Overview

Flinders University is committed to providing access to fair and impartial appeal and complaint resolution processes.

Student appeal and complaint resolution processes seek to facilitate the informal resolution of grievances as close as possible to the source of student dissatisfaction. It is recognised that there may be instances when either students may choose to lodge a formal appeal or a complaint needs to go to a higher authority for resolution.

The University also recognises a student's right to refer a complaint to a relevant external agency at any time. External agencies may include the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission, Australian Human Rights Commission, South Australian Ombudsman, Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Office of the Training Advocate, or Police.

Assistance or further information about the student appeals and complaint resolution processes may be sought from the Student Equal Opportunity Advisor or the Manager, Student Policy and Projects, as appropriate.

Students who have information that meets the definition of reportable conduct under the University's Whistleblower Statement and Procedures, but fear reprisal if they report the information, may contact the University's independent whistleblower management service. For further information refer to Whistleblowers.

Description

Flinders' approach to student appeal and complaint resolution emphasises:

  • fairness and impartiality
  • the handling of grievances informally where possible
  • the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness
  • effective, reciprocal communication and feedback
  • resolution of grievances as early as possible and as close as possible to the source of dissatisfaction.

Procedures

Students are encouraged to raise complaints informally in the first instance. However, students may at any stage submit a formal complaint.

Wherever possible issues should be discussed with the staff member who has immediate responsibility for the decision or matter.

If an effective solution cannot be found the complaint may be referred to the staff member who is responsible for the area.

A response to a complaint will be made as quickly as possible and will inform the student of the decision, the basis for the decision and information on further avenues for appeal.

The following flowcharts depict the stages in the complaint resolution process:

The University's Student Related Policies and Procedures cover a range of matters including: assessment and teaching, student progress and student finance. Where individual policies provide for review and appeal of decisions students are required to follow the procedures set down.

Student Appeals Committee

The University has a Student Appeals Committee that hears complaints and appeals arising from the policies on:

  • assessment
  • student progress
  • student enrolment load
  • breaches of academic integrity
  • other policies, not listed above, which provide for recourse to the Student Appeals Committee.

The Committee will also hear complaints and appeals arising from determinations in regard to the following matters:

  • academic programs
  • committee decisions on academic matters other than where an appeals process is specified in the relevant policy
  • administrative operations or decisions relating to academic matters.

The Student Appeals Committee will also hear appeals arising from higher degree research studies.

Equal opportunity matters

Complaints concerning unlawful discrimination, harassment or bullying should be referred to the Student Equal Opportunity Advisor.

Support for students

The University encourages students to seek advice on grievance mechanisms from the Student Advocacy Officers at the Flinders University Student Association. These staff may play an advocacy role from time to time.

Staff of the University's Health, Counselling and Disability Services can also provide students with documentation attesting to circumstances that should be taken into account by the University.

Where students initiate meetings to resolve grievances informally with University staff, or are invited to attend meetings for this purpose, students may request the presence of an impartial person to attend with them.  This person may be another enrolled student or one of the Student Advocacy Officers from the Flinders University Student Association.  The role played by this person is expected to be as a support person and neutral witness to the discussion.