Concerns and complaints: a step-by-step guide for students
You can voice a concern, complaint, grievance, or appeal a decision, without fear of disadvantage. UC has a clear, fair and transparent resolution process. Your discussions remain confidential and no action will be taken without your authorisation.
If you require immediate, emergency assistance, please call Security on 0800 823 637 or dial 111.
If you feel comfortable doing so, try to talk to the person who made the decision or whose actions have caused your concern as a starting point. You may be able to resolve the issue directly.
If you’ve approached the person involved and it hasn’t worked out, or you don’t feel comfortable speaking with them directly, you could get in touch with the Dean, Head of Department/School, Service Unit Manager or your Class Representative.
Raise your concern or complaint with one of the contacts below. They will assess the issues raised and support you to work towards an informal resolution with the person involved, where possible.
UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team
Phone: 03 364 2652
Grievance and Academic Processes Advisor
Phone: 03 369 3970
The next step is to lodge a formal complaint in writing with the UC Grievance Coordinator.
You can formalise your complaint in an email, a letter, or by giving a statement to the UC Grievance Coordinator or UCSA Student Advocate. The Student Care team, Pacific Development Team, or Māori Development Team can support you to prepare your statement.
Your statement will need to include:
- Who you are and how best to contact you
- Who is involved
- What happened
- What outcome/s you are looking for
Remember that while you have a right to complain or disagree, it doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get the outcome you want.
UC Grievance Coordinator contacts
University Grievance Coordinator
Private Bag 4800
University of Canterbury
Phone: 03 369 3693970
The UC Grievance Coordinator will provide advice and coordinate communication between you and the person involved. They will decide who in the University is best suited to investigate and will communicate with you throughout the formal process.
After putting your concern, complaint, grievance or appeal in writing, you may be asked to:
- Provide further information
- Attend a meeting/s with the person reviewing or investigating the issue
- In the case of an academic appeal, attend a meeting of the Academic Appeals Committee
You will be kept informed of progress. The University aims to resolve issues within four weeks.
The University will inform you of the steps taken to investigate or review the matters that you raised. You will be informed of the decision and how/why it was decided. Any further ways you can appeal will be communicated to you.
International students: If your complaint has not been resolved, you can contact NZQA, a government organization. They can provide an independent assessment of your complaint and will either investigate your concerns or advise you what you can do next. You can submit your complaint query on the NZQA website, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need more information, contact NZQA on 0800 697 296. If your concern is about a financial or contractual dispute, you can contact iStudent Complaints or 0800 00 66 75. This is a free, independent service for international students.
UC Documents and information
General - relevant to all students and staff
The primary sources of further information can be found in the UC Policy Library and in the University Calendar which holds all the Regulations and Statutes that govern the University.
Some documents that contain important information for all students include:
- Academic Appeals and Grievances Principles and Procedures
- Know the Code - Student Code of Conduct
- UC Privacy Statements
- Master's Thesis Work Policy and Guidelines
- PhD and doctoral regulations and policies
- PhD Regulations
External websites with official sources of information
- Office of the Ombudsman website
- Office of the Privacy Commissioner website
- Interim Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of Domestic Students and the NZQA complaints page
- Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students and its international student complaints page