Making a complaint
If you’re unhappy with the actions or decisions of the University or a staff member, the following grievance resolution processes can help resolve your complaint.
- Informally resolving academic grievances: For academic complaints, including decisions about results and assessments, we recommend trying to resolve these informally first.
- Formal grievance process: For administrative complaints that are unrelated to the teaching of your course and for any academic complaints you have been unable to resolve informally, use the formal grievance process. Administrative complaints include fee and payment disputes, exam timetabling, unsuccessful requests for an intermission, deferred exams and international student enrolment matters.
You have up to 12 months after the event or decision that your complaint relates to lodge a formal grievance. After that time, you will need to get permission from the Dean of Student to have your formal grievance considered.
Learn more about these processes in the Student Grievances Resolution Policy.
Informal resolution of academic grievances
Step 1: Talk to your unit convener
If you have a problem relating to a specific unit or staff member teaching that unit, the first person to talk to is your unit convener. Contact them via email or phone or organise to meet them face-to-face. You may find you’re able to resolve your complaint this way.
Find your unit convener and their contact details in the unit outline or staff directory.
Step 2: Talk to your Head of School/Program Director
If you are unable to come to a resolution with your unit convener or feel uncomfortable raising your issue with them, you can speak to the Head of School (sometimes called Program Director). This person is often able to provide an impartial perspective and can help you informally resolve your complaint.
Find your Head of School by contacting your faculty.
Step 3: Submit a formal grievance
If you are unable to resolve your complaint by speaking to your unit convener or Head of School/Program Director, you can start the formal grievance process.
Formal grievance process
You should follow the formal grievance process if you want to dispute an administrative matter such as a fee, payment, exam timetable or an unsuccessful request for an intermission or to escalate an academic grievance.
Step 1: Submit a formal grievance
Complete and email the student formal grievance form and email it to the Executive Dean or Director of the business unit responsible for the administrative function your complaint relates to.
The Executive Dean or Director of your faculty (or their delegate) will advise you of the outcome of your complaint in writing, usually by email, within 25 working days.
Step 2: Appeal the outcome of your complaint
If you’re unsatisfied with the resolution of your formal grievance, you can submit an appeal to the Student Appeals Committee.
The Student Appeals Committee considers appeals against the outcome of formal grievances. If you believe the University has not resolved your formal grievance appropriately, you can submit an appeal to have the decision reviewed. If you can show enough grounds for appeal, the Committee will convene a hearing within 25 working days of your submission. If not, you will be advised in writing that your appeal is invalid.
If the Student Appeals Committee convenes a hearing, you will be invited to appear before them. You can bring a support person .
The hearing will be held by at least three committee members from the University including:
- a Chair, appointed by the Vice-Chancellor
- an academic staff member
- a general (administrative) staff member
- a student.
The Committee will advise you of its decision in writing within 25 working days of the hearing.
Request an appeal
You must submit an appeal within 20 working days of the date of your grievance resolution letter. To submit an appeal, you must complete the appeal form and email it to the Secretary of the Student Appeals Committee.
If your appeal is related to an academic suspension you need to complete the appeal for academic suspension form instead as there are more specified grounds for appeal that you’ll need to address. You cannot appeal the actions or decisions of the Student Appeals Committee within the University, but you can lodge a complaint externally. You cannot appeal the actions or decisions of the Student Appeals Committee within the University, but you can lodge a complaint externally.
Seek an external review
You can lodge a complaint about the actions or decisions of the University of Canberra’s Student Appeals Committee with the ACT Ombudsman .
If the grievance you want to resolved relates to discrimination you can choose to lodge a complaint with the ACT Human Rights Commission rather than the ACT Ombudsman.
Scope of the Student Grievance Resolution Policy
We handle most student complaints within the Student Grievance Resolution Policy, but there are a few exceptions:
- student conduct matters
- FEE HELP refund requests
- admission matters
- submitting a complaint older than 12 months without written permission from the Dean of Students.
You can find out more about the issues you can’t address through these processes in the scope section of the Student Grievance Resolution Policy.
You can bring a support person
You do not have to attend a summary inquiry or appeal hearing alone. Another UC student, staff member or a Student Advocacy Officer from the University of Canberra Student Representative Council can accompany you.
You can’t bring a lawyer to a Summary Inquiry at all. If your support person works as a lawyer, they will not be able to act in their professional capacity during your summary inquiry.
You may be permitted to bring a lawyer to an appeal hearing. However, you’ll need permission from the Chair of the Committee. You can request their permission in writing through the Secretary no less than 5 business days prior to the hearing date.
If you’re experiencing stress during this difficult time, reach out to the University’s support, advocacy and information services.
Reach out if you need help
Formal complaint processes can be stressful, so reach out to our support, advocacy and information services if you’d like help navigating them.