New Harassment & Discrimination Policy effective Sept. 1

‘It simplifies the processes,’ University Secretary says

Policy aims to address individual and systemic instances of harassment and discrimination.
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On Sept. 7, Queen’s announced the new Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Response Policy (H&D Policy) took effect on Sept. 1.

Approved on May 7 during a Board of Trustee meeting, the new policy aligns with the Student Code of Conduct.

It also aims to address concerns from the community about a “lack of awareness of pathways to bring forward concerns about problematic behaviors and the complexities of those pathways.”

The H&D Policy replaces the University’s two existing polices—the Senate Harassment/Discrimination Complaint Policy and Procedure, and the interim Workplace Harassment & Discrimination Policy—with a single clarified policy.

“The new policy improves the reporting mechanisms for individual and systemic instances of harassment and discrimination across all university-related spaces and activities,” Lon Knox, university secretary and chair of the Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedure Consultation Working Group, wrote in an email to The Journal.

The policy is intended to smooth the intake process for individuals initiating complaints and reports of harassment or discrimination through the University Secretariat Office, Knox explained.

“It simplifies the processes through which campus community members can express concerns about harassment and discrimination and serves to illuminate how the university will address those concerns in clear and consistent ways.”

The policy is a separate and distinct report from the Queen’s Policy on Sexual Violence involving Queen’s University Students, which outlines the university’s response to disclosures and complaints about sexual violence experienced by students.

Knox added that the policy was developed over a three-year period under “extensive consultation with the campus community.”

READ MORE: Queen’s harassment & discrimination policy in final round of feedback

According to Knox, the new policy was reviewed and developed through a committee comprised of representatives across campus, including students, faculty, and staff.

“The new H&D Policy supports the university’s ongoing commitment to promoting a respectful and inclusive living, learning, and working environment.”

The committee also prepared “training and awareness information” over the summer.  

“Our goals through the summer were to prepare information resources and training modules, and to raise awareness of the new policy and the changes that have been made, as well as the date these changes came into effect.”

According to the H&D Policy report, an individual who “feels they have experienced Discrimination, Harassment or Reprisal” will be able to file Complaint under the Harassment and Discrimination Complaint Procedure.

If an individual witnesses or becomes aware of any harassment and discrimination, they are “encouraged” to submit a report under the Harassment and Discrimination Reporting Procedure.

“The focus now is on ensuring everyone is aware of the online information available through the University Secretariat’s website, as well as the training and information sessions that are underway and will continue throughout the fall,” Knox stated.

In an email sent to The Journal, Ryan Sieg, vice-president of University Affairs, said the AMS is focused on creating “educational materials to inform the student body of the changes.”

“This effort has been spearheaded by Samara Lijiam, the Social Issues Commissioner. The materials will include a leaflet explaining what harassment and discrimination are as defined by the policy, the scope of the policy, and the steps required to report harassment and discrimination.”  

Sieg added training will be made available to students who are interested in learning more about the policy.

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