FAQs for Students

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 does the Statement protect the rights of 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.

Students who have concerns about personal harassment related to a course or academic matter, should contact their professor, Department head or Dean’s Office.  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, students should contact the UBC Ombudsperson (UBC Vancouver) or the Associate Vice-President, Student or Student Union (UBC Okanagan).

If I experience or witness personal harassment, who should I report this to?

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, students should contact the UBC Ombudsperson (UBC Vancouver) or the Associate Vice-President, Student or Student Union (UBC Okanagan).

What constitutes “personal harassment”?

Personal harassment is objectionable and unwanted behaviour that is verbally or physically abusive, vexatious or hostile, that is without reasonable justification, and that creates a hostile or intimidating environment for working, learning or living. Personal harassment may be intentional or unintentional. While personal harassment usually consists of repeated acts, a single serious incident that has a lasting harmful effect may constitute personal harassment.

Personal harassment behaviour includes persistent demeaning or intimidating comments, gestures or conduct; threats to a person’s employment or educational status, person or property;  persistent comments or conduct, including ostracism or exclusion of a person, that undermines an individual’s self-esteem so as to compromise their ability to achieve work or study goals;  unwarranted and excessive supervision or criticism of an individual; abuse of power, authority or position; sabotage of a person’s work; hazing; spreading of malicious rumours or lies; or making malicious or vexatious complaints about a person.

What constitutes “bullying”?

Bullying or harassment are behaviours that prevent us from the kind of respectful and productive environment envisioned in the Respectful Environment Statement. Bullying or harassment are not acceptable and will not be tolerated at UBC. Visit the UBC Bullying & Harassment Prevention website to learn more about how to prevent bullying and harassment in the  workplace.

What are the University’s policies on discrimination and harassment?

Matters relating to discrimination or harassment based on age, ancestry, colour,  family status, marital status, physical or mental disability, place of origin, political belief, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and criminal conviction unrelated to employment are addressed in Policy #3, the UBC Policy on Discrimination and Harassment.

What is the role of the Equity Office?

To address concerns that may constitute complaints under Policy #3, the UBC Policy on Discrimination and Harassment.

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