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Policy: Student complaint resolution


To provide a set of principles for the resolution of student concerns about their experience at the University.


This policy covers students' complaints about unfair treatment in a course, discrimination, sexual or other harassment, bullying, and other grievances that arise during the student's time at the ANU. This includes the student’s dealings with the University’s education agents and any third party the University has engaged in the delivery of a program or related services.


This policy applies to any person who is or was enrolled in, or seeking enrolment in, a program or a course offered by the University, or who is or has been given permission by the University to audit a course offered by the University, and staff of the ANU.

This policy and associated procedure do not cover specified instances that are covered under other legislation:

Policy statement

  1. The Australian National University has an approach to complaints and grievances that:
  1. provides a work and study environment that is responsive, safe and fair for all members of the University community;
  2. is consistent with the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards), Education Services for Overseas Student Act, and privacy legislation.
  1. The University does not tolerate bullying, discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, victimisation or vilification through any means or medium. It also has legal responsibilities to students regarding behaviour, work practices, policies or processes that may constitute unlawful discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, victimisation or vilification.
  2. The University encourages students to raise concerns so that these may be addressed.
  3. Complaints are treated seriously, expeditiously and sensitively, having due regard to procedural fairness, confidentiality and the potential for victimisation.
  4. Complaints are resolved by a process of discussion, cooperation and conciliation as soon as possible after an incident or situation has occurred, with an acceptable outcome that minimises any potential detriment to ongoing work or study relationships.
  5. Complaint resolution is an integral part of managers' and supervisors' duties, which also include responsibility for identifying, preventing, responding to and redressing problems experienced by students.
  6. Both the complainant and the respondent receive appropriate information, support and assistance in resolving a complaint.
  7. Where a complaint concerns an enrolled student who is also employed as a staff member of the University, the complaint may be addressed under this policy or under the related policy for staff complaint resolution, as appropriate.
  8. Anonymous complaints are not able to be investigated and resolved.
  9. Complaints that are frivolous, vexatious or lacking in substance are not investigated. Students are expected to participate in the complaint resolution process in good faith.
  10. Requirements relating to confidentiality and privacy extend to the use and storage of any information and records related to a complaint.
  11. The Dean of Students acts as a neutral intermediary between students and the University. The Dean assists students to determine whether a complaint or grievance is reasonable, clarify the best way to address the complaint within the University, and, where appropriate, helps a student to resolve a complaint informally. Consultations with the Dean of Students are entirely confidential, do not constitute instigation of a formal complaint, and no action is taken unless a student agrees it should be taken.


Printable version (PDF)
Title Student complaint resolution
Document Type Policy
Document Number ANUP_000468
Version 9
Purpose To provide a set of principles for the resolution of student concerns about their experience at the University.
Audience Students
Category Academic
Topic/ SubTopic Students
Effective Date 9 Apr 2021
Review Date 9 Apr 2024
Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration
Approved By: Vice-Chancellor
Contact Area Division of Student Administration and Academic Services
Delegations 0
On 9 April 2021, the ANU Council assigned authority to approve academic policy to the Academic Board.