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    Hi

    I'm a postgrad at the University of Manchester. Last week I had an altercation with another student on my course involving workstations. None of us own the workstations but he claimed I was using 'his' and logged me off and shoved me away. I told him that if he was going to log me out of a computer i was using then he could move my stuff for me. He interpreted that as me calling him a slave and started saying how he was going to beat me up after uni etc.

    Now it seems he has filed a formal complaint against me with my department and now I have to attend an informal meeting tomorrow with the director of teaching and my course coordinator. I'm really worried about how this will go since he's playing the race card, i'm just worried that because of race and the fact that he filed the complaint they'll believe him over me.

    A fair amount of the class saw what happened but he's more popular than me so some of them would back him. I just really don't want to get in trouble for something I didn't do. I also don't want to get kicked off my course or accept a warning but at the same time I don't want this to turn into a massive deal since its already stressing me out.

    Does anyone have any experience of informal meetings or haave any advice for me? It's really stressful
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    Was there any cctv?

    There are plenty of witnesses.Perhaps there are students who are friends to neither of you and thus impartial about what went on.

    If he has filed a formal complaint then you should ask to see what the complaint says.
    Hard to know what you are defending yourself against.

    It might help you to draw up a bullet point sequence of events. time line to help the lecturer understand what happened and in what order.
    Clearly you will have different versions, so it helps to be better prepared.
    I have no idea what you said, so be as helpful as possible in helping the lecturer form an accurate picture.


    You then might say you realise it shouldnt have happened.
    You regret it.
    Even though you dont feel you were in the wrong you understand they have to investigate, you are willing to shake hands over it and move on.
    You may or may not be wiling to apologise.

    You might say even though you dont feel you said anything wrong you realise it should have veen handled differently, but would now like to move on.
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    (Original post by Perkele)
    Hi

    I'm a postgrad at the University of Manchester. Last week I had an altercation with another student on my course involving workstations. None of us own the workstations but he claimed I was using 'his' and logged me off and shoved me away. I told him that if he was going to log me out of a computer i was using then he could move my stuff for me. He interpreted that as me calling him a slave and started saying how he was going to beat me up after uni etc.

    Now it seems he has filed a formal complaint against me with my department and now I have to attend an informal meeting tomorrow with the director of teaching and my course coordinator. I'm really worried about how this will go since he's playing the race card, i'm just worried that because of race and the fact that he filed the complaint they'll believe him over me.

    A fair amount of the class saw what happened but he's more popular than me so some of them would back him. I just really don't want to get in trouble for something I didn't do. I also don't want to get kicked off my course or accept a warning but at the same time I don't want this to turn into a massive deal since its already stressing me out.

    Does anyone have any experience of informal meetings or haave any advice for me? It's really stressful
    The fact that he threatened you and was physical towards you means that he is in a worse position than you in my opinion. I would guess he has made a complaint because he knows that threatening to beat you up is not ok, and wanted to get his side of the story in first.

    I would try not to go in to the meeting worried about him playing the race card and being defensive. If at all possible, try to leave race out of the situation. Instead, be calm and assertive, and explain the events that happened in sequence (making a list or even taking the post in may help). Stress that he threatened physical violence against you.

    You are likely to be asked why you didn't report the threat straight away, so a good answer would be that you didn't want the additional stress of going through a formal complaints process, and you are worried about other students siding against you. It also sounds like you are a bit intimidated by the other student- in which case it is fine to mention this.

    It would probably be a good idea to speak to your SU before hand, as they may be able to advise further.

    And informal meeting sounds more like the university wants to investigate the issue further, and it's very unlikely you'd be asked to accept a warning or be kicked off your course in an informal meeting. If it does seem like things are going to be escalated further, then definitely go to the SU for advice.
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    I'd recommend taking a rep from the SU or a friend along to this meeting.

    It may be informal but having a third party as a witness and backup will help cover your back if things escalate.
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    Thanks, I've just written up a list of the events that happened in order to help in the meeting. I have a feeling that given what happened he probably left several of the details i mentioned out of his formal complaint since it would have reflected badly on him. Whilst I think that the threats of physical violence were just that - threats, its still intimidating when you're trying to work and inappropriate at uni. I guess my main regret is not reporting it when it happened, I reckon that if things got more serious then i could call upon a few people as witnesses, I just don't want this to become a massive issue. I'm planning on telling them the truth but based on the fact that he made threats of violence do you think the will take this any further? The last thing I want to have to do is to attend any formal procedures, ideally I would like it to get sorted out in the informal meeting tomorrow
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    I said 'If you're taking my workstation then you're going to move my stuff to another desk for me'. To which he responded by asking me if i called him a slave. Perhaps it was a poor choice of words but i didn't mean to imply that he was my slave or mean anything racial. I'm from an ethnic background anyway, so I know firsthand how hurtful racial comments can be
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    (Original post by Perkele)
    I said 'If you're taking my workstation then you're going to move my stuff to another desk for me'. To which he responded by asking me if i called him a slave. Perhaps it was a poor choice of words but i didn't mean to imply that he was my slave or mean anything racial. I'm from an ethnic background anyway, so I know firsthand how hurtful racial comments can be
    To be honest, it feels like he knows he was in the wrong, hence escalating and being aggressive.

    I agree that you should follow PQ's advice and take a third party to the meeting if possible.
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    The fact its an informal meeting would indicate no advisers, but contact or look at the procedure and check becayse agree with PQ it would be good to give you confidence and as a witness. The timeline/sequence is importnat becayse you will be able to relay exactly what happened at the critical point. If your version is accurate then i'd think it was an over reaction as it seems to be him thats escalated it. You will also be able to point out inaccuracies in his version.
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    Thanks, its really good advice. I mentioned the situation to someone on my course this evening and she offered to come with me to the meeting
    since she saw what happened and heard what was said. She's also the student representative for our course too which is good. I'm hoping it will
    go alright, I know the lecturers who the meeting is with and they seem like reasonable people so fingers crossed. It'll be nice to get it over with, its
    been looming over me for the past few days
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    Find out beforhand if you can take her. they have no choice but to investigate. Be organised becayse he probably just wants to hear your side. If yours makes much more sense he will consider you more reliable and believable. Lead them through it to show you have nothing to hide.
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    (Original post by Perkele)
    Thanks, its really good advice. I mentioned the situation to someone on my course this evening and she offered to come with me to the meeting
    since she saw what happened and heard what was said. She's also the student representative for our course too which is good. I'm hoping it will
    go alright, I know the lecturers who the meeting is with and they seem like reasonable people so fingers crossed. It'll be nice to get it over with, its
    been looming over me for the past few days
    I would say (don't ask) in advance that you're bringing her. As she's the course rep, you've got a good argument for having her there specifically, and the fact that she was a witness could work in your favour if the other student has lied or exaggerated to them.

    Again, try not to be defensive, or assume anything about what the other student has said. However, do be super clear that he was the one to threaten you.

    Hopefully the uni will deal with this sensibly and you'll be able to get things over with in a few days.

    Good luck, and let us know how the meeting goes
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    (Original post by SlowlorisIncognito)
    I would say (don't ask) in advance that you're bringing her. As she's the course rep, you've got a good argument for having her there specifically, and the fact that she was a witness could work in your favour if the other student has lied or exaggerated to them.

    Again, try not to be defensive, or assume anything about what the other student has said. However, do be super clear that he was the one to threaten you.

    Hopefully the uni will deal with this sensibly and you'll be able to get things over with in a few days.

    Good luck, and let us know how the meeting goes
    Think it was yesterday.
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    (Original post by SlowlorisIncognito)
    I would say (don't ask) in advance that you're bringing her. As she's the course rep, you've got a good argument for having her there specifically, and the fact that she was a witness could work in your favour if the other student has lied or exaggerated to them.

    Again, try not to be defensive, or assume anything about what the other student has said. However, do be super clear that he was the one to threaten you.

    Hopefully the uni will deal with this sensibly and you'll be able to get things over with in a few days.

    Good luck, and let us know how the meeting goes
    The rules either allow her there or they do not. If they do not and she is sent away because they didnt bother to check, then she has wasted her time. Course rep or not if it says no it should mean no becayse that would be unfair on everyone else.
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    This guy sounds like a high school bully. He completely overreacted over nothing. He shouldn't have shoved you away just like that and he shouldn't have threatened you with physical violence, or filed a complaint.
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    (Original post by 999tigger)
    The rules either allow her there or they do not. If they do not and she is sent away because they didnt bother to check, then she has wasted her time. Course rep or not if it says no it should mean no becayse that would be unfair on everyone else.
    I would be very wary about attending a meeting of this kind unaccompanied- partly just because it can be hard to remember what was said. If university policy was to not allow you to be accompanied, it would be very poor practice and if it were me I probably would refuse to attend the meeting. If they want to insist on you being unaccompanied, it's usually because they intend on trying to pressure you into agreeing to something, or because they are doing something that's not quite allowed in the rules.

    Also, as it's only an "informal meeting", they shouldn't have any problem with the student bringing someone else to the meeting as a "notetaker".
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    (Original post by SlowlorisIncognito)
    I would be very wary about attending a meeting of this kind unaccompanied- partly just because it can be hard to remember what was said. If university policy was to not allow you to be accompanied, it would be very poor practice and if it were me I probably would refuse to attend the meeting. If they want to insist on you being unaccompanied, it's usually because they intend on trying to pressure you into agreeing to something, or because they are doing something that's not quite allowed in the rules.

    Also, as it's only an "informal meeting", they shouldn't have any problem with the student bringing someone else to the meeting as a "notetaker".
    It goes the other way though. Informal means informal i.e the lecturer just wnats a heads up. He should identify what the meeting is fior and if need be or he is uncomfortable he should withdraw, he could also ask to take a recording.

    I dont know the department or lecturer.

    Perhaps thye have a next stage where they make a specific allowance fo a rep and it would be more appropriate then. If im the lecturer and a rep comes as well then I might find that more awkward, when all i wanted was the facts.
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    (Original post by 999tigger)
    It goes the other way though. Informal means informal i.e the lecturer just wnats a heads up. He should identify what the meeting is fior and if need be or he is uncomfortable he should withdraw, he could also ask to take a recording.

    I dont know the department or lecturer.

    Perhaps thye have a next stage where they make a specific allowance fo a rep and it would be more appropriate then. If im the lecturer and a rep comes as well then I might find that more awkward, when all i wanted was the facts.
    Even in a work environment it's accepted practice to allow the people involved to bring a thrid party/rep to informal meetings.

    It's no big deal and as loris says uf they refuse a thrid party then it's perfectly acceptable to refuse to attend the meeting.
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    If a person is really bervous and its not informal as expected then id go for rep if i could as witness.

    1. asking to record
    2. probiding a written statement, which is more or less what he's using.
    3. Listening rather than saying much.
    4. Not answering questions I wasnt sure about.
    5. Leaving if uncomfy, but explaining why.
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    (Original post by PQ)
    Even in a work environment it's accepted practice to allow the people involved to bring a thrid party/rep to informal meetings.

    It's no big deal and as loris says uf they refuse a thrid party then it's perfectly acceptable to refuse to attend the meeting.
    Its really moot becayse we dont know thier procedure. They may be fine with it.
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    (Original post by 999tigger)
    It goes the other way though. Informal means informal i.e the lecturer just wnats a heads up. He should identify what the meeting is fior and if need be or he is uncomfortable he should withdraw, he could also ask to take a recording.

    I dont know the department or lecturer.

    Perhaps thye have a next stage where they make a specific allowance fo a rep and it would be more appropriate then. If im the lecturer and a rep comes as well then I might find that more awkward, when all i wanted was the facts.
    The thing is, it's not unknown for unis and/or workplaces to use "informal meetings" to pressure people into agreeing to a version of events or and outcome. I'm not saying this is the case here, but as a student or employee, you should always assume that the uni will look out for itself first.

    As PQ says, it is such a reasonable request to ask to bring another appropriate person to this meeting, that for the uni to refuse it would be a massive red flag. If it's their "procedure" then their procedure is bad and needs to be changed.


    Having a witness is important because:
    A) It's much easier for someone who isn't being interviewed to record and remember things.
    B) It's easier to walk away or say no to something if there's someone on your side. Sometimes, when under pressure, we lose a sense of what is reasonable, and having another person there can help.
    C) It may prevent the uni doing something egregious, like pressuring the OP into accepting an informal sanction.
    D) If problems arise further down the line, having a witness and a record means that the outcome of the meeting can't just be ignored.

    It's kind of moot now because the meeting has been and gone, but for anyone reading the thread it's important to remember that unis may act to protect themselves first and foremost, and lecturers may not always be experienced in handling these kinds of problems. If you feel uncomfortable, it's ok to ask for advice, e.g. from a course rep or your SU before agreeing to something.
 
 
 
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