Student Appeals Policy
To provide a timely and consistent approach for students to appeal academic and administrative decisions.
- The University seeks to make fair and just decisions.
- Appeals must be taken seriously and dealt with promptly to avoid escalation.
- Communication and informal resolutions should be relied on in the first instance.
This policy 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.
Appeal: To seek the overturning of a decision by a higher authority by virtue of an error or breach of procedural fairness in the initial decision.
Extenuating Circumstances: An unexpected event that is outside a student's capacity to prevent or overcome that demonstrably affects their capacity to complete teaching/learning and/or assessment tasks, or achieve the level of attainment typical of their previous performance in the subject or course. These could include:
- medical or psychological conditions or events
- loss or bereavement – e.g. death of an immediate family member
- family relationship breakdown
- hardship/trauma – e.g. victim of crime, sudden loss of income or employment resulting in severe disruption to domestic arrangements.
- relevant obligations to military or jury service or service to emergency services such as the SES
Procedural Fairness: Is concerned with the procedures used by a decision-maker, rather than the decision reached. It requires fair and transparent processes when making a decision, which includes:
- The right to be heard;
- The right to be treated without bias;
- A decision based on evidence.
All parties involved in an Appeal must have a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present a case and to have their cases considered justly.
Original decision maker: The person, body or committee who has made the original decision that is being appealed.
- Where an academic decision process is subject to certification or ratification (example final subject grades), the original decision maker will be deemed as the person who submitted the decision for certification/ratification and who is most familiar with the detail of the decision.
- Where a decision is triggered by a rules-based process rather than an individual decision (example academic progressions or maximum time to complete) the original decision maker, for the purposes of responding to the appeal application, will be determined by the Director, Student Services, in consultation with the relevant DAQS or Director.
University Appeals Committee: means the committee considering the Appeal (as specified in the relevant Student Appeal Procedure)
1.1 Students have a right to appeal an original decision upon grounds set out within this Policy.
1.2 Decisions must be made consistently across all parts of the University.
1.3 Decisions will be made with regard to confidentiality and privacy and without fear of reprisal or prejudicial treatment.
1.4 All decisions will be made in accordance with Procedural Fairness by an independent decision maker.
1.5 Strict timeframes will be adhered to in seeking an appeal and providing outcomes of the appeal applications.
1.6 Where a University Appeal Committee member has been conflicted or a committee member is genuinely unavailable (illness or similar) an alternate member of the same delegation level may be utilised, as determined by the Chair.
2. Student appeal
2.1 If a student, after receiving a determination of a decision, believes they have grounds for an Appeal, they may initiate that Appeal.
2.2 Students must demonstrate they have consulted with the original decision maker before making a formal appeal (see the relevant Appeal Procedure).
2.3 The grounds for a student appeal are limited to:
- a breach of Procedural Fairness having occurred in the resolution of a formal decision; or
- the appropriateness of any conditions contained within the decision.
2.4 The Director of 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.
2.5 An Appeal under this policy must be submitted to the Director, Student Services, using the Student Appeal Application Form, within the timeframe specified in the relevant Student Appeal Procedure.
2.6 The student appeal statement must explain and identify:
- the decisions which are being appealed;
- why the process used by the Original Decision Maker was procedurally unfair; or
- why any conditions contained within the decision are inappropriate;
and attach relevant documentation that supports this/these explanations.
2.7 The Director of Student Services will evaluate student appeal applications in line with the evidence provided to determine if the appeal will proceed.
2.8 All appeals which meet the requirements of the policy will be managed under the relevant appeal procedure. Where an appeal is not explicitly linked to a specific procedure it will be managed under the Student Appeal Procedure (General).
3. Records and decisions
3.1 Records of Appeals will be kept in accordance with the relevant University policy.
3.2 Documents and correspondence will be provided to the relevant College or Divisional office for record keeping purposes, and outcomes will be recorded in TRIM to the student file.
3.3 Outcomes of appeals will be reported annually by the Director of Student Services to the Academic Board for reference in future policy and management decisions.
4. Outcome is Final
4.1 Decisions taken under the student appeals policy and procedure are final decisions and there is no further right to internal appeal at JCU.
5. Avenues for External Appeal
5.1 A student has the right to contact or lodge a complaint with external organisations at any time. The University notes that many external bodies advise that, ordinarily, students should first attempt to resolve their grievances internally using the procedures of the University before seeking external assistance.
5.2 The following complaints handling services provide free and impartial external appeals processes that complainants may choose to access:
- The Queensland Ombudsman has jurisdiction to investigate administrative actions undertaken by Queensland universities. Students may contact the office of the Queensland Ombudsman at any time throughout or after the Appeal process. Generally, the Ombudsman only investigates claims once all internal appeals processes with the University are determined and internal appeal avenues are exhausted.
- The Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland can investigate complaints of discrimination. Students may contact the Commission at any time throughout or after the Appeal process.
- The Australian Human Rights Commission can investigate complaints of discrimination and human rights breaches. Students may contact the Commission at any time throughout or after the Appeal process.
5.3 Students studying at the JCU Singapore campus who remain dissatisfied with the determination of their Appeal by JCU may use the Singapore Government’s approved dispute resolution scheme managed by the Council for Private Education (CPE) in Singapore. The student may approach the CPE’s Student Services Centre (SSC) for help. Note: after reviewing a complaint, the SSC may refer students to the CPE Mediation – Arbitration Scheme and there may be additional costs to use this Scheme.
5.4 The University will deal promptly with all requests from the Queensland Ombudsman, Australian Human Rights Commission and similar bodies related to complaints and appeals.
Related policy instruments
NOTE: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.
Date for next major review
Amended to clarify responsibilities and improve functionality.
Director, Student Services
Chair of Academic Board
Director, Student Services
Student appeal, academic appeal, appeal
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