Standard 10 - Complaints and appeals

Document Currently Under Review

Current Status: Under Review - With Editor 16 September 2019

Student Grievance Policy

Policy Code: CG1090


To provide the University and its students with a clear set of principles in relation to student grievances.


This policy applies to all students of the University.


Term Meaning

Means repeated, unreasonable behaviours directed towards a student or a group of students that creates a risk to health and safety, including but not limited to:

  • Abusive, insulting or offensive language;
  • Behaviour or language that frightens, humiliates, belittles or degrades;
  • Teasing or regularly making someone the brunt of practical jokes;
  • Spreading gossip, rumours and/or innuendo;
  • Deliberately excluding or isolating a person from normal work and/or study activities;
  • Tampering with personal effect or study equipment;
  • Intimidating someone through inappropriate personal comments, belittling opinions or unjustified criticisms;
  • Overloading a person with tasks outside the scope of the course description;
  • Setting timelines outside the scope of the course description that are difficult to achieve or constantly changing deadlines;
  • Setting tasks that are unreasonable or beyond a person’s ability and outside the scope of the course description;
  • Deliberately isolating a person or ignoring them; and/or
  • Deliberately denying access to information relevant to the person’s studies.
Complainant: Means the student lodging the Grievance.

Means unfair or less favourable treatment based on the following actual or assumed personal characteristics as defined under Commonwealth and State laws:

  • sex;
  • gender identity;
  • marital status;
  • pregnancy;
  • breastfeeding;
  • status as a parent or carer;
  • sexual orientation;
  • lawful sexual activity;
  • race;
  • disability;
  • age;
  • industrial activity;
  • physical features;
  • religious beliefs or activities;
  • political beliefs or activities;
  • criminal record;
  • medical record; or
  • personal association with a person who has, or is assumed to have, one of these personal characteristics.

This definition includes direct and indirect Discrimination.

Direct discrimination: Occurs if a person is treated less favourably than another person would be treated in the same or similar circumstances, on the basis of an attribute as listed above.
Grievance: Means a complaint of a behaviour or action which has or is likely to have an unreasonable negative impact on the student in relation to their studies and/or University life, including bullying and/or discrimination.
Indirect discrimination: Occurs if there is an requirement, condition or practice that is unreasonable and that people with a particular attribute cannot meet.
Party: Means the Complainant and/or Respondent.
Principles of Natural Justice:

Means general procedural fairness in the handling of a Grievance that involves all the following elements:

  • the right to a fair and unbiased hearing; and
  • notice of the potential for an adverse decision; and
  • the right to attend hearings with a friend or support person, if required; and
  • the opportunity for all parties involved to be heard; and
  • genuine consideration by the decision-maker of any submissions made; and
  • genuine inquiry into any areas of dispute; and
  • the Respondent having full knowledge of the nature and substance of the Grievance; and
  • the Complainant not determining the outcome, but may be a party to it; and
  • the right to an independent, unbiased decision-maker; and
  • a final decision that is based solely on the relevant evidence.
Respondent: Means the person(s) against whom the Grievance has been lodged.
Student: Means any person enrolled as a student of the University. This includes full-time, part-time, block-mode or distance education students, and those enrolled at partner providers.

Policy statement

The University is committed to providing a fair, safe and productive environment for all students and staff members, but recognises that from time to time, students may have grievances about their experience at the University. This feedback is welcomed, and is an important tool for monitoring and improving the University’s overall performance. In all instances, the University will respond to grievances in a way that contributes to the University’s supportive and fair learning environment, and consistent with the principles of fairness, equal opportunity and natural justice.

At all stages of the Student Grievance Procedure, the University is committed to:

  • an accessible, impartial, fair and equitable process;
  • transparency and consistency;
  • informal resolution of grievances wherever possible, and the creation and maintenance of harmonious and productive working relationships; and
  • privacy and confidentiality, including compliance with all applicable privacy legislation and University policies.

The University will consider grievances in a timely manner, while keeping the parties fully informed of the progress of the matter.

All staff and students are expected to cooperate in the Student Grievance Procedure fully, openly and in good faith, with the aim of reaching an amicable and productive resolution. Intimidating, harassing, threatening, offensive or vexatious behaviour will not be tolerated. Any student who uses the Student Grievance Procedure to make a frivolous or vexatious complaint may be subject to disciplinary proceedings.

The University reserves the right to decline to investigate a complaint, including but not limited to circumstances where another process is more appropriate, or where the issue is not sufficiently connected with the University.

Where applicable, the student may make a Protected Disclosure about the conduct of the University or a University employee or contractor, directly to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).

The University takes grievances seriously, and considers the successful resolution of grievances to be an important indicator of its overall performance. Regular reviews of grievances patterns and subject matter should be conducted, and steps will be taken at an administrative level to remedy policies, procedures and/or practices that are in need of improvement. All reasonable steps will be taken to ensure complainants are not adversely affected by a complaint made by them, or on their behalf.

Grounds for grievances

Ground for grievances include, but are not limited to:

  • The University failed to provide the student with sufficient or appropriate resources.
  • The student was affected by a decision made without sufficient consideration of facts, evidence or circumstances.
  • The student was affected by a failure to adhere to appropriate or relevant published policies and procedures.
  • A penalty applied to the student was unduly harsh or inappropriate.
  • The student was affected by improper or negligent conduct, including bullying.
  • The student was affected by unfair treatment, prejudice or bias.

Grievances may be lodged in relation to administrative and/or academic issues, but University legislation, policies and decisions of the Council will not be subject to the Student Grievance Procedure.

Before lodging a grievance, students should ensure that the subject of their grievance is not grounds for appeal under the Student Appeal Policy and Procedure.


The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Engagement (as the delegate of the University Council) has overall responsibility for the implementation and review of this policy.

All Staff within the University whose role involves dealing with students should, where they receive requests for information relating to grievances, provide information in accordance with this and other established policies and procedures of the University. Each staff member is required to ensure that all information provided to students is accurate and complete.

Queries about the Student Grievance Policy or Procedure should be directed to the Grievance Officer in the relevant School or Portfolio. Contact information for Grievance Officers may be obtained from the University website.

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