KCLSU Elections and Referenda Disciplinary Procedures

 

This Disciplinary Procedure covers all KCLSU elections and KCLSU Referenda as defined by KCLSU Bye Laws 5 and 6 and covers the conduct of any student or Student Officer standing for election during a KCLSU election period or acting as campaign leader during a KCLSU referendum.

This procedure only deals with complaints relating to the conduct of individuals.  Any other complaints are dealt with by the Returning Officer /Deputy Returning Officer under Election Bye – Law 5 and Referenda Bye – Law 6.

In cases where the conduct complained of is that of individuals in a campaigns team, this Procedure shall be applied to the election candidate or campaign leader instead.

This Procedure is not intended to cover a Student Officer’s political performance in their current role. Issues to do with this are expected to be raised through the appropriate channels as part of the KCLSU Bye Laws, see the Officer Accountability procedure.

KCLSU is committed to ensuring that election and referenda processes are fair, inclusive and free from any kind of intimidation, and will therefore engage this procedure for any complaints relating to the conduct of an individual that are lodged under KCLSU Election Bye – Law (5) and KCLSU Referenda Bye – Law (6)

 

Disciplinary action may be taken in respect of any breach of the Disciplinary Grounds as set out in the Election Bye – Law (5) and Referenda Bye – Law (6)

Elections / Referenda Disciplinary Committee

There shall be an Elections / Referenda Disciplinary Committee that shall comprise any of the following:

Handling Complaints

Any complaint to do with election / referenda conduct during an election / referenda period must be e-mailed to roelections@kclsu.org and will be responded to within 2 business hours. A log of all complaints will be kept in a confidential account by the RO/DRO.  A nominated member of KCLSU staff will support complaints administration as Clerk to the Committee.

Any complaint to do with election / referenda conduct must be submitted no later than 1 hour after the close of voting and any complaint to do with the count must be in within 24 hours of the close of the count.

Other than in exceptional circumstances involving the reputation of KCLSU, no Student Officer  shall be involved in or informed of the details of any complaint or allegation until such time as finally determined.  

 

Informal Procedures

On receiving a complaint, the Returning Officer delegates an informal misconduct investigation to the Deputy Returning Officer who reports back to the RO with their initial findings. If deemed to be minor misconduct by the RO, the DRO is responsible for issuing an informal written/verbal warning with steps to rectify misconduct.

Formal Procedures

If deemed to be of moderate or severe nature, the RO will ask for a formal investigation to be initiated by the DRO and for the Clerk to the Election/Referenda Disciplinary Committee to convene a Disciplinary Panel.

At the start of the investigation, the complainant and election candidate/campaign leader will receive a letter of notification setting out the formal complaint to be investigated (only those matters complained of which potentially fall within the Disciplinary Grounds will be included) and the name and contact details of DRO.  The election candidate/campaign leader will be given the opportunity to meet with the DRO.  

This notification will be given a minimum of 4 business hours prior to the disciplinary hearing.. The candidate/campaigner and complainant are invited to provide a written statement for the panel’s consideration.

Should the election candidate/campaign leader not respond to communications or refuse to engage with the investigation process, s/he will be deemed to have nothing to add to the investigation.

 

Disciplinary Hearings

The Disciplinary Panel (which will be made up of three persons from the Elections Disciplinary Committee / Referenda Disciplinary Committee and will not include the investigating RO / DRO) will hear the case.  The election candidate / campaign leader will be provided with copies of statements given by any witness or other written evidence to be used.  Hearings will be arranged as far as possible at a mutually convenient time and place and the election candidate /campaign leader will have the right to be accompanied by a King’s student, staff member, friend or representative.

During a disciplinary hearing, the case against the election candidate / campaign leader will be presented in detail by the investigating RO / DRO.  If the election candidate / campaign leader challenges the substance of the witness statements then witnesses may be called to the hearing where the election candidate / campaign leader or any person representing him/her will have the opportunity to ask them questions.

If the Disciplinary Panel find some or all of the formal complaint proven, there are different types of disciplinary sanction that can be taken that vary in their severity. 

The Disciplinary Panel may impose:

Where a disciplinary sanction is imposed the election candidate / campaign leader will be informed of the decision within 2 business hours of the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing (which will be taken to be concluded when the Panel have finished its deliberations).  This notification will be in writing and will state:

 

Where the defendant is a current KCLSU Student Officer the decision to remove them from the election/referenda shall have no impact on their role as a Student Officer, save where the case has been forwarded to the College or relevant authority. In this case the KCLSU Student Officer Disciplinary Procedure shall be invoked.

Appeals

The election candidate / campaign leader has the right to appeal any disciplinary sanction imposed.

The appeal should be made in writing stating the grounds upon which the appeal is to be made and be received by the Clerk to the Elections Disciplinary Committee / Referenda Disciplinary Committee within 4 business hours of receipt of the notification outlining the panel’s decision.

The Clerk to the Elections Disciplinary Committee / Referenda Disciplinary Committee, on receipt of an appeal, will convene an Appeals Panel.The Appeals Panel will consist of three of the Elections Disciplinary Committee / Referenda Disciplinary Committee pool who have previously had no involvement in the case.

The appeal hearing will be held within 1 business day of receipt of the letter of appeal.  The election candidate / campaign leader will be entitled to attend and will have the right to be accompanied by a King’s student, staff member, friend or representative.

The defendant will be notified in writing of the result of the appeal and the reasons for the decisions taken within 1 business day of the appeal.

Defendants should note that an appeal is designed to remedy any defects in the disciplinary process rather than repeat the investigation and hearing by the Disciplinary Panel.  Therefore grounds for appeal are:

 

Possible outcomes of an appeal are:

Publicising Disciplinary Action

Where the Elections Disciplinary Panel / Referenda Disciplinary Panel impose a disciplinary sanction, a brief outline of the panel’s findings, the name of the election candidate / campaign leader and the disciplinary sanction will appear on the KCLSU website after the period for lodging an appeal has expired.  If an appeal is lodged the outcome will not appear on the website until after the determination of the appeal and only if rejected.

Recording Discipline

Accurate records will be kept detailing:

 

These records are to be kept confidential and retained in line with the above Disciplinary Procedures and the Data Protection Act 1998.  Copies of any meeting records will normally be given to the election candidate concerned.

 

Miscellaneous

During the voting period, the RO may, if necessary, reduce the prescribed time periods set above so as to ensure that the disciplinary process is completed prior to the count commencing.

In this Procedure “business hours” means between 9am and 6pm on a working day.

 

Candidate / Campaign Leader Code of Conduct

A candidate or campaign team must not undertake any of the following conduct. If they do, they will be liable to the disciplinary action under the Election/Referenda Disciplinary Procedure.

Prohibited Promotion of Candidacy or campaign

Defamation of another candidate or campaign

Anti Social and Intimidating behaviour, or any violation of KCLSU Safe Space Policy

Prohibited Endorsement

 

KCLSU Elections and Referenda Disciplinary Grounds

Prohibited Public Promotion of Candidacy or Campaign

Minor

  • Inadvertent campaign activity by a candidate or campaign team before campaign period has begun
  • Campaign publicity that is displayed in undesignated KCLSU and KCL Spaces or without permission
  • Campaign publicity that causes minor damage to KCLSU or KCL property, such as use of stickers, glue or tape on property

Moderate

  • Deliberate campaign activity by candidate or campaign team before campaign period has begun
  • Continual or widespread attempts to display campaign publicity in undesignated KCLSU and KCL Spaces or without permission
  • Campaign publicity that causes moderate damage to KCLSU or KCL property
  • Campaign spend exceeding the campaign spending limit

Severe or repeated offences

  • Aggravated examples of the above

 

Defamation of another candidate or campaign

Minor

  • Minor case of tampering  with another’s campaign material
  • Isolated case of negative campaign activity in regards to another candidate or their campaign

Moderate

  • Continual or widespread cases of tampering  with another’s campaign material
  • Continual or widespread cases of negative campaigning in regards to another candidate or their campaign

Severe or repeated offences

  • Aggravated examples of the above

 

Anti Social and Intimidating behaviour, or any violation of KCLSU Safe Space Policy

Minor

  • Isolated case of candidate or campaign team attempting to coerce influence or interfere whilst a student is casting their vote.
  • Minor case of campaign activity that is  disruptive to others

Moderate

  • Continual or widespread attempts by candidate or campaign team to coerce, influence or interfere whilst a student is casting their vote.
  • Continual or widespread/moderate case of campaign activity that is  disruptive to others
  • Campaigning activity that uses disorderly, threatening, harassing or offensive  behaviour or language in person, in writing (including electronically) or orally
  • Campaigning activity that uses intimidating or discriminatory behaviour or language in person, in writing (including electronically) or orally

Severe or repeated offences

  • Aggravated examples of the above
  • Campaign activity that may have criminal and / or legal implications.

Prohibited Endorsement

Minor

  • Unauthorised use of KCLSU branding
  • Inadvertently permitting an employee of King’s College London or KCLSU, to endorse a candidate or campaign through their position or by using privileges/access given to them as a member of staff.
  • Inadvertently allowing a person who is not a member of KCLSU to campaign on KCL and KCLSU premises.
  • Inadvertently accepting sponsorship or donations either monetary or gifts in kind, that give minimal advantage to candidate or campaign

Moderate

  • Continual use of unauthorised KCLSU branding
  • Deliberately permitting an employee of King’s College London or KCLSU, to endorse a candidate or campaign through their position or by using privileges/access given to them as a member of staff.
  • Inviting a person who is not a member of KCLSU to campaign on KCL and KCLSU premises.
  • Accepting sponsorship or donations either monetary or gifts in kind,  that give moderate advantage to candidate or campaign

Severe or repeated offences

  • Aggravated examples of above
  • Accepting sponsorship or donations either monetary or gifts in kind,  that give significant advantage to candidate or campaign