Academic Grievance Policy and Procedure

Academic Grievance Policy and Procedure

Latest Amendment/Approval Date: March 2020

1. Purpose

1.1 This policy is to ensure that all academic grievances are managed in a fair and objective manner, with the desired outcome of reaching a mutually acceptable solution in the shortest possible timeframe.

1.2 Academic grievances relate to matters such as admissions, student progress, assessment, curriculum and awards in a course of study. Where the issue is non-academic or administrative in nature, the procedures outlined in the Non-Academic Grievance Procedures should be followed.

2. Definitions

Academic decisions means decisions requiring the exercise of academic judgment.

Administrative decisions means decisions on administrative matters, the quality of administrative service or the provision of facilities

Appeal means:

  • a formal written request for reconsideration of a decision made by the College or any person or agent acting on behalf of the College and that is submitted to a person or body with
    authority to undertake that reconsideration within or on behalf of the College; or
  • a formal written request for a ruling on the legitimacy of a decision made by the College or any person or agent acting on behalf of the College and that is submitted to an external
    body that has powers or authority to investigate and determine the legitimacy of the decision

Advocate means a person other than a legal practitioner or a member of staff identified by a student to represent, accompany or assist in any meetings, hearings or interviews related to a student’s formal complaint or appeal

College Mediator means an independent external person appointed from time to time to investigate and/or mediate grievances.

External appeal means a formal written request for a ruling on the legitimacy of a decision made by the College or any person or agent acting on behalf of the College and that is submitted to an
external body that has powers or authority to investigate and determine the legitimacy of the decision

Formal process means a process for addressing a student’s grievance, dispute or appeal other than by “informal processes” (as defined later) and involving investigations and decisions being made in relation to the matter by an impartial and independent person or group of persons or body

Formal complaint means a complaint made or lodged by a student in relation to:

  • any matter in the control of the College that affects the student in his/her capacity as a student or as a general member of the College community; or
  • a decision made by the College or any person or body acting for, or on behalf of, the College that affects the student in his/her capacity as a student

Grievance means a problem or concern raised by a student in relation to an action, decision or omission within the control or responsibility of the College

Independent advocate means a person from the Campion College Students Association who can provide assistance to students regarding these grievance procedures and potential consequences or outcomes in the form of independent advocacy, provision of advice and/or seeking information on their behalf.

Informal process means a process which involves direct discussion between a student and a member of staff of the College, or internal mediation of a dispute, in relation to a student’s grievance with a view to reaching a settlement that is acceptable to the student and the College – the process cannot be followed where a student makes a written grievance

International student means a student or intending student who is not an Australian or New Zealand citizen and does not have Australian Permanent Residency status and who has entered into a current written agreement with the College to undertake a course or program of studies with the College

Investigating Officer means a member of staff appointed by the President to investigate a formal complaint.

Mediation means processes that are designed to resolve a dispute by bringing together the people involved in the dispute to talk over their differences to try to reach a mutually acceptable
resolution or settlement of the dispute; the processes are organised and facilitated by persons who are trained and experienced in dispute resolution and independent of the people involved
in the dispute

Notification means the official notice provided to a student or provisional student (defined later) of the outcome of the student’s grievance or appeal, including any related decisions and the date from which the decisions take effect

Preventative action means action, resulting from decisions reached in favour of, or in support of, a student through grievance or appeal processes, that needs to be taken by the College in future
to ensure quality or compliance in relation to specific matters

Respondent means a person or persons or body concerning whose actions or omissions or decisions a student has a grievance

Responsible Officer means a person identified by the College as having authority to attempt to resolve a student’s grievance through informal processes

Student means, for the purposes of these procedures, a person who is currently enrolled at the College; or an intending student of the College

3. Scope

3.1 This policy applies to all students undertaking a course at Campion College or in the process of being
admitted into a course at Campion.

4. Principles

4.1 Campion College is committed to an equitable and enriching environment for students which fosters academic achievement and where the interactions amongst students and staff are based on mutual respect, fairness and fulfilment of obligations. The College’s Student Code of Conduct expresses the expectations which students may have of the College and which the College has of its students. The Student Code of Conduct, together with the rules and policies of the College, provide the framework for the interaction between the College, its staff and students.

4.2 Where a student has a concern regarding an academic decision or situation, the student has the right to raise and to have that grievance or appeal considered with courtesy, in a timely fashion, and without fear of prejudicial treatment. The student and respondent (if applicable) will not be victimized, or discriminated against as a result of a grievance being raised.

4.3 The student and/or the respondent have the right to be accompanied and assisted by a third person such as a family member, friend, counsellor or other professional support person if they so desire. The support person is not permitted to be a legal representative of the student or the respondent. All Campion College students, regardless of the location where the matter has arisen, the student’s place of residence or the mode in which they study, can use the procedures outlined below. At all stages of the process, reasons and a full explanation for decisions and actions taken as part of the procedures will be provided if requested by a student and/or respondent.

5. Grievances and Appeals Process

A student has the option of pursuing a grievance through four levels internally, as well as an external review avenue:

  1. Informal discussion
  2. Re-mark of assessment item (optional)
  3. Formal written complaint or appeal to the Dean of Studies
  4. Formal written complaint or appeal to an Investigating Officer or the College Mediator
  5. Written request for review to external agencies.

At each level, the student has the right to be assisted or accompanied by a support person. Minutes of meetings during the formal levels of a grievance procedure will be taken and include:

  • time and date,
  • names and positions of those in attendance,
  • decision, including reasons for the decision.

5.1. First Level – Informal Discussion

5.1.1 Students should first attempt to resolve any problem by discussion and/or correspondence with the lecturer or tutor directly involved in, or close to, the situation which is the source of the grievance, as this is likely to lead to a resolution in the most straightforward way. Where a student has a concern about the mark or grade received for an assessment item or a unit of study, they must discuss the grievance with the lecturer, tutor or Unit Co-ordinator before considering a request for remark or a formal appeal.

5.1.2 Students have 20 working days from the receipt of a decision to notify the academic staff members responsible for the decision in writing that they wish to discuss their concerns.

5.1.3 The academic staff member has 10 working days to convene a meeting with the student.

5.1.4 Where this does not lead to a resolution, or does not occur in a timely manner, the student may request a second marker, thus entering the formal level of the grievance procedures.

5.2. Second Level – Request for a Re-mark of an Assessment Item

5.2.1 If the matter pertains to the result received for a particular assessment item, the student can decide to submit a request to have that assessment item re-marked by another academic.

5.2.2 Such a request should be submitted to the original lecturer, tutor, or Unit Co-ordinator who will arrange for a second marker; another academic staff member at the College.

5.2.3 A request for a second marker must be made within 20 working days from the receipt of the original decision.

5.2.4 The academic staff member has 10 working days, after the request is made, to acquire a result from a second marker and convey the result to the student and the Dean of Studies.

5.2.5 The application should state clearly in writing the specific grounds upon which the request for a review of the decision is based and include all necessary supporting information and documentation.

5.3. Third Level – Formal written complaint or appeal to the Dean of Studies

5.3.1 If students are not satisfied that the matter has been resolved after the Second Level, they should take their complaint or appeal to the Dean of Studies. The Dean of Studies will deal with the matter within 10 working days of receipt of the formal written complaint or appeal.

5.3.2 In a circumstance where the Dean of Studies is the original marker of an assignment or was already involved in the earlier stages of a grievance, the student may address this formal written complaint to the Associate Dean of Studies.

5.3.3 Note that where a student experiences illness or misadventure during the teaching period or during an examination, these are not normally grounds for a complaint or an appeal. Provision for these circumstances is made through a Request for Special Consideration, which must be lodged prior to the end of the examination period.

5.3.4 Where a student complaint or appeal includes allegations concerning the conduct or actions of a staff member, the staff member (the respondent) will be immediately notified of the particulars of the matter. The staff member must be given an adequate opportunity to respond to the allegations.

5.4. Fourth Level – Formal written complaint or appeal to an Investigating Officer

5.4.1 If dissatisfied with the response that has been received from the Dean of Studies or the Associate Dean of Studies, or the time taken under the Third Level to respond, the student may submit the complaint or appeal in writing to be considered by an Investigating Officer who may be:

  • an member of the academic staff, or
  • the Director of Operations, or
  • the College Mediator,

at the choice of the complainant. The Investigating Officer so chosen must declare any conflict of interest in writing to the President.

5.4.2 The submission must set out, in writing, the grounds for the complaint or appeal and should include supporting material, such as previous correspondence and a description of the actions taken to date to resolve the matter.

5.4.3 The appeal should be lodged with the Director of Operations (unless the Director of Operations is part of the complaint, in which case the President) and explicitly seek the involvement of the Investigating Officer.

5.4.4 The Investigating Officer will respond to the student within 10 working days of the receipt of the complaint or appeal to advise the action taken in respect of the appeal.

5.4.5 Consideration of Complaint or Appeal

On receipt of a student complaint or appeal, the Investigating Officer considers the complaint or appeal, and may take the following action:

(a) Dismiss the complaint or appeal because the academic action involved is appropriate and the student has not presented sufficient argument to justify further consideration of the matter. The student is advised of the outcome with supporting reasons.

(b) Refer the student and the complaint or appeal to the appropriate academic staff member because, in the opinion of the Investigating Officer or College Mediator, the initial consideration of the matter has not been fully undertaken. If, after this consideration, the student is still dissatisfied, the student can request that the Investigating Officer or College Mediator reconsider the matter.

(c) Uphold the appeal and recommend change to the academic decision or matter.

(d) Find that the appeal presented by the student constitutes sufficient justification to require the Dean of Studies to take certain actions in order to review the original academic decision or matter (for example, appoint an independent examiner, set another assessment task).

(e) Take such other reasonable action which, in the opinion of the Investigating Officer or College Mediator, will assist the resolution of the complaint or appeal. If meetings, interviews or
hearings are held, both the student and the staff member have the right for an advocate to attend if desired.

5.4.6 Appeals Report

The outcome of the Investigative Officer or College Mediator’s deliberations will be a report setting out the decision, the modifications to the original academic decision or matter where appropriate, and the reasons for the decision. The report is provided to the student and to the Dean of Studies. A summary report outlining the number of academic complaints or appeals lodged and outcomes (without providing specific appeal details) will be provided to the Academic Board each semester.

5.5 Fifth Level – External Review

5.5.1 In the event that the decision at the Fourth Level does not resolve the issue, the student may decide to proceed to the fifth level of the process. This level is to refer the grievance to one of the bodies listed below:

(a) TEQSA: https://www.teqsa.gov.au/complaints-domestic-students

(b) Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC): https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/complaints-problems/make-a-consumercomplaint#step-2—contact-the-accc-or-another-third-party

5.5.2 International Students may contact the Overseas Students Ombudsman (OSO): http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/about/overseas-students or TEQSA: https://www.teqsa.gov.au/complaints-international-students

5.5.3 Students considering this stage must initiate the final stage process within four weeks of the decision from the second stage being communicated in writing.

6 Roles and Responsibilities

6.1 The Dean of Studies is responsible for maintaining all records of formal academic grievances. Records of all formal grievances and appeals, applications for review of decisions and outcomes of the process will be kept for a period of five (5) years. These records are strictly confidential. Parties to the complaint or appeal will be allowed supervised access to these records.

6.2 The Dean of Studies is responsible for informing students and staff of this policy and procedures.

7 References

7.1 TEQSA, “Guidance Note: Grievance and Complaint Handling”, Version 1.1 (22 February 2019)


Appendix A: Grievance Flowchart