Non-Academic Grievance and Complaints Procedures
Latest Amendment/Approval Date: June 2023
1.1 A non-academic grievance or formal complaint arises from an event occurring in the life of the College, or a decision made by the College, in which the student perceives lack of procedural fairness and/or unjust discrimination and/or an affront to person or conscience, which does not arise from the student’s academic performance or potential. These procedures are intended to cater for circumstances in which a student seeks to complain against the College’s rules, regulations, policies, procedures, and staff. Such circumstances may include, but are not restricted to:
a) Alleged inappropriate or unprofessional behaviour of College staff;
b) Unjust discrimination, such as treatment on the grounds of gender, colour, race or country of origin;
c) The claim that a student has an unpaid financial obligation to the College;
d) The use of personal information provided by a student.
e) The Rules, policies or procedures of the College.
1.2 There is a separate Academic Grievance Procedures document that relates to grievances and complaints involving academic decisions.
1.3 Allegations made against a student regarding general misconduct or academic misconduct may be handled under the provisions of the Student Misconduct Procedures. For general misconduct this includes allegations involving:
- Sexual Harrassment, or harassment of any kind.
- Sexual Assualt, or any physical violence.
- racial, gender or cultural vilification,
- destruction of public property,
- buying/selling illicit substances or possessing illegal items.
1.4 Allegations regarding sexual misconduct are handled under the Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures.
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.
- 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 accompany and assist the student in any meetings, hearings or interviews related to a student’s formal complaint or appeal.
College Mediator means an independent dispute resolution officer not employed by the College and with no personal or professional relationship with the complainant.
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 written formal complaint.
Formal complaint means:
- an allegation of misconduct by a member of College staff; or
- 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 informally in relation to an action, decision or omission within the control or responsibility of the College, which may be resolved in discussion or by clarification.
Informal process means a process for addressing an informal grievance which may be resolved in discussion or by clarification. This process cannot be followed where a student makes a formal written complaint.
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.
Investigation means a thorough search for facts, especially those that are hidden or need to be sorted out in a complex situation. The goal of an investigation is usually to determine how or why something happened.
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.
Procedural Fairness means the Principles of Natural Justice including the provisions that:
a) Students are informed, with adequate notice, of allegations and proceedings,
b) Students are provided with opportunity to respond and be heard,
c) Decision makers are without conflict of interest or prior involvement in the case,
d) Proceedings are carried out and determinations made without bias.
Respondent means a person or persons or body concerning whose actions or omissions or decisions a student has a grievance.
Review means a comprehensive checking and judgement of a previous decision in order to reaffirm or change the outcome.
Student means, for the purposes of these procedures, a person who is currently enrolled at the College; or an intending student of the College.
3.1 These procedures apply to all students of the College or those seeking to enrol in a course of study and are entitled to access these procedures.
3.2 As these procedures also may involve staff member, all staff are entitled to access these procedures.
3.3 The procedures set out in this document do not replace or modify procedures or any other responsibilities which may arise under other higher education provider policies or under statute or any other law.
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.
4.2 The student and/or respondent will not be victimised or discriminated against at any stage of the complaints process set out in these procedures.
4.3 The student and/or respondent will be provided with procedural fairness.
4.3 Campion College does not charge any fee for the processing of non-academic grievances and complaints.
5.1 A student has the option of pursuing a grievance through an internal process as outlined below as First Level (5.2). Should the student wish to escalate the level of the grievance to a formal complaint, there are two internal levels and one external level, as outlined below as Second, Third and Fourth Levels (5.3; 5.4; 5.5).
In relation to all levels of the process, students may request to admit the testimony of witnesses, where appropriate, and request the presence of an observer (see 5.2.3)
5.2 First Level – Informal Process (Grievance)
Students are encouraged to raise their grievance in the first instance directly with the person concerned, or the manager responsible for the non-academic service involved in the complaint. This is appropriate in matters where the student feels comfortable with making a direct approach, or where the grievance does not relate to allegations of unlawful behaviour. Grievances at this level are not considered as ‘formal complaints’ and do not require documenting unless they proceed to the next level.
5.3 Second Level – Formal Process (written complaint to the Director of Operations)
Where a student is not comfortable in discussing the issue informally, or has discussed their grievance with the relevant person and is unable to resolve the issue, or is dissatisfied with the outcome of an informal discussion, he or she may choose to lodge a formal complaint with the Director of Operations. Mindful of the nature of the complaint, it must be dealt with in a reasonable time-frame, and at any rate within 21 days (3 weeks) of receipt of the complaint. The Director of Operations must give reasons and a full explanation in writing for decisions and actions taken in relation to this complaint as part of the procedures if requested by the student and/or respondent.
5.4 Third Level – Formal Process (written complaint to an Investigating Officer or the College Mediator)
In the event that the Director of Operation’s decision does not resolve the issue, the student has the right to lodge a complaint to be considered by an Investigating Officer or the College Mediator. The complaint must be submitted in writing to the President and explicitly seek the involvement of an Investigating Officer or the College Mediator. The President must acknowledge receipt of a complaint in writing within one week.
The Investigating Officer or College Mediator must address a complaint requiring its consideration within 15 business days of receiving the written complaint. Please note these deadlines are subject to change depending on the availability and policies of the independent parties called into resolve a complaint. The student may be given the opportunity to be interviewed by the Investigating Officer or College Mediator, or participate in a mediation session if required. The student and the respondent have the right to be represented by an advocate, such as a family member, counsellor or other professional support person, if they so desire, but not for legal representation. If a request for an impartial observer is received from the student or the respondent, an observer agreeable to both the President and the student will be permitted to attend the proceedings. This observer will normally be drawn from an institution affiliated with the Independent Higher Education Association or from a registered Catholic higher education provider.
The Investigating Officer or College Mediator must give reasons and a full explanation in writing for decisions and actions taken as part of the procedures if requested by the student or respondent. The student must be informed in writing that the College has a process by which the decision of the Investigating Officer or College Mediator can be reviewed externally.
5.5 Fourth Level – External Review
In the event that the Investigating Officer’s or College Mediator’s decision does not resolve the issue, the student may decide to proceed to the fourth level of the process. This stage is to seek an external review by the independent External Reviewer appointed by Campion College for this purpose.
The College has an agreement with Independent Higher Education Australia (IHEA) to provide an independent External Reviewer to review decisions made by the College.
Students considering this stage must initiate the final stage process within 28 days (four weeks) of the decision from the second stage being communicated in writing.
The task of the External Reviewer is to review the consistency of the College’s decisions of with the published policies of the College. The decision of the Investigating Officer or the College Mediator and all tabled documents dealing with the complaint or appeal must be forwarded to the External Reviewer.
The External Reviewer must address a complaint requiring his or her consideration within 21 business days of the receipt of the written request. Please note these deadlines are subject to change depending on the availability and policies of the independent parties called into resolve a complaint. The External Reviewer must give reasons and a full explanation in writing for decisions and actions taken as part of the procedures if requested by the student or respondent. If the External Reviewer makes recommendations in relation to a grievance they have reviewed, the External Reviewer will forward those recommendations to the President within 15 business days of the receipt of the written request. The President will ensure that the recommendations are implemented as soon as practicable, and within a maximum period of six months.
6. Roles and Responsibilities
6.1 It is the responsibility of the Director of Operations and Investigating Officer to keep notes and documentation at all stages of an investigation including records of meetings, discussions and actions proposed or taken. All records must be stored on a confidential file and in line with College policy. Those records are to be accessible under supervision to all parties involved for a period of five years. Such records must remain confidential unless deemed by the College Executive to be necessary for achieving the students’ right to procedural fairness. In such cases, the College Executive must also consider that the release of any records will not impinging on the rights and safety of other students and staff.
6.2 It is the responsibility of the Director of Operations to report cases of non-academic complaints at least once a year to the Institute Board.
6.3 It is the responsibility of the Director of Operations to make these procedures available to all staff and students.
6.4 It is the responsibility of all students and staff to reasonably cooperate with the process outlined in these Procedures; not undermine the process in any way; and behave in an appropriate and civil manner during an investigation and during interviews and mediation sessions.
6.5 The Campion Executive Committee has the responsibility of implementing these procedures when formal complaints are made and reviewing the effectiveness of these procedures whenever they are tested.
6.6 The Campion Executive Committee is responsible for providing training for staff in matters related to these procedures.
- TEQSA Guidance Note: Wellbeing and Safety, 8 January 2018
- TEQSA Guidance Note: Grievance and Complaint Handling, 22 February 2019
- A range of documents were reviewed in developing these procedures and are gratefully acknowledged, in particular the student misconduct procedures from UNSW, and the Student Misconduct Rule from Western Sydney University.