This page will guide you through the processes and procedures required to raise or escalate a student complaint or grievance, including the reporting of sexual misconduct.
A complaint is a problem or concern raised by a student who considers they have been wronged because of an action, decision or omission within the control or responsibility of the University.
An unresolved complaint that has exhausted local level review processes can be escalated to the Academic Registrar through this process by submitting an escalated complaint.
A grievance is a matter to be investigated according to formal grievance processes. This includes matters relating to allegations of misconduct where disciplinary action against a student or staff member may be the outcome of an investigation.
As an alternative to making a formal complaint about sexual misconduct, the University’s Speak Safely Portal enables the reporting of sexual misconduct to the University. In addition, the University provides an anonymous register for students to record or report instances of inappropriate behaviour without making a formal complaint.
The submission of a complaint or grievance, or the reporting of sexual misconduct, will result in the appointment of a case manager or an independent investigator to examine the matter according to the processes established by the University’s Student Conduct Policy, Appropriate Workplace Behaviour Policy and Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Policy.
The University considers addressing concerns and complaints by students to be an important part of the University’s commitment to continuous review and improvement and to provide a safe, equitable and respectful environment for all members of the University community. No student should fear a negative outcome or retribution from raising concerns or making a complaint provided that they are not vexatious or made maliciously.
Before submitting a complaint or grievance
Step 1: Attempt to resolve the issue informally
Before submitting a formal complaint or grievance, you should attempt to resolve the issue informally in the area where the complaint arose, unless there is a compelling reason why this is not appropriate, for example, where your complaint involves misconduct, or if you have safety or wellbeing concerns. The formal process requires you to outline the history of the complaint or grievance and, if appropriate, your attempts to resolve it informally.
Step 2: Raise the issue
If you are unable to raise or resolve the issue with the person involved, or in the area where the complaint arose, familiarise yourself with the processes, policies, and services available to help you raise an issue or concern.
Step 3: Escalate a complaint or submit a grievance
- Seeking independent advice
- Informal complaint resolution
- Submitting a complaint
- Raising a grievance
- Processes for the investigation of a complaint or grievance.
Grounds for a complaint or grievance
The grounds for the submission of a complaint or grievance include, but are not limited to, the following:
- You were affected by a decision that was made without sufficient consideration of facts, evidence or circumstances.
- You were affected by a failure to adhere to appropriate or relevant published University policies and procedures.
- A penalty, where applied to you, was unduly harsh or inappropriate.
- You were affected by improper, irregular or negligent conduct by another student or staff member.
- You were affected by unfair treatment, prejudice or bias.
Exceptions and additional information
Some categories of complaints are handled using specific policies and procedures that fall outside, or are managed alongside, the student complaints and grievances process.
If your complaint relates to any of the following, please read the accompanying policy and procedure for more details:
- Sexual misconduct, unlawful discrimination, harassment or bullying by another student or staff member:
At the University of Melbourne, we believe that sexual misconduct, harassment, bullying and unlawful discrimination are never okay. In the first instance, please contact the University’s Safer Community Program for specialist support, and advice on how the matter might be best progressed under the provisions of the University's Student Conduct Policy, the Appropriate Workplace Behaviour Policy, or the University’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Policy.
You may choose to submit a complaint about sexual misconduct through the student complaints web form. Alternatively, the University’s Speak Safely Portal enables the reporting of sexual misconduct to the University. In addition, the University provides an anonymous register for students, staff, alumni or visitors to record instances of inappropriate behaviour without making a formal complaint, although we encourage the submission of a report or complaint if possible.
- Unsatisfactory progress:
Academic performance is managed by the Course Academic Progress Committee (CAPC). The process for appealing the decisions of the CAPC can be found in your CAPC outcome letter and in the Academic Progress Review Policy.
- Academic judgement:
Queries about marks and grades should be raised with your subject coordinator, program coordinator or head of school. More information regarding this process is contained within the Assessment and Results Policy.
- Selection appeals:
Queries regarding course selection decisions, and formal requests for review of a decision, are made to the University’s Office of Admissions through the review request website. Selection appeals are not heard through the student complaints and grievances process.
- Privacy concerns:
- Research conduct concerns:
Students wishing to raise concerns about the standards of responsible and ethical research conduct should refer to the Research Integrity and Misconduct Policy for information on how to proceed.
- Education agents:
If the complaint or grievance relates to a related party such as an education agent, students should use the student complaints and grievances web form.
Complaint or grievance submission and advice
The University acknowledges that the student complaints process can be complex and stressful. Prior to submitting a complaint or grievance we strongly encourage students to consult with a student advocate who will be able to confidentially discuss your concerns, provide advice on the likelihood of the success of any complaint or grievance, and help with the preparation of the required documentation. Seeking advice from an independent person, who knows the complaint process and potential outcomes, is strongly recommended.
Discussing your situation with an advocate will help you:
- establish whether you have grounds for complaint
- consider whether the complaint is reasonable
- clarify the details of the matter that is the focus of the complaint
- discuss and consider what outcome you would like to achieve.
Where to get advice
- A Student Advocate - The University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) provides an independent advocacy service, the Student Union Advocacy Service (SUAS), funded from revenue generated by the Student Services and Amenities Fee.
- Other services are also available and can be found on the University's Student Services Finder