I initially thought this was off-topic but StrongBad told me this is not, so thank you.

A friend of mine has been a victim of fraud by someone at an university. This was investigated by the police and will almost certainly lead to a conviction and probably a prison sentence. My question is do universities (automatically?) expel people for committing criminal offenses whilst a student?

The specific University in question here is Cambridge.

  • 7
    I'm a bit confuzzled by the question, in my mind the concern for being expelled from a university is several orders of magnitude below of the concern for being imprisoned.
    – Trylks
    Jun 23, 2014 at 17:19
  • @Trylks in this case, perhaps not. Given this person is not actually British, he can just leave the UK. No criminal record. The prison sentence is probably not going to be more than a couple of month...
    – Lost1
    Jun 23, 2014 at 17:41
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    @Trylks: I read recently about a student who was expelled from a US university for alleged rape, which he denied. He transferred to another school and was told to leave after the first day of classes because they found out why he'd been expelled. So being expelled may actually mean that you can never get a college degree. That may have a more negative impact on one's life than being convicted of a nonviolent crime and serving a short prison sentence.
    – user1482
    Jun 24, 2014 at 16:31
  • Even if the University does not expell him, his student visa can be revoked (if he is here with a student visa). He should check that.
    – electrique
    Jul 16, 2017 at 20:26

2 Answers 2


I am aware of no University that automatically does anything. That said, most Universities, have policies in place to protect their reputation. At Cambridge, both Christ's College and Griton College have almost identical policies which makes me think there is an underlying university policy that I cannot easily find. To quote Griton's policy:

Additionally, the University has a number of sanctions for behaviour impinging on the image of the University, while the most serious breaches, including all criminal behaviour, will be referred to the local police.

Basically, Universities should be reporting any criminal activity to the local authorities. They also have the right to follow their own policies, of which expulsion is a possibility. Universities like to protect their images (e.g., the recent sex offence scandals in the US). So what the University will do may depend on if the victim of the crime was another student and how vocal the sides are.

  • I also searched and found nothing, being a student from Trinity myself. The victim is not a member of the University.
    – Lost1
    Jun 23, 2014 at 16:35
  • @Lost1 it is likely buried some place in here: cam.ac.uk/current-students/rules-and-legal-compliance
    – StrongBad
    Jun 23, 2014 at 16:41
  • I looked at these things and found nothing. You have been most helpful.
    – Lost1
    Jun 23, 2014 at 17:19
  • For cambridge general university rules are here admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/so/2013/chapter02-front.html although I think most things fall under the colleges. These rules generally are called college/university ordinaces.
    – nivag
    Jun 24, 2014 at 11:49

Short answer they definitely can expel you. Although they will generally have a process to follow. I suspect for most offences resulting in a jail sentence expulsion is highly likely.

Here are the rules for Imperial College http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/secretariat/collegegovernance/provisions/ordinances/e2 (I suspect most institutions have similar rules written somewhere).

Important points are:

  • 6e: Misconduct of a nature which is likely to affect the good name and standing of the College is an offence. This likely covers any criminal activity.

  • 10c: Summary punishment is available for minor offences for serious offences there are various boards/committees to deal with punishment. College Discipline Committee covers offences under 6e.

  • 16-24: There are various proceducures covering how the committee must hear evidence and operate.

  • 30f: Expulsion or suspension from college is a permitted punishment.

  • 33: The committee shall take note of any external prosecutions.

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