Policy Student Appeal Procedure

Student Appeal Procedure (General)


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Intent

To provide a systematic approach for all students to have decisions appealed in line with the Student Appeal Policy.

Scope

This procedure applies to all students undertaking either study or research (including HDR candidates) in association with programs linked to the University through professional or extracurricular activities. This procedure applies to any appeals about any academic or administrative decisions not specifically covered in other appeal procedures.

Definitions

Definition of terms used in this procedure are as per the Policy Glossary and the definitions identified in the Student Appeal Policy.

Procedure

1. Prior to Appeal

1.1   Prior to appealing a decision the student must have checked the relevant policy and procedure documents, and where applicable the subject outline, associated with the matter. In most instances the student should have informally enquired about the decision to be appealed and explored informal resolution with the Original Decision Maker or relevant JCU office.

1.2  If unresolved through informal means, the student may choose to commence a formal appeal process.

2. Appeal Procedure

2.1   Appeal applications must be made no later than 20 University working days after official notification of the decision is received. A late application may be accepted at the discretion of the Director, Student Services where Extenuating Circumstances (as defined in the Student Appeal Policy) can be demonstrated.

2.2   A student may only appeal upon one or more legitimate grounds as defined in the Student Appeal Policy.

2.3   A student who wishes to appeal a decision must apply in writing using the appropriate application form, to the Director, Student Services stating the ground/s for appeal (and Extenuating Circumstances if the application is submitted late).

2.4   Students are encouraged, when preparing a student appeal statement, and in the course of the appeal process, to seek assistance from a JCUSA Student Advocate.

2.5   Applications for appeal must include relevant supporting documentation.  Examples of possible supporting documents include:

  • The outcome or decision notification for the decision being appealed
  • Evidence of review and/or attempt at informal resolution
  • Relevant correspondence, emails, or letters
  • Certificates from health professionals
  • Other relevant documents

3.  Initial application assessment

3.1   Upon receipt of the appeal application, the Director, Student Services, or nominee, will check that the application has been completed in full and supporting documentation supplied. If the application is deemed incomplete, the student will be given 5 University working days to resubmit a second, and final, complete application.

3.2   The Director, Student Services will consider new evidence which, because of Extenuating Circumstances, could not reasonably have been provided at the time of the original decision and that would likely have affected the decision or any penalty imposed, as a potential ground for appeal.

4.  Review of Application

4.1   The Director, Student Services will consider the application and if it fails to provide Legitimate Grounds for Appeal, or is deemed frivolous, trivial or vexatious, then the application will be dismissed. The student will be provided with written notification of the dismissal, including reasons for the decision. If the application is not dismissed, it will proceed to 4.2.  Dismissal is considered a final decision and there are no internal mechanisms for appealing this decision.

4.2   The Director Student Services, at their discretion, may make enquiries of JCU staff members relevant to the appeal submission in order to verify or clarify facts.

4.3   The Director, Student Services will inform the Original Decision Maker; in writing, of the appeal application within 5 University working days of receiving the complete application. The Original Decision Maker will be provided with the complete application and supporting documents.

4.4   The Original Decision Maker will make relevant enquiries in order to respond thoroughly to the appeal application and will provide to the Director, Student Services a written response to the appeal application, along with any new supporting documentation relevant to the appeal, within 5 University working days of receiving the appeal application.

4.5   If the Original Decision Maker, in the course of undertaking clause 4.4, chooses to overturn or change the original decision, consistent with the decision options in the original policy/procedure, or, to propose an informal resolution, they must communicate this in writing within 5 University working days to the Student and to the Director, Student Services.  Where the student accepts the amended decision or informal resolution they can withdraw their formal appeal application.  Where the student remains unsatisfied with a proposed informal resolution the matter will proceed to Clause 5.

5.  Assessment of Application

5.1   The Director, Student Services will forward all appeal documentation, to the relevant Dean, Director or to a delegate in the band level “one up” from the Original Decision Maker. On receiving the appeal documentation the relevant Dean/Director/Delegate can determine an outcome consistent with the decision options in the original policy/procedure based upon the evidence provided. The matter may be resolved at this level.  This is considered a final decision and there are no internal mechanisms at JCU for appealing this decision.

5.2   Where the Dean/Director/Delegate makes a determination at 5.1 they will communicate the result of the appeal as per clause 8 of this procedure, to the Student, the Director, Student Services and to the Original Decision Maker within 5 University working days of receiving the appeal application.

5.3   Where the Dean/Director/Delegate cannot make a determination at 5.1 they will, within 5 days of receiving the application, provide a written response to the appeal application to the Director, Student Services and advise that a determination could not be made and that the matter must be referred to the University Appeals Committee (the Committee).

6. University Appeals Committee Hearing

6.1   Upon notice from the Dean/Director/Delegate under Clause 5.3, the Director, Student Services will notify the appropriate Committee Chair to convene the University Appeals Committee and will notify the student that a Committee will be convened. The Director Student Services will provide the Chair with all documentation associated with the appeal.

The University Appeals Committee (the “Committee”), for all hearings convened under the Student Appeal Procedure (General) will comprise the following members, depending on the nature of matter being appealed:

  • Chair - The relevant Director of Academic Quality and Strategy (for academic matters including academic and professional misconduct matters) or the Deputy Vice Chancellor Students (for general misconduct and administrative matters); and,
  • A College Dean, Dean Learning Teaching and Student Engagement (Diploma Higher Education/TAC) or Dean of Graduate Research (for HDR); and
  • The Chair, Academic Board or an academic member of Council; and,
  • An Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching or Research Education (for HDR);for Academic Matters

Or

  • Director/External Member*; for matters related to Professional Conduct or other non-academic conduct matters (*appointed by the Chair); and,
  • An administrative support staff member, as appointed by the Chair, to provide secretariat support.

For academic matters, at least one member of the committee must be from the relevant College.  For all matters, due regard shall be given to gender balance in determining the final membership of the committee.  No member of the committee will have participated in the original decision or any decisions associated with the matters under Appeal, this includes being involved in consultation or making recommendations that contributed to the original decision. The Chair will confirm whether conflicts of interest exist at the time of convening the Committee and amend Committee membership accordingly.

6.2   The Chair will ensure that the communication sent to the student regarding the hearing includes the following:

  • The names of Committee members; and
  • summary of the Committee’s role and powers; and
  • the time and location of the hearing; and
  • information regarding the students’ right to be heard; and
  • information regarding the students’ right to utilise a support person; and
  • copies of all materials available to the Committee in advance of the hearing.

6.3   Except with the express permission of the Chair of the Committee, no additional documentation will be presented at the hearing.

6.4   The Committee must consider the student’s application together with the written statement and supporting documents supplied by the Original Decision Maker and any additional relevant material collected by the Director, Student Services.

6.5   The student will be given the opportunity to be heard by the Committee, but only at the time and date fixed by the Chair. Students attending in person are not required to prepare or present a verbal summary of the appeal application. The Original Decision Maker may, at discretion of the Chair, be invited to attend the hearing in order to clarify information for the Committee.

6.6   The student and where relevant, the Original Decision Maker, may be heard in person or by other means of communication which are acceptable to the Chair (phone, video conference or via an additional written submission).

6.7   The student and where relevant, the Original Decision Maker, will be heard individually and at different times.

6.8   The student and the Original Decision Maker will be present only for such time as is necessary for them to be heard by the Committee.

6.9   A student who appears in person before the Committee may be accompanied and assisted by a support person.   The support person must not be a currently practicing solicitor or barrister. The role of the support person is to bear witness to the meeting and what is discussed. The support person shall take no part in the proceedings unless expressly authorised by the Chair of the Committee.

6.10  The Committee has the power to overturn or vary the original decision if it finds that grounds for appeal are substantiated.

6.11  After considering all material relevant to the appeal, the Committee will make findings on each ground of appeal, and record whether the ground is substantiated or not on the balance of probabilities, and determine an outcome.

6.11.1 If the Committee finds the grounds for appeal are not substantiated, the appeal will be dismissed and the original decision will stand.

6.11.2 If the Committee finds one or more grounds substantiated, either partially or completely, the Committee will consider the consequence of each established ground and the impact on the student in determining an outcome.

6.11.3 In determining an outcome the Committee will consider potential outcomes identified by the student. The Committee may seek guidance regarding an outcome as appropriate to the circumstances.

6.11.4 If the Committee finds only a minor procedural error has occurred, it may determine an outcome that the original decision process re-commence at the point of the procedural error. An objective decision-maker who was not involved in the original process will re-commence the process.

6.12  The Committee will provide written notification of outcome/s in line with clause 8.

6.13  The Committee may provide recommendations to JCU offices and staff for systemic improvements as a result of issues identified during appeals processes, this action will be managed separately to outcome notifications.

6.14  The student may withdraw an appeal application at any point in the appeal process.

7. Students awaiting the outcome of an appeal

7.1 Until the appeal outcome has been determined, a student who submits an appeal will be permitted to:

7.1.1  Complete any outstanding assessment from the previous Teaching Period if they were granted a supplementary/deferred exam or an extension.

7.1.2  A student may remain enrolled in their course of study pending the outcome of an appeal, including enrolment in any subject for which the subject under appeal is a prerequisite. However, this will not apply if it is demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Director Student Services that the student’s continued enrolment poses a risk to the safety of themselves or others.

7.1.3  Apply for a Leave of Absence, if applicable, and request to be withdrawn from any existing subject enrolments or candidature.

7.1.4  Withdraw from all current and future enrolled subjects or candidature.

7.1.5  Withdraw from their course or candidature (applicable only for excluded students and international students studying on a student visa).

8. Action taken following the appeal outcome

8.1   Where an appeal has been heard by the Committee, the Chair will communicate the outcome of the appeal. Where the appeal was resolved at section 3 of this procedure, the Dean, Director or Delegate will communicate the outcome of the appeal.  The outcome will be sent in writing to the Student, the Director, Student Services and the Original Decision Maker within 5 University working days of the hearing. This communication will advise the student of:

  • The findings in relations to the grounds of appeal, and
  • evidence considered, and
  • whether the appeal is upheld (wholly or in part) or not (in which case it is dismissed and the original decision stands); and
  • the outcomes as determined by the Committee; and
  • reasons for the Committee decision, and
  • where applicable, their Academic Status, and
  • any restrictions on the student’s enrolment or candidature or other consequences as a result of the new decision, and
  • any actions to be taken by JCU staff or, where relevant, the student,
  • any conditions the student must meet in the next Teaching Period in which a student is enrolled, and
  • their right to lodge a complaint or appeal through an external body as per clause 5 of the Student Appeal Policy, if they remain dissatisfied with the University’s decision.

8.2   Where required for administrative purposes the outcome of the student’s appeal will be communicated to Student Services or the Graduate Research School (where applicable) and may result in administrative actions being applied by specific university officers to fulfil the Committee’s decision.

9. Record Keeping

9.1 Record keeping will be managed as per the Student Appeal Policy

9.2 Decisions taken under the Student Appeal Policy and associated procedures are final decisions and there is no further right to internal appeal at JCU.

10. Avenues for External Appeal

10.1  Avenues for External Appeal are as per the Student Appeal Policy.

10.2  Where the student is an International Student visa holder studying in Australia, and the decision impacts the student’s ability to continue in their course, the University will only report to Department of Education against the student’s ‘Confirmation of Enrolment’, if required to, once the decision maker has notified the student of the outcome. The student will be given 10 University working days to notify the University that they have submitted an external complaint or appeal.

Related policy instruments

Student Appeal Policy

Review of Final Subject Result Procedure

Appeal of Final Subject Result Procedure

Student Results Policy

Special Consideration, Supplementary, Deferred and Special Examinations Policy

Special Consideration, Supplementary and Special Examinations Procedure

Policy Glossary

Learning, Teaching and Assessment Policy

Student Code of Conduct

Academic Misconduct Procedures

Student General Misconduct Procedures

Administration

NOTE:  Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy Sponsor

DVC Students

Version no

19-1

Date for next Major Review

04/07/2022

Revision History

Version

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Author

19-1

04/07/2019

05/07/2019

Procedure reviewed and amended to improve functionality.

Director, Student Services

18.1

27/07/2018

26/07/2018

Procedure established

Chair of Academic Board

Contact person

Director, Student Services

Keywords

Appeal, student appeal, academic appeal,