Complaints and Grievances of Coursework Students Procedures
Note that the review rights provided in the procedures are additional to any rights that a student may have under a law of Victoria or the Commonwealth.
Making a complaint
1. A student should attempt to resolve a complaint with the staff member concerned.
2. If the complaint is not resolved informally or it is one of bias on the part of the staff member concerned, the student may direct the complaint to the next appropriate level, e.g. chief examiner, unit leader, relevant administrative officer or head of the appropriate area.
Lodging a grievance
3. If the complaint is not resolved, the student may make a written request for resolution of the matter to the grievance officer of the Faculty/Division/Unit. The matter is now considered a grievance. Students may seek assistance from the appropriate campus-based association in preparing a written grievance.
4. The University Solicitor’s Office is available to a staff member to explain these procedures and a staff member's rights under them to respond to the grievance or complaint against him or her.
5. A student should lodge a grievance with:
6. A student may submit a request for review of a Faculty decision relating to Australian Commonwealth Government student financial assistance schemes within 28 days of the Faculty decision, in the case of the classes of decisions listed in appendix one, to the Director, Student Administration and Systems, who is appointed as the Review Officer for the purposes of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (Cth), Division 19. The Director, Student and Community Services Division will act as the Review Officer where the Director, Student Administration and Systems has previously been involved in the case. The request for review must set out the reasons for requesting a review of the decision. The Review Officer will provide written acknowledgment of receipt of an application within 5 days of receipt and inform the applicant that, if there is no reply within 45 days, it means the original decision stands. A student dissatisfied with the decision of the University Review Officer may apply within 28 days to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision; this application may incur an application fee of approximately $682.
Responsibilities of faculties and divisions to appoint a grievance officer
7. Each Faculty, Division and major section of the University will nominate at least one grievance officer to advise coursework students and staff of these procedures, receive grievances and maintain data on the number and nature of student grievances received.
8. The Dean, Divisional Director or Manager of the Faculty/Division/Unit will determine in advance and publish in the Student Information Index the contact details of the grievance officer. To avoid conflict of interest or perceived bias, at least one assistant grievance officer will be appointed to process cases where the grievance officer is involved personally or is unavailable.
Deans/Directors/Managers of faculties/divisions/units
Role of the grievance officer
9. The grievance officer must receive, record and monitor the number and nature of grievances received from students in the grievance register. The grievance officer must fill out all fields contained in the grievance register (see also Monitoring and Reporting).
10. The grievance officer must maintain a file of all correspondence and communication in relation to a grievance (see also Monitoring and Reporting).
Processing of the grievance
11. The grievance officer will determine whether the grievance can be investigated within the scope of the Academic and Administrative Complaints and Grievances Policy. Where the grievance sits outside of the scope of the policy, the grievance officer will send an email to the student within five working days following receipt of the grievance explaining why the matter can not be investigated under the policy and associated procedures. If the matter falls within the scope of another university policy, regulation or statute, the student is to be directed to the relevant information.
12. Where the grievance is of a nature that can be investigated under the scope of the Academic and Administrative Complaints and Grievances Policy, the grievance officer will determine whether the grievance is academic or administrative in nature, record details of the grievance, acknowledge receipt of the grievance and explain the timelines for resolution and any other relevant information, including information about relevant university support services. A grievance receipt is to be emailed to the student within 5 working days of the grievance being lodged.
13. In the case of an academic grievance, the grievance officer will direct the matter to the Associate Dean (Education), or nominee, of the appropriate faculty. In the case of an administrative grievance, the grievance officer will direct the matter to the faculty manager, or nominee, of the appropriate faculty, or to the director or equivalent senior manager, or nominee, if the matter concerns a non-faculty administrative grievance.
14. If the grievance officer is unable to assess the student's grievance due to insufficient information or clarity, the student will be contacted within 5 working days following receipt of the grievance. The grievance officer will outline what the student must do or provide for their grievance to be reviewed, and will also direct the student to appropriate University support services.
Investigation and conciliation
15. The person to whom the grievance has been directed will attempt to resolve it through investigation and conciliation, and may also direct the student to appropriate University support services.
16. The person to whom the grievance has been directed is tocommence conducting an investigation within ten working days of the grievance being lodged by the student, and consult with relevant staff.
17. The person to whom the grievance has been directed may determine that the grievance is frivolous, vexatious, or lacking in substance, and decide that no investigation is necessary. The student is to be advised via email within 20 working days of the grievance being lodged with the faculty/division of this decision using the grievance outcome template letter, including details of the reasons for this decision and the student’s right to make a complaint to the University Student Ombudsman.
18. A complaint by a prospective student against a selection decision may be dismissed as lacking in substance if the decision is consistent with the published selection criteria, or if the complainant meets the published selection criteria but was declined entry in favour of better qualified applicants.
19. The person to whom the grievance has been directed may call a conciliation meeting with all parties concerned, for the purpose of discussing and, if possible, concluding an agreed resolution. The findings of the investigation to date may be presented at this meeting which, if required, must occur within 20 working days of the grievance being lodged in the faculty/division.
20. If, due to unforeseen circumstances (e.g. staff on leave), an investigation cannot be concluded within ten working days of its commencement, the person to whom the grievance has been directed is to send the student an email on the status of the matter using the grievance status template letter.
21. If a resolution cannot be reached after an agreed number of conciliation meetings, the person to whom the grievance has been directed will offer, in writing, the University’s best available solution to the student. The student must accept or decline the offer via email within 10 working days of the date of the offer. If accepted by the student the solution will be implemented immediately.
22. If the student does not accept this offer, the student may forward details of the grievance to the University Student Ombudsman within 20 working days.
Associate Dean (Education) or nominee for academic grievances
Role of the University Student Ombudsman
23. The University Student Ombudsman, appointed by the University Council, will be a person with a good knowledge of the university sector and independent of the Monash University administrative structure. The Vice-Chancellor and President may, if appropriate and from time to time, appoint a person (in addition to and not in place of the University Student Ombudsman) to deal with and make recommendations in relation to a particular complaint or matter in substitution of the University Student Ombudsman. Such person will, for the purposes of that particular complaint or matter, have all the responsibilities and powers of the University Student Ombudsman. The Vice-Chancellor and President may make such an appointment where the University Student Ombudsman is considered to have a conflict of interest or is absent from the University.
24. The office of the University Student Ombudsman will be physically located away from the University's central administrative offices.
25. If the University Student Ombudsman considers that the matter warrants further action, the University Student Ombudsman will conduct an independent investigation and may consult with any staff member whom he or she regards as relevant to the case.
26. The University Student Ombudsman may inspect any documentation relevant to the grievance.
27. The University Student Ombudsman may seek independent legal advice.
28. Where a formal investigation is undertaken, the University Student Ombudsman will seek to make within 20 working days from receipt of the appeal recommendations to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) (DVC(E)) for the resolution of the grievance.
29. The DVC(E) will consider the recommendations of the University Student Ombudsman and take action where appropriate within twenty working days from receipt of the recommendations. The student will be informed via email of the decision of the University and this statement will include details of the reason for the outcome.
30. In the case of academic grievances, the DVC(E) can only make recommendations to the Faculties, in whom the ultimate decision making power resides in accordance with University Statutes and Regulations. Any decision in favour of the student will be implemented immediately.
31. If a student is dissatisfied with the decision of the University, or way a grievance has been handled by the University, the student may make a complaint to the Victorian Ombudsman.
University Student Ombudsman
Monitoring and Reporting
32. Grievance officers within faculties, divisions and sections must ensure that files are maintained of all correspondence and other relevant documents arising from grievances, and that these files can be accessed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) or nominee, and the University Student Ombudsman.
33. Grievance officers must collate and analyse information about the type, causes and numbers of student grievances on an annual basis. At the start of each year, the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) will request that each faculty/division/unit submit a grievance report outlining the extent to which grievances are received and resolved, the methods of resolution employed and the extent of compliance with these procedures. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) will collate reports received from grievance officers and present an annual report to the third meeting of Academic Board about the extent and patterns of student grievances and any generic issues which he or she wishes to draw to the attention of the Academic Board.
34. All records related to grievances, which do not involve legal action, can be permanently destroyed after 7 years. Grievance records related to legal actions taken by or against the University must be retained permanently.
35. The University Student Ombudsman will make an annual report to the second meeting of University Council about the number of grievances received by the University Student Ombudsman and an analysis of the grievances received by the University Student Ombudsman.
36. The University Council may refer the University Student Ombudsman’s report to its Audit and Risk Committee for noting or advice.
Higher Education Support Act 2003 - Sect 212.1
An application may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for the review of the following classes of decision made by a higher education provider with whom the student is enrolled in the unit, where the decision has been confirmed, varied or set aside under section 209‑5 or 209‑10:
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