Complaint about the behaviour of a student

An outline of the complaints process for a formal misconduct process for a complaint about the behaviour of a student.

The Student Conduct Statute (PDF) outlines the process in more detail.

Timeframes for complaints closure varies with the level of complexity, the steps outlined below, and other factors, however a complaint generally takes between 2 and 12 weeks to process.

You have the right to access support before, during, and after a complaint process.

The formal complaint process

Making a complaint

You make a complaint of suspected misconduct to the Complaints and Conflict Resolution Advisor or through the online portal (link to 5. online reporting form). For more information about what to include in your complaint, email the Complaints and Conflict Resolution Advisor or the VUWSA Student Advocate.

The Complaints and Conflict Resolution Advisor or the VUWSA Student Advocate can explain the following:

  • What to include in the complaint.
  • What the complaints process includes, including natural justice, timeframes and decision-makers.
  • You support needs will be assessed, and you can be linked in with appropriate services as needed.
  • Your safety needs are assessed, community safety is considered, and safety planning is completed.
  • Security or other services may be coordinated with should you wish to access additional support.

Next steps

  1. Information to support the complaint (such as emails, photographs or other supporting documentation) is obtained, and the content of the complaint is confirmed with you to ensure it is consistent with your understanding.
  2. The complaint and supporting documentation are referred to an appropriate decision-maker as per the Student Conduct Statute (PDF).
  3. The decision-maker considers whether to refer the matter to a more suitable decision maker, whether the complaint might constitute misconduct, and whether interim action should be taken to manage risk associated with the relevant behaviour.
  4. Interim action is considered in consultation with General Counsel and Student Interest and Conflict Resolution Team. Action considers the following:
    • Risk to the safety of students, staff or property.
    • If the behaviour or interim action is likely to jeopardise the work of members of the University community.
    • What other actions could be taken to mitigate risk.
    • The respondent’s ability to comply with risk mitigation strategies.
    • The impact on the education of both you and respondent.
    • If all the information to support the complaint is not yet obtained, and the decision maker can still review the complaint and consider interim action.
    • If further information to support the complaint is obtained at a later date this is referred to the decision-maker and they will again consider whether interim action will be taken.
  1. The Decision-maker considers at what level the complaint should be addressed in consultation with Legal Consul and the Student Interest and Conflict Resolution team (SICR).
    If all the information to support the complaint is not yet obtained, the complaint can still be referred to a decision-maker by SICR for consideration of what level the complaint should be addressed at.
  2. Once the decision maker has reviewed the complaint, considered interim action, and decided at what level the complaint will be assessed under the Student Conduct Statute, they will decide whether to manage the complaint themselves, or refer it to a more appropriate decision-maker, or if it is a level 3 misconduct to convene a Disciplinary Committee if they consider the allegation could constitute serious misconduct at a level 3.
  3. If the decision-maker decides to proceed at a level 3 they will convene a Disciplinary Committee made up of the Director of Student Experience and Wellbeing and a student member of the Academic Board, or of a Committee of the Academic Board, appointed by the Convenor.
  4. A decision-maker must notify the respondent that suspected misconduct is being considered in writing, provide all the information about the allegation, and invite them to a meeting with the Disciplinary Committee to respond to the allegation.
    Reasonable endeavours must be made to convene this meeting with the respondent as soon as is practical, and within a timeframe that allows them to respond.
    If the respondent is unable to make the proposed meeting time they can suggest an alternative time and date.
  5. The decision-maker or Disciplinary Committee will meet with the respondent and hear their response to the allegation.
    If the Disciplinary Committee decides they need further information from the respondent, from you or others, they can seek this out. You will be able to have a support person present at any meetings you chose to attend.
  6. The Disciplinary Committee will make a decision as to whether the complaint is substantiated or not and impose penalties.
  7. You and the respondent to the complaint will be notified of the outcome of the complaint.