The Council of the University of South Australia has endorsed the appointment of an academic staff member as Student Ombud with day to day responsibility to the Provost & Chief Academic Officer. To ensure independence the Student Ombud is provided direct access to the University Council.
From time to time the Provost & Chief Academic Officer may appoint a Deputy Student Ombud in an acting capacity at times when the Student Ombud is on recreation or other leave. The Deputy Student Ombud will have the same authority and responsibilities as the Student Ombud.
2. Authority to Enquire
The Student Ombud has the authority to conduct enquiries relating to complaints by students against decisions or conduct of staff, committees (other than decisions of the student appeals committee), Board or any unit or group either within the University or acting under the authority or auspices of the University.
The services of the Student Ombud will be available to all students of the University regardless of location and mode of study.
Unless it is a matter of unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment the Student Ombud will not normally investigate a complaint until all internal grievance procedures have been exhausted.
On receipt of a complaint, the Student Ombud shall have authority to enquire into that complaint.
On receipt of a complaint, the Student Ombud shall decide, by enquiry if necessary, whether or not the complaint falls within the role and functions of the Student Ombud.
If during an investigation being carried out by the Student Ombud it becomes known that the complaint is the subject matter of a hearing or appeal under a University Act Statute or By-law, the Student Ombud shall proceed no further with investigating the complaint until the hearing or appeal has been concluded.
The Student Ombud shall be given access to all University records and documents relating to the complaint.
3. Conduct of Enquiry
The Student Ombud shall decide the form and procedures to be adopted in investigating a complaint. All persons involved shall be given reasonable opportunity to explain their views and encouraged to reach agreement.
If the complaint is not settled by informal consultation and discussion and the complainant wishes to proceed the Student Ombud may proceed with the enquiry by methods such as:
- Providing a written copy of the complainant’s statements to the person(s) against whom the complaint has been made: or
- At the request of either the complainant or the person(s) complained against, or in any case where the Student Ombud deems it desirable, convening a conference to discuss the complaint.
If the Student Ombud believes that a situation arising from a complaint requires action to avoid further problems, the Student Ombud will make recommendations to any authority or person.
If in the opinion of the Student Ombud a complaint warrants no further action, or no further action can be taken, the Student Ombud may decline to proceed further.
4. Report of Investigation
If the Student Ombud has been unable to reach a decision regarding a complaint, or the personnel involved refuse to accept the recommendation of the Student Ombud, then the Ombud will seek resolution through the Head of School, Manager of Unit or Pro Vice Chancellor. If referring the matter to the Vice Chancellor for determination the Student Ombud will make available all details of the complaint, investigation findings, and actions undertaken in attempting resolution.
5. The Student Ombud may bring to the attention of the Vice Chancellor any matter:
(i) arising from an enquiry; or
(ii) relating to processes, procedures, rules or policies of the University.
6. Outcome of Investigation
Once a recommendation has been made by the Student Ombud and accepted by the relevant University authority, then the Ombud shall have no further responsibility for actions taken as a result of that recommendation. The Student Ombud may not be called upon to appear before any University boards of discipline, appeals committee, grievance committees or any inquiry.
7. Report to Council
At the end of each year the Student Ombud shall provide Council with a report for the previous twelve months. The report shall be statistical in character and shall contain no reference to named individuals.