Have you experienced something that you’d like to make a complaint about, or that you need help to resolve? Depending on the type of complaint, there are different options for reporting.
Different types of complaints are dealt with by different areas of the University, and some complaints may be taken to authorities outside of the University. The information below can help you figure out what to do with your complaint.
If you have been sexually assaulted, remember that it is not your fault. You should consider your options for making a complaint and know your options for seeking support. We can give you confidential advice and assistance. What you decide to do is always up to you.
For complaints about discrimination you may submit a complaint with either: the University, the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, or the Australian Human Rights Commission. Read our articles for more information on these types of complaints:
For a complaint about an academic decision you will need to make an academic appeal. Academic decisions include:
If you are doing a group work assessment and experience conflict with members in your group, try to discuss your issues directly with your unit coordinator, or contact us for advice. You should try to resolve group work issues as they arise and document your efforts: keep emails, texts or messages sent between yourself and group members, and your unit coordinator; record a clear timeline of incidents; and always keep a copy of all relevant documentation. You may want to make an academic appeal if you receive a low mark for your group work assessment. If you are concerned about plagiarism or academic dishonesty within your group, contact us for advice.
Complaints that do not fall under one of the above four headings are known as ‘non-academic complaints’. These could include complaints about:
Students are encouraged to try to resolve issues informally. This may mean contacting your unit coordinator or even the Associate Dean in your faculty. If this would not be appropriate in your situation, or if the response from your faculty is not satisfactory, you can lodge a complaint with the Student Affairs Unit.
You can make a complaint with the Student Affairs Unit (SAU). You may make a complaint verbally or in writing. If you make a complaint verbally and an investigation is required, you will be asked to submit a written complaint. In most cases complaints can’t be anonymous, but the SAU assures confidentiality will be strictly maintained.
The University is committed to resolving complaints in a fair and timely manner. Your complaint should be acknowledged, and within five working days the SAU should notify you of the next relevant steps. At the preliminary stage the SAU may determine that the complaint is not able to be handled by the University and will notify you with reasons. If the SAU decides that the complaint can be handled by the University, you will be assigned a case manager who will undertake a preliminary assessment to determine appropriate action.
A complaint that, if proven, could be an act of misconduct or possibly involve criminal behaviour, will be referred to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Registrar) for handling.
You can make a written complaint by writing a detailed summary of the incident(s). Where possible, provide dates, times and locations. If you have any witnesses that can verify your account of what happened, ask them to provide their names and contact details, or at least make a note in your complaint that there were witnesses. Your written complaint, along with all evidence and documentation to support your claims, can be emailed to the SAU: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can make a complaint online.
If you have a concern and are not sure about the procedure for making a complaint, you are welcome to contact the SAU.
Phone 1800 SYD HLP (1800 793 457)
Depending on the nature of the complaint you may decide to lodge a complaint with the SAU after you receive your results, or even after you have graduated. In most cases, you have twelve (12) months from the time of the incident to make a complaint to the SAU.
When you receive your written report on the outcome of your assessment or investigation, the SAU will advise you if you have any right to appeal the decision. If eligible for appeal, you will need to contact the SAU within ten (10) days of being notified of the outcome of your complaint.
If you receive a notice that a complaint has been made about you, we strongly recommend you contact us for advice. We can help you understand the complaint, and what your options are.
Taking the first step to make a complaint can be hard. It is reasonable to feel stressed, overwhelmed or anxious. If you need someone to talk to, CAPS may be helpful.
The University has two free helplines to assist students with any questions or concerns.
For any questions phone 1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864), this is the first point of contact for all student needs.
If you have concerns phone 1800 SYD HLP (1800 793 457) select option 2, then option 1.
You can contact us for support and guidance.
Both the University and SUPRA can also refer you to other appropriate support services.
All policies are available on the University Policy Register: