|Year||University Policies||University Practices||Student Union Policies||Student Union Practices|
The Senate of Laurentian University passed a Statement of Students Rights and Responsibilities in 1998 which states:
Upon becoming a member of the University, every student retains her or his rights and freedoms, and continues to benefit from the protections afforded by Federal, Provincial and Municipal laws as well as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code. Moreover, the policies and regulations of the University are designed to maintain an environment conducive to teaching, learning and scholarly activity. In combination, these rights and freedoms include the right to think, speak, write, learn, study, associate with others and pursue cultural, social and other interests. Students have the individual and collective responsibility to abide by the laws of the land and the University’s policies and regulations so that their rights and freedoms can be expressed in an orderly way which also allows for the rights and freedoms of others.
- Every student has the right to fair and equitable treatment by the University with respect to teaching, evaluation and access to general services. This treatment is also to be free from harassment or discrimination as defined in the Ontario Human Rights Code and University policies including the Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedures. In turn, students have the responsibility to treat others equitably and fairly and not to harass and discriminate against other individuals and groups.
- In their status as members of the University community, students have the right to use facilities designated for their use or for the use of the University community generally. They have the responsibility to abide by any regulations governing the use of such facilities.
- Students have the right to inquire into, and be informed about all University policies and regulations. They have the responsibility to abide by reasonable instructions given orally or in writing by any official authorized by the University to secure compliance with policies and regulations, practices and procedures, when the official is acting in an official capacity.
- Students have a right to participate fully in University governance where their participation is established in legislation and/or mandated by University policies. Students have a responsibility to ensure that their positions in University governance have been obtained democratically and/or legally. They should also represent the views and uphold the interests of their student constituency within the particular governing body.
- They have a right to make representations, such as complaints and petitions concerning behaviour of any member of the University community, to the appropriate student association or University authority without fear of reprisal. They have the responsibility to make their representations in an orderly and appropriate manner and to notify University officials of any violation of their rights as students.
- Students have a right to express their views and to press for improvements to the policies and regulations which affect them by means of peaceful assemblies, demonstrations and lawful picketing. Students have a responsibility to ensure that their right to be heard, individually or collectively, does not substantially disrupt the legitimate activities of the University or nullify the rights of other members of the University community.
Students and other members of the University community have a right to a physical environment which is safe and secure. Students have a responsibility to observe occupational health and safety guidelines, directions and policies, to abide by rules and regulations regarding entry to facilities and access to equipment, and to refrain from any conduct or activity which is a danger or a nuisance to others.
Laurentian University’s Code of Student Conduct (non-academic) (Code) states, in its Preamble:
Laurentian is a vibrant university which enjoys a great sense of community. It is dedicated to establishing and maintaining an environment conducive to effective teaching and learning. Laurentian also encourages social activities and recognizes the freedom of expression and the rights of individuals.
The aims of the Code are listed:
a) Teaching and learning take place in a proper environment;
b) University employees are able to perform their duties without undue disruption or hindrance;
c) Academic and general University facilities are available to those who wish to use them for their stated purposes;
d) Members of the community enjoy freedom of expression and movement, and freedom from harassment; and that
e) Property and information belonging to the University or to individuals, whether tangible or intangible, are protected.
Under the Code, it is an offense for a student to “[d]isrupt the legitimate academic, non-academic or administrative activities and functions of the University,” or “[i]mpair the rights of members of the University community or its visitors where such conduct is not covered under the provisions of the University’s Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedures and other University policies”. The Code also provides the following as an example of misconduct: “Engaging in disruptive behaviour which a person knows or reasonably ought to know unduly interferes with or obstructs any legitimate University activity, including studying, learning and teaching, and/or the rights of others to conduct, to benefit from or to participate in such activities.”
In September of 2007, Laurentian University’s Senate voted to condemn the suggested boycott of Israeli universities by Britain’s University and College Union. The University released a statement which read “Laurentian upholds the fundamental principle of freedom of speech and enquiry, and defends the open exchange of ideas among academics.” It further stated:
President Dr. Judith Woodsworth joins her voice to other university presidents and chancellors world-wide in expressing disapproval of the boycott: “I believe that the freedom to debate ideas, to listen and to learn from the views of others, is fundamental to the very existence of universities, and is more likely, in a pluralistic world, to resolve conflicts and lead to mutual understanding, than simply closing down dialogue,” she stated. “Laurentian is committed, on its campus, to maintaining the freedom of individuals to study, teach and do research in a climate free of harassment, intimidation or discrimination, and regardless of anyone’s political opinions about the policies and practices of particular national governments.”
By-Law C-3 of the Laurentian University Students’ General Association (SGA) states:
A club shall not be funded if it:
Is affiliated with religious groups;
Is affiliated with political parties or groups;
Excludes a particular group of members; or d. Sponsors any initiatives, or promotes any causes which are deemed by the Board to be militant or extremist in nature.
By-Law C-4 of the SGA states, “[clubs] may be disciplined for…Practices which are determined by the Board to be neglectful or dangerous in nature.”
SGA’s Bylaw D-3, governing Campaigning during Elections, requires “All materials suggesting a preference for, or against a candidate must be approved by the CRO.”
SGA’s By-Law F-2, governing Referenda, states that “All materials must be approved by the CRO.
All students of Laurentian University are eligible for Club membership. A Club will be permitted to restrict its membership only in a limited number of cases where such limitation is necessary to avoid a complete undermining of the Club’s mandate. All restrictions must be approved by the SGA Executive.
The authors are not aware of the SGA discriminating against students or student groups because of their views.