Raising concerns

Occasionally, things don’t go as planned, but we are dedicated to resolving issues as quickly as possible and ensuring they don’t happen again.

Resolving issues and working through concerns is a normal part of student life. Before making a complaint, in most circumstances it is expected that students will try and resolve the issue through raising the concern and trying to resolve the issue at a lower level, if they feel comfortable doing so. We generally find this is the fastest way to resolve concerns, and even though it can feel a little scary sometimes there is a lot of support available. There are a number of ways to raise concerns which are outlined below.

Communicate with the person (or people) directly

You can directly raise the concern with the person to talk through the issue, outline the impact, and reach agreement on how to move forwards. You might want to bring a support person along with you, and that’s ok. If you need a bit of confidential help or guidance about the best way to approach the conversation, you can connect with the Complaints and Conflict Resolution Advisor—they are available to support staff and students experiencing conflict or having issues with anyone in the University community. You can also contact the VUWSA Student Advocate.

We also have a resource on how to raise concerns.

Access expert support to raise the concern

We understand that there could be situations where you might not want to raise your concern without a bit of extra support and specialist guidance around you. The Complaints and Conflict Resolution Advisor can work with you to understand your needs, and the complexity of the situation, to ensure that you have specialist support to work through your concern. There are several ways they can support you to address your concern, which can include options where you do not directly meet with the person (or people) the concern is about. These include:

  • a facilitated restorative meeting
  • community wellbeing plans
  • agreements of mutual understanding
  • a tikanga process.

The specific needs of anyone involved in a concerning situation are considered, and culturally appropriate approaches that consider traditional processes for raising and resolving issues are available. The University is committed to acknowledging Te Tiriti o Waitangi by working in partnership with Māori. The spirit of tikanga is to seek resolutions to disputes and concerns in a manner that encourages a facilitated open exchange of views, with a view to seeking consensus and acceptance from all parties. You can learn more about these options by emailing complaints@vuw.ac.nz.

If you are not satisfied with the resolution at this stage, you will be provided with details on how to take the matter further and raise a concern or make a complaint. We will inform you how the concern or complaint could be handled, how it is progressing, the range of possible outcomes, and an expected time frame based on the complexity and sensitivity of the concern.