Ironically, the disciplinary procedures that were invoked to charge and try Pete and the other 9 defendants had only recently been rewritten, with the involvement of student representation from the Guild.
The sequence of meetings and negotiations on the new disciplinary procedures – which continued throughout 1967 and 1968 – is summarised in this article from the University Staff Newsletter in April 1969:
Towards the end of 1966 a Joint Committee of the Council and the Senate was established to consider any amendments that might be considered desirable in Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations in relation to University discipline and the redress of grievances. The Committee gave full and careful consideration to disciplinary procedures in the University and reviewed existing practices and proposed reforms in a number of other institutions. It also kept closely in touch with the Guild of Undergraduates and twice met their representatives.Its final recommendations were made after full discussion with the President of Guild, who had previously had the opportunity of discussing the proposals with his Executive Committee.
The Senate has power under Statute 25 (17) to “regulate and superintend the discipline of undergraduates and other students of the University and to suspend or expel any student if thought necessary”. This power is exercised through Ordinance 16 which deals with the establishment of a Disciplinary Committee (an advisory body which recommends to Senate). In so far as there is an appeal procedure at present, an appeal lies to the Council under Statute 23 (22) (on the grounds that the appellant has a ‘grievance’). This procedure, apart from being unduly cumbersome, especially in so far as a n appeal is concerned, does not seem to be in accordance with current requirements, and may be, in part, invalid. An interim report was submitted to the Senate and the Council on 14 February and 22 February respectively. This indicated that the Committee had made some progress towards the framing of a new code of discipline, the main consitutional elements of which would be:
- An Advisory Board, to consider whether there was a case to go forward to the Board of Discipline.
- A Board of Discipline, composed of members of the Senate appointed by the Senate to hear and determine charges referred to it by the Advisory Board.
- A Board of Appeal, to hear and determine appeals made to it by students from the Board of Discipline.
The three Boards would be autonomous; their decisions would be reported to Senate and Council but would not require confirmation, and could not be varied [emphasis added]. The view was then expressed that changes in the Statutes would be required to allow delegation of responsibility to the Boards by the Council and the Senate in matters of discipline. The Committee sought the advice of the Senate and the Council about the composition of the proposed Board of Appeal, and whether it should consist of members of the Senate omnly, or whether it should also contain members of the Council and possibly others. The decisions of the Senate and the Council on the Interim Report were:
- That the proposals of the Joint Committee for the establishment of autonomous disciplinary boards be approved in principle, and that the Joint Committee be invited to submit detailed recommendations for implementing the proposals.
- That in making its proposals, the Joint Committee be invited to consider the possibility of including student representation on one or more of the disciplinary boards,
- That the proposed Board of Appeal be constituted from members of the Council and the Senate, with the possible addition of a representative of the Convocation.
In the opinion of counsel and the Joint Committee the most satisfactory way to make possible the establishment and implementation of the proposed new machinery was to amend the Charter of the University. […] The Committee recommended that [these alterations] be made to the Charter and also any necessary consequential alterations to the Statutes. These amendments have now all been approved by the University Court, the Council and the Senate, and have been submitted to the Privy Council for approval.
Ordinance 16 in 1970
It was under this section of the University’s discipline regulations that the ten were charged and found guilty. In 1970 it read as follows:
Council 13 November, 1969
Whereas the Charter and the Statutes confer certain powers and impose certain duties upon the Senate concerning the regulation and superintendence of the education and discipline of undergraduates and other students in the University… Therefore it is hereby ordained as follows:
- Every student shall be subject to such rules regulating the conduct of students as may from time to time be made by the Senate and approved by the Council.
- A formal charge against a student of conduct which may be discreditable to the University or detrimental to the discharge of its duties or a violation of its rules may be refered, after preliminary consideration by an Advisory Board, to a Board of Discipline. A Board of Appeal shall hear and determine appeals which may be made to it from the Board of Discipline.
- The Advisory Board, the Board of Discipline and the Board of Appeal shall be autonomous bodies, but reports on the meetings of the Board of Discipline and the Board of Appeal shall be submitted to the Council and the Senate for information.
- The Advisory Board, the Board of Discipline and the Board of Appeal shall respectively have the following compositions, powers and duties:
The Advisory Board
- The Advisory Board shall consist of a professor of the University (who shall be Chairman), a member of the academic staff of the University other than a professor, and the President of the Guild of Undergraduates or a member of the Council of the Guild.
- The Registrar shall be the Secretary to the Advisory Board.
- It shall be the duty of the Advisory Board to consider any charge against a student referred to it through the Registrar,and to determine whether or not there is a sufficient case which ought to be submitted to the Board of Discipline.
- If the Advisory Board determines that there is such a sufficient case for submission to the Board of Discipline it shall have the power, to be exercised only if the circumstances of the particular case make it necessary, to suspend a student until the meeting of the Board of Discipline at which the case is to be considered provided such suspension shall not exceed fourteen days.
- If the Advisory Board determines that there is no such sufficient case for submission to the Board of Discipline it shall, through the Registrar, inform the person who preferred the charge of its decision, giving such advice as it may think fit about any alternative steps that should be taken in the matter.
The Board of Discipline
- The Board of Discipline shall consist of a Pro-Vice-Chancellor who shall be a member ex officio, together with six other members of the Senate, two ofwhom shall be members elected to the Senate in accordance with Statute 24, Clause 1, Class 2, and Ordinance 4. The Pro-Vice -Chancellor shall be the Chairman of the Board of Discipline.
- The Registrar shall be the Secretary to the Board of Discipline.
- The quorum for a meeting of the Board of Discipline shall be five members.
- It shall be the duty of the Board of Discipline to hear and determine charges referred to it by the Advisory Board.
- If the Board of Discipline is satisfied that the charge has been proved and that a breach of discipline has occurred, it may impose a fine or other penalty, may suspend a student from the University for a period, or may expel a student from the University. In the event of damage to property the Board may in addition require that such damage be made good, either in whole or in part.
The Board of Appeal
- The Board of Appeal shall consist of the President of the Council and the Vice-Chancellor who shall be members ex officio, two members of the Council, two members of the Senate, and one member of the Convocation. The President of the Council shall be the Chairman of the Board of Appeal.
- The Registrar shall be the Secretary to the Board of Appeal.
- The quorum for a meeting of the Board of Appeal shall be five members, of whom not less than two must be members of the Council.
- It shall be the duty of the Board of Appeal to hear and determine appeals made to it by students from decisions of the Board of Discipline, which appeals may be made against a finding and/or a sentence.
- No appeal shall lie to the Board of Appeal by the University.
- The Board of Appeal shall have no power to increase a sentence.
- The membership of the Advisory Board, the Board of Discipline and the Board of Appeal shall be such that no one person shall be a member of more than one of the three Boards. Any person who preferred a charge, or was a party to preferring a charge, shall be ineligible to sit as a member of any one of the Boards hearing the charge.
- Regulations shall prescribe the procedure to be followed for meetings of the Board of Discipline and the Board of Appeal.
- Notwithstanding the provisions of Clauses 2 to 6 of this Ordinance, powers of summary jurisdiction for breaches of discipline which, in the opinion of the member of staff concerned or the Advisory Board if the matter has been considered by that Board, are not sufficiently grave to refer to the Board of Discipline, may be exercised as follows:
(a) The Vice-Chancellor, the Pro-Vice-Chancellors, the Registrar, the Deans of the Faculties, the Librarian, the Wardens of the Halls of Residence , the Director of Physical Education and the Heads of those University Departments specified in Ordinance 3 are invested with powers of summary jurisdiction within their own spheres of responsibility.
(b) In the exercise of these powers the foregoing officers may impose a fine not exceeding £10 and/or withdraw privileges for a period of up to one month and/or deliver a reprimand, save that Heads of Departments shall not impose fines.
(c) Appeals against findings and/or sentence in cases of summary jurisdiction shall lie to the Advisory Board constituted in accordance with the terms of Clause 4(a) of this Ordinance. The decision of the Advisory Board shall be final.
In 2010, the University Ordinances can be inspected online. Disciplinary procedures are governed now by Ordinance 17, which reveals that the Advisory Board has been replaced by an Investigating Officer and that there is now student representation on the Board of Discipline. This is the relevant extract:
The Board of Discipline shall consist of four members chosen from a panel approved by the Senate. The panel consists of a Pro-Vice-Chancellor who shall be a member ex officio, together with eleven other members appointed by the Senate, of whom at least six must be members of the Senate, and the Student Representative Officers of the Guild of Students. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor shall be the Chairman of the Board of Discipline, which must also include a Student Representative Officer as one of its members.