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DS getting blame for flatmates acivities

(28 Posts)
GreenShadow Mon 11-Nov-13 16:54:33

DS2 is in his first year at university and living in standard halls of residence on campus.
He gets on OK with his flatmates, but with the exception of one (I'll call him Jim), doesn't have much to do with them.
They had a routine flat inspection a couple of weeks ago and the inspector found some nitrous oxide capsules in the kitchen area.

All 6 of the residents had to meet the accommodation manager but needless to say, no one owned up.

DS is quite an innocent - when he and Jim were clearing up before the inspection they saw these capsules but having no idea what they were, left them in case they were something important and belonged to one of the others. When the email arrived summoning them to the managers meeting, he had didn't even know what the manager was talking about and had to ask me what the problem was.

As no one owned up, they are all now going to be fined £100 (or £50 and attend a canabis awareness session) plus receive a 'final warning'.

Is there anything he can do? It's one person's word against another's and while the manager gave the impression that he believed DS and Jim at the meeting, I don't suppose he can do anything but fine the lot of them if no one admits to it.

Any advice welcome.

EduCated Mon 11-Nov-13 17:04:22

Get him to speak to his Students Union. They should have a housing/accommodation officer or similar who should be able to help.

GreenShadow Mon 11-Nov-13 17:05:46

Thanks EduCated. I'll suggest that.

TheFabulousIdiot Mon 11-Nov-13 17:07:17

why do they have to attend a cannabis awareness session?

GreenShadow Mon 11-Nov-13 17:08:45

I know - presumably that is standard procedure for any drug related incident. I don't have too much of an issue with that - won't do him any harm, I just don't want his record ruined (or having to pay a fine for something he had no part in)

EduCated Mon 11-Nov-13 17:45:49

Also if they have a student mentoring/welfare scheme in halls get him to speak to them.

GreenShadow Mon 11-Nov-13 19:28:47

I'll pass your suggestion on to him. Thanks.

senua Mon 11-Nov-13 20:23:32

Our school rules (in common with most others, I believe) says that "All punishments imposed must be fair and proportionate. An appropriate sanction is one which is designed to put matters right and encourage better behaviour in future. Thus, it is usually inappropriate to sanction whole groups for the misdemeanours of a few" i.e. collective punishment is not a good thing. Do Universities follow the same principle? Does he have any mates studying Law.grin

If he is stuck with the rap for this drugs bust then he might consider asking to be moved, to avoid recurrences.

senua Mon 11-Nov-13 20:31:34

What are they being fined for? According to Google, it's not illegal.

IAlwaysThought Mon 11-Nov-13 21:23:50

It's a shame you can't test for nitrous oxide use. Might it help if your DS takes a general drug test to help show that he is not involved in drugs?

I would be very concerned about this and would do everything to prevent my DS from being 'fined'.

EduCated Mon 11-Nov-13 22:02:51

I wouldn't worry too much about him getting a record. No one, but no one, will ever know or ask about his time in halls! I'd be more concerned at him being asked to pay a fine for something he wasn't involved in and about preventing any future trouble.

GreenShadow Mon 11-Nov-13 22:53:38

Thanks everyone.
He's promised to go to the student union tomorrow and I have suggested that he should consider appealing.
It's so hard to help from afar and not be there to push him into taking action. He's not that confident about challenging authority and if left to himself, would probably just accept the fine.

And, yes, it isn't illegal, but the student accom. handbook also refers to Possession/use of legal highs.

Shootingatpigeons Tue 12-Nov-13 00:33:20

When my DDs flat were fined for being noisy the fine was imposed on the whole flat and the actual perpetrators coughed up. Of course it left them all with a warning but at least not out of pocket. Surely those who are guilty in this case cannot be expecting DS2 and Jim to take the financial fall for their actions? I would as well as engaging help from the student's union etc. make it quite clear to them that no way was I going to pay £100 for their transgression and if your DS cannot get excused by some other means, if they don't pay it your DS will make it clear who the actual suspects are. £100 is a lot of money for a student.

Wouldn't nitrous oxide capsules (canisters) be a safety risk, they are presumably under pressure. So if your DS and friend didn't realise what they were and had actually disposed of them inappropriately they were at risk. It is totally irresponsible keeping them in the kitchen, especially in halls. My DD wasn't even allowed a candle in her room.

creamteas Tue 12-Nov-13 08:12:22

No one, but no one, will ever know or ask about his time in halls!

Not necessarily. At my uni, all fines appear on the student's record and when writing references we have guidance as to when we should mention them.

Just last week I had to tell a student that his fines for drunken brawls on campus would have to be mentioned on his PGCE application. He was really upset as he had assumed that his record of behaviour on campus could not have any impact on his future career.

EduCated Tue 12-Nov-13 08:46:15

Really Cream? I wonder if it differs by place. I am guilty of just assuming everywhere is like my uni was, several friends did some fairly horrific stuff and luckily for them it didn't have any further impact. Then again, I really wouldn't be surprised if my old halls weren't exactly on it!

In that case, definitely get him talking to people.

creamteas Tue 12-Nov-13 17:50:45

I've worked at three universities, and in each one disciplinary records were to be consulted when writing references.

In pre-technology days, this meant phoning Registry and asking them to pull out the student's file, so quite often it would not happen.

But students records are usually computerized now. In my current uni, the disciplinary record is on the same screen as their grades!

GreenShadow Tue 12-Nov-13 21:37:09

Apparently two of the flatmates are saying it was some of their friends who brought the capsules to the flat. They are happy to say it was nothing to do with the rest of the flat but no idea if that will satisfy the manager. Lets hope so.

DS and 'Jim' went along to the Student Union today and the person they spoke to apparently said that as long as the 2 flat mates confirm this, DS should be OK. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed tomorrow, but if there's any other outcome I will be telling DS to appeal immediately.

IAlwaysThought Wed 13-Nov-13 00:19:20

Sounds promising, I will keep my fingers crossed for your DS. This is the type of thing my DS's would really feel uncomfortable with.

GreenShadow Wed 13-Nov-13 19:54:35

Well, it's good news.

One boy took the blame. It was his friends that brought the stuff into the flat (or so he says), so he accepted the fine. The other 5 are all completely cleared.

Must say, it is a big relief - I think I was far more worried about it than DS was.

Thanks again for all your advice and support.

rightsaidfrederick Thu 14-Nov-13 02:25:25

Excellent news for you and your son grin

IAlwaysThought Thu 14-Nov-13 08:03:36

Great news. Glad it worked out

mumeeee Thu 14-Nov-13 12:57:55

Great news

madeofkent Thu 14-Nov-13 19:36:03

How awful! My son says that he is the only one on his course who doesn't take anything, he is such an innocent. Mind you, that state of things may not last as he goes out clubbing with them all more lately, rather than with his rather straighter flatmates. They too have a 'no drugs in halls' rule. His best friend, another innocent, went to Warwick and joined a flat of second years. His housewarming present from them was a bong (I had to google it, so did they!) and accessories...

optimusic Thu 14-Nov-13 19:45:07

Nitrixc oxide capsules, as in the capsules legally available on Amazon and other websites? Am I missing something? Well clearly I am for a fine to be given.

HarrietSchulenberg Thu 14-Nov-13 19:57:26

Misbehaviour and fines incured on campus will show up on student records. Universities now use HEAR, I think it's called, which has basically replaced the old Registry Transcript and will be made availablw to potential employers after graduation.
Good to hear your ds and 'Jim' won't have to be tarred with that brush.

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