The Best Student Life. Bristol SU


Whilst most students will go through University life without experiencing any major difficulties, unfortunately from time to time some students may come across a situation where they feel dissatisfied or that they have been unfairly treated.

What can I make a complaint about?

You can use the University Complaint process if you’re unhappy about something the University has or hasn’t done, or the standard of service provided. Complaints can be about any aspect of the University.

If your complaint is about bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, assault or discrimination you can use the Unacceptable Behaviour Complaint process. This gives you the options of anonymous reporting and support from a Wellbeing Advisor. 

It may sound obvious, but the University’s complaints processes can't be used to address issues relating to services the University does not provide – for example:

  • If you are in private accommodation and have a dispute with your landlord.
  • If your complaint relates to the Students’ Union (we have our own Complaints Policy)

The complaints processes should not be used to challenge academic decisions that fall under the University’s Appeals Regulations. If you are concerned about an academic decision the University has made (for example, to ask you to withdraw from your studies or a penalty imposed for alleged plagiarism), the University’s Appeals process would be the appropriate pathway.

If you are unsure about whether the complaints procedures are the best way to resolve something we would recommend speaking to a Just Ask Advisor to explore your options.

Before you make a complaint…

Before making an official complaint to the University have a think about whether you can resolve this informally. There will be times when it may not feel safe to talk to someone about your concerns but in many cases issues can be resolved by having a conversation with the people involved. Often people will not realise there is a problem until somebody highlights it to them, and sometimes just being honest about how you feel about a situation can resolve whatever the issue is.

It is also worth considering how serious you feel the situation in question is and whether it is appropriate to use the complaints procedures. Iff a member of staff is slightly rude to you on a one-off occasion, submitting a complaint may not be the most appropriate way to deal with the situation: try to keep things in perspective!

Similarly, it is also worth bearing in mind whether the University will be able to actually resolve your issue. If in doubt, a Just Ask Advisor can give you guidance on this. 

We would also suggest that you have a think about the option of mediation. The University offers a free mediation service that you can access. Mediation can be a way for people involved in a dispute to be heard and to try to move towards a resolution between them, rather than a decision being imposed by a third party. If you want to be able to develop or maintain a good working relationship with the person you are in dispute with then mediation can often be a better route than a formal complaint. If it isn’t working for you then you can still take the issue up as a complaint. Feel free to talk to us if you have any questions about this.