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Current Students


A student complaint is any type of problem, concern or grievance about your studies, student life, the University, or the University environment.

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Charles Darwin University provides a high-quality learning, teaching, and research environment that promotes respect, safety, and embraces diversity. However, we recognise that from time to time, problems, misunderstandings, or issues may arise and we want to make sure those issues are managed in a fair, transparent, and timely manner. Anything that negatively affects your studies or experience at University can be raised as a complaint. This includes concerns about your studies, student life, the University, or the University environment.

We have a dedicated Complaints team to help you navigate the processes and ensure that your complaint is appropriately referred to the relevant decision-maker. 

We take complaints seriously and aim to provide an environment where students are free to study without being subjected to behaviour that may constitute discrimination, harassment, or victimisation.

Student Complaints

We now have a new Student Complaint Policy and there are a few changes. It is now an all-in-one policy, which means that all complaint types are covered in this document. This includes complaints about:

    • the content, design, or delivery of an academic program
    • clarity of an assessment item
    • CDU equipment, facilities, or resources
    • feedback provided by academic staff.

    For example, the quality or delivery of a CDU service or facility.

    Treatment by a member of the CDU community that occurs via any medium. Note that complaints about the conduct of a person may be managed under the provisions of the Staff Code of Conduct, Student Code of Conduct, or the Student Academic Integrity Policy.

    Members of the CDU community includes:

    • students
    • staff
    • contractors or visitors to the University.

    The policy does not cover

    • decisions made under another CDU policy where that decision is stipulated as final, or where that policy provides an avenue for a review of those decisions
    • research integrity, including research ethics and the welfare of research subjects, managed under CDU’s research policies
    • sexual harassment or sexual assault, as this is covered by the Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment Policy
    • the conduct of a staff member in a partner organisation (for example a placement provider). Students will instead be supported to make a complaint to the third party for resolution and CDU may still choose to act, including changing or terminating the relationship.

    When you make a complaint, you can expect

    No disadvantage

    You will not face disadvantage or a direct financial cost.

    Access to support

    You can involve a support person (someone who can attend meetings with you) at any stage of the complaints process. You can access student support or advocacy services. All parties can seek advice from the Complaints Team about the complaint processes.

    The right to stop the process

    You can withdraw a complaint at any time. In exceptional circumstances, we may decide to continue an investigation without further involvement from you.

    The right to appeal

    You can appeal an outcome and/or refer a complaint to an external agency.


    You may lodge a complaint anonymously, noting that this might limit our ability to investigate or resolve your complaint.

    The University may conduct its own investigation based on information it receives, even if a complaint has not been submitted, or has been withdrawn.

    Any student who lodges a frivolous, vexatious, or deliberately misleading complaint will have their complaint dismissed and may be subject to disciplinary procedures under the Student Code of Conduct.


    CDU has a 3-step approach to resolving student complaints:

    1. Local Resolution
    2. Formal Complaint
    3. Appeal

    Complaint or appeal outcomes will be evidence-based and consider the desired outcome of the complainant. There may be a wide range of outcomes appropriate for a complaint or appeal, including but not limited to:

    • upholding of an original decision, or a change to a decision
    • resolution reached by mediation, which may include an apology
    • a commitment by the University to improve existing services or processes
    • penalties applied under related policies, including the Student Code of Conduct
    • provision of training or education for relevant parties
    • a change in the provision of a unit or short course, including updated resources, redesigned assessment items, refreshed content or alternate teaching methodologies
    • other actions appropriate in staff or student disciplinary or misconduct cases.