student handbook

Unreasonable Student Conduct Procedure


This document stipulates the steps to undertake in the event of unreasonable conduct by students under TA POL 6.1 Unreasonable Conduct by Students.



When a student displays unreasonable conduct including abusive, threatening, bullying or other behaviours in their communications, the staff member involved must request the student stops the behaviour or they will terminate the communication. 

  • Warning of the communication being terminated must be relayed prior to it being terminated. For example, “Please keep your communication with me respectful and courteous so I can assist you with this matter. If you continue to act in this unreasonable manner, I will terminate this call/live chat.”, followed by “As your unreasonable behaviour is continuing, I am ending this call/live chat”.
  • VNS staff members may terminate any communication where they are in distress or feel they may be harmed without reprisal from management.
  • An email should be sent detailing the reasons for the communication termination with reference to TA POL 6.0 Student Conduct Policy, TA POL 6.1 Unreasonable Conduct by Students, and this procedure as a formal warning.


All communications with students must be recorded as per CO POL 5.0 Record Keeping & Data Reporting.


Where a staff member has suffered distress or harm due to UCS, an incident report form as per HR POL 19 Workplace Health & Safety must be completed and returned to VNS Management. 


For all allegations of UCS, an official complaint from VNS staff must be made to the Academic Director in writing. This can be via email and must include details of the alleged incident including a date, time, mode of communication and summary of the communications.


The Academic Director will form a review panel to review the complaint including the Academic Director and at least one other staff member not involved with the student and/or issue, or with limited involvement. This panel will consult with the relevant and involved staff (and student where required) prior to deciding appropriate measures, and review all evidence of the UCS including email, live chat records and phone call recordings.


Any documentation produced or used as evidence of the allegation, and all evidence reviewed must be saved into an investigation folder in the student file. A copy of the report, or summary of findings must also be saved.


Once a decision is made, the student must be notified in writing and where appropriate with a phone call, with the investigation outcomes noted in the student management system.


If a decision is made to terminate the student’s enrolment, the approval of the RTO of enrolment must be sought prior to initiating the withdrawal process and student notification.


If VNS determines that termination of services is not appropriate in a particular case, or that the staff member bears some responsibility for the conduct, VNS may consider alternative dispute resolution strategies such as mediation and conciliation to resolve the conflict with the student and attempt to rebuild the relationship. The decision to participate in alternative dispute resolution is at the discretion of VNS and will be made on a case-by-case basis. 


When determining if a student’s access should be changed or terminated, we will consult with relevant staff on the following:

  • The circumstances that gave rise to the UCS/incident(s).
  • The impact of the student’s conduct on our organisation, relevant staff, our time, resources, etc.
  • The student’s responsiveness to the staff member’s warnings/requests to stop the behaviour.
  • The actions relevant staff have taken to manage the student’s conduct, if any.
  • The suggestions made by relevant staff on ways that the situation could be managed.

This information will assist us in making a well-informed decision on the appropriate course of action.


When deciding on whether to change or terminate a student’s access to our services, the following criteria will be considered:

  • The nature of the unacceptable conduct, including any instances of anger, aggression, violence, bullying, verbal or written abuse, discrimination, inflammatory or defamatory remarks, or assault.
  • The validity of the student’s complaint or issue (excluding their behaviour), which may prompt a separate investigation or complaint process.
  • The likelihood that the student will modify their unreasonable conduct in response to a formal warning about their conduct.
  • The likely efficacy of changing or restricting access to our services in managing the student’s behaviour and its impact on staff.
  • If changing or restricting access to our services will unreasonably affect the students’ ability to complete their studies with us i.e. They will have no access to student support services available to them.
  • The effect that changing or restricting access to our services may have on the student’s welfare, livelihood, or dependents.
  • The role that personal circumstances, such as homelessness, physical disability, illiteracy, mental illness, personal crises, substance abuse, or language barriers, may have played in the student’s behaviour.
  • The proportionality of the student’s conduct in light of the circumstances.
  • Any statutory provisions that would restrict the type of limitations that can be placed on the student’s access to our services.

Once all of these factors have been considered, a decision on the appropriate course of action will be made by VNS.

Providing a warning letter/email

In order to give the student an opportunity to change their behaviour, in cases where student conduct does not pose a significant risk to the health and safety of VNS staff and stakeholders, VNS will provide them with a written warning.

Providing a notification letter/email

If a student’s conduct continues after they have been given a written warning, or in extreme cases of overt aggression, abuse, violence, assault or other unlawful/unacceptable conduct, VNS has the discretion to send a notification letter immediately restricting the customer’s access to our services (without prior written warning). This is to control or mitigate any risk to staff or the organisation’s ability to deliver services fair and equitably to all. 

Where necessary, police will be notified.

Continued monitoring/oversight responsibilities

Once a student has been issued with a warning letter or notification letter VNS and has restrictions in place, the Academic Director, or their designated staff member, will review the customer’s record/restriction every 3 months, on request by a staff member, or following any further incidents of UCS that involve the particular student to ensure that they are complying with the restrictions/the arrangement is working.

When conducting a review VNS will consider:

  • Whether the student has had any contact with the organisation during the restriction period.
  • The student’s conduct during the restriction period.
  • Any information/arguments put forward by the student.
  • Any other information that may be relevant in the circumstances.

Note – Sometimes a student may not have a reason to contact VNS during their restriction period. As a result, a review decision that is based primarily on the fact that the customer has not contacted our organisation during their restriction period (apparent compliance with our restriction) may not be an accurate representation of their level of compliance/reformed behaviour. This should be taken into consideration, in relevant situations.

VNS will notify the student of the outcome of their review using the appropriate/relevant method of communication as well as a written letter explaining the outcome, as applicable.

If VNS determines that the restrictions have been, or will be, ineffective in managing the student’s conduct or are otherwise inappropriate for the situation, we may decide to either modify the restrictions, or impose further restrictions at any time.

Withdrawal from the course

If VNS determines that the restrictions have been, or will be, ineffective in managing the student’s conduct or that harm to staff or business operations will continue, VNS may terminate the students’ access to our services altogether including withdrawing them from their studies.

The student will be notified that they are being withdrawn from the course immediately in writing, their access to the Learning Centre will be suspended, and the standard withdrawal process will commence.

Students may be given the opportunity to finalise any units close to completion to gain credits they can use towards study at another institution, however access restrictions as per the policy will be enforced.

Students may be offered conditional refunds or partial refunds for any units of competency not yet commenced as VNS will no longer be delivering the service to the student. The offer of refunds or waiver of future fees lies solely at VNS management’s discretion.


Students who are affected by a decision to change or restrict their access to our services have the right to make one formal appeal. The appeal will be reviewed by a senior staff member who was not involved in the original decision and, if the student is enrolled with an RTO, a senior staff member of that RTO.

The senior staff members will evaluate the student’s arguments and any relevant records related to the student’s conduct. The outcome of the review will be communicated to the student in writing and will be considered final.


In case the student remains dissatisfied after the internal review process, they can seek an external review from the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will consider the review in accordance with its jurisdiction to ensure that our organization acted fairly, reasonably, and consistently and adhered to the principles of good administrative practices, including procedural fairness.


To effectively administer the UCS policy, there is a reliance on staff members within this process to review and analyse a customer’s contact with VNS. To enable this process staff are responsible for recording all contacts that they have with a customer; regardless of the customer being designated UCS as per policy CO POL 5.0 Record Keeping & Data Reporting.

All Staff

All staff are responsible for familiarising themselves with the policy and procedure.

All staff are responsible for speaking with their managers about how this policy and associated procedure relates to specific procedures regarding managing student behaviours.

Staff are encouraged to explain the contents of the policy and procedure to all students particularly those who engage in UCS or exhibit the early warning signs for UCS.

Where staff identify a customer as exhibiting UCS behaviours, they are to report the incident(s) to their manager as per this procedure. Staff are responsible for recording and reporting all UCS incidents they experience or witness (as appropriate) to their manager within 24 hours of the incident occurring and ensuring details of contacts are recorded.

All staff are responsible for familiarising themselves with TA POL 5.0 Student Support Needs, TA POL 6.0 Student Conduct, TA POL 6.1 Unreasonable Conduct by Students and understanding the immediate measures that can be taken when confronted by abusive, offensive, or threatening behaviours.

All staff are responsible for maintaining accurate records of contacts with customers using VNS’s student management system.

While effective application of this policy relies on all staff identifying and reporting UCS incidents, it must be emphasised that any strategies that effectively change or restrict a student’s access to our services must be considered at the Senior Management level or higher as provided in this procedure.


Sample checklist for the Review Panel to consider when deciding to modify or restrict student’s access.

  • We have received a report and/or a signed and completed incident form from the staff involved as appropriate (attach copy).
  • We have reviewed the student’s record and all the relevant information and evidence.
  • We have spoken with relevant staff to obtain further information, as needed.
  • We have referred to and considered all information which includes an assessment of the following:
  • The merits of the student’s issue/complaint
  • The student’s circumstances
  • Jurisdictional issues
  • Proportionality, that is, who has contributed what to the situation
  • Organisational or staff responsibility
  • Responsiveness, including previous conduct
  • Staff members personal limits, boundaries, and tolerance levels
  • Considered if the conduct is unreasonable in all circumstances (assault, threats of harm, bullying, abuse etc.)

Along with the staff member concerned and [any other nominated staff], I have considered all reasonable options for managing the student’s conduct, including those that do not involve restricting their access to our services.

  • The student has been warned about their conduct in writing, and the letter has been signed by the Academic Director if applicable.
  • The student has been advised in writing of our decision to restrict their access to our organisation, and the letter has been signed by the Academic Director if applicable.
  • I have made a record of my assessment and decision about the student’s conduct and all relevant staff members have been notified of my decision.
  • An alert has been created in that notifies any staff dealing with this student of the nature of the conduct that caused us to be concerned, the nature of the restriction that has been placed on their access, its duration, how they are to deal with the student (including who they should direct any communications from the student to).