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University seeks feedback on harassment and discrimination policy

Queen’s launches a campus consultation on draft policy and procedures now updated to support safety and inclusivity.

Queen’s faculty, students, and staff are being asked for their feedback on a revised policy and its related procedures to address harassment and discrimination at the university.

The university last reviewed and approved a university-wide harassment and discrimination policy and procedures in 2000. An interim policy addressing harassment and discrimination in the workplace was introduced in 2016. Since then, university campuses, provincial and federal laws, and society at large have continued to evolve, and updates are required to ensure that the university’s approach to unwanted conduct remains effective in representing Queen’s commitment to a respectful, inclusive, and safe learning and work environment.

A Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedure Consultation Working Group was formed in 2018 and spent two years reviewing existing documents, researching best practices, and consulting with experts. The working group, composed of staff, students, and faculty, is now ready to initiate a broad and inclusive process to further inform the draft policy and procedures; engaging with key campus stakeholders that include students and student groups, faculty, staff, union leadership and others to gain essential insight.

“We have heard from the campus community that there is a lack of clarity about how to bring forward concerns arising from harassing and discriminatory conduct, and how the university will address those concerns,” says Lon Knox, University Secretary and chair of the working group, “The proposed policy and its procedures envisions a single point of intake to which reports and complaints of harassment and discrimination can be made for the whole of the campus, whether those affected are staff, faculty, students, volunteers or visitors. We anticipate this will simplify communicating with our community about where to bring their concerns about conduct that they might have experienced or witnessed and make clearer how the university will respond.”

The university has launched a consultation webpage through which campus community members are able to review the new policy and procedures and submit their feedback. There are three items available for review, including the draft Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Policy, a draft complaint procedure, and a draft reporting procedure. Those who review the documents are encouraged to submit their comments and feedback via a feedback form or email. Some direct consultations will also take place with additional stakeholder groups.

The consultation will occur in phases, with the first round of feedback being accepted from Dec. 14, 2020 to Jan. 29, 2021. Feedback will be reviewed in early February and amendments to the policy and procedures will be addressed. A second round of feedback on the amended documents will run from Feb. 22, 2021 to March 5, 2021. Final versions will be developed from there and posted publicly for the university community by mid-March.

For more information on the process, and to review and submit your feedback on the policy and procedures, visit the University Secretariat website.