Cheating in exams to stealing milk: students punished

Hundreds of university students across the Midlands are being disciplined each year for offences ranging from criminal activity such as drug use to petty cases such as burning incense candles in accommodation blocks.

Cheating in exams to stealing milk: students punished

Nearly 2,000 students at Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Birmingham City, Staffordshire, and Aston universities have faced disciplinary action since 2009.

The cases include cheating in exams, fraud, harassment, and assault. One student at Aston was disciplined for stealing a carton of milk from a milk float on campus and another for burning incense in his room.

Birmingham City University handed out the most punishments with 825 over the period.

While Staffordshire University had the fewest with 50.

The figures were issued after Freedom of Information requests to each institution.

Aston University gave the fullest disclosure. Cases included forged doctors notes, assault on other students, setting fire to university buildings, death threats, public urination, and in 2011 a spate of cases where wastepaper baskets were sprayed with deodorant and set alight.

In 2010 a male student was excluded from all parts of the university after being convicted of sexual activity with a female aged between 13 and 17. Last academic year saw a sharp reduction in student misconduct at Aston however, down to 20 disciplinary cases from 63 the previous year.

A spokesman for the university said: "We have improved our communication of warnings to students about the penalties that we can and do impose, and have increased the amount of information that is read out before each examination to remind students what is and is not acceptable."

In some cases, student misconduct has led to expulsion. There have been three cases of expulsion at Staffordshire university since 2009, two for criminal behaviour, and one for 'unacceptable behaviour'.

A spokesman for the university said: "Expulsion is a course of action reserved for the most serious cases, including where the safety and wellbeing of other students and staff is compromised."

Staffordshire University has seen the lowest percentage of student disciplinary cases in this period. An average of 10 cases are dealt with each year, out of a student body of roughly 17,000. Spokeswoman Maria Scrivens said: "We pride ourselves on having a well-behaved student community and procedures which deal effectively and efficiently with any lapses. Fortunately these cases are few and far between."

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