Please refer to the University’s Glossary of terms for policies and procedures.
1. Purpose of procedures
1.1 This document contains procedures for requesting Reviews and applications for Appeals from students seeking to resolve a grievance consistent with the principles and requirements in the Student Grievance Resolution – Governing Policy. This policy should be read before any action is taken under these procedures.
1.2 These procedures address Stages 2, 3 and 4 of the Student Grievance Resolution process and should be read in conjunction with the Student Grievance Resolution – Procedures, which provide more details on Stage 1.
1.3 The procedures are designed to ensure that requests for Review and Appeal applications are dealt with in a fair, just and timely manner, without victimisation or intimidation of anyone connected with the grievance during the resolution process.
1.4 Reviews and appeals relating to University decisions made under the Student Conduct – Governing Policy and Student General Misconduct – Procedures are outside the scope of these procedures.
2. Student support
2.1 Students are encouraged to consult the USC Student Guild for advice prior to presentation of their grounds and supporting evidence for Review or Appeal. Student Services and Engagement may assist students to address issues that have impacted on their academic performance and to develop strategies intended to improve their performance in the future.
2.2 Contact with the USC Student Guild or Student Services and Engagement must be scheduled with adequate notice ahead of the specified deadlines for submission of applications for Review or Appeal.
2.3 The University does not apply any charge with respect to students who lodge a formal grievance, including requests for review or appeal.
3. Stage 2 - Reviews
3.1 If a student is not satisfied with a Stage 1 decision for resolving a grievance (see Student Grievance Resolution - Procedures), or the way in which it was handled, or has been asked to show cause in accordance with the University’s policies on academic matters such as academic progress and assessment, the student may submit a request for review of the decision. Refer to Schedule A of the Student Grievance Resolution – Governing Policy.
3.2 The decision being reviewed and the grounds for review should be explained clearly in writing by the student. For example, factors that the Stage 1 decision did not take into account, new information relevant to the matter and procedural errors should be specified. The request for review will be considered only if supporting evidence is provided. It will not be sufficient for students to assert circumstances, performance or changes to circumstance without some evidence to substantiate or support their claims.
3.3 A request for review must be submitted within 20 business days of the Stage 1 decision, except where otherwise prescribed in a policy or procedure.
3.4 All relevant supporting documentation should be submitted, as per the instructions set out on the relevant form.
3.5 Where a request for review of a Stage 1 decision is being made later than the relevant specified deadline, the student must include a written explanation for any delay in lodging the review request and attach supporting evidence. Unless the relevant decision maker determines the delay is reasonable, the relevant decision maker may refuse to consider a late request for review.
3.6 Review requests must be acknowledged in writing by the designated decision maker within five (5) business days of receipt. A decision regarding the review request must be issued by the decision maker within 10 business days of receipt, setting out the process of investigation followed by the decision maker, the reasons for the decision as well as the details to whom the student may address an appeal.
3.7 If the relevant decision maker can demonstrate reasonable grounds, the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) may approve an application to extend a decision deadline for the resolution of a grievance. The complainant must be notified by the decision maker in writing of any extension granted to a deadline.
4. Stage 3 - Internal Appeals
4.1 If a student is not satisfied with a Review decision (Stage 2 decision) for resolving a grievance, or the way in which the Review was handled, the student may lodge an appeal, subject to any limitations in policies and procedures. Refer to Schedule A of the Student Grievance Resolution – Governing Policy.
4.2 The decision being appealed and the grounds for appeal should be explained in writing clearly by the student. For example, factors that the review decision did not take into account, new information relevant to the matter or procedural errors should be specified. It will not be sufficient for students to assert circumstances, performance or changes to circumstance without some evidence to substantiate or support their claims.
4.3 Internal appeals must be lodged within 10 business days of the review decision, except where otherwise prescribed in policies or procedures.
4.4 All relevant supporting documentation should be submitted, as per the instructions set out on the relevant form.
4.5 The student must include a written explanation for any delay in lodging the appeal and attach supporting evidence. Unless the relevant decision maker or Chairperson of the Student Academic Appeals Committee determines the delay is reasonable, they may refuse to consider the appeal application.
4.6 Appeal applications must be acknowledged in writing by the designated decision maker within five (5) business days of receipt. Except for the Student Academic Appeals Committee, a decision regarding the appeal must be issued by the decision maker within 10 business days of receipt, setting out the process of investigation followed by the decision maker, the reasons for the decision as well as the details to whom the student may address an external appeal.
4.7 If the relevant decision maker demonstrates reasonable grounds, the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) may approve an application to extend a decision deadline for the resolution of a grievance. The complainant must be notified by the decision maker in writing of any extension granted to a deadline.
5. Matters to be considered by the Student Academic Appeals Committee
5.1 The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) will ensure that there is an up-to-date register of suitably qualified individuals interested in service on an appeals committee to provide for the assembly of a Student Academic Appeals Committee, as required.
5.2 The Student Academic Appeals Committee, appointed by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, will consist of:
(a) a Chairperson; and
(b) a student of the University; and
(c) an appropriate staff member of the University.
5.3 The Committee may also include suitably qualified professional assistance if required.
5.4 The Student Academic Appeals Committee will only consider appeals relating to academic matters, including, but not limited to the following matters:
- Unsatisfactory academic progress for all students - coursework and higher degree by research (HDR)
- Assessment and final grades
- Granting of credit
- Award of Honours
- Late withdrawal without academic penalty
- Student Academic Misconduct
5.5 The Chairperson of the Student Academic Appeals Committee will consider whether an appeal has grounds as set out in section 4.2 above. If convinced that the appeal does not have grounds, the Chairperson will report to the Committee which may dismiss the appeal without further hearing.
5.6 When an appeal is referred to the Student Academic Appeals Committee for consideration, the Committee and the student will be provided with a full copy of the student's appeal, the response provided by the decision-maker whose decision is contested and the student's counter response and all other relevant material. The student’s academic record will be made available to the Committee and the Committee may call for and consider any additional material. However the Committee must ensure the student is given an opportunity to comment on all material relevant to the subject matter of the appeal.
5.7 When considering a matter regarding an assessment result (including higher degree theses) or admission to a program, the grounds for appeal are limited to:
(a) improper, irregular, or negligent conduct by a person involved; or
(b) discrimination, prejudice, or bias against a student; or
(c) failure to adhere to relevant published policies and procedures.
5.8 A judgement regarding the academic merit of any work or the grade assigned, based on reassessment of content, does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Student Academic Appeals Committee.
5.9 The Student Academic Appeals Committee will hear the appeal in accordance with the principles of natural justice. The committee will:
(a) disqualify any member who has been involved in any previous grievance-handling in relation to the substantive matters connected with the student’s appeal, or may have any other real or perceived conflict of interest
(b) consider all relevant material related to the student’s appeal
(c) interview the student, any respondent/s and any other parties relevant to the appeal, subject to their agreement to be interviewed
(d) allow the student to be accompanied by a support person in any appeal hearing, noting that the student is not entitled to legal representation. Support persons cannot act as advocates.
5.10 The Student Academic Appeals Committee may recommend to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor that the student’s appeal be upheld or rejected, in part or in whole.
5.11 Within five business days of the Committee’s decision or hearing, the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, based on the advice of the Committee, will issue a notice of final determination on the appeal to the student. The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor will provide the student with written reasons for the decision and an avenue for external appeal.
5.12 In the event that the student is appealing a previous decision of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Student Academic Appeals Committee will provide their findings and recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor and President for a final determination.
5.13 The Committee may draw attention to any apparent problems arising from the administration of relevant University policies and procedures.
6. Stage 4 - External Appeal
6.1 If a student is not satisfied with the University’s final decision, having exhausted all relevant stages available for resolving a grievance, the student may lodge an appeal to an external agency in accordance with its procedures. Refer to Schedule A of the Student Grievance Resolution – Governing Policy.
6.2 Queensland Ombudsman: Information on how to make a complaint can be found at the Queensland Ombudsman site http://www.ombudsman.qld.gov.au
6.3 International students may contact the Australian Department of Education and Training which will only intervene where the University’s appeals process was not conducted correctly or if the University did not make the appeals process available to the student.
6.4 If any external complaint handling process results in a decision that supports a student, the University will implement any corrective or preventive measure immediately and advise the student of the outcome.
6.5 If excluded for unsatisfactory academic progress or unsatisfactory attendance (the latter only applies to international students on an student visa), a student who chooses to access an external appeal process, must advise the University of lodgement of an external appeal within 10 business days of receipt of the University’s determination at Stage 3. Should one or more external appeals be lodged, the University will maintain the student’s enrolment as active until at least one external appeal process is completed.
7. Records Management
7.1 The University will maintain complete records of the review and appeal processes including:
(a) copies of all correspondence with the student, including email, concerning grievances or appeals and received from the student including all documentation;
(b) a written record of the outcome of any review or internal appeal process, including the reasons for any decisions reached; and
(c) evidence of any action taken by the University in response to the review or internal appeal.
Staff guidelines and templates are available on MyUSC (staff login required).