A grievance is defined as a "cause for complaint, especially of unjust treatment". Common sense should be used before seeing a grievance officer. The fact of failing a course or a particulary assessmentis not by itself a grievance. There has to be an element of unfairness. There does not have to be a failure - if you have unfairly been given a mark that is lower than you deserve, and your lecturer or tutor will not correct this, then you may have a grievance.
For some potential sources of grievances, see this list of potential assessment problems. The list is not intended to be complete, and was prepared for staff, to help them avoid these problems. A breach of the UNSW assessment rules in a course does not in itself create a grievance, but it is likely to make any case that you bring stronger.
For a course-related grievance, the possibilities include: your tutor or demonstrator, your lecturer, your program director, or a grievance officer. For a harassment-related grievance, the people mentioned above may be able to help if you are a student, or, if you are a CSE employee, you can approach your supervisor or supervisor's supervisor (if the supervisor is harassing you), or a grievance officer. For a grievance related to claimed exploitation (e.g. of a casual tutor or top-up scholarship holder by a lecturer in the course they are tutoring, mentoring, or demonstrating in) talk first with the lecturer, then if necessary go to a grievance officer.
You should also consider whether you should instead be contacting:
If you have a grievance that has to do with the School of Computer Science and Engineering, you can appeal to a School Grievance Officer, currently:
If the grievance has to do with a course that you are enrolled in, then you should in the first instance either discuss the problem with the lecturer or your tutor or better, express the problem in writing and send the written description to your lecturer. Reasons that a written description of the problem might be better are:
On the other hand, if the matter is a minor one - e.g. a mistake in adding up marks on a test paper, then usually a calm personal approach to the tutor or lecturer is sensible, at least as a first attempt to resolve the problem.
In some cases, it might be appropriate to talk to your Program Coordinator next (see table below).
If you contact a Grievance Officer or your Program Coordinator in writing, be sure to include your full name and student number. This is particularly important if you are sending a paper letter, or an e-mail from a non-CSE account. If you are complaining about a particular person, we will of course be contacting that person to get their version of events. If you do not wish for your identity to be revealed to the person about whom you are complaining, please indicate this.
|BE Computer Engineering||Annie Guo|
|BE Software Engineering||Ken Robinson|
|BE Bioinformatics||Bruno Gaeta|
|BSc Computer Science||Tim Lambert|
|Undergraduate Thesis||Salil Kanhere or your program director|
|Postgraduate Coursework Programs||Eric Martin|
|Postgraduate Research Programs||Sri Parameswaran
Approaching one of these people might be appropriate, for example, if the problem affects many or all persons studying for the same degree as you.
If your grievance is that you don't feel you were awarded a fair mark for a course, be aware that you can apply to the University, through the Student Centre in the Chancellery, to either have the mark checked (make sure all assignment marks were recorded, all parts of exam marked, and final grade calculated correctly), or to have the mark checked and the whole of your exam re-marked. [Following a re-mark, your final mark could go either up or down, or remain unchanged.]
If the problem cannot be resolved by other means, you have the option of appealing to a School Grievance Officer.
If your grievance should happen to relate to both School Grievance Officers, then you could contact the Head of School, or your Faculty's Grievance Officer.
In most cases, you should begin by sending an e-mail to the the grievance officer describing the problem in reasonable detail and requesting an interview. Please also indicate what steps you have already taken to resolve the problem. This will allow the grievance officer to do some groundwork on your case - sometimes grievances can be resolved immediately in this way.
A tiny proportion of students attempt to use the University's Grievance procedures for a range of improper purposes, including unfairly blackening the reputation of another person. UNSW has penalties for this practice.
If you send to a Grievance Officer an unsigned letter (or something similar, like an e-mail from a non-University e-mail address which we cannot confirm comes from a particular student) then we will of course read the contents. However, it is unlikely that the Grievance Officer will be able to do anything about the complaint in the letter. To be able to act, we have to know who is complaining, we may have to check that they are enrolled in a CSE course/program if that is what you are complaining about, and if it is not something quickly checked and fixed, we may need to interview you about the problem.
If you so request, the Grievance Officer will of course keep your identity confidential to the full extent possible, and will not reveal your identity to the person about whom you are complaining without your permission. However, in many cases, to get anywhere, we would have to tell the person about whom you are complaining what the complaint is about, so that they can (a) give their viewpoint; and hopefully (b) fix the problem.
If you are unsatisfied with the decision of the grievance officer whom you approach, there is a chain of appeal possibilities, including the Head of School, Faculty Grievance Officer, and Registrar. Sometimes there is more than one School Grievance Officer - in this case, if you take a case to one School grievance officer, you may not seek to have your complaint considered by another School grievance officer. [Your case might, however, be referred by one grievance officer to another, e.g. because the other grievance officer has special expertise, or because the first grievance officer has too much work at the time.]
The official UNSW Grievance Resolution Policy for students can be found at http://www.policy.unsw.edu.au/policy/student_grievance_resolution.htm - this has links to related documents.
The UNSW Student Guild may be able to help, too.