Shropshire Star

Points-based disciplinary system to deal with misbehaving Harper Adams students

A university has introduced a points-based disciplinary system, and council officers hope this will help cut down on antisocial behaviour in the nearest town.

Councillors have been discussing the approach to dealing with students who misbehave

Based near Edgmond, Harper Adams University specialises in agricultural and rural degree courses. Many of its students live and socialise in nearby Newport.

Telford & Wrekin Council strategic housing and regeneration service delivery manager Ravi Phull said the town experienced “high levels” of noise nuisance and on-street parking associated with the student population.

During a presentation about shared private rented houses, she told the communities scrutiny committee the council worked with the police, the fire service and the university’s newly-appointed 'conduct and community officer' to regulate the sector.

Ms Phull said there were thought to be 550 houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) in the borough, 24 of which were large enough to require licensing by the local authority.

The vast majority in both categories are well-maintained and trouble free, she said, but she also described the work the council does with the police and fire service to regulate the minority and, where necessary, issue fines or criminal prosecutions.

“We’re also working with Harper Adams University around issues in Newport around the high levels of student accommodation, parking, noise and anti-social behaviour,” she said.

“They have a new student liaison officer who they have employed and we are working with at the moment.”

Harper Adams University confirmed the appointment of the conduct and community officer to support the work of the existing student casework officer and accommodation team.

A university spokesperson said the new officer had “embedded himself into the role exceptionally quickly” and was working with the police and borough and town councils, among others.

“The role allows us to make proactive interventions including community work, as part of a wider Respect Action Plan,” the spokesperson added.

“Accumulation of points escalates a case through our disciplinary process.

“The student conduct and discipline policy covers all behaviours that would not be tolerated at the university or within the community. It applies across our whole student community and behaviour in all settings.

“It is not associated solely with HMO or private sector housing requirements, although we always aim to work in partnership with these parties to address concerns.”

Ms Phull told the committee the system would “affect students’ grades” in cases of persistent misbehaviour, but the university spokesperson said this was not the case.

“It has no bearing on academic assessment,” he said.