The University recognises that bringing a complaint can be a stressful experience for students, but it also has a duty to ensure the safety and well-being of its staff. This policy sets out our approach to the minority of complainants whose actions or behaviours we consider to be unacceptable.
We expect you to use the established procedures and channels of communication to bring and resolve formal complaints. You can expect University staff involved in your complaint to assist in its resolution in an impartial and fair manner.
We do not expect our staff to tolerate behaviour that we consider to be unacceptable, and will take action to protect our staff from such behaviour. We will, for example, not accept communication that is:
- abusive, offensive or defamatory
- aggressive, threatening or defamatory
- unreasonably persistent or demanding
If a complainant’s behaviour is deemed to be unacceptable, we will explain the reason(s) for this and will ask that the complainant modify his/her behaviour. If the unacceptable behaviour continues, we will be forced to take action to restrict the complainant’s communication with the University. Any decision on restricting access will be taken by any two of the following senior staff:
- University Secretary and Chief Operating Officer
- Academic Registrar
- Director of Student and Academic Services
The complainant will be issued with a letter that sets out the reason(s) his/her behaviour has been deemed unacceptable and the actions we will be taking. Any restrictions imposed will be appropriate and proportionate. The actions we are most likely to consider are:
- Requesting contact in a particular form (eg letter only)
- Requiring that contact take place with a single, named individual (eg the Head of Student Services)
- Restricting telephone calls to specified days and times
- Asking the complainant to appoint a representative to correspond with us
- Asking the complainant to enter into an agreement about their conduct
Where a complainant behaves unacceptably during a telephone conversation, we may, as a last resort, terminate the call.
Where the behaviour is so extreme that it threatens the immediate safety and welfare of University staff or students, we will consider other options, eg reporting the matter to the police or taking legal action. In such cases we may not give the complainant prior warning of that action.