(1) This Procedure was approved by the Vice-Chancellor on 12 November 2012 and incorporates all amendments to 27 October 2014.
(2) This Procedure is pursuant to the Student Complaints Resolution Policy.
(3) To document the University's student complaints resolution process.
(4) This applies to concerns and complaints by current, former or prospective students as set out in the Student Complaints Resolution Policy.
(5) Refer to the Student Complaints Resolution Policy.
(6) This Procedure provides two avenues for students to resolve their concerns or complaints within the University:
(7) At any stage, and in any meeting relevant to the resolution of a complaint or concern, the student has the right to a support person other than a legal practitioner or a person who is undergoing legal training. The support person may include a Designated Complaints Contact, Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officer, student representative or Deakin University Student Association (DUSA) advocate, family member or friend. The support person cannot advocate for either party.
(8) Allegations of discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying or victimisation should in the first instance be discussed with a Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officer or with the relevant Head of School or area manager, who will:
(9) The Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officer or relevant Head of School or area manager will refer any serious matters to the Manager, Student Complaints and Appeals.
(10) Where possible, a student who has a concern about a matter covered by this Procedure should in the first instance raise it directly with the person/s or area whose action or decision has led to the concern and attempt to reach a satisfactory resolution.
(11) If a concern is informally resolved to the satisfaction of the student and agreed actions have been implemented, no further action is required and the matter is not recorded in the Complaints Handling System as a complaint.
(12) If a concern is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student may lodge a complaint as set out in clauses 16-18.
(13) The following matters are treated by the University as student complaints:
(14) All steps taken and decisions made as part of the formal resolution of a student complaint are, as soon as practicable, recorded in the Complaints Handling System and communicated in writing to all affected parties.
(15) A student may withdraw a complaint or appeal at any time by notifying the Manager, Student Complaints and Appeals in writing.
(16) To lodge a complaint, students complete and submit a Student Complaint form to a Designated Complaints Contact or the Manager, Student Complaints and Appeals in person, through the mail, electronically or online. The form requires:
(17) Complaints must be lodged:
(18) A complaint lodged after six months will only be investigated where the Manager, Student Complaints and Appeals is satisfied that:
(19) Within a maximum of five working days of a complaint form being lodged, the Designated Complaints Contact or Manager, Student Complaints and Appeals or nominee:
(20) On receipt of the complaint, the Manager, Student Complaints and Appeals may request further information or documentation from the complainant.
(21) Within a maximum of 10 working days of a complaint being lodged and any additional information or documentation being supplied, the Manager, Student Complaints and Appeals:
(22) Possible methods for conducting a formal investigation are:
(23) Investigators and members of an inquiry panel should have no prior involvement in the matter and have the capacity and seniority to consider the issues and provide appropriate recommendations.
(24) Investigators and members of inquiry panels must:
(25) The investigator or inquiry panel investigates a complaint in a timely manner and seeks whatever information, advice or assistance is necessary to reach a recommendation.
(26) The investigator or inquiry panel may investigate the matter on merit and/or process as appropriate.
(27) An investigation on process considers the following procedural elements to determine whether the original action or decision was justified:
(28) Each party is provided with an opportunity to present their case and, where appropriate, to comment on any information presented during the investigation.
(29) Students and respondents are expected to cooperate with the investigation, attend any meetings and behave in a reasonable and courteous manner.
(30) After completing an investigation, the investigator or inquiry panel prepares a written report regarding the determination/s and further action/s (as appropriate) as set out below:
|a.||Complaint substantiated on the evidence||Recommendation referred to the appropriate staff member for immediate action|
|b.||Complaint not substantiated on the evidence||No further action required|
|c.||Relevant procedure followed||No further action required|
|d.||Breaches occurred with respect to procedural fairness, compliance and/or authority to act||Matter referred to the responsible staff member for determination in accordance with the relevant procedure from the point at which the breach occurred|
|e.||Matter should have been dealt with in accordance with another Deakin procedure||Matter referred for urgent consideration by an appropriate staff member|
|f.||There is insufficient evidence to reach a determination||Matter terminated, but may be reopened if further evidence becomes available|
|g.||There is evidence to suggest that the complaint is frivolous or lacking substance||Recommendations made which may include referral for disciplinary action|
|h.||There is evidence to suggest that the complaint may be vexatious||Matter referred to the staff member in charge of the relevant area or process (e.g. disciplinary process) for consideration|
(31) The Manager, Student Complaints and Appeals provides all parties involved in the investigation with a written statement detailing the outcome of the investigation and the reasons for the outcome, usually within five working days of the determination being finalised.
(32) All parties are referred to appropriate internal and/or external avenues for appeal and provided with information about procedures and timelines for lodging an appeal.
(33) Either party may appeal a determination under clause 29 within 20 working days of formal written notification of the outcome of the investigation.
(34) Appeals should be submitted to the Manager, Student Complaints and Appeals on a Deakin University Student Complaint Appeal Form.
(35) Appeals from a determination resulting from a formal local investigation:
(36) Appeals from a determination resulting from a formal independent investigation:
(37) Appeals on procedural grounds against a determination resulting from a formal independent investigation may be made to an appropriate external organisation in accordance with clauses 38-39.
(38) Students can seek an external review of final University decisions by the Victorian Ombudsman. Students may also access other external organisations such as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and the Australian Human Rights Commission.
(39) Where the University is aware that a complaint has been lodged by a student with an external organisation, the matter is recorded in the Complaints Handling System.
(40) For the purpose of this Procedure: