Advice & Advocacy FAQ

General FAQs

The Monash Graduate Association Inc. (MGA) is the representative body for all research and coursework graduate students enrolled through Monash University’s Victorian campuses.

MGA is an incorporated association pursuant to the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (Vic). The MGA is a recognised association under Monash University Statutes and receives a very small portion of the funding collected by Monash University called the ‘student services and amenities fee’ (SSAF). The MGA enters into a funding agreement with Monash University, whose responsibility it is to ensure associations meet the legislative requirements under the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Act 2011.

The MGA is able to provide independent, free and confidential advice to all graduate students.

The service is provided at no charge to the student.

Any Monash graduate student can access MGA services. A graduate student is a student enrolled in a course of study leading to an award of graduate certificate, graduate diploma, postgraduate diploma, masters degree, professional doctorate or doctor of philosophy. Former students may also access MGA services for a period of six months post enrolment.

The role of the MGA Advocate is to help graduate students navigate their way through the policies and procedures of the University and provide information and/or advice on any study related matter, whether academic or administrative. All graduate students at Monash University have rights in regard to the quality of their education, and the way that they are treated by their faculty, the University and other students.

It is entirely up to each individual student to decide whether to act on advice provided. The MGA does not have any coercive powers and cannot compel the University to act in a particular way. The MGA does not provide advice or advocacy in cases involving equity issues or harassment or bullying.  In these cases, the MGA will refer the students to the appropriate body.

The Advocate deals with most cases, however during peak times may be assisted by case workers. Consultations can take place by Zoom, telephone, email, or face-to-face at either the MGA Clayton or Caulfield offices. In complex cases, the Advocate will usually prepare a detailed letter(s) of advice to each student outlining their options.

A complaint by or against a student can be a daunting prospect. Students are encouraged to access the assistance of MGA at any stage. The sooner advice is sought, the better.

The MGA cannot assist in the following circumstances:

  • in matters unrelated to your graduate study;
  • where the internal decision making process of the University has been exhausted;
  • where students contact the Victorian Ombudsman after internal University proceedings have concluded;
  • while the matter is still in the negotiation or informal stage the Advocate does not usually attend meetings with lecturers or supervisors although suggestions may be made to the student about how to approach the matter;
  • in the event that a relationship of trust cannot be achieved between the Advocate and student, the Advocate has the discretion to cease to act for that student;
  • MGA resources are limited and if the Advocate cannot meet a level of service expected by a student then the Advocate may refer the student elsewhere and/or cease to act;
  • in matters involving conflict of interest.

MGA Advocates advise individual or group student efforts and do not act in a lobbying capacity on behalf of the Association itself. In these situations, students should contact a MGAEC Student Representative.

Complaints about the handling of a case should be addressed to the MGA Executive Officer: Jennifer Reeder.

Yes. The MGA adheres to Victorian privacy principles which are embodied in the Monash University Policies and privacy laws.

Student case information is treated as confidential and will only be disclosed to third parties at the student’s request or with the student’s consent. In the event that the Advocate or case worker hold a reasonable apprehension that the student is at serious risk of harming him/herself or a danger to others, then the matter will be disclosed to the relevant authority without any prior warning to the student.

Anonymous examples of student issues may be used by MGA for training or lobbying purposes. If the Advocate is unavailable and a student needs to see another case worker, then this case worker will have access to the Advocate’s file. The file will include a brief summary of the student’s matter and any advice given. The file may also include medical reports.

An individual student may request to see the notes on their case or obtain a copy of their file.

For further details, please refer to the MGA Privacy Regulations and Information Handling Procedure.