As representatives of ENSA and Edinburgh Napier University, we expect Society members to behave in a respectful manner, operating within the law and abiding by their Society constitution. This is largely common sense and we rarely have reports of Society members causing problems in the University or the broader community.
Should an incident occur in which a Society member is reported to ENSA as a result of their behaviour, there is a clearly outlined disciplinary procedure which ENSA will follow to investigate the incident. If a Society member is found to have contravened the standards of behaviour ENSA expects, they may face sanction. All members will have the right of appeal.
ENSA’s disciplinary procedures are outlined in full in the ENSA Constitution, but a truncated version for Societies is available here.
ENSA Society Disciplinary Procedures
Society Officer Holders and Society members may be disciplined if they behave in such a way as to cause injury, harm, distress, or damage to another person; vandalise, steal or otherwise damage property; or otherwise bring ENSA into disrepute while representing it or being associated with it and its functions, including while attending in a representative capacity as a delegate at a conference or as a trainee at an event run by a third party.
The following procedures are taken from Schedule 9 of the ENSA Constitution, and you can read this section in full on the ENSA website.
Specific behaviours which Society members might be disciplined for include:
- Causing nuisance, harm, injury or distress to other students and ENSA staff
- Bullying, harassing or threatening other students or ENSA staff
- Making malicious or defamatory comments or accusations about other students, elected sabbatical officers, or ENSA staff
- Theft, misappropriation of assets, such as funds and expenses, kit and equipment, vehicles and premises that are owned, rented or leased by ENSA
- Vandalism or wilful damage caused to assets that are owned, rented or leased by ENSA
- Causing damage while in an ENSA vehicle to a vehicle(s) and/or its passengers, property, or third parties and/or their vehicles by driving without due care and attention, or without authorisation to drive.
- Engaging in poor or unseemly conduct while wearing branded clothing or being with a group of people identifiable as ENSA members
- Lying or falsifying evidence to a disciplinary hearing
Society Office Holders may additionally be disciplined if they breach the ENSA Constitution, or ENSA protocols and procedures, criticise ENSA staff on a democratic platform or in a public forum, fail to declare gratuities or conflicts of interest, or engage in fraud or misappropriation of ENSA assets, expenses, or funds.
We would rather not find out about law breaking or poor behaviour from the local press, the police, or University representatives. If something happened at a Society event, come and tell us as soon as possible and we’ll work with you on mitigating damage and finding solutions.
We won’t hold the Committee responsible for individual members’ behaviour, unless a situation was specifically engineered to elicit this behaviour or the Committee could reasonably have prevented it happening.
- The ENSA President will be notified of any incidents and refer the matter to the VP Sports & Societies (or their nominee) who will be the Convenor, and will appoint an Investigating Officer for the incident.
- The Convenor shall make every reasonable effort to ensure that appointees have no conflict of interest in relation to the particular case.
- The Investigating Officer shall carry out a preliminary investigation of the allegations, producing evidence and identifying any witnesses to events. The Investigating Officer will make a report to the Convenor who will decide whether to pursue disciplinary action or dismiss the case.
- If a case is pursued, the VP Sports & Societies will call together a disciplinary panel consisting of: the VP Sports and Societies (or their nominee) as Convenor, a member of the Sports Executive, and a member of the Societies Executive. A member of ENSA staff will be in attendance and advise on procedure. No voting member shall have any conflict of interest with the case being heard.
- The Convenor shall write to the alleged offender informing them of the alleged offence and the need to attend a hearing, and its time and date. The alleged offender has the right to be accompanied at the hearing by another full member of ENSA and has the right to call witnesses and produce evidence in their support.
- The hearing shall take place as soon as possible, and usually within 20 working days of the original allegation being made. The panel has the right to question the alleged offender, the complainant and any witnesses directly (separately if required) before considering its decision. Professional advice shall be accessed as appropriate. The decision shall be based on a simple majority.
Outcomes of disciplinary panels
The panel may find the alleged offender guilty or not guilty of the offence, and may also decide to refer the case to another authority, such as the police or the University.
If not guilty, the case shall be dismissed and the alleged offender informed that there is no case to answer. The Convenor may also give consideration as to whether the original allegation was malicious or vexatious, and whether or not to instigate proceedings against the complainant on this basis.
If it is decided that the offender is guilty, the panel shall move on to consider an appropriate penalty and the Convenor shall write a short summary of the case. When considering a penalty, the panel shall endeavour to ensure it is proportionate.
Penalties may include:
- requirement to pay for damage caused
- a fine of up to £200
- a reprimand and warning about future offences
- a temporary suspension of membership; or representing a Society; or prevention from driving an ENSA vehicle; or attending conferences or events on behalf of ENSA
- Withdrawal of a member or Society from a league or competition
- permanent or temporary exclusion from holding a position within ENSA, including Student Societies Executive positions.
- A fixed term, or lifetime, expulsion from ENSA, its societies and sports clubs.
Appeals against disciplinary action can be made if new evidence is produced which may have impacted the outcome, the penalty is deemed too severe for the offence, or proper disciplinary procedures were not followed.
Any appeal must be in writing and within 5 working days of the written decision of the panel being received. The appeal letter shall state the grounds for appeal, and where relying on new evidence not hitherto available, shall produce this evidence.
An appeals panel consisting of three members of the Board of Trustees, not previously involved in the case and with no conflict of interest, will be called by the President (or their nominee) as Convenor. The panel will decide whether to admit the appeal, and if taken forward will hear the grounds for the appeal.
If the appeal is rejected, the Convenor will inform the appellant in writing. If an appeal is accepted any new evidence shall be shared with relevant third parties for comment, and the panel may overturn the penalty or reduce its severity.