But students have called for decisions to be based instead on the civil standard of proof, the balance of probabilities.
Cambridge University has previously admitted that it has a “significant problem” with sexual misconduct after receiving almost 200 complaints in a matter of months.
Over 800 students have signed an open letter to Cambridge’s vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, which said that “upholding a criminal standard of proof actively discourages survivors and victims of sexual harassment, rape and assault from engaging with the disciplinary procedure”.
Students said that changing the disciplinary system “will give survivors and victims of sexual assault more confidence to access it”.
They added that proving cases of sexual assault beyond reasonable doubt “places undue stress” on complainants.
“By requiring cases to be proven ‘beyond reasonable doubt,’ the University is implying that there is unlikely to be consequences for perpetrators in disciplinary cases pertaining to sexual misconduct, unless the survivor goes to the police,” the letter said.