Rules of Behaviour for Student Members


  1. Code of Conduct: Rules of Behaviour
  2. Code of Conduct: Specific Policies
  3. Disciplinary Procedure

General Principles

St Catharine’s College is an inclusive and tolerant community of Fellows, Student Members and staff. Student Members are required to behave in a way that is consistent with membership of this collegiate community. In general, this means that they are required to:

(a) show due respect to others, including Fellows, other students and members of staff,

(b) conduct themselves in a quiet and orderly manner, and

(c) abstain from conduct that is prejudicial to discipline or good order, or that would tend to bring the College into disrepute.

This Code of Conduct should be read, and will be interpreted, in conjunction with other relevant official College documents, including the College’s COVID-19 Regulations,  Alcohol Use and AbusePossession or Mis-Use of Drugs, and on Bullying and Harassment; the College’s rules and guidelines on internet use, and the College’s Formal Hall Code of Behaviour. 


1. Code of Conduct: Rules of Behaviour

All St Catharine’s College students are responsible for following the College’s Code of Conduct. Not knowing or forgetting about these rules is not a justification for not following them.

1.1 Students must:

(a) behave considerately towards the Master, Fellows, or other members of the College, College staff and visitors;

(b) comply with instructions issued by any person or body authorised to act on behalf of the College, in the proper discharge of their duties;

(c) comply with all health and safety regulations and instructions issued by the College or another associated institution;

(d) comply with the terms of the code of practice issued under the provisions of section 43 of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 regarding meetings and public gatherings on College grounds;

(e) comply with the Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations of the College, together with any rules, procedures or policies established by the College under its Statutes and Ordinances.

1.2. Students must not:

(a) engage or attempt to engage in unlawful conduct or behaviour in the College;

(b) engage or attempt to engage in physical misconduct, sexual misconduct, racial or sexual harassment, or abusive behaviour towards any other College member, employee or visitor;

(c) engage in behaviour prejudicial to the good order of the College or liable to cause a disturbance in the College;

(d) engage in behaviour liable to bring the College’s name into disrepute;

(e) unlawfully interfere or attempt to interfere in the activities of the College, or with any College member in the pursuit of their studies, or with a College member or employee in the performance of their duties;

(f) damage, misappropriate or occupy without appropriate permission any College property or premises, or any property or premises accessed as a result of a College activity;

(g) interfere in the freedom of speech or lawful assembly of a College member, employee, or visitor;

(h) damage or misappropriate property belonging to a College member, employee, or visitor; or belonging to anyone within College grounds or during the course of a College activity;

(i) endanger the health and safety of anyone within College grounds or in the course of a College activity;

(j) forge, falsify or improperly use information to gain or attempt to gain a personal advantage in the College.

1.3. The following definitions are applied under the Rules of Behaviour:

(a) ‘Instructions issued by any person or body authorised to act on behalf of the College’ include requests to attend meetings and to provide identification upon request.

(b) ‘The code of practice issued under the provisions of section 43 of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986’ relates to meetings and public gatherings on University premises. The Code of Practice is available here

c) ‘Rules and procedures established under the Statutes and Ordinances’ include procedures that govern student conduct; regulations governing information services, bicycles, boats and other College equipment; and the payment of fees and fines.

(d) ‘Anti-social behaviour’ is any behaviour that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to another person. Anti-social behaviour includes public drunkenness, littering, excessive noisiness, inconsiderate and inappropriate use of College spaces and facilities.

(e) ‘Physical misconduct’ is any unwanted and unreasonable contact. Physical misconduct includes pinching, punching, kicking, slapping, pulling hair, biting, pushing, shoving, using weapons and using items as weapons.

(f) ‘Sexual misconduct’ is any unwanted or unpermitted sexual activity. Sexual activity includes sexual acts, kissing, sharing private sexual materials of another, touching through clothes, showing sexual organs and remarks of a sexual nature. Sexual misconduct can take place in physical and virtual environments.

(g) ‘Abusive behaviour’ is any unwanted behaviour which is likely to to (i) cause harm to another; (ii) have the effect of violating another’s dignity; or (iii) create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that other. It includes threats, abusive comments, the use of or supply of illicit substances, making malicious accusations, repeatedly contacting someone, and abuse that takes place within an intimate relationship. Abusive behaviour can take place in physical or virtual environments.

(h) The word ‘unwanted’ means ‘unwelcome or ‘uninvited’. It is not necessary for a person to object to the behaviour for it to be unwanted.

(i) The word ‘unpermitted’ means ‘not permitted’ or ‘unauthorised’. A number of behaviours can indicate where permission has been given, for example, verbal comments or physical actions. Permission for an activity can only be given at the time it is taking place and where the person has the choice to give or not give permission. Where there is disagreement as to whether an activity was unpermitted, the applicable test shall be, taking all circumstances into account, whether a reasonable person would consider the activity was unpermitted.

(j) A ‘College activity’ is an academic, sporting, social or cultural activity either on College grounds or elsewhere in the context of a person’s membership of the College. ‘Activities of the College’ include activities that involve other organisations working in partnership with the College.

1.4. Any breach of the Rules of Behaviour may be considered more serious if:

(a) it took place under the influence of alcohol or illicit substances;

(b) it was motivated by the protected characteristics* or perceived protected characteristics of another;

(c) it was intentionally committed by the Respondent;

(d) it has resulted in serious harm or damage;

(e) it has had a serious impact on the College Community, as evidenced by, among other things, any Impact Statements;

(f) the Respondent has gained or could have gained a significant advantage as a result of the breach;

(g) the Respondent has previously been found to have breached the same rule of behaviour, or other rules of behaviour on more than one occasion;

(h) the Respondent has not complied with any sanction or measure imposed under the Student Disciplinary Procedure;

(i) the Respondent has breached precautionary action measures whilst the Student Disciplinary Procedure has been ongoing;

(j) the Respondent has not provided the College with reasonable information upon request so that it can assess the risk the Respondent may pose to the College community;

(k) the Respondent has attempted to conceal or destroy evidence; or to coerce or intimidate officers, Reporting Persons or Witnesses, in relation to that breach;

(l) the Respondent has abused a position of power or trust.

* These are listed in the Equality Act 2010 and are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. 


2. Code of Conduct: Specific Policies

2.1 Noise

2.1.1 Excessive noise is not tolerable in an academic community. Student Members of the College must show consideration for others in this respect.

2.1.2 Music Hours are 10.00 am to 10.00 pm on any day not falling within the Examination Quiet Period. During Music Hours, the volume of sound must be kept to an acceptable level. What constitutes an ‘acceptable level’ falls to be determined in the circumstances of individual cases. However, noise that causes a more than trivial interference with others’ legitimate expectation of peace and quiet will normally be taken to be of an unacceptable level. Outside Music Hours, the playing of recorded music, radios and musical instruments except in authorised practice spaces is prohibited, except when earphones are used. Authorised practice spaces may be used at other times, by arrangement with the Director of Music.

2.1.3 Regular Quiet Period is the period between 11.00 pm and 8.00 am the following day. Movement on staircases and corridors and within rooms during Regular Quiet Period should be as quiet as possible.

2.1.4 During Chapel services, concerts and lectures, Student Members should be careful to speak softly in conversation whilst sitting or standing outside the venue being used for such events.

2.2 Examination Quiet Period

2.2.1 The Examination Quiet Period commences at the start of Easter Term. It remains in force until the last Tripos paper and/or practical examination in any subject is over. The purpose of the Examination Quiet Period is that no student should be distracted from their academic work or have their night’s sleep interrupted by inconsiderate behaviour.

2.2.2 Student Members are required to behave in a manner that is consistent with the purpose, as defined in paragraph 2.2.1 above, of the Examination Quiet Period. In particular:

(a) Voices should be kept to the level of ordinary conversation (exceptions are the congregation, when attending chapel service, and the choir, when practising or performing).

(b) Sound systems may not be played without headphones at any time of day or night.

(c) Movement around the College estate, particularly on staircases and corridors after 11.00 pm, should be as quiet as possible.

2.2.3 In the event of these regulations being breached, disciplinary action may include (but is not limited to) confiscation of sound systems and the imposition of a curfew after 11.00 pm. ‘Sound system’ includes a computer or other electronic device being used for a relevant purpose.

2.3 Illegal drugs

2.3.1 St Catharine’s College will not tolerate the use of illegal drugs by members of the College. Student Members who are found using or in possession of such drugs are liable to serious penalties, including expulsion. Student Members are referred for guidance to the Possession or Mis-Use of Drugs.

2.4 Alcohol

2.4.1 Student Members of the College should be aware of the dangers of excessive consumption of alcohol. Drunken behaviour is frequently anti-social and destructive; such behaviour will not be tolerated.

2.4.2 Student Members are not permitted to take part in drinking games, or to encourage others to do so.

2.4.3 Student Members are referred for further guidance to the College’s Policy on Alcohol Use and Abuse.

2.5 Smoking

2.5.1 Smoking is prohibited throughout the College estate. For this purpose, ‘smoking’ includes the use of e-cigarettes and comparable devices.

2.6 Dress

2.6.1 Student Members are required to dress and conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with conventional notions of decency.

2.6.2 Academic dress is to be worn at Formal Hall and on any other occasion when it is expressly directed. It is encouraged though not obligatory for Chapel services. Academic dress consists of a St Catharine’s College gown or (in the case of graduates) the gown of their degree in this University, and suitable formal wear.

2.7 Formal Hall and other formal dinners

2.7.1 Formal Hall is an occasion on which all members of St Catharine’s should wear gowns, with exception of visiting alumni. Members and their guests must be dressed in suitably smart dress. ‘Smart dress’ is defined without reference to considerations of gender identity or expression. This means a suit (or trousers and jacket), a shirt with a collar, a tie, and shoes (not trainers or sandals), or equivalent formal dress. The staff are instructed to refuse admission to anyone coming to Formal Hall improperly dressed.

2.7.2 No one may leave their seat before grace without permission, except in case of medical emergency or when evacuation of Hall is necessary. Before entering Hall those dining should ensure that they are sufficiently comfortable to remain seated till the grace.

2.7.3 Toasts and other announcements are not permitted at Formal Hall. At other formal dinners (e.g. club or society dinners), toasts are only permitted when serving staff are not in the room. When staff enter the room any toast in progress is to be brought to a swift conclusion and students are to remain seated while food and drink are served or crockery etc cleared away. This is for the safety of students and staff.

2.7.4 A Student Member may sign in no more than four guests into Hall at any one time.

2.7.5 A fuller guide to behaviour at Formal Hall can be found in the Formal Hall Code of Behaviour.

2.8 Parties

2.8.1 Parties may not be held in any College accommodation without the express permission of the Dean.

2.8.2 For this purpose, a ‘party’ is an assembly of more than eight persons in a room, or an assembly of more than 12 persons in a single flat.

2.8.3 Parties will normally be allowed on Fridays and Saturdays only.

2.9 Guests

2.9.1 Student Members may entertain guests (meaning individuals who are not Members) on College premises subject to the following conditions:

(a) Hosts are responsible for the conduct of their guests at all times.

(b) It is the responsibility of the host to see their guests off the College premises by 11.45 pm.

2.9.2 See articles 2.7.5, 2.9.3 and 2.10.2 for the limit on the number of guests.

2.9.3 Student Members may have guests to stay overnight on College premises subject to the conditions given below. In all cases, it is the responsibility of the hosting Student Member to ensure compliance:

(a) the Dean’s permission must be sought at least one week in advance to host more than two overnight guests;
(b) the Dean’s written permission must be sought in order to host a guest under the age of 18 years; no guests under the age of 16 years are permitted;
(c) no guest may stay in College for more than two consecutive nights;
(d) guests must be signed in at the Main Porters’ Lodge not later than 10.00 on the first night; the duty porter at St Chad’s is also informed of any overnight guest at St Chad’s;
(e) the hosting Student Member may book a guest room at the Porters’ Lodge at no more than 14 days’ notice.

2.10 The College Bar

2.10.1 The College Bar is open to all Members of the College and members of its staff, and their guests, provided that the latter are aged over 18 and are accompanied by their hosts.

2.10.2 A Student Member may bring in no more than five guests at any one time.

2.10.3 Regulations concerning opening hours, staffing and other conditions of use are issued by the Bursar from time to time. The Bar is liable to be closed at any time in the event of noise or other misbehaviour, by order of the Head Porter, Duty Porter, Dean, Bursar, Operations Director or Senior Tutor.

2.10.4 The College Bar is for the enjoyment of all Members of the College and of its staff. Neither the JCR, the MCR, College Clubs and Societies, nor any other group is permitted to monopolise the Bar for its own use without prior permission from the Dean.

2.11 Advertisements, notices and hawking

2.11.1 Posters or notices may not be displayed in public areas of the College, including staircases, except on the Notice Boards provided. This prohibition extends to notices advertising candidates for election campaigns for JCR and MCR committees.

2.11.2 Posters and flags should not be displayed in College rooms in such a way that they are clearly visible outside the room.

2.11.3 Student Members occupying rooms on the ground floor of Main Court or Sherlock Court should consider the possibility that posters affixed to some walls may be easily visible to passers-by, especially when the room is lit. They should therefore take particular care to avoid displaying material that may be deemed offensive.

2.11.4 Door-to-door solicitation of funds or other donations, sale of goods, and canvassing for political or religious purposes are forbidden in College.

2.12 Bicycles and scooters

2.12.1 Student Members must not leave bicycles or scooters anywhere within the College, except in the underground store beneath the Fellows’ Car Park or in the bicycle store at St Chad’s. Bicycles and scooters left elsewhere may be impounded until a fine is imposed on and paid by the owner.

2.12.2 Student Members’ bicycles and scooters may not be wheeled in the courts.

2.12.3 Student Members are reminded that bicycles and scooters should not be left on the streets or pavements outside College, except in designated bicycle racks.

2.12.4 All Student Members having bicycles in Cambridge are required by College and University regulations to number them. New Student Members are notified of their numbers before entering into residence, and should paint their number on their bicycle before coming up; the letter S (which indicates St Catharine’s College) must prefix the number.

2.13 Motor vehicles

2.13.1 Student Members without special reasons and the approval of the University Motor Proctor are not permitted to keep cars or motorcycles in Cambridge.

2.13.2 Student Members must not park cars or motorcycles in College.

2.14 Outdoor spaces

2.14.1 The lawns of Main Court and Sherlock Court are out of bounds to Student Members, except when permission has been granted by the Dean and/or Bursar (for example on the occasion of the Music Society’s summer concert).

2.14.2 Trespass into areas of restricted access (including but not limited to construction sites and roofs, where there is a significant increased risk of injury) is regarded as particularly serious and will incur immediate and severe disciplinary sanction.


3. Disciplinary Procedure

The role of the Dean is to maintain discipline and good order amongst the Student Members of the College. Most disciplinary matters are dealt with by the Dean. Details of the college's internal complaints procedure can be found HERE.

However, particularly serious matters may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals (OSCCA). Students who wish to report incidents involving such behaviours as bullying, sexual misconduct, harassment and academic misconduct can find links to the relevant procedures HERE.  Students in this position are encouraged (but are not obliged) first to discuss their situation with their Tutor or a member of the Welfare Team.

In exceptional circumstances, it may be deemed appropriate for a case to be heard by the College's own Disciplinary Committee. In such cases, the disciplinary procedure will follow that which has been established by OSCCA.