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Monash University Policy Bank

Academic and Administrative Complaints and Grievances Policy

Purpose

  • To ensure that the rights of both the university and the student are protected when a student submits an academic or administrative complaint or grievance;
  • To ensure that university processes enable student academic and administrative grievances and complaints to be resolved as expeditiously and effectively as possible;
  • To ensure that the resolution of student academic and administrative complaints and grievances follows standard procedures across the university;
  • To codify, collate and publish internal student complaints and grievances procedures in accordance with government requirements.

Scope

• All campuses

• All HDR and coursework programs, including non-award programs

• Prospective students whose complaint or grievance relates to administrative processes during application, selection or admission

• Currently enrolled students

• Current and past students may lodge academic or administrative grievances; prospective candidates may lodge only administrative grievances relating to the application, selection or admission process.

• Grievances by coursework students regarding a unit may be lodged up to six months after discontinuation or completion of the unit with the appropriate faculty.

• Grievances by past coursework students with regard to a course of may be lodged up to six months after course completion with the appropriate faculty/division.

• Grievances by past HDR candidates may be lodged up to six months after: the written notification of the result of his/her thesis examination; or the written notification that his/her candidature has lapsed, been terminated or not confirmed; or the written notification by the candidate that he/she has withdrawn to the Monash Research Graduate School or appropriate faculty or administrative division.

• The University has separate procedures for exclusion for unsatisfactory academic progress, discipline, exclusion for health reasons and complaints of bullying, discrimination or sexual harassment. This policy may not be used to:

  • Initiate an action about discrimination/sexual harassment or to complain about the outcome of a matter which has been handled under the University’s Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Procedures;

  • Initiate an action about bullying or to complain about the outcome of a matter which has been handled under the University’s Procedures For Managing Incidents of Bullying;

  • Complain about an outcome reached under processes contained in Monash University (Academic Board) Regulations Part 4 - Exclusion for Unsatisfactory Progress or Inability to Progress, Monash University (Vice-Chancellor) Regulations Part 6 - Exclusion for Health Reasons, Monash University (Council) Regulations Part 7 - Student Discipline.

Policy Statement

  1. Students will be advised during University orientation and induction programs of complaints and grievances procedures and policies and student support services.
  2. A student making a complaint or grievance is responsible to clearly identify the issue, give all available information in support in an organised way at the time of making the complaint or grievance, cooperate with the review of the complaint or investigation of the grievance and treat staff with courtesy and respect.
  3. The University may set limits on its handling of a complaint or grievance or discontinue any process in the event of abuse, harassment or threats to welfare of staff or other person.
  4. Student complaints and grievances will be treated in a serious, sensitive and timely manner and discussed only with those persons relevant to the case or who can provide specialist advice.
  5. Staff involved in resolving student complaints or grievances will act fairly at all times and ensure that decisions will be based on a thorough and unbiased consideration of facts and views expressed by all parties.
  6. Only the aggrieved student may make a complaint or give notice of a grievance within this policy.
  7. A student must be able to invoke the complaints and grievances procedures without fear of discrimination or victimisation.
  8. A student lodging a grievance will be made aware of relevant University support services.
  9. Students who lodge an academic or administrative grievance have the right to due process and a fair hearing.
  10. It is desirable that student grievances procedures are kept as informal as possible, based on principles of mediation and negotiation. 
  11. No action in response to a grievance will be taken or suggested to a student without adequate consultation with the relevant staff member.
  12. A student or staff member party to a grievance may be accompanied at any conciliation or consultation by one support person. The accompanying person may not act as an advocate for the student or staff member.
  13. A student may withdraw a grievance at any stage by giving written notice to the person currently handling it.
  14. Where it is determined to be frivolous, vexatious, or lacking in substance, a student’s grievance may be dismissed. The student must be advised in writing of this decision, including details of the reasons for this decision and the student’s right to make a complaint to the University Student Ombudsman. 
  15. The University Student Ombudsman will ensure that resolution of student grievances follow consistent procedures across the University and will provide independent and impartial review of academic and administrative grievances.
  16. Outcomes or decisions reached through application of complaints and grievances procedures must be achievable within University legislation and policies, and State or Commonwealth legislative requirements.
  17. A student's enrolment status must be maintained pending the outcome of a formal grievance process. If a student is involved in another proceeding (eg. unsatisfactory academic progress) at the time a formal grievance is lodged, the first proceeding must be determined before the second is commenced. No proceedings may run concurrently. A grievance which is lodged for the purpose of delaying another proceeding may be dismissed on the ground that it is frivolous and lacking in substance.

Supporting procedures

Complaints and Grievances of Coursework Students Procedures
HDR candidature: Academic and Administrative Complaints Procedures

Supporting guidelines

Responsibility for implementation

University Student Ombudsman
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and/or (Education)
Deans of faculties
Associate Deans (Education) and/or Associate Dean responsible for research candidates
Heads of academic units
Faculty managers
Faculty or Divisional grievance officer
University Review Officer
University grievance officers
Divisional Directors and Managers
Plus for HDR student grievances:
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Research Training)
Chair, Research Graduate School Committee
Chair, Research Graduate School Committee Grievance Appeal Panel
Monash Research Graduate School
Research Graduate School Committee
School/department graduate studies coordinators and officers

Status

Revised

Key Stakeholders

University Student Ombudsman
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education)
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Research Training)
University Solicitor’s Office
President of Academic Board
Deans of faculties
Associate Deans (Education) and/or (Research)
Heads of academic units
Faculty managers
Faculty or Divisional grievance officers
University and/or student associations
University Review Officer
University grievance officers
Divisional Directors and Managers
Chair, Research Graduate School Committee
Chair, Research Graduate School Committee Grievance Appeal Panel
Monash Research Graduate School
Research Graduate School Committee
Faculty associate dean responsible for research degrees
School/department graduate studies coordinators and officers
Monash Postgraduate Association

Approval body

Name: Academic Board
Meeting: 5/2009
Date: 21-October-2009
Agenda item: 15.1

Endorsement body

Name: Education Committee
Meeting: 5/2009
Date: 08-October-2009
Agenda item: 5.2.1

Definitions

Candidate Complaint: An expression of dissatisfaction from a candidate with: a decision of the University; or the manner of delivery of a service offered or provided by the University.

Student Complaint: An expression of dissatisfaction from a student with a process, decision or service offered or provided by the University.

Candidate Grievance: A formal written notice given by a candidate after an unresolved complaint which initiates action under the Complaints and Grievances Procedures.

Student Grievance: A formal written notice given by a student after an unresolved complaint which initiates action under the Complaints and Grievances Procedures.

Course: An award, non-award or enabling program.

Completion of coursework studies: The date on which the final results of a student’s course/units are ratified by the relevant Faculty Board of Examiners or equivalent.

Completion of research degree: The date on which the final result of a candidate’s HDR program is ratified by the relevant faculty or the Research Graduate School Committee.

Discontinued studies – coursework: Enrolment in a course or unit which has ceased on written advice from the student that he/she has withdrawn; or when the student’s enrolment has been discontinued by the University; or when the student has discontinued his/her enrolment online or when the student has failed to re-enrol within the published timeframe.

Discontinued studies – research: HDR candidature which has ceased on written advice from the candidate that he/she has withdrawn; or HDR candidature that has lapsed, been terminated or not been confirmed.

HDR: Higher degrees by research

MRGS: Monash Research Graduate School

RGSC: Research Graduate School Committee

Resolved complaint or grievance: When the student and faculty/division/unit accept the outcome of the complaint or grievance.

Working days: Days other than Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays under the Public Holidays Act 1993.

Legislation Mandating Compliance

All relevant legislative instruments that stipulate requirements with which members of the Monash community (all of whom are subject to the law) are obligated to comply.

Monash University Statute


Australian Commonwealth and Victorian State Governments


Higher Education Support Act 2003
Ombudsman Victoria

Commonwealth Ombudsman Act 1976

Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic)
Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 – National Code of Practice 2007
Public Records Act (Victoria) 1973


South African Government


Higher Education Act 101 of 1997
Council on Higher Education

Higher Education Quality Committee

Related policies

Privacy Policy
Monash Residential Services – Policy on the Resolution of Breaches of Residential Community Standards and Other Grievances  (pdf 130KB)
HDR Termination of Candidatory Policy (including Non-Confirmation of Candidature)

Related documents

University Student Ombudsman
See the University Student Ombudsman web page


Victorian Ombudsman
See the Monash website on the Victorian Ombudsman


Monash University
Student grievance information


Monash University grievance templates:



Monash University Record Disposal Authority


Handbook for Doctoral and MPhil Degrees Guidelines for convenors of advisory panels/sub committees for HDR grievance, appeals, termination of candidature and discipline hearings.

Date Effective

29-August-2007

Review Date

21-October-2012

Owner

Chair, Education Policies and Programs Committee Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Research Training) and chair of RGSC

Author

Manager, Education Policy and Manager, Monash Research Graduate School

Content Enquiries

Education Policy Unit
Policy Mrgs

University Policy Use

Version Number: 1.1

Contact: adm-PolicyBank@monash.edu

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