The higher education regulator will contact an interstate university regarding a convicted sex offender's enrolment in what is believed to be the first complaint investigation since the Human Rights Commission's report into campus sexual assault.
End Rape on Campus Australia has lodged a 17-page complaint on behalf of an anonymous client alleging the university flouted its own misconduct rules by allowing the man, convicted of child sex offences and placed on the sex offender register, to continue studying at the institution.
The complaint - supported by 121 pages of documents - argued the university's inaction endangered its student population and led to the complainant dropping out of their studies because of the impact of trauma.
End Rape on Campus alleged the university was non-compliant with several of its own standards and seven requirements within the federal government's Higher Education Standards Framework in maintaining the man's enrolment.
The body that regulates higher education providers, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, can revoke a university's registration if it's found non-compliant with the relevant legislation.
One of its standard states providers must ensure "a safe environment is promoted and fostered, including by advising students and staff on actions they can take to enhance safety and security on campus and online."
TEQSA also released a guidance note in August further stating universities must respond to incidents that could affect students on and off campus.
"In relation to critical incidents, TEQSA will expect to see evidence ... of how a provider intends to respond to a range of foreseeable events either on or off campus. These might include ... sexual assault and sexual harassment," the TEQSA note said.
TEQSA would not give specific details on its response to End Rape on Campus's complaint, but said any information received in a complaint process could "provide valuable material that is usually considered during renewal of registration assessments of higher education providers".
"However, the process and timeframe for considering a complaint can vary depending on the seriousness of the issue raised and whether a scheduled assessment is planned to which the complaint may be relevant," a spokesman said.
"In the case of serious complaints, the provider in question will be contacted as soon as possible, and asked for further information in regard to the issue."
Correspondence seen by Fairfax Media confirms TEQSA has asked End Rape on Campus's permission to contact the university in relation to the complaint.
Following the release of the Human Rights Commission's Change the Course report into sexual assault at universities, also in August, federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham asked all universities to demonstrate their commitment to health and well being to TEQSA.
The TEQSA spokesman said 24 of Australia's 39 universities had responded.
He said: "In order to remain registered with TEQSA, higher education providers must meet the requirements of Higher Education Standards Framework at all times.
"There are a range of regulatory options available to TEQSA if a provider does not meet these requirements.
"Any action undertaken must be proportionate to the issue, and can include formally requesting more information on a matter, placing conditions on a provider's registration and in the most serious cases, cancelling a provider's registration."