Equity-related complaints and grievances
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion will be working remotely for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite this we will still continue to provide our grievance service during this time. Please contact us at email@example.com and we will get back to you typically within 24 hours.
The Equity and Diversity Unit within the Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion can advises and assists UTS students and staff who have an equity-related complaint. Current or prospective students with complaints that are non-equity-related should email student.complaints @uts.edu.au. The unit also advises managers or supervisors about appropriate equity-related complaint resolution processes.
We take equity-related complaints seriously. UTS is active in eliminating discrimination and harassment in our study and work environments. That said, staff and students also have the right to seek advice or pursue their complaint externally if they prefer.
Students and staff can seek assistance for personal support needs from UTS: Counselling.
What is an equity-related complaint?
State and Federal laws protect students and staff from discrimination, harassment, victimisation and vilification because of personal characteristics including:
- Sex (including intersex people)
- Gender identity (e.g. transgender or non-binary)
- Sexual orientation
- Pregnancy/potential pregnancy
- Race, ethnic background and/or nationality
- Family and/or carer responsibilities
The laws that protect people on these grounds are reflected in all UTS policies.
Complaints about any of the above matters are considered equity-related complaints and should be raised with staff in the Equity and Diversity Unit. You can also seek advice about whether an issue might be equity-related matter by contacting the Unit.
Discrimination: being treated less fairly than another comparable person – including by not making reasonable accommodation of your disability or carer responsibilities
Harassment: being intimidated, insulted or humiliated
Victimisation: being treated unfairly because you have made a complaint
Vilification: acts that incite hatred, serious contempt or severe ridicule
What is a non-equity-related complaint?
Complaints that do not involve allegations of unlawful discrimination or harassment could include interpersonal conflict, unfair or differential treatment, performance issues, industrial matters, or academic issues.
In a large and complex university community, interactions between staff and students are many and varied. Unfortunately, sometimes you may feel you've experienced unreasonable treatment, disadvantage or distress that needs to be resolved. Below are some useful tips for resolving such situations and suggestions on who to contact if further help is needed.
First steps to resolving a complaint
A key principle in the UTS complaint resolution process is that complaints are resolved wherever possible at the most appropriate level of management for that issue or concern.
You are encouraged to raise your complaint in the first instance directly with the person concerned. This is appropriate in matters where you feel comfortable about making a direct approach, or where the complaint does not relate to allegations of unlawful behaviour (e.g. assault, illegal discrimination or harassment, corruption).
Where it is not appropriate for you to raise the issue directly with the other person/s, you can make a complaint to a manager or another person in authority at UTS.
There are a number of areas at UTS that help students resolve different types of complaints.
- Counselling and Advice: Students and staff can seek advice about complaint process and personal counselling support from Counselling Service.
- Academic and resource issues: For advice and advocacy in relation to appeals and other complaints contact the Students' Association.
- Students may choose to raise complaints and issues with other appropriate staff in the faculty such as the Director of Program, Head of Department, Head of School, Associate Dean, Course Adviser, Subject Coordinator, Faculty Academic Liaison Officer, or the Responsible Academic Officer. You should only contact the Dean when other resolution options have failed.
- Administrative matters: If the complaint relates to an administrative unit you should contact the Director or another manager of the unit. In the case of a large unit, for example the Library, the person in authority may be the manager of the appropriate area in the Library.
- Complaints about enrolment and administration can be submitted to the Student Administration Unit.
- Postgraduate research matters: For postgraduate research degree students with a complaint the responsible for receiving and investigating their complaints is with the Dean of the Graduate Research School.
Specialist units have the authority to receive and investigate specific types of complaints.
- Unlawful discrimination or harassment: Contact the Equity & Diversity Unit.
- Personal safety: For matters relating to theft, assault, or other concerns about personal safety contact UTS: Security services.
- University related: Student complaints about corruption, maladministration or serious waste should be made to the Registrar on phone 9514 1285.
- Last resort: When all other avenues for complaint resolution have been exhausted, if your complaint relates to administrative matters or some academic decisions you can make a complaint to the UTS: Student Ombuds office.
For any staff members with a non-equity-related complaint please visit the Staff Grievances section on Staff Connect and follow the instructions.
Equity-related complaints resolution process
This cover all types of complaints and are based on confidentiality, impartiality, protection from victimisation and prompt resolution.
Principles for complaint resolution at UTS are:
- Managers and supervisors have the responsibility to identify and attempt to prevent or redress problems in the university
- Where possible, grievances are resolved at the lowest appropriate level of management
- Complaints are responded to as quickly as possible in the circumstances
- Procedural fairness is observed for each party in all aspects of handling a complaint
- No grievance is pre-judged
- Confidentiality is respected
- Resolution of the grievance takes into account wherever possible the preferred process of resolution of the person who made the complaint. However, there may be instances where a complaint is of such a serious nature that formal action is required
- Staff and students have a responsibility not to pursue grievances with a mischievous or malicious intent
To make an equity-related complaint contact the Equity & Diversity Unit on 9514 1084 or email.