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Queen's University
 

Marvel College

Gary Yurchak and Frank Cairo Enterprises Ltd. o/a Marvel College [2006] Human Rights Panels of Alberta. File # Ns004/03/0407,

Facts

A former student of Marvel College filed a complaint of sexual harassment against Marvel college.

Following his final exam, in which he had an argument with his instructor, a male student in a vocational college quit and requested a full refund. At this time, he filed his complaint of sexual harassment on the basis of gender. He claimed that for the six weeks of his hair-styling class, his instructor, whom he claimed was unprofessional and unprepared, engaged in inappropriate discussions about sex, sexuality, homosexuality, sexual practices and dating with her students. He agreed that he had participated in these discussions.

The College argued that it followed best practices whereas the student failed to use the mechanisms in place to help students.  For example, the college had provided training to all its instructors on how to create and maintain a respectful classroom environment. Furthermore,  it co-signed with all students a copy of the dispute resolution policy and made them aware of their right and responsibility to file complaints either anonymously or directly with their supervisor so that issues could be resolved quickly. As soon as it caught wind of the complaint, it began to work on a sexual harassment policy.

Finally, the College claimed that although its hands were tied concerning the refund, which was subject to the rules of the Alberta Private Vocational Schools Act, it did offer Yurchak a compromise: an offer to refund half the tuition and the price of all unused books and equipment.

Issue

  • Did the inappropriate classroom discussions amount to sexual harassment?

Decision

  • No

Reason

The discussions were inappropriate and unprofessional but did not amount to sexual harassment. This is because the college had done and continues to do everything within its power to provide a harassment-free environment for its students. It could, obviously, improve its training program in creating/maintaining a respectful environment and needs to finish its sexual harassment policy. The student , who participated in the inappropriate class discussions, failed to take responsible measures to inform the college about the nature of his complaint. The Panel believed that the student was mostly disgruntled with the curriculum and teaching and not with alleged sexual harassment.

Order

The Panel dismissed the case.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000