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UCD Student Complaints Office

Oifig Ghearán na Mac Léinn

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Complaint?
Who can complain?
Can anyone else complain on my behalf?
Can a complaint be submitted by a group of students?
Can I complain anonymously?
What can I complain about?
What can I not complain about?
How do I initiate a complaint (Stage 1 - Local Resolution)?
When should I complain?
What do I do if I am not satisfied with the initial response received?
Is there a time limit for forwarding my complaint to the Head of School / Unit?
How long will it take for the Head of School / Unit to deal with my complaint?
What if my complaint still has not been resolved?
How will the UCD Office of Assessment Appeals and Student Complaints deal with my complaint at Stage 2 - University Level Investigation?
What if I am still dissatisfied with the outcome of my complaint?
Getting further help with making your complaint

 

 

 

Q1. WHAT IS A COMPLAINT?
A1. UCD regards a complaint as an expression of significant or sustained dissatisfaction where a student seeks a specific action to address the issue, including an apology.

Q2. WHO CAN COMPLAIN?
A2. You can make a complaint if you are currently registered as a UCD student or within three months of ceasing registration as a UCD student.

Q3. CAN ANYONE ELSE COMPLAIN ON MY BEHALF?
A3. Third party complaints on behalf of a student are not normally accepted. However, if a student is unable, because of incapacitation, to raise a complaint on their own, the student may authorise another individual to make the complaint on their behalf. Students under 18 years of age may authorise their parent/guardian to make a complaint on their behalf.

Q4. CAN A COMPLAINT BE SUBMITTED BY A GROUP OF STUDENTS?
A4. Yes. Students may make complaints jointly, if desired.

Q5. CAN I COMPLAIN ANONYMOUSLY?
A5. No. Anonymous complaints will not be considered under the UCD Student Complaints Policy.

Q6. WHAT CAN I COMPLAIN ABOUT?
A6. You can complain about things like:

  • the quality or standard of any service provided by the University or on behalf of the University;
  • failure to provide a service;
  • the quality of facilities or learning resources;
  • the failure of the University to follow an appropriate administrative process;
  • unfair treatment or inappropriate behaviour by a student or a staff member;
  • an alleged action or inaction by the University or a member of its staff.

Q7. WHAT CAN I NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT?
A7. Not every issue raised with the University is a complaint. For example, we cannot deal with the following issues under the UCD Student Complaints Policy:

  • an appeal seeking a review of an academic decision on assessment, progression, completion or admission. The University provides separate appeals procedures to deal with these issues for undergraduate, graduate taught and graduate research students.
  • an initial request for information.
  • a request under the Freedom of Information Act or Data Protection Act.
  • a request for information or an explanation about a regulation, policy or practice.
  • a response to an invitation to provide feedback through a formal mechanism, for example, questionnaire or online feedback.
  • issues raised at student-staff consultative fora.

Furthermore, we cannot take the following complaints under the UCD Student Complaints Policy:

  • Complaints of harassment, including sexual harassment and bullying, are dealt with under the UCD Policy on Dignity and Respect.
  • Complaints about the conduct of students are normally handled under the UCD Student Code.
  • Complaints under the Equal Status Acts 2000 and 2004 may be made in line with the procedures set out at http://www.equality.ie/en/Information/Equal-Status/
  • Complaints relating to non-compliance with legislation where, under the legislation, the University must appoint a special inquiry officer, for example, the Disability Act 2005.
  • A complaint relating to an alleged clinical error by UCD Healthcare staff: where this has not been resolved locally with UCD Healthcare Services, a student may raise their complaint to the appropriate professional or statutory body, e.g.: http://www.medicalcouncil.ie/Public-Information/Making-a-Complaint-/
  • In the event that matters of a staff disciplinary nature arise they will be dealt with separately, at the discretion of the University, through the agreed staff disciplinary process.

Q8. HOW DO I INITIATE A COMPLAINT (STAGE 1 - LOCAL RESOLUTION)?
A8. In the first instance, you need to raise your concern as soon as possible (and within 15 working days after becoming aware of the issue), directly with the individual or the area (Unit, School or service provider) in which the issue has occurred. At this stage you can complain in person, by phone or by email.

When complaining, please provide your full name, UCD Connect email address and student number, explain the nature of your complaint clearly and concisely, provide as many relevant details as possible and indicate what outcome/resolution you seek.

Q9. WHEN SHOULD I COMPLAIN?
A9. Make a complaint as soon as possible and no later than 15 working days after first becoming aware of the issue.

Q10. WHAT DO I DO IF I AM NOT SATISFIED WITH THE INITIAL RESPONSE RECEIVED?
A10. If you are not satisfied with the initial response/outcome received you need to complete the official University form: Student Complaint Form: Head of Unit Review and email it to the Head of School/Unit in which the issue has occurred.

Q11. IS THERE A TIME LIMIT FOR FORWARDING MY COMPLAINT TO THE HEAD OF SCHOOL/UNIT?
A11. Yes. Email the Student Complaint Form: Head of Unit Review to the Head of School/Unit as soon as possible and no later than within 15 working days.

Q12. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR THE HEAD OF SCHOOL/UNIT TO DEAL WITH MY COMPLAINT?
A12. Normally, the outcome will be communicated to you within 15 working days of receipt of your complaint by the Head of School/Unit. However, sometimes delays can arise. In this case the Head of School/Unit should let you know when it is anticipated that the outcome will be available instead.

Q13. WHAT IF MY COMPLAINT STILL HAS NOT BEEN RESOLVED?
A13. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint at the local level, you need to complete the Student Complaint form: University Review and email it to the UCD Office of Assessment Appeals and Student Complaints (student.complaints@ucd.ie) within 15 working days from the date of the email sent to you by the Head of School/Unit informing you of the outcome.

Q14. HOW WILL THE UCD OFFICE OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS AND STUDENT COMPLAINTS DEAL WITH MY COMPLAINT AT STAGE 2 – UNIVERSITY LEVEL INVESTIGATION?
A14. The University Level investigation will include the following:

  • The Student Complaints Officer will assess your complaint to decide whether it is valid or whether it is considered to be malicious or vexatious.
  • The Student Complaints Officer will assess whether your complaint is within remit of the UCD Student Complaints Policy, whether it has been submitted within the required timeframe and whether you have attempted to resolve your complaint at the local level in the first instance.
  • The Student Complaints Officer will acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 5 working days.
  • The Student Complaints Officer will appoint a member of staff from an approved panel as Investigating Officer.
  • The Investigating Officer will review the complaint, taking account of any documentation supplied by the complainant and information supplied by the relevant area of the University.
  • The Investigating Officer will write a report, including recommendations for resolution, and submit it to the Academic Council Committee for Student Complaints for final decision within 15 working days of receipt of the complaint.
  • Where the timeframe of 15 working days for resolving the complaint cannot be met, the Student Complaints Officer will inform the complainant and the respondent outlining the reasons for the delay and when it is anticipated that the outcome will be available instead.
  • The Academic Council Committee for Student Complaints will make the final decision on the outcome of the complaint.
  • The Student Complaints Officer will inform the complainant and the respondent in writing of the outcome of the Investigating Officer’s investigation and of the final decision of the Academic Council Committee for Student Complaints.

Q15. WHAT IF I AM STILL DISSATISFIED WITH THE OUTCOME OF MY COMPLAINT?
A15. The decision of the Academic Council Committee for Student Complaints is final and cannot be appealed further within the University. However, if you are still dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint you may raise your complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman or Office of the Ombudsman for Children (for complainants under 18 years of age) within 12 months of the date of the outcome being communicated to you by the University.

Q16. GETTING FURTHER HELP WITH MAKING YOUR COMPLAINT
A16. You should ask University student support professionals (such as Student Advisers or Students’ Union Officers) for guidance about the appropriate complaint mechanisms available to you.

UCD Office of Assessment Appeals and Student Complaints.