Letter: Student disciplinary procedures: where responsibility lies

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Sir: No doubt Kenneth Edwards will answer his own letters, but John Torode's misconceptions regarding the disciplinary processes in universities cannot escape comment.

Universities are fairly small, reasonably cohesive communities, somewhere between an extended family and society at large. Their members have to rub along with each other to be able to study and to teach. There is a wide range of human misbehaviour within them, ranging from trivial squabbles to outright criminality, and those of us involved in the disciplinary process have to try to keep some sort of order.

Does John Torode imagine that the Flying Squad will come, tyres screeching, every time a student in residence disturbs his neighbours by playing his stereo too loudly, or that the resources of the CID will be available to establish whether the breaking of a window was really accidental?

We have excellent relations with the local police, who are called in whenever needed, but they often decline to take action, preferring to leave it to the university authorities.

The sneer about 'amateur disciplinarians' is also misplaced. The vast majority of cases coming before the courts are dealt with by magistrates, most of whom are 'amateurs'.

Yours faithfully,


School of Physics and


Lancaster University


19 April