|Year||University Policies||University Practices||Student Union Policies||Student Union Practices|
Capilano University lists among its Values: “diversity, and the individuality of learners; a culture of inquiry and evidence-based decision making; academic integrity; open engagement with ideas and respectful engagement with each other; personal accountability for the integrity and success of the University; commitment to our communities; transparency and an ethic of fairness.”
Capilano University maintains an Academic Freedom policy which states:
Academic freedom is the freedom to engage in teaching, learning, research, or other creative work in order to expand knowledge and to do so in an atmosphere of free inquiry and exposition. Academic freedom is the right to examine, question, teach and learn in an environment that supports the need to investigate, speculate, and comment without reference to prescribed doctrine.
Academic freedom is essential in institutions of higher education if they are to make their proper contribution to the common good; the common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition. This belief, and not the interest of the individual faculty member or even the interest of a particular institution, is the justification for academic freedom.
Faculty members are entitled to academic freedom when teaching and discussing subject matter and when engaging in research, scholarship, publishing or producing creative work, subject to the responsible performance of these and other academic duties. The right of faculty to academic freedom carries with it the duty and responsibility to use that freedom in a manner consistent with the scholarly obligation to base research and teaching on an honest search for knowledge.
Controversy is a normal aspect of teaching and academic enquiry, and the knowledge and the beliefs of a faculty member may be incorporated into that which is taught. The freedom to teach and to learn, however, must be joined by a constant effort to distinguish between knowledge and belief. Freedom must be exercised in the context of a commitment to accuracy and integrity.
As part of their teaching activities, faculty members are entitled to conduct frank discussion of potentially controversial matters related to their subjects. This freedom of expression shall be based on mutual respect for the opinions of students and other members of the academic community.
As faculty members, librarians have a duty to promote and maintain intellectual freedom. Consequently they have the right to express their academic judgement in the development of the library collection even if materials may be considered controversial.
Faculty members also have the right to exercise their legal rights as citizens and should not suffer any penalties from the exercise of such rights. When faculty members communicate as citizens, they must be free from institutional censorship or discipline. As members of a learned profession, and as representatives of an educational institution, faculty members may choose, or may be called upon, to communicate publicly in an area of expertise or on behalf of an area of the University. In such instances, it is appropriate for them to identify themselves as members of the University community, but faculty members should not present their views on any matter, in any medium, (e.g. speech, writing or social media) as the official position of the University.
Capilano’s policy, Use of College’s Public Space by Student Clubs or Groups, includes in its list of requirements for space usage that and “[a]ny behaviour that is deemed to be disruptive, aggressive, confrontational, or considered to be a form of harassment will not be tolerated by the College and any permission previously granted will be revoked immediately and the person(s) asked to cease the activities.”
Within Capilano’s Student Behaviour Policy, “appropriate behaviour” is defined as follows:
The University recognizes that most students make considerable sacrifices to be able to attend classes. To enhance their opportunities for success, the University expects everyone to conduct themselves so as to help, not hinder, their fellow students, staff, and instructors in achieving their common goals.
One of the most important of those goals is to develop the skill of critical thinking through the free expression and exploration of a wide range of ideas. This may involve challenges to students' and faculty's strongly held beliefs and values. As long as such challenges are clearly directed at ideas, and are not merely personal attacks on those who hold them, the University accepts and encourages them as part of the learning process.
Nothing in this policy shall be construed as to prohibit peaceful assemblies and demonstrations or reasonable expressions of free speech.
“Improper behaviour” includes “disruptive behaviour” which is defined in the Policy as follows:
Some kinds of expression and behaviour do not further the learning process nor contribute to a safe learning and working environment; they may become disruptive to all concerned and may hinder the University's basic purpose: to foster both learning and a constructive, positive attitude toward learning. Therefore, the University will not accept disruptive behaviour in any University-sponsored activities whether conducted on or off campus.
Disruptive behaviour may include but is not limited to:
Speech or action that seriously distracts others from the task at hand, or the hindrance of others’ work by failure to complete one’s own work.
Speech or action that is clearly not part of a learning process and that creates an atmosphere of hostility, intimidation, ridicule, or anxiety among other students, staff or instructors.
Action that impedes the delivery of University services.
Falsification of identification or provision of false information to any University employee or representative in the performance of his/her duties.
Action that abuses University property and services by using them for unauthorized purposes.
Excessive and unreasonable demand for attention or special treatment from faculty or staff, to the detriment of other students.
Actions which are arguably violations of the BC Human Rights Code or municipal bylaws.
Aiding, inciting, abetting or acting as an accomplice in the commission of any of the foregoing acts.
Capilano’s Harassment Policy defines Discrimination and Harassment as follows:
Discrimination-based harassment is a form of discrimination that adversely affects the recipient on one or more of the prohibited grounds under the B.C. Human Rights Code.
Discrimination-based harassment as defined above is behaviour or the effect of behaviour, whether direct or indirect, which meets one of the following conditions:
3.1.1 Is abusive or demeaning.
3.1.2 Would be viewed by a reasonable person experiencing the behaviour or effect of the behaviour, as an interference with her/his participation in a University-related activity.
3.1.3 Creates a poisoned environment.
As of this date, the grounds protected against discrimination by the B.C. Human Rights Code are: age, race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation and, in the case of employment, unrelated criminal conviction.
Capilano University does not have a policy expressly preventing the University from charging security fees to students hosting discussions or lectures on controversial subjects.
In May of 2014, a sculpture depicting Capilano University president Kris Bulcroft, wrapped in a U.S. flag with a poodle, was ordered removed from the University’s designated sculpture area by the University administration, because administration decided the sculpture constituted “workplace harassment of an individual employee, intended to belittle and humiliate the President.”
“Blathering On in Krisendom” was created by the University’s sculpture instructor George Rammell and had been put on display since May of 2013. Professor Rammell reported the theft of his sculpture to the RCMP upon discovering it stolen. The University offered to return the sculpture to Rammell subject to his promise not to display it on campus.
A report issued by the Canadian Association of University Teachers found that Capilano University’s administration had “violated academic freedom by applying an overly broad interpretation of respectful workplace and harassment policies to essentially gag George Rammell.” The report also recommended that the University publicly apologize to Rammell, which it has not done to date.
In its Bylaws, the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) includes in its Purposes a commitment “to represent and advance the rights and interests of its members.”
In section XIV of the CSU Procedures Manual, students are guaranteed “the right to voice their views and concerns to the Board and other appropriate bodies of the Society,” and “the right to use the facilities of the Society and other facilities as may be determined from time to time by the Society, the University, and the Board.”
Section XV, Article 1 of the CSU Procedures Manual, governing elections and referenda, states that the Chief Returning Officer shall have the authority to “review and approve all campaign material prior to its use, posting, or distribution,” and “have the power to interpret these Electoral Procedures.” Section XV, Article 3 states that “the Chief Returning Officer may establish further rules for postering.” Governing electronic campaigning, Article 3 states “campaign-related e-mail messages may be sent, and campaign-related material may be posted on web pages, subject to any restrictions put in place by the Chief Returning Officer.”
The CSU does not take positions on issues outside of its mandate.
The authors are not aware of cases of the CSU limiting or restricting campus free speech rights, or discriminating against students or clubs on the basis of their opinion.
Between 2006 and 2008 the predecessor of the Capilano Students’ Union, the Capilano College Students’ Union (which operated until 2008 when the then-Capilano College was redesignated as Capilano University), repeatedly denied official club status to the pro-life student group Capilano College Heartbeat Club, a decision they justified by using a motion passed in 2006 that made the Students’ Union “pro-choice.” The first rejection of club status occurred in the summer of 2006, immediately after the Students’ Union passed its pro-choice motion. After the club’s second application was rejected, this time on grounds that the club would hinder “a woman’s right to choose,” Heartbeat filed a Human Rights complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. The CSU failed to convince the Tribunal to throw out the case, and settled with Heartbeat in May of 2008. Heartbeat’s application for club status was accepted by the CSU in September of 2008.