Student Complaints and Appeals - Procedures

Accessibility links

Student Complaints and Appeals - Procedures

Breadcrumbs

Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures.

1. Purpose of procedures

This document contains procedures for addressing student complaints and appeals consistent with the principles and requirements in the Student Complaints and Appeals – Governing Policy. That policy should be read before any action is taken under these procedures.

2. Student Complaints and Appeals Framework

2.1 Principles and approach to student complaints and appeals

The principles and approach to student complaints and appeals at the University are provided in the University’s Student Complaints and Appeals – Governing Policy.

The policy provides for four stages of complaints and appeals and explains the differences between the stages:

Stage 1 informally within a School/Faculty or service area of the University

Stage 2 formally within a School/Faculty or service area of the University

Stage 3 appeal within the University

Stage 4 complaint or appeal external to the University

Students are able to access processes at any of these stages and may access processes at more than one stage. (Refer to Figure 1 - Complaints and appeals procedures - showing the appropriate order in which they should usually be accessed.)

2.2 Initiating action on a complaint or appeal

a) Students will be advised of the complaints and appeals processes as part of their Orientation or similar event and through the University website. Students will be provided with, or advised on how to access, all information concerning the complaints and appeals processes.

b) Before initiating action to lodge a complaint, or appeal, students are encouraged to:

  • seek confidential advice from Student Services and Engagement, the Student Ombudsman, USC International or the Student Guild, so that they are aware of:
  • the most appropriate processes for addressing their concern under relevant policies or procedures
  • the need to present the concern or situation clearly and factually when lodging any written complaint or appeal
  • follow Stage 1 complaint processes before lodging any written Stage 2 complaints where this is appropriate
  • pursue written Stage 2 complaint processes before lodging a Stage 3 internal appeal, where this is appropriate
  • lodge a Stage 3 internal appeal before lodging a Stage 4 external appeal where appropriate.
2.3 Where several students have the same complaint

If several students have the same complaint, those students may act as a group in following Stage 1 complaint-handling processes, but each student must act individually if Stage 2 complaint or Stage 3 appeal processes are to be followed.

2.4 Right to be accompanied by a support person

A student has the right to be accompanied and assisted by a support person in any interview, meeting or hearing related to the student’s complaint or appeal, and the student should advise the person/s arranging the interview, meeting or hearing of the name of any support person who will accompany the student.

The support person cannot be a practising legal practitioner; and, except when Stage 1 complaint processes are followed, the support person cannot be a University staff member.

2.5 Mediation of a complaint

Mediation processes are discussions and negotiations involving the student and other persons in trying to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the student’s formal complaint. In these processes, the people involved either reach an agreed outcome or do not reach an agreed outcome; there is no one person or body who/which makes a decision in relation to the complaint.

Usually, where agreement is reached through mediation the student and the other persons involved sign an agreement that documents the agreed outcome. Persons attending mediation should have the authority to make decisions regarding the complaint.

2.6 Anonymous complaints

If a student has reasonable grounds to believe that a person acting for, or on behalf of, or in a role associated with, the University has behaved in a way that is inappropriate, unlawful or prejudicial to the University, or that endangers a member of the University community, the student may make an anonymous complaint to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Further inquiry into allegations will be made if the issues raised are serious and sufficient information is provided. If there is insufficient information to pursue an investigation the complaint will be kept on record and may be used if other complaints about the same matter are received.

2.7 Access to official student files in relation to student complaints and appeals

a) The Vice-Chancellor and President, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students), the Director Student Services and Engagement, and the Student Ombudsman have authority to access any records relating to student complaints or appeals that are held on official confidential student files.

b) The Vice-Chancellor and President or the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor may authorise an employee of the University or appropriately appointed external agent, to access a record relating to a specific student complaint or appeal held on an official confidential student file provided that the Vice-Chancellor and President or Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor is satisfied that the access is necessary in order to progress, finalise or implement any actions arising from a student’s complaint or appeal.

2.8 Consultation and Feedback

The University will periodically seek feedback on satisfaction with complaint and appeals processes from complainants, appellants and persons and bodies involved in addressing student complaints. The information will be used only for quality review and improvement purposes.

Figure 1 - Complaints and appeals procedures
Stage 1: Complaint received by staff member at a local level These processes are intended to enable resolution of a student’s complaint with minimal delay and minimal administrative formality in appropriate cases.
A complaint may be made as a Stage 1 complaint:
  • If the complaint is regarding course content, or a mark for an assessment item (other than a final grade for the course);
  • Where the complaint relates to a decision or action by a staff member or other person acting for the University in relation to the delivery of a course; or
  • If a complaint under a) or b) is still not resolved.
OR
  • Where the complaint relates to a matter in the control of the University that affects the student, other than the delivery of a course; or
  • If a complaint under d) is still not resolved.
Stage 1 Complaint Process
Complaint procedure by student Response by USC officer USC initial response time
a) If the complaint is regarding course content, or a mark for an assessment item (other than a final grade for the course).
Student should contact the Course Coordinator. Course Coordinator. Within 5 working days of receipt of complaint.
b) Where the complaint relates to a decision or action by a staff member or other person acting for the University in relation to the delivery of a course.
Student should make an appointment with the Course Coordinator. Course Coordinator. Within 5 working days of receipt of complaint.
c) If a complaint under a) or b) is still not resolved
Student must, before pursuing a Stage 2 complaint or Stage 3 appeal, refer the matter to the Course Coordinator or Head of School or Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching (if that person is a different person to the lecturer). Course Coordinator, or Head of School or Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching. Within 5 working days of receipt of complaint.
d) Where the complaint relates to a matter in the control of the University that affects the student, other than the delivery of a course.
Student should make an appointment with the Director of the administration or service area. Director of administrative or service area. Within 5 working days of receipt of complaint.
e) If a complaint under d) is still not resolved.
Student must, before pursuing a Stage 2 complaint or Stage 3 appeal, make an appointment with the Director of the administration or service area. Director of administrative or service area. Within 5 working days of receipt of complaint.
Stage 1 complaint USC resolution options (include) USC response time
USC officer to act as a facilitator to seek a resolution of the complaint that would be mutually acceptable to all parties; Within 5 working days of receipt of complaint.
USC officer to arrange for mediation that is mutually acceptable to all parties; and/or Within 10 working days of receipt of complaint.
USC officer to issue an instruction in relation to the complaint provided the officer has reasonable grounds and authority to do so. An official record must be made of any instructions issued, which may be subsequently reviewed as part of any further complaint-handling or appeal process. Advise the student of the outcome within 5 working days of the instruction being given.
In making a Stage 1 complaint, students should:
  • be prepared to discuss the matter to try to reach a mutually acceptable outcome; and
  • keep their own notes and records of meetings held and any decisions or agreements in relation to the complaint.
Stage 2: Written Complaint to the Executive Dean and/or the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor There are two pathways open to a student who wishes to pursue a Stage 2 complaint within the University.
A complaint may be made as a Stage 2 complaint:
  • If a Stage 1 complaint has not been resolved;
OR
  • Where the complaint is in response to an official notification informing the student of a decision of the University that affects the student.
Stage 2 Complaint Process
Complaint procedure by student Response by USC officer USC initial response time
a) If a Stage 1 complaint has not been resolved.
Students may complain in writing to the Executive Dean and/or the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Executive Dean or Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor. As below.
b) Where the complaint is in response to an official notification informing the student of a decision of the University that affects the student.
Students may complain in writing to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor. As below.
Stage 2 complaint USC initial response - Executive Dean or Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor USC response time
In dealing with a Stage 2 complaint, USC officers should:
  • provide the student with a written acknowledgement of receipt of the complaint;
  • advise the student which of the following response processes will be undertaken; and
  • create a confidential working file on the complaint and place the original complaint, a copy of the acknowledgement, and any file notes on that file.
Within 5 working days of receipt of complaint.
Stage 2 complaint USC response options (1 option to be followed) USC response time
USC officer to request or direct that a review of a decision made by any person or body in the University be undertaken as a matter of priority; Within 5 working days of receipt of complaint.
USC officer to identify and appoint an investigating officer or body for the complaint; Within 5 working days of receipt of complaint.
USC officer to subject to the agreement of the student and any respondent/s, identify and appoint a trained internal or external mediator; or Within 10 working days of receipt of complaint.
USC officer advise the student to lodge an internal or external appeal in relation to the matter in order to facilitate a final decision on the matter. Within 5 working days of receipt of a decision being made.
Stage 2 complaint USC final response (all actions to be completed) USC response time
USC officers to advise:
  • the student of any decisions or actions taken as a result of review, investigation or mediation;
  • the student of their right of appeal to the Vice-Chancellor and President if they are not satisfied with the outcome; and
  • the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) of any decision or outcome made in relation to an international student in case the decision has implications for the student’s visa.
Within 5 working days of a decision being made.
In making a Stage 2 complaint, students:
  • must provide the following information with their written complaint
  • the nature of the complaint;
  • what action they have taken to resolve the matter to date;
  • the outcome they are seeking; and
  • should keep their own notes and records of meetings held and any decisions or agreements in relation to the complaint.
Stage 3: Internal appeal to the Vice-Chancellor and President
A complaint may be made as a Stage 3 appeal:
  • Where a Stage 2 complaint has not resolved the matter.
Stage 3 Appeal Process
Appeal procedure by student Response by USC officer USC initial response time
The student lodges a written appeal to the Vice-Chancellor and President within 20 working days of receipt of notification of a decision under Stage 2. Vice-Chancellor and President. As below.
Stage 3 appeal USC initial response by Vice-Chancellor and President USC response time
Acknowledge receipt of the appeal; Within 5 working days of lodgement of appeal.
Meet with the student, if needed, to clarify the complaint; As required.
Advise any individual respondents of the appeal; Within 5 working days of lodgement of appeal.
Identify and appoint members, and a Secretary, to the Student Appeals Committee; and Within 10 working days of lodgement of appeal.
Create a confidential working file on the complaint and place the original complaint, a copy of the acknowledgement, and any file notes on that file. On receipt of the appeal.
Stage 3 appeal USC process - Student Appeals Committee USC response time
The Student Appeals Committee will hear the appeal according to the following procedures which will include that the Committee:
  • Disqualify any member of the Student Appeals Committee who has been involved in any previous complaint-handling or grievance-handling in relation to the substantive matters connected with the student’s appeal;
  • Consider all relevant material related to the student’s appeal;
  • Interview the student, any respondent/s and any other parties relevant to the appeal, subject to their agreement to be interviewed;
  • Allow the student to be accompanied and assisted by a support person in any appeal hearing;
  • Make a determination with respect to the appeal that may be either to dismiss the appeal or to find wholly or partly in the student’s favour;
  • Provide reasons for making that determination, including in the light of any precedents.
  • Detail any corrective or preventative actions that the University is required to take in consequence of any determination; and
  • Make any recommendations related to or arising from the appeal.
Process to commence within 10 working days of being appointed.
Place all documentation on the confidential working file. On receipt of the appeal.
Stage 3 appeal USC process - Secretary to the Student Appeals Committee USC response time
Follow the Committee’s procedures in initiating and organising the appeal, including liaising with the student, and documenting the appeal process and outcomes; and See response times for Student Appeals Committee.
Following finalisation of the Student Appeals Committee process:
  • advise the Vice-Chancellor and President of the outcome of the appeal in writing; and
  • advise the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) of any decision or outcome made in relation to an international student in case the decision has implications for the student’s visa.
Within 5 working days of the conclusion of the appeal hearing.
Stage 3 appeal USC final response by Vice-Chancellor and President USC response time
Following receipt of advice from the Secretary to the Student Appeals Committee:
  • advise the student and respondents of the outcome of the appeal in writing; and
  • advise the student on any external mediation or appeal options.
Within 5 working days of receiving notification of the outcome of the appeal from the Secretary of the Student Appeal Committee.
In making a Stage 3 appeal, students:
  • must make their written appeal providing the following information
  • the nature of the complaint;
  • what action they have taken to resolve the matter to date;
  • the outcome they are seeking; and
  • should keep their own notes and records of meetings held and any decisions or agreements in relation to the complaint.
Stage 4: External mediation or appeal
A complaint may be made as a Stage 4 appeal:
  • Where a Stage 3 appeal has not resolved the matter.
Stage 4 Appeal Process
Appeal procedure by student Response by USC officer USC initial response time
The student may make a request of the University to arrange an independent external mediation, within 20 working days of receipt of being notified of the outcome of the appeal in Stage 3. The University will direct such requests to the Director, Student Services and Engagement or the Student Ombudsman. Within 5 working days of receipt of appeal.
Stage 4 appeal USC response – Director, Student Services and Engagement or Student Ombudsman USC response time
Arrange independent external mediation following an internal appeal process, at no cost to the student. Within 5 Working Days of receipt of the request.
Provide students with access to information concerning their rights to lodge an appeal with an appropriate external body and the names and contact details of such bodies. As required.
Stage 4 appeal USC response - Vice-Chancellor and President USC response time
Initiate processes to implement any actions to be taken by the University in order to honour any agreement reached in the mediation; and/or Within 10 working days of receipt of any mediation agreement.
Initiate processes to implement any actions to be taken by the University as a result of any findings by an external appeal body. Within 10 working days of receipt of any findings or decisions from and external appeal body.
Place all documentation on the confidential working file. On receipt of the appeal.
In making a Stage 4 appeal, students:
  • must make their request in writing; and
  • should keep their own notes and records of meetings held and any decisions or agreements in relation to the complaint.
International Students:
  • must also advise the USC International Student Services that they have engaged in an external appeal within 10 working days of initiating the external appeal.

END

Back to top

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned more than {{model.MaxResults}} results.
The top {{model.MaxResults}} of {{model.TotalItems}} are shown below, ordered by relevance ({{model.TotalSeconds}} seconds)

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned {{model.TotalItems}} results, ordered by relevance ({{model.TotalSeconds}} seconds)

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned no results.

No search results found for

{{model.ErrorMessage}}