SGPS implements anti-harassment policy

Queen's Certificate in Law

AAC Academic Grievance Centre

New policy addresses harassment between SGPS members

New procedures for dealing with workplace harassment have been added to the policy of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) following a vote at their September council meeting two weeks ago.

The policy, developed by Mark Asfar, SGPS vice-president professional, is a basic outline of the SGPS stance against harassment and discrimination in the workplace, along with procedures on submitting and dealing with a complaint.

“We tried to make a balance between an accessible and not overly long document, but also one that was comprehensive,” Asfar, JD ’17 said.

Upon stepping into his role as at the end of last year, Asfar, having been heavily involved in the AMS during his undergraduate years at Queen’s, noticed the lack of policy in place regarding harassment and discrimination in the SGPS.

The previous system, according to Asfar, was to direct any complaints to the University administration, which he said was inaccessible for SGPS members.

“We’re in a grey zone,” Asfar said, in reference to SGPS full-time staff who aren’t classified as students — and therefore out of the jurisdiction of the University.

According to him, the policy is twofold, serving as a guideline for the complainant as well as the SGPS member receiving the complaint. He said it will be particularly useful for future executive councils.

“There will be a guiding policy for [the executive] as well, so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

The policy focuses mainly on relationships between SGPS members, as opposed to graduate students and their supervisors. Although the policy has been implemented, it will need to be ratified during the SGPS Fall Annual General Meeting on Nov. 24.

with files from Victoria Gibson

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