student handbook

Unreasonable Conduct by Students


Veterinary Nurse Solutions Pty Ltd (VNS) is committed to providing accessible support services to all students, including a fair and impartial approach to complaint handling.

Our ability to ensure fair and equitable access to our student support services and carry out all organisational processes depends on:

  • All staff being provided the opportunity to perform their work functions in the most effective and efficient way possible,
  • A safe and harmonious workplace ensuring the health (physical and mental), safety, and security of our staff, and
  • Our ability to allocate our resources to ensure fairness in accessibility for all students.

Students who behave unreasonably in their dealings with us can have a negative effect on organizational capabilities and their conduct can significantly affect our success and the health and safety of our team.

As a result, VNS will take proactive and decisive action to manage any student conduct that negatively and unreasonably affects us and will support our staff to do the same in accordance with this policy.

A condition of enrolment is that students inform themselves of VNS’s rules and policies affecting them and conduct themselves in accordance with these at all times, including the student code of conduct.


This policy applies to the management of unreasonable conduct by students, as defined in this policy.

Relevant Legislation / Standards

Workplace Health & Safety legislation in all states.



Most students at our college interact with staff in a polite, respectful, and responsible manner, even when they are feeling upset, frustrated, or angry about their studies or have filed a complaint.

Unfortunately, in rare instances, some students may engage in behaviour that is unacceptable and violates TA POL 6.0 Student Conduct Policy. This behaviour can be serious and persistent, despite our efforts to provide support as outlined in TA POL 5.0 Student Support Needs.

Unreasonable conduct by students (UCS) refers to any behaviour that through its nature, pattern or frequency poses significant health and safety risks to our staff, creates resource or equity issues for our organisation, and affects other students, our wider college community, or the student themselves. This behaviour can include aggressive and abusive communication, threats of harm or violence, excessive communication, making unreasonable demands on our staff and resources, and refusing to accept decisions and recommendations related to support requests, studies, or complaint handling. UCS can occur through any form of communication, not just face-to-face interactions. When students engage in this type of behaviour, we classify it as “unreasonable conduct”.

UCS can be divided into five categories of conduct, each which are considered serious breaches of TA POL 6.0 Student Conduct Policy.

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Unreasonable arguments
  • Uncooperative behaviour
  • Unreasonable demands
  • Unreasonable persistence.

UCS also applies when a student breaches TA POL 6.0 Student Conduct Policy on multiple occasions, whether of the same or different reasons, despite receiving multiple warnings or other disciplinary action as per TA SOP 6.1 Student Misconduct Procedure.


Unreasonable behaviour is defined conduct which is considered unreasonable in all circumstances (not just relating to studies,) regardless of how stressed, angry, or frustrated a student may be. Unreasonable behaviour compromises the health, safety and security of our staff, other students, the wider college community, or the student himself/herself. 

Some examples of unreasonable behaviours include, but are not limited to:

  • Acts of aggression, verbal, or written abuse, and any derogatory, racist, or grossly defamatory remarks.
  • Harassment, intimidation, physical violence, or bullying.
  • Rude, abusive, confronting and/or threatening face-to-face, live chat, or phone contact or email and other correspondence.
  • Threats of harm to self or others, threats with a weapon, or threats to damage property including intangible assets.
  • Cyberbullying via social media, messaging apps and chat rooms or other online networking sites
  • Threats of leaving negative reviews online or other locations, threats of spreading defamatory information or remarks to colleagues, family, or friends, especially to gain leverage to have their demands met.
  • Stalking (in person or online).
  • Emotional manipulation.


'Unreasonable arguments' refer to any arguments that are contrary to VNS policies; that lack reason or logic, that are vague, false or inflammatory, trivial or irrational and that disproportionately and unreasonably impact upon our organisation, staff, other students, services, time, and/or resources.

An argument is considered unreasonable when it:

  • Lacks logical structure and is illogical in nature.
  • Is not supported by any evidence available and/or is based on conjecture and speculation.
  • Involves a student rejecting all other valid and contrary arguments.
  • Demands a disproportionate amount of time, resources, and attention compared to its triviality.
  • Contains false statements or is inflammatory or defamatory in nature.


Uncooperative behaviour by a student is defined as an unwillingness or inability to comply with VNS policies, procedures, or processes, that leads to an unreasonable and disproportionate use of our resources, services, and staff time.

Examples of unreasonable lack of cooperation include:

  • Refusing to follow policy, advice, suggestions, or instructions without a valid reason; or repeatedly rejecting support or advice without attempting to implement it or in the absence of evidence at having done so.
  • Refusing to communicate with VNS staff through normal channels when support is needed.
  • Ignoring documented policies and procedures, including those related to complaint handling and academic appeals.
  • Sending excessive (either comprehensive or disorganised) communications without clearly defining a complaint or without stating how the communications relate to the core concerns being raised.
  • Providing insufficient information or evidence to validate requests for additional student support measures, or when lodging a complaint.
  • Presenting information in a fragmented manner resulting in excessive use of VNS staff time, or providing little detail when making a complaint or request.
  • Arguing stubbornly and excessively for a specific solution, without consideration to its feasibility, in the face of alternate valid arguments, explanations or solutions.
  • Engaging in unproductive behaviour such as withholding information, being dishonest, misquoting others, and rejecting all suggestions or presented solutions.


Unreasonable demands are demands (expressed or implied) that are made by a student, that have a disproportionate and unreasonable impact on VNS operations, staff, services, time and/or resources.

Some examples of unreasonable demands include:

  • Dictating how VNS should handle their support or complaint request, including the priority given or the desired outcome, without consideration to policy and procedure. 
  • Insisting on talking to a manager, Academic Director, or the Managing Director personally when it is not appropriate or warranted in that circumstance.
  • Using emotional manipulation or blackmail tactics to intimidate, guilt, harass, shame bully, or portray themselves as a victim when the situation does not warrant it. 
  • Demanding unrealistic or unreasonable outcomes such as: a firing or prosecution without a valid reason, an apology or compensation without justification, a change in a grade without following the assessment appeals process or where an appeal outcome has upheld the original grade, or an unreasonable allocation of VNS resources. 
  • Demanding services or support that are of a nature or scale that which we have declared we can reasonably provide (in policy and or direct communication) 
  • Expecting responses to requests that separately or together require an unreasonable or unfair allocation of VNS resources and may disadvantage other students through resources, including staff, being tied up.


Unreasonable persistence is the continued, incessant, and unrelenting conduct by a student that has a disproportionate and unreasonable impact on VNS operations, staff, services, time and/or resources. Some examples of unreasonably persistent behaviour include:

  • Refusing to accept and continuing to argue and persist after being given a reasonable and logical explanation, and/or a final decision that was made in accordance with VNS policies and procedures.
  • Repeated and persistent contact with VNS regarding matter(s) that have been comprehensively considered and resolved under VNS policies and procedures.
  • Targeting VNS with multiple requests about a range of issues, whether related or not, which separately or together require an unreasonable or unfair allocation of VNS resources and may disadvantage other students through resources, including staff, being tied up.
  • Pursuing further action on resolved complaints despite being informed that the matter has been fully considered and no further action can be taken.
  • Making a new complaint about the same issue in an attempt to get a different outcome.
  • Inappropriate and repeated contact with our staff/organisation via phone calls, visits, letters, live chats, and emails (including cc’d correspondence) after repeatedly being asked not to do so.
  • Attempting to receive a more favourable response or outcome by contacting different people within the organization or outside of it with the same question or request.


To handle incidents of unreasonable conduct (UCS), measures will be taken to prevent or minimize harm caused by the UCS. These measures may include:

  • Who they have contact with - for example, limiting a student with, or to, a specific VNS staff member(s).
  • Restrictions or limits on support requests or time - for example, restricting the subjects/contents of communications that we will consider and respond to, or the time allocated to attending support.
  • When they can have contact - Setting limits on when the student can have contact with VNS, for example, particular time(s) or day(s) or curbing the frequency of their contact to align it with a typical student in their position.
  • Where they can make contact - for example, limiting or prohibiting the student from visiting certain VNS locations or attending events. limiting their ability to attend the office, workshops or other VNS events or locations, 
  • How they can make contact - limiting or modifying the forms of contact that the student can have with us. Modifying the ways in which the student can communicate with VNS. For example, limiting in-person meetings, phone calls, emails, live chats, using a representative for communication etc.
  • Cancelling or withdrawing our services from the student - including cancelling a student's enrolment in our courses, refusing future enrolments, or terminating access to our services altogether.
  • Personal conduct agreements - Asking the student to sign an agreement to maintain reasonable conduct in future interactions with VNS. 

When using the restrictions provided in this section, we recognise that discretion will need to be used to adapt them to suit a student’s personal circumstances and that more than one strategy may be used to ensure their appropriateness and efficacy.


Where a student tries to forum shop internally within our organisation, changes their issues of complaint repeatedly, reframes their request, raises an excessive number of requests or complaints, or acts uncooperatively, it may be appropriate to restrict their access to a single staff member (a sole contact point) who will exclusively manage their interactions with our organisation. This may ensure they are dealt with consistently and may minimise the chances for misunderstandings, contradictions, and manipulation.

Students who are restricted to a sole contact person will be given the contact details of one additional staff member who they can contact if their primary contact is unavailable due to taking leave or is otherwise unavailable for an extended period (greater than 7 days).


Where a student consistently communicates with us regarding issues that are trivial, irrelevant, insignificant, or inappropriate, or repeatedly raises complaints or issues that have already been fully addressed, we may limit the topics they are able to bring to our attention. To do this, we may:

  • Refuse to respond to correspondence that covers topics that have already been resolved, raises trivial issues, or lacks clear evidence. The student will be informed that any future correspondence of this nature will be received, recorded, and filed without a response, unless we determine that it requires further action, in which case we may pursue it on our own initiative.
  • Limit the student to one complaint or issue per month. Any attempt to bypass this limit, such as submitting multiple complaints in one letter, may result in further restrictions being imposed on their access to us.
  • Return correspondence that contains inappropriate content, and request that the student remove it before we will consider its contents. A copy of the inappropriate correspondence will also be made and kept for our records to track any future incidents of unreasonable conduct.


If a student's interaction with our organization becomes overly demanding and affects the health and safety of our staff, either because their communications are lengthy and disorganized, or because they exhibit persistent rude, threatening, abusive, or aggressive behaviour, we may limit the ways in which the student can communicate with us. This may include restrictions such as:

  • Limiting their access to certain communication channels
  • Setting specific times or days of the week for communication
  • Limiting the length or duration of each interaction
  • Limiting the frequency of their interactions

For written correspondence that is irrelevant, excessively lengthy, disorganized, or frequent, we may also implement additional measures such as:

  • Requiring the student to clearly indicate how the information they have provided relates to the main issue in their request or complaint.
  • Limiting the frequency at which students can send emails or other written communications to our organisation.
  • Restricting the student to communicating through a specific email account.

Email only restrictions

When a student is restricted to ‘email only’, all communications must be via email to a specific staff email or other stipulated email account. The student will not be permitted to initiate live chats, phone calls or video conferencing.

Any communications that are received by our office in a manner that contravenes a ‘email only’ restriction will be terminated or filed without acknowledgement. VNS may impose IP or other technology-based restrictions to restrict access to other forms of communication, including the blocking of services.

Any email communications received that are rude, threatening, abusive or aggressive will be filed and not responded to unless reframed into polite courteous communications. Where this unreasonable communication is repetitive in nature, the student may be withdrawn from the course.


If a student is violent or overtly aggressive, unreasonably disruptive, abusive, bullying, threatening, or demanding or makes frequent unannounced visits to our premises, we will consider restricting our face-to-face contact with them.

These restrictions may include:

  • Restricting access to all premises
  • Restricting their ability to attend workshops or other VNS events.
  • Allowing them to attend our office on an ‘appointment only’ basis and only with specified staff. Note – during these meetings, staff should always seek the support and assistance of a colleague for added safety and security.
  • Banning the student from attending our premises altogether and allowing some other form of contact – e.g. ‘writing only’ or ‘telephone only’ contact.


In cases where we cannot completely restrict our contact with a student and their conduct is particularly difficult to manage, we may also restrict their contact to go through a support person or representative only. The support person may be nominated by the student but must be agreed to by VNS.


In rare cases, and when other strategies have been considered and/or attempted without success, or in particularly abusive situations causing distress or harm to VNS staff, the Academic and/or Managing Director may decide that it is necessary for our organisation to cancel a student's enrolment and/or refuse service including future service or enrolments.

A decision to cancel a student's enrolment and withdraw the student from their course of study will only be made if the student repeatedly exhibits UCS, if it appears that the student is unlikely to modify their conduct, or if their conduct poses a significant risk for our staff or other parties because it involves one or more of the following types of conduct:

  • Acts of aggression, verbal and/or physical abuse, threats of harm, harassment, discrimination, intimidation, bullying, stalking, and/or assault.
  • Damage to VNS property or assets, including intangible assets.
  • Threats with a weapon or other items that can be used to harm another person or themselves.
  • Physically preventing a staff member from moving around freely either within their office or during a workplace visit.
  • Conduct that is otherwise unlawful.

In these cases, the student will be sent a letter (which may be via email) notifying them that their enrolment has been cancelled and detailing any steps needed to be undertaken to finalise their withdrawal from the course. Refunds or cancellations of future payments towards non-commenced modules will be at the discretion of VNS.

A student's access to our services and our premises may also be restricted (directly or indirectly) using legal mechanisms such as trespass laws/legislation or legal orders to protect members of our staff from personal violence, harassment, abuse, intimidation or stalking by a student.


If VNS determines that services to a student cannot be terminated in a particular case or that we/our staff bear some responsibility for causing or exacerbating their conduct, VNS may consider using alternative dispute resolution strategies (‘ADR’) such as mediation and conciliation to resolve the conflict with the student and attempt to rebuild our relationship with them.

A decision as to whether or not to participate in ADR is entirely at the discretion of VNS and on a case-by-case basis.