The DIAC and Dubai Code of Conduct

The Dubai International Academic City has published a poster-style student code of conduct applicable to students who belong to universities within the DIAC, of which the University of Birmingham is one. A high level outline of the prohibited conduct can be found below for students who are part of the Dubai International Academic City.

The following areas are summarised from the Dubai Code of Conduct and the DIAC Shared Facility Policy Statement on Student Discipline

Social Etiquette

It is important that all citizens, residents, and visitors to the UAE respect the symbols of the state, namely their rulers, flag, and emblem. Another key factor is decency - it is important that individuals are aware of the requirements for smart or business attire when going into any business and office buildings, as well as any official government buildings. Concerning behaviour, public displays of affection are strongly prohibited, this includes touching between people of both the same and opposite sex. The only exception is between provable married opposite sex individuals. Music and dancing is strictly forbidden in public places such as parks, beaches or residential areas and is only permitted in licenced venues.

Alcohol and Smoking

The consumption of alcohol is strictly regulated and confined to designated areas (i.e. licenced restaurants). Any violation of the law on alcohol consumption carries potentially serious criminal sanctions. Individuals who are not Muslim can apply for an alcohol-purchasing licence which will enable them to purchase alcohol from specialist licenced stores. However, they must respect local culture and carry it in sealed, non-see through bags and must only consume this in their private quarters. These licences are valid only in the Emirate that issued the licence. Residents must also get a permit to be able to drink in licensed venues. Smoking is only permitted in designated smoking zones; any breach of this rule carries a fine.

Substance Abuse

All forms of drugs (except certain prescribed medication) are illegal in Dubai. In order to ensure compliance with the law, individuals must carry a prescription from a UAE-licenced medical doctor. Visitors must verify that their medication is allowed in the UK or home country before entering the UAE.

Mutual Respect

There is a strong and enforced culture of mutual respect in Dubai and the UAE and it is important that individuals are respectful at all times.

  • Insults are outlawed and legally reprehensible in the case of complaint brought against an individual; this includes vocal insults as well as aggressive or offensive gestures, all of which are punishable by law.
  • Queueing is a big part of the Dubai culture, respect for other people’s patience and fair turn must be upheld.
  • Loudness is seen as vulgar and to be avoided at all times, included when consuming alcohol if in a licenced venue. Great importance is placed on upholding basic rules of courtesy and respecting the quiet and calm of an environment (hospital, movie theatre, restaurant etc).
  • Spreading rumours, fake news, or malicious propaganda that disturbs public security and harmony is punishable in law.
  • Photography is a sensitive issue in Dubai local culture and individuals must seek permission before taking a photo of someone, especially women and families.

Responsible Use of Social Media

The University has certain Social Media Expectations of students when using social media, particularly where they have identified themselves as a University of Birmingham student or where their communication is in relation to their programme of study or any extra-curricular aspect of their registration at the University.

The UAE's Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) also issued a whitepaper in 2014 on the 'dos and don'ts' on social media usage.

The TRA advises:

  • Do not post other people's pictures or videos without consent: Do not post without asking, whether it's a friend or a photographer. It could be breach of privacy or copyright.
  • Do not make threats: Posts or comments that are abusive or threatening to other people can have legal consequences.
  • Do not post vulgar pictures or of alcohol: Non-Muslims can drink, but keep it under control if pictures are inappropriate. Drunken photos that offend Islamic values or morals of the UAE can lead to legal consequences. Do not post pornographic or material that contains nudity.
  • Do not tag anyone without consent: TRA warns that tagging without permission can be a breach of defamation and privacy laws, both of which can carry hefty fines and even imprisonment.
  • Do not insult Islam: The TRA warns against offending Islamic morals and values.
  • Do not gossip: People could face fines of up to Dh1 million if they spread false information.
  • Do not bully or harass: Users must not post content which includes hate speech, incites violence or which is threatening or contains graphic or gratuitous violence.