Tag Archives: university

Nottingham Trent University student make race hate allegation

Many of us will, by now, have seen the video footage apparently capturing a shocking race hate incident occurred at Nottingham Trent University last week. We are reluctant to offer any commentary on the allegations themselves as arrests have been made and investigations remain ongoing.

Incident at Nottingham Trent University

nottingham trent university
Nottingham Trent University student Rufaro Chisango

However, the female student has explained that she spoke to university accommodation staff shortly after the incident. She was told that the matter would be dealt with on the following Tuesday morning. By Wednesday evening she had still heard nothing.

The video entered the public domain following her frustration at what she perceived as the university’s inaction.  The student posted her video on her Twitter account. The video went viral immediately and by late yesterday, had been shared over 33,000 times.  The story can be found here.

It may be that Nottingham Trent University took action as a result of the publicity being generated.  Those accused  have now been suspended from the university, arrested and interviewed by police. The university is now working with the female student to resolve her complaint and provide support.

Many on social media have been critical of the university’s slow response to the female’s initial complaint. She was left for nearly 48 hours with the alleged perpetrators still living or studying near to her. The university has responded and said that the accommodation providers were slow to inform the university, which was the reason for their delayed action.

Duty on universities to protect against discrimination

Universities have a duty to take clear, decisive action to stamp out hate crime within their institutions. The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for individuals to be discriminated against based on their protected characteristics, which include age, gender, sexual orientation and race. These rights are set out within the published Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy of Nottingham Trent University. However, this policy is only fit for purpose if the University has clear channels of communication in place with accommodation staff, so that if hate crime is reported action is taken immediately.

Lessons will no doubt be learnt from this. All universities will want to look at this incident and realise that discrimination unfortunately remains a live issue. It is key that students who are the victim of hate crime know who they can turn to and that their complaint will be dealt with immediately. There is no point in having equality and diversity policies and complaints procedures in place, if twitter ends up being the only way that your voice can be heard.

Contact an education law solicitor about discrimination

Nottingham trent university race hate allegation
Education law solicitor Clare Roberts

It is perhaps hard to believe that such an incident would take place in 2018.  We would like to think that this kind of incident will not be repeated.  If, however, you are unfortunate enough to be subjected to discrimination in any form at university then please do contact us for some initial fee advice about how best to take any complaint forward.

Education law solicitor Clare Roberts can be contacted on 0115 9599550.  Alternatively you can use the contact form below.

Students and noise nuisance – what are the consequences?

A worrying increase in the reports of noise nuisance from students
BBC News for Nottingham has today reports of ‘atrocious parties’ held by university students which have caused record numbers of complaints from local residents about noise nuisance. You can read the story here.

There is always likely to be issue arising when an area has a high number of students living in private rented accommodation within a residential area.

Very few students deliberately set out to annoy their neighbours. Problems with noise nuisance seem likely to result from a combination of alcohol and a genuine lack of thought.

Complaints to the police and the council are on the rise. If you are a student and live in a residential area then you are always likely to be at risk of a complaint if you or your household make excessive noise after 11pm.

What are the consequences of a complaint against you for excessive noise?

The position may depend on whether or not you are in a university owned accommodation or not.

student halls of residence noise nuisanceMost universities publish codes of conduct that students must sign up to when enrolling. Whilst every university code will differ in some way they tend to follow the same format. There is likely to be a provision permitting a student to be disciplined for excessive noise in university owned accommodation.

The discipline procedure for excessive noise nuisance is likely to involve a report to a designated university officer. The officer will have the power to issue you with a reprimand or a fine.

Repeated and persistent breaches or other serious offences can result in you being removed from your university accommodation. You could also be reported to the university senate disciplinary committee. This would lead to a disciplinary hearing. A wide range of penalties are available for serious, persistent offences. Ultimately this can include exclusion from the university.

Private student accommodation

student private rented noise nuisanceEven if you live off campus in private student accommodation then you could still find yourself at the sharp end of the university disciplinary regulations. Many universities stipulate within their code of conduct that behaviour off campus that damages the reputation of the university is considered an offence under the disciplinary regulations.

For example, the University of Nottingham is quoted in the BBC news article as saying that students would be disciplined if their behaviour ‘compromised the safety of others’.

Statutory Nuisance

Additionally, it is not only the university that can instigate proceedings against a student for excessive noise. Local Councils have the power to look into complaints about noise that could be categorised as a statutory noise nuisance.

For the noise to be a ‘statutory nuisance’, it must do one of the following:

  • Unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises
  • Injure health or be likely to injure health

Councils must serve an abatement noise on persons who cause a statutory nuisance. This means that whoever is responsible must stop the noise. If they do not then they can be issued with a fixed penalty notice giving them the opportunity to pay a fine of £110 within 14 days in order to avoid prosecution.

If you do not pay the notice or fail to pay it within the 14 days then you can be prosecuted. This means that you will be given a court date, and if guilty you could be fined up to £1000 and order to pay the costs of the prosecution.

Civil Injunctions for noise nuisance

Both a council and the police have the power to apply for a civil injunction in the county court against those that create excessive noise that is capable of causing nuisance or annoyance. Breach of the injunction can lead to a prison sentence.

Contact a specialist to discuss any aspect of noise nuisance

student noise nuisance university discipline
Education law specialist Clare Roberts

If you are a student and you have a concern about a complaint raised against you then please contact education law solicitor Clare Roberts on 0115 9599550.

Clare, and other members of our team, have experience in advising and representing students who face both university disciplinary matters or allegations that have been reported to the police.

You can read about our full range of services for students in higher education here.

Alternatively you can use the contact form below to seek confidential specialist advice.

Studying and working in the law – advice given to local students

studying law
Education law solicitor Clare Roberts

Education Law and Criminal Defence Solicitor Clare Roberts was welcomed by students at West Bridgford School on the afternoon of Monday 21 September.  Following an invitation she delivered a talk about ‘Routes into Law’ to sixth form students who are contemplating studying law at university.

The talk focused on university applications including what to do if you do not get your expected grades, as well as the proposed changes in the route to qualification as a result of the proposed scrapping of the Legal Practice Course in 2020.

Clare also spoke with students about ‘a day in the life of a solicitor’ so that they had a sense of what a day at court was like, including the unpredictable hours!  Further information about the unpredictable nature of the work can be found here.

The students who attended the talk had lots of questions to ask about studying law at university.  Clare was also able to help with how the training within a firm thereafter will work.

Clare was really impressed with how knowledgeable the students were about their career options but also impressed by the careers education scheme run by Caroline Nolan at the school, which sees a variety of different professionals give talks to sixth form students at the school over the next few months.

Positive feedback for Clare’s presentation

It appears that the students were equally impressed by Clare, who received some positive feedback.  We hope we will be able to assist this and other schools again in the future.

If you think your students might be helped by a presentation such as this one then please contact us using the form below.  It is likely that we will be able to provide a solicitor local to your school or college to assist with any information you might need.