|Year||University Policies||University Practices||Student Union Policies||Student Union Practices|
GRADE EXPLANATION: The University earns a D for its policies. There is no strong commitment to free expression, laid out in a Statement or in the Mission and Values of the University. The University maintains at least one speech code. There is no ideological advocacy office. The University does not have a policy prohibiting disruption of university-sanctioned events. The University earns a C for its policies. The University's commitment to free expression has not been tested in recent years.
MacEwan University states eight Pillars that “define our core commitments as a university.” None of these eight Pillars reference free expression or academic freedom.
Section 1.0 of the University’s policy, Student Rights and Responsibilities, states that “students are responsible for conducting themselves in a manner suited to the best interests of the University.” Section 2.0 of this policy states:
The rights and responsibilities of students are described to ensure that the university environment is conducive to learning and supports an atmosphere of civility and safety for students and the university community when students are involved in on-campus activities, learning activities associated with courses or in off-campus university-related learning activities and environments, events or other activities.
Section 3.1 and 3.2 of Student Rights and Responsibilities uphold the right of students to assemble and for freedom of the press. Section 3.9 of Student Rights and Responsibilities states:
Students have a right to freedom of opinion and expression within the bounds of the learning environment and, where course content allows, in assignments and exams, but not at the expense of the rights of others.
“Other rights” listed in section 3.1 of this policy include the right to be free of “indignity,” though “indignity” is not defined in the Policy Manual of the University.
Section 4.1 (b) of this policy defines improper student conduct to include:
Engaging in behaviour that is defined as harassment, sexual harassment, bullying, or discrimination (see Policy D1125 Harassment), whether through words, conduct or material, is reasonably considered to be offensive to someone or that demeans, belittles, intimidates or humiliates another person. This behaviour includes threatening to subject or subjecting any person, student or staff to physical, sexual or mental harassment, indignity, injury, violence or discrimination.
Section 4.12 of this policy states:
Students are required to respect standards of responsible journalism and communication by avoiding the creation or distribution material of a slanderous, defamatory or indecent nature, unfounded allegations, slights to personal dignity and malevolent insinuations.
Section 3.2.9 of the University’s Harassment policy states:
Harassment is defined as the abusive, unfair or demeaning behaviour towards a person or group that has the purpose or effect of interfering with a person’s or group’s status or performance, or creating a hostile or intimidating work or learning environment. Incidents of harassment may involve the abuse of power one individual has over another. Legitimate and reasonable efforts conducted to address performance or behavioral issues do not constitute harassment. Harassment can take place in person, on the telephone, in writing or other tangible media, or through electronic means such as electronic mail, chat rooms, blogging, and other forms of electronic communication.
The authors are not aware of cases of the University limiting or restricting campus free speech rights, or discriminating against students or clubs on the basis of their opinion.
The Students’ Association of MacEwan University (“SAMU”) does not maintain a policy or statement upholding the free expression rights of its Members.
Section 1 of the Clubs Policy states that “The existence and activities of clubs must not impose a legal liability on, or damage the interests of SAMU.”
The Elections and Referenda Policy of SAMU empowers the Chief Returning Officer to approve campaign materials, but does not provide the scope or criteria by which campaign materials are approved.
SAMU’s Form, Postering Guidelines and Procedures, states that “[c]lubs cannot post anything that might be views [sic] as offensive or demeaning.”
SAMU’s Online Presence Guidelines (also named the Social Media Guidelines and Procedures) state that “[a] club will be de‐ratified if it is found using discriminatory behaviour on its website.”
The Club Application Form requires club membership is “open and non-discriminative”.
The authors are not aware of cases of the Students’ Association of MacEwan University limiting or restricting campus free speech rights, or discriminating against students or clubs on the basis of their opinion.