Staff and student FAQs
I am worried I might be penalised or treated unfairly if I make a complaint
All students and staff of the University are bound by the principles and values outlined by the University. This means that you have a right to expect to be treated without bias or fear of retribution.
It is not reasonable for any student or staff member of the University to act in a way that breaches University policy or the law.
Policies that cover behaviour and protection from reprisals include the Student Code of Conduct, Code of Conduct (for staff) (opens in a new window), the Bullying Prevention Guidelines(opens in a new window) and the Bullying Prevention Policy (opens in a new window).
General information about Procedural fairness is contained in the Guidelines on Procedural Fairness and Good Decision-Making PDF, 58.27 KB.
What information am I given when I make a complaint?
When you bring a matter to the CRU you will receive acknowledgement of your concerns in writing (generally by email). This will usually include the name of the person who will be managing your matter and in most cases will advise you of the preliminary steps that will be taken.
You should also be supplied with information about where to get support if you need it.
What are my responsibilities?
We expect that you will represent your matter clearly and honestly, setting out the facts. Complaints that are found to be misleading, frivolous or that appear to be aimed at hurting another party may be dealt with under misconduct proceedings.
We expect you to provide us with any evidence in your possession at the time you make your complaint.
The University encourages a community of mutual respect. Students and staff are expected to conduct themselves in a measured and thoughtful way. Please be mindful of the way you represent yourself when dealing with others.
We understand that you may be feeling upset or distressed. Staff will treat you with openness and respect; however repeated instances of unreasonable behavior on the phone may result in your call being terminated. Similarly, the use of inappropriate language and/or open disrespect in written communications is not acceptable. The health and wellbeing of our staff is important.
How will I know where my matter is up to? - Progress reports during investigation
When your matter is brought to the CRU we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint, generally by email. If you are a student we must communicate with you via your official Western Sydney University student email account.
Please be aware that a large part of managing your complaint involves seeking information from other areas of the University. The facts and evidence that you provide need to be considered and advice is usually sought from the relevant School or business area to help us make an assessment. We may have questions for you or ask you to provide further information or evidence as part of the process.
You may seek an update from us at any time; however it is important to allow time for our enquiries to proceed.
At the conclusion of the investigation you will be given a final outcome in writing.
How long will it take for my complaint to be sorted out?
The timeframe to respond to your complaint will depend on whether it is a complex issue or something that is relatively straightforward. Complaints that have tight timelines (i.e. enrolment or applications to graduate) will be given a high priority.
The CRU handles approximately 400 complaint enquiries every year, half of which will be accepted as complaints for case management by our Unit. While every case is important, we will generally need to give higher priority to matters that are urgent and/or serious. All matters are attended to in as short a time-frame as possible.
What about Confidentiality?
All matters that come to the CRU are treated in as confidential a manner as possible. Information is only shared with relevant officers of the University for the purposes of seeking information, advice or assistance to reach a preliminary or final determination. You can speak to your case manager if you have any concerns in this regard.
Who will look after my complaint?
Your complaint will be handled by an experienced case manager who will have oversight for seeking advice, and assessing all of the available information against the policies and processes of the University.
The case manager is an employee of the University, whose role is independent of the Schools and other Business Units of the University. The case manager does not have responsibility for deciding the outcome of a complaint. In most cases, they will provide information, evidence, reports and recommendations for a decision by the most appropriate person within the University (ie the Head of School, College Dean or Unit Director).
All complaints that are managed within the CRU will be followed through to conclusion to ensure that the complainant receives an outcome.
What happens if I am not happy with the outcome I have been given?
You may not be happy with the outcome of your complaint, although the University considers it resolved. Complaints are reviewed in accordance with the policies, guidelines and procedures that govern all aspects of the University's business (teaching and learning, research, business practices etc). Some aspects of the University's functions are governed by rules that are set by State and Federal governments. While you may not think that an outcome is right, the University's decisions must comply with the rules. In some cases, there is no room for discretion or for making exceptions.
If you believe that a mistake has been made or that a rule has been unfairly applied you can take your matter to an External Agency for review. External Agencies may require you to have completed an internal complaints process before lodging an application.
Can I make a complaint on behalf of someone else?
You can make a complaint on behalf of another person provided the person gives express written consent for you to act on their behalf. We are unable to discuss or disclose any information with a third party without permission. This includes parents or siblings of students or members of staff.
We will only accept a written form of consent that is specific to the complaint, ie it must mention:
- the nature of the complaint
- the full name of the person who will act as the representative/agent in the complaints process
- any limitations on the consent (ie time or otherwise)
- the consent must be dated
What if I think someone is involved in fraudulent activity or serious wrongdoing?
If you think a member of staff may be involved in activities that constitute a serious breach of policy, the matter may be dealt with as a Public Interest Disclosure (PID).
The University has a policy on how to make a Public Interest Disclosure.
You can bring your concerns to the Complaints Resolution Manager, or another Public Disclosures Officer, who will make an assessment based on the facts. Matters that are subsequently accepted as a PID will be managed in accordance with the appropriate processes and protections are offered for the person or persons making the disclosure.
Public Interest Disclosures can only be made by staff. Students who have similar concerns must use the complaints process.
The NSW Ombudsman also provides information about reporting serious wrongdoing(opens in a new window) within an organisation.
What will happen to my information?
Any information you provide to assist us with the management of your complaint will be recorded in our Complaints Management System and in TRIM, the University's records management system. The information in these systems is secure, and is managed in accordance with Privacy legislation and the NSW State Records Act (1998).
The University has policies on Privacy and on the management of University records.
The information you provide to us will not be disclosed to a third party, except for the purposes of managing your complaint or to comply with law.
If you have lodged an application for Special Consideration and it has been rejected you can bring it to the CRU if:
- There is evidence that all relevant information was not considered
- There is evidence that the process wasn't followed
- There is substantial new information that hasn't been considered previously
- If your concern doesn't fit one of the above categories then the outcome may be final. However you are entitled to contact the CRU to discuss your concerns.
If you need support you can contact the Student Welfare Service.
If you have lodged a Rule Waiver application it can generally take up to seven working days to be processed (though it may take longer). It is important that you allow sufficient time for the application to be considered and you must wait for the outcome of your application before contacting the CRU. An exception may apply where the application period has been exhausted.
If after attempting to follow up with the relevant academic staff member and the outcome is affecting your ability to study, you can contact the CRU for advice.
If you haven't applied by the graduation deadline you cannot graduate. If you have met the deadline and are experiencing problems with your application being processed you should contact the Graduation Coordinator (opens in a new window). Please be aware that at peak times the response rate from the Graduations Unit may be delayed. However, if you have met the graduation deadline the Graduations Unit will be aware of relevant deadlines and your application will be dealt with in due course.
If your application has been rejected and you believe you have evidence that it has not been appropriately considered you can bring it to the CRU. However, you must bring it forward as quickly as possible as cut-off dates apply and deadlines are unable to be waived.
If you have applied for Advanced Standing it may take 4 - 6 weeks to be processed. If you have made an application and it is affecting your ability to enrol, you should contact Student Administration (opens in a new window) in the first instance. You should refer to the application receipt and the website if the outcome is affecting your ability to enrol.
If you are unsuccessful in contacting the relevant areas you can contact the CRU for advice.
Progression and exclusion
If you have received a progression warning or an exclusion letter, you would have been given advice on the relevant appeals process (see Academic Appeals Procedures). If the outcome of your appeal been unsuccessful and you believe all relevant information was not considered you can contact the CRU for advice.
Please note, if you have not lodged an appeal, it is unlikely the CRU will be able to accept your matter as a complaint.
If you have applied to the University and you have received advice that your application has been unsuccessful, you should contact the Course and Admissions Information Line on 1300 897 669 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An application to transfer courses must be made in accordance with the Course Transfer Policy(opens in a new window).
Information about how to apply for a course transfer is available on the Transferring to a New Course(opens in a new window) page.
If you have applied for a course transfer and have not received a response you should contact the Student Central Infoline 1300 668 370 or email email@example.com for advice.