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How to complain to your Students’ Union

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Although university will continuously be sold as the best three or four years of your life, it’s important to remember that it isn’t always an easy ride.

You might fall out with friends, you might not get along with your professors. There’s not a lot you can do about these things except try to fix or accept what’s been done, moving on in the process. But when it comes to the Students’ Union directly offending or bothering you, there’s usually something you can do to change the situation.

Be direct

The first thing you should do is contact the SU directly. It doesn’t matter how, whether it’s via e-mail, phone or in person – just do it. With the pettier complaints, this is often the most effective method of resolving problems that you just want to go away. It’s important to remember that this is often built up as separate from the university itself, and is directly accountable to the student body. Therefore, it’s much more likely that you’ll be able affect change from them by simply opening a dialogue.

The SU or the university?

Of course, it may not always be this simple to resolve, or your issue may be with the university. In the latter case, it’s still not a bad idea to talk to the SU themselves. They’ll likely be able to contact the higher-ups and start investigating your issue. In the case of the former, you can look into getting the issue bought up at an All Student Meeting, council or similar. These usually take place every term and offer a platform for discussing the bigger issues that have been bought to the attention of the SU bigwigs.

Stay fair

When lodging a complaint, make sure that you’re fair and don’t turn it into a rant. The people you’re talking to are students, and separate from the bureaucracy that often entangles the complaint process with any institution of higher learning. It’s also important to understand the ramifications of your complaint – will you upset other students when you get your way?

If that’s the case, seriously think about whether this is what you want to do. If it is, make sure you ask for anonymity and try not to brag about what you did too much: news travels fast in the library, and you could find yourself with more enemies than you ever thought possible! But despite all this, you should find the process simple and easy. After all, you’re opening a dialogue with your Union. By simply attending, you’re part of that Union and you deserve to be heard.

Do you have more advice on how to complain to your Students’ Union or university? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Chris Potter / Flickr

Warwick Editor for Career Camels and Deputy Comment Editor for The Boar.
Nicholas BuxeyHow to complain to your Students’ Union

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