Why was the Respectful Environment Statement created and what is its purpose?
The UBC Respectful Environment Statement is our commitment to a respectful environment for our Students, Faculty and Staff. It was created in part to respond to personal harassment issues that arise in our working, learning and living environment that are not addressed under the Policy for Discrimination and Harassment and the Equity Office mandate. The Statement’s purpose is firstly to encourage workplace practices that foster an environment in which respect, civility, diversity, opportunity and inclusion are valued, and, secondly, to articulate the expectation that everyone at UBC conduct themselves in a manner that upholds the Statement’s principles in all communications and interactions with fellow UBC community members and the public in all University-related activities.
How will the Statement affect faculty and staff?
Those in leadership and supervisory roles in their units are expected to build their capacity through training and education, to understand rights and responsibilities in a respectful working, learning and living environment. This includes their own responsibility to investigate, respond to and manage complaints of harassment and to educate those they supervise or lead regarding those right and responsibilities.
For other faculty and staff, the Statement clearly outlines activities considered harmful to a respectful environment and ways in which those issues may be addressed.
How will the Statement be used by department heads, supervisors, and administrators?
The statement is expected to have multiple uses for our leaders and for those who manage staff at UBC. Among them, would be to use the Statement to start or continue unit level conversations about workplace practices, and how those practices may be expanded upon or new initiatives created to support the Statement’s principles.
Primary responsibility for addressing respectful environment concerns, including concerns about personal harassment, lies with those members of the UBC Community who exercise supervisory or leadership roles. These individuals are well placed to set examples for others by their own conduct, to communicate to those under their direction UBC’s commitment to a respectful university environment and to take appropriate action to preserve or restore a respectful environment if problems arise.
How does the Statement protect the rights of faculty, staff and students?
In the context of an academic community, freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry must be exercised responsibly, in ways that recognize and respect the dignity of others, having careful regard to the dynamics of different relationships within the environment, such as between professor and student, or supervisor and employee. Personal harassment, which is sometimes referred to as psychological harassment or bullying, is harmful to a respectful environment and therefore has no place at UBC.
Specifically, faculty or staff who have concerns about personal harassment should contact their direct supervisor or Administrative Head of Unit. Students should contact their professor, Department head or Dean’s Office, if their concern relates to a course of academic matter. If the concern is related to a UBC service unit or a residence, students should contact the Unit Head of the particular service or the Vice President, Students Office at UBC Vancouver, or the Unit Head or the Associate Vice President, Students at UBC Okanagan.
Where the issue is not resolved or there is concern about conflict of interest, faculty and staff should contact their employee association, union, or Human Resources. In such circumstances, students should contact the UBC Ombudsperson (UBC Vancouver) or the Associate Vice-President, Student or Student Union (UBC Okanagan).