Student Ombud

Hello and welcome to the Student Ombud site. My name is Franco. I am the Student Ombud here at UniSA. My job is to do my best to ensure that all students receive fair and equitable treatment within the University of South Australia. I am the designated, neutral and impartial dispute resolution practitioner who provides University-wide advice to students who are encountering difficulties in the interpretation and management of policies, guidelines and procedures governing student-related activities.  

While I am an employee of the University, I have the authority to operate independently, impartially and objectively to look into your concerns. Where possible, I’ll be working informally to help students and the University work through and resolve any problems they might have. 

It is best to think of me as the 'the final port of call' when all available internal mechanisms have been exhausted. You can visit my home page to find out more about my qualifications, experience and background. I hope you’ll find the information on this site useful. I encourage you to read through the material before contacting the Student Ombud Office.

The Student Ombud is the last internal resort for students to approach when all else has failed within the University. However in cases of unlawful discrimination and harassment, you may approach the Student Ombud directly. The Student Ombud will identify the appropriate manner in which your complaint should be investigated and monitor whether the process has been fair to students.

The Student Ombud:

  • Provides a free, confidential and impartial service for students experiencing difficulties navigating University policies and processes. This can range from provision of information and advice, referral to appropriate people, inquiring into complaints with the consent of a student
  • Acts as an Advocate for Fairness, not individual students nor the University
  • Is the last port of call not the first port of call -  All established procedures for resolution of a complaint must be exhausted
  • Has responsive and educative/proactive responsibilities – responds to enquiries/concerns and raises key trends or assists students and staff on problem resolution
  • Identifies key trends, reports and makes recommendations to the University for improvements to systemic issues that may be negatively impacting upon students

The Student Ombud provides free and confidential advice and if appropriate, ensures that an independent investigation of your complaint takes place to determine whether you have been treated fairly and that all the correct policies and procedures have been followed.

The Student Ombud:

  • Listens to your concerns
  • Provides free information and advice
  • Checks whether all processes have been pursued
  • Talks through the options available to help you decide the next step
  • Assists you to try to resolve the problem yourself if possible
  • Enquires into/investigates (with your consent) whether the University has followed due process,
  • Assists in finding a solution and/or refers you to the relevant external agencies 
  • Reviews policies and procedures. If a complaint identifies a deficiency in UniSA processes the Student Ombud will act to rectify this, especially when this may prevent other students from experiencing the same problem.
  • Works closely with the Student Advisory Officers and all staff of the University to obtain the answers you need

If you require assistance to find and/or understand the relevant procedures you may contact the Student Ombud Office for advice.

The Student Ombud can be approached with issues relating to all aspects of university student experience. Again, the Student Ombud should normally be approached only after you have pursued the other avenues available to you to solve your problem. Please refer to University Policies and Procedures. You may contact the Student Ombud Office for advice if you are unsure what the relevant policies and procedures are, and how they relate to your concerns.

The Student Ombud has been involved with a range of issues relating to:

  • Academic credit
  • Appeal Processes
  • Breaches of confidence
  • Communication
  • Conduct of staff or students
  • Course delivery
  • Course description
  • Disabilities
  • Enrolment
  • Examinations
  • Fees
  • Freedom of information
  • Graduation
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Program organisation
  • Provision of services
  • Scholarships
  • Student administration
  • Student contribution amounts
  • Teaching
  • Unlawful discrimination and harassment


  • You must attempt the formal complaint processes within your School, the relevant service area
  • If you're unhappy with the result of a formal complaint within your School, the relevant service area you can refer your complaint to the Student Ombud.
    • Students are encouraged to submit enquires and complaints by email.
    • Where required students will be referred to appropriate area of the University to seek help with lodging a written grievance. Where possible a chronology/history of the matter with any associated documentation should be provided.
    • Written enquiries/complaints will be acknowledged within 2 working days.
  • The Student Ombud will make informal enquiries to decide if an investigation is needed
  • If the Student Ombud investigates, he/she will eventually
    • Make recommendations for the resolution of your grievance
    • Dismiss your complaint
    • Recommend changes to University practices to prevent similar complaints in future
  • You can go to external agencies such as the Office of the Training Advocate of the Ombudsman SA if you are still unhappy
  • The Student Ombud reports to University Council each year on student complaints and the effectiveness of the relevant complaints policies and procedures

The Student Ombud facilitates the effective handling of complaints of unlawful discrimination and harassment involving students.  If you believe you are experiencing discrimination or harassment during your time at the University you may contact the Student Ombud Office or an Equity Contact person, or a Counsellor if you require advice or assistance in these matters. Equity contacts are on every campus and are trained to offer you advice in instances of perceived harassment and discrimination.

The Student Ombud will decide how your complaint should be investigated and reviews whether the process has been procedurally fair.  In some cases, the Student Ombud will ensure a thorough investigation is undertaken by the relevant area of the University. In other cases, the Student Ombud will investigate the matter personally.

The University has a range of mechanisms for students to provide feedback and complaints. Please read these options and explore these avenues in the first instance, before contacting the Student Ombud.

Support for You

There are many avenues of support available for students. Contact Campus Central  if you need some further advice on support services available.

Making a complaint

Before you decide to make a complaint talk to someone about your concerns and familiarise yourself with the University policy and procedure that relate to your concerns as well as the Student Complaints Resolution Policy. Look at the flowcharts contained in in the

Student Complaints Resolution Key Flowcharts

Please find the below flow charts which outline the process for resolving complaints for students: