The Student Ombuds Office is staffed by one Student Ombud and three Assistant Student Ombuds. All Ombuds are academics selected for their ability to listen, understand the rules and procedures that affect students, and investigate problems fairly and thoroughly.
If you believe you are being treated unfairly, please refer to the process below in raising your complaint.
Exhaust all alternative avenues of complaint
The Student Ombuds Office is an office of last resort. Under the Terms of Reference students are required to exhaust all other avenues of complaint and appeal available before seeking the help of the Student Ombuds Office.
A helpful checklist for students making a request for assistance (PDF 123kb) is also provided to assist you in this process.
Procedures for two common complaints are outlined here:
Contacting the Student Ombuds Office
The Student Ombuds Office is open on a part-time basis. Your first contact will be with the Administration Manager, who can then refer you to an Ombud. The most convenient method of contact is by email.
Before attending your initial appointment think about your preferred outcome. The Ombud may ask questions about what you would like to acheive.
Bring copies of all supporting documents related to your matter to your appointment. This may include copies of forms submitted, subject outlines, and copies of correspondence including emails.
The Ombud will advise you if your complaint is within the Student Ombuds Office Terms of Reference. If so, the Ombud will provide details of what may be done and how long the investigation may take. If not, the Ombud will refer you to other services that may be useful.
Making your complaint
To proceed with a complaint where the complaint is within the Terms of Reference::
- Complete a Request for Assistance form (PDF, 35kB)
- Provide all relevant information and documentation to the Student Ombud
- Decide what you would like the Student Ombud to do for you
The Student Ombud will then discuss your complaint in detail with you. During this discussion the Student Ombud may take confidential written notes to assist the investigation.
The Student Ombud will begin an investigation of your complaint.
Throughout the investigation the Office will keep you informed. You should contact the Office if any new information arises or if you have queries about the progress of the complaint.
The Student Ombud will usually talk with all parties involved to ensure that all views are heard and all facts are known. The Office attempts to help solve complaints fairly and informally and does not act as an advocate for either side in a dispute.
The investigation timeframe can vary, ranging from a few days for minor complaints, to several months for more complex matters.
Once the Student Ombud has an outcome you will be informed of the recommendation. This may include a finding that the complaint is not within the Terms of Reference or that the University processes, procedures, rules or policies have been properly followed.
The Office cannot guarantee your complaint will be resolved in the way you wish. If it is found that you were treated unfairly the Student Ombud will seek to redress the disadvantage. If the investigation shows that a decision was correct the Student Ombud will help you to understand the reasons behind the decision.
If in the opinion of the Student Ombud appropriate action has not been taken in response to a recommendation, a written report may be made to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (see further 4.1.2 of the Terms of Reference).
If you are unsatisfied with the findings of the Student Ombud, you are also entitled by law to lodge a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman (opens an external site). There is no cost for this service.
Ongoing structural problems
It may be that your complaint reveals an underlying problem in the University. If so, the Office will work with those responsible to help rectify the anomaly.
A student's complaint can result in changes that positively affect the situation of other students even when their own particular case seems unsuccessful. Even if you feel that there is not much chance of fixing your problem you might still want to approach the Student Ombud to make sure that a particular practice does not continue and other students do not end up with the same problems.