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Non-Academic Complaints

 

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.

Sexual assault
For a complaint about an incident of sexual assault please see Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.

Discrimination, harassment and bullying
For complaints about discrimination you may lodge a complaint with the University or with the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board or the Australian Human Right Commission. See Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying, and Disability Support for more information.

Academic complaints
For a complaint about an academic decision, such as a mark for an assessment, a grade for a unit or a finding of plagiarism, please see Academic Appeals and Intellectual Property.

Group work complaints
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 SUPRA 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. See Academic Appeals for more details.

 

Non-academic complaints

Complaints that do not fall under one of the above four headings are known as ‘non-academic complaints’. These could include complaints about:

  • Timetable schedule
  • Learning and teaching concerns
  • A complaint about another student or member of staff’s behaviour
  • Breaches of professionalism.

 

Lodging a complaint

The University is committed to resolving complaints in a fair and timely manner. Students are encouraged to try to resolve issues informally. This may mean contacting your Unit Coordinator or even the Dean or 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 to the Student Affairs Unit (SAU). You may lodge a complaint verbally or in writing. If you lodge 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. 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 constitute an act of misconduct or possibly involve criminal behaviour, will be referred to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Registrar) for handling.

Detailed information about complaints, the procedures for lodging a complaint, investigations, and timeframes, can be found at: sydney.edu.au/students/complaints/what-happens-next.html

 

Written complaint

You can lodge 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 the incident, 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: studentaffairs@sydney.edu.au

You can also lodge a complaint online: sydney.edu.au/students/complaints/make-a-complaint.html

 

Phone advice

If you have a concern and are not sure about the procedure for making a complaint, you are welcome to contact the SAU and have a chat.
(02) 8627 5559 or 1800 SYD HLP (1800 793 457)

 

When to lodge a complaint

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 graduate. In most cases, you have 12 months from the time of the incident in which to lodge a complaint to the SAU and have the University commit to resolution.

 

If you are the subject of a complaint

If you have received notice of being the respondent or the subject of a complaint we strongly recommend you contact SUPRA for advice.

 

Appeals against complaint outcomes

When you receive your written report on the outcome of your assessment or investigation, the SAU will advise about any right that you have to appeal the decision. If eligible for appeal you will need to contact the SAU within ten days of being notified of the outcome of your complaint.

Depending on the nature of the complaint you may also decide to contact external bodies such as the NSW Ombudsman, NSW Anti-Discrimination Board or the Australian Human Rights Commission.

 

Support

Taking the step to lodge a complaint can be hard. It is reasonable to feel stressed, overwhelmed or anxious. If you need someone to talk to, the University’s Counselling Service may be helpful.

(02) 8627 8433 or (02) 8627 8437
http://caps.admin@sydney.edu.au or cumberland.cs@sydney.edu.au

The University has two free helplines to assist students with any questions or concerns.

Questions: 1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864)
First point of contact for all student needs.

Concerns: 1800 SYD HLP (1800 793 457)
Confidential helpline to speak to someone about an unwanted sexual experience, indecent assault or to make a complaint about other misconduct or process issues.

NSW Ombudsman
ombo.nsw.gov.au

You may also contact SUPRA for support and guidance. Both the University and SUPRA can also refer you to appropriate support services.

 

Policy

The University’s complaints process is handled under the Resolution of Complaints Policy 2015 and Student Complaint Procedures 2015.

 

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