitability in the sense defined above. Such advice and recommendations to Bishops in the Church of England will be made according to the published criteria for selection for ministry in the Church of England and the declarations in the ordination rite in the BCP and ASB/CW. Advice and recommendations to bishops of other provinces will be made according to similar published criteria (if available) in the province and to the province’s authorised ordination rite.
Clearly advice or recommendations against proceeding with ordination are likely to be undertaken as early as possible and it will rarely be the case that a negative recommendation is sent at the very end of a candidate’s period of initial ministerial education. In the event that the Principal concludes that a candidate should not continue at the Hall, s/he will discuss the matter with the candidate and with the sponsoring Bishop and between them they will seek the best way forward for the candidate. Such might involve transfer to another recognised training institution, or withdrawal of the Bishop’s sponsoring of the candidate for ordination. Such withdrawal of sponsorship is not necessarily to be taken as failure or as evidence of moral turpitude. The Principal’s role in this respect is not strictly disciplinary but rather, as the person responsible, to assess the suitability for ordination of students entrusted to her/his charge, to discuss the matter with them, and to report accordingly to the sponsoring Bishop with whom, in the strict sense, rests the ultimate decision.
- 2. Discipline
2.1 A second function of the Principal, and one laid down by the Deed of Trust (II.10), is that s/he is the designated disciplinary officer of the Hall. In accordance with the Deed of Trust and current legal requirements, the Trustees have determined the following code of practice for conduct of disciplinary matters.
2.2 When the Principal receives a written complaint about the behaviour of any student member of the Hall, s/he will conduct a preliminary investigation of the facts and circumstances. The Principal may delegate the investigation to the Acting Vice- Principal or, in the case of Lay Ministry students, the Dean of Lay Ministry. In such situation, the Acting Vice-Principal or Dean of Lay Ministry will submit a written report to the Principal summarising the conclusion of the investigation. Where appropriate, the Principal will, with the consent of the offender, apply such disciplinary sanctions as s/he thinks proper. If the offender is not inclined to consent, the Principal will convene the advisory body specified below and that body will hear the evidence, reach a conclusion and, if the offender is judged to be guilty, will apply suitable disciplinary sanctions.
2.3 If the Principal’s preliminary investigation of a complaint suggests to him that the matter is serious, s/he will convene the Advisory Committee and, with them, question the alleged offender (AO), calling witnesses as is thought expedient. In some cases the Principal will inform the appropriate statutory agencies. A complaint or allegation, which involves an alleged offence against a child under the age of 18 years, will be subject to the Ridley Hall Safeguarding Procedures. In cases involving candidates for holy orders, the Principal will inform the sponsoring bishop that a disciplinary procedure is in motion. The AO will have the right to be accompanied by a member of staff, another member of the Hall or a legal adviser, to cross question witnesses called for the prosecution and, in turn, to call witnesses on her/his own behalf. The witnesses would be open to cross questioning by the Committee. The Committee will involve the College’s legal advisers as appropriate. If the committee find the AO guilty they will recommend to the Principal suitable disciplinary sanctions. If they conclude that expulsion from the Hall is appropriate, the Principal will (in the case of candidates for holy orders) forthwith consult the sponsoring Bishop about the practicalities of removal (e.g. suspension pending the final conclusion) and will (in the case of all students) also inform the Chair of Trustees. At the same time the Principal will inform the AO (now, of course O) of her/his right of appeal to the Trustees (see below). Thereafter, and in the event that there is no appeal, the Principal will report the whole matter to the next meeting of the Trustees thus bringing the matter to conclusion.
- 3. The Advisory Committee
3. The Advisory Committee
3.1 The Advisory Committee (AC) will sit with the Principal who is the statutory disciplinary officer. The function of the AC is, as the title suggests, to assist the Principal to reach equitable judgments and to impose suitable sanctions. The AC shall consist of the Principal in the chair, and two Trustees (and one reserve) who shall be nominated by the Trustees at its summer meeting to serve for the ensuing academic year. The Principal, sitting with two members of the Trustees, shall constitute a quorum. The Archdeacon and one other student member of the Hall of the opposite sex to the Archdeacon, elected for this purpose as soon as is possible after the election of the Archdeacon and for the same period of office, shall be student members of the AC.
3.2 An AO shall have the right to exclude the student members if s/he so wishes. The Principal, in convening a session of the AC, shall ask the AO if s/he wishes to exercise this right.
3.3 The AC shall on each occasion appoint a secretary who will minute the conclusions (but not the details) of each session. The minutes shall be confirmed by the AC as soon as possible after they have been written. Once the minutes have been confirmed, the Principal will communicate the decision in writing to the (A)O.
- 4. The Right of Appeal
4. The Right of Appeal
4.1 A student member of the Hall who wishes to appeal against a decision of the Principal shall notify the Vice Chair of Trustees in writing stating the grounds on which the appeal is made. This must happen within a week of being in receipt of the written decision of the Principal in respect of the disciplinary offence. Thence the Trustees will be informed and will make arrangements to hear the appeal. The same arrangements in respect of witnesses, cross-examination and the presence of a person accompanying the appellant as are specified in paragraph 2.4 above, shall obtain. The Appeal Committee will involve the College’s legal advisers as appropriate.
The senior (by reference to date of appointment) of the Trustees shall act as Chair. The Chair will communicate the decision of the Trustees in writing to the appellant as soon as is convenient following the hearing as also to the Principal and to the Chair of Trustees. Further The Chair will report the decision to the next meeting of the Trustees thus bringing the matter to a final conclusion.
4.2 The Appeal Committee of the Trustees shall consist of at least two Trustees and one other member of the Trustees. On any occasion when they are notified of the need to sit, the senior trustee shall, after consultation, nominate the members of the Committee. Three members of the Committee, of which two shall be Trustees, shall constitute a quorum.