Appeals to Senate by Students - Policy

Printer-friendly version

1. Purpose and Objectives

The University is committed to providing an effective complaints management system based on best practice. The policy and procedures reflect practically and philosophically, the expectations and responsibilities of both the University and its students when dealing with grievances or appeals.

This policy addresses the issues relating to appeals by students to Senate. Appeals to Senate are normally possible only when all other avenues to resolve the grievance have been exhausted (refer Student Grievance Resolution Policy).

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Appeal – an application made by a student to have a decision reviewed where that decision relates to a matter affecting his or her studies or life as a student.

Decision-maker – an officer or body under 5.1 with the authority to make decisions.

Grievance – a problem or concern raised by a student about something affecting his or her studies or life as a student, for which the student is seeking a resolution.

Senate – the governing body of the University.

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all students and to University staff involved in managing student appeals.

4. Policy Statement

The following principles guide the University approach to managing appeals to the Senate Student Appeals Committee:

  • appeal processes will promote the principles of procedural fairness;
  • appeals will be considered in a timely manner, with due regard to legislative requirements (For example, Standard 8 of the National Code requires the process to commence within 10 working days, is to be at no direct cost to the student and is to be finalised as soon as practicable) and with due regard for confidentiality as endorsed in the University’s Privacy Management Policy;
  • a student's enrolment will be maintained while the complaint and appeal process is ongoing. However, this does not entitle a student to enrol in courses or programs for which they are not eligible;
  • students may have their complaint reviewed by an external complaint handling process;
  • appeals will be accepted where a student can either supply new or additional information to support their case or they can substantiate an argument as to why the original decision did not comply with University’s policies, rules or procedures; and
  • the University will not continue further consideration of matters where the process options have been exhausted.

5. Description

5.1 Jurisdiction

Senate has established the Senate Student Appeals Committee and appoints the Committee's Chair. The Committee is to determine matters that Senate refers to it and appeals to Senate regarding:

  • section 5 of PPL 3.50.14 Academic Progression
  • assessment matters
  • decisions of Executive Deans or nominees directly affecting the student appealing
  • admission to a program not governed by PPL 3.40.04 Admissions and Enrolments
  • decisions of the Dean UQ Graduate School or nominee relating to the administration of postgraduate research awards
  • decisions of the President of the Academic Board relating to changes to finalised results
  • decisions not to award an OS-HELP loan
  • decisions to terminate a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship, a UQ Excellence Scholarship or a UQ Merit Scholarship

Appeals normally address the manner or extent to which relevant rules, policies and procedures were applied in specific cases and are not concerned with matters affecting the development of policy. The committee must ensure rules, policies and procedures are applied fairly.

An appeal must be brought within a reasonable time. The Chair may reject an appeal brought more than forty (40) business days after the original decision, unless convinced the delay is reasonable. In the following cases, other University and/or legislative requirements prescribe a tighter time frame:

  • when an OS-HELP loan is refused, students have 21 days to lodge an appeal;
  • when an application to show cause why enrolment should not be cancelled is refused by the faculty, students have 10 working days to lodge an appeal, however, students are encouraged to submit an appeal as soon as possible so the matter can be resolved in a timely manner.

When considering a matter regarding an assessment result (including higher degree theses) or admission to a program not governed by PPL 3.40.04 Admissions and Enrolments, the grounds for appeal are limited to:

  • improper, irregular, or negligent conduct by a person involved; or
  • discrimination, prejudice, or bias against a student; or
  • failure to adhere to relevant published policies and procedures; or
  • failure to give sufficient consideration to a matter of specific relevance to the student.

A judgement regarding the academic merit of any work or the grade assigned, based on reassessment of content, does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Committee.

The Chair will consider whether an appeal meets any of the stated criteria. If convinced that the appeal does not meet those criteria, the Chair will report to the Committee which may dismiss the appeal without further hearing.

The Committee will consider the student's appeal, the response provided by the decision-maker whose decision is contested and the student's counter response. The student’s academic record will be made available to the Committee and the Committee may call for and consider any additional material and must ensure the student is given an opportunity to comment on material relevant to the Committee's decision.

In cases where the Chair of the Committee has a role in determining the decision that is under appeal, the matter will be referred to the sub-committee for a determination.

5.2 Membership

The membership of the Committee is determined by Senate.

5.3 Senate Student Appeals Sub-committee

The Committee may establish a sub-committee which must include a student representative and may refer matters to the sub-committee.

The sub-committee supports the Committee by considering urgent appeals between scheduled meetings of the Committee and any other matter the Committee refers to it.

The jurisdiction of the sub-committee is the same as that of the Committee.

5.4 Reporting from the Sub-committee to the Committee

The sub-committee must report to the Chair.

The report must set out the reasons for the decision and, if there is dissent, a record of all views.

The report of the sub-committee will be included in the agenda for the next meeting of the Committee.

If convinced the sub-committee's recommendation:

  • is unanimous; and
  • favours the student; and
  • accords with existing decisions and policies,

The Chair may determine the matter according to the recommendation, or must refer the matter to the Committee.

5.5 Advice on outcome

Once it has reached a final decision, the Committee will advise the student and decision-maker in writing of the outcome.

The minutes of the Committee's decision in the student's case must be included with the advice including the Committee's reasons for the decision.

The Committee may convey to the appropriate University staff members comments or observations arising from the Committee's deliberations.

5.6 Timelines

The Secretary may in consultation with the Chair allow an extension of timelines. Otherwise they are:


Time available (business days)

Receipt of the appeal is acknowledged and the appeal is forwarded for comment to original decision-maker

Within 3 days of receipt of appeal

Decision-maker's comments on appeal submitted to Assistant Secretary, SSAC

7 days

Comments forwarded to student

1 day

Student counter-response forwarded to Assistant Secretary, SSAC

7 days

Submission of materials to SSAC or Subcommittee of SSAC

Next available meeting

5.7 Lodging an appeal to Senate

What follows is advice only. If a student does not take this advice a delay may result.

(a) Appeals should be lodged to: The Secretary, Senate Student Appeals Committee, University of Queensland 4072.
(b) The decision being appealed along with the grounds for appeal should be explained clearly.
(c) Students should consider consulting the Education & Postgraduate Advocate located at the University of Queensland’s Student Union, who can help with the presentation of the appeal.
(d) If the decision being appealed was made more than forty (40) business days earlier the student must explain the delay and, if possible, attach documentary evidence (refer to section 5.1 for decisions which require a shorter time frame to lodge an appeal).
(e) Wherever possible documentary evidence should be attached to an appeal. It is normally not sufficient for an appellant to assert the existence of certain circumstances or performance of certain actions, or a change of circumstances, without provision of supporting evidence which substantiates the assertions.
(f) Appeals should not rely on a bare recital of what happened or what changed. Students should make every effort to back up their complaint with independent evidence. Examples:

  • if the student was sick, provide a medical certificate;
  • if the student received correspondence (e.g. letter or email) that is relevant to the appeal, attach a copy.
Academic Registrar Mr Mark Erickson
Academic Registrar Mr Mark Erickson