|Year||University Policies||University Practices||Student Union Policies||Student Union Practices|
The University of Northern British Columbia's (UNBC) Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedures outlines UNBC's vision for a "learning environment in which all students, staff, and faculty are treated with respect and dignity." It goes on to state that:
Neither this policy in general, nor its definitions in particular, are to be applied in such a way as to detract from the right of faculty, staff or students to engage in the frank discussion of potentially controversial matters.
Furthermore, section 1.3 of the Policy declares that the Policy is not intended to infringe upon academic freedom in any way, nor is it intended to interfere with the conduct of organizations in their promotion of the interests of an identifiable group.
The Policy is careful not to leave “harassment” and “discrimination” open to subjective interpretation. In section 2.8.1, the Policy incorporates the Human Rights Code of British Columbia definition of “discrimination” in section 2.8.1. Similarly, the Policy expressly adopts an objective “reasonable persons” interpretation of “harassment” in section 1.7 Harassment is defined in section 2.8.2 as "an abuse of authority or aggressive or threatening behaviour, where the abuse of authority or behaviour is directed at an individual because of one of the prohibited grounds" described in the Human Rights Code of British Columbia. Examples of harassment given by the Policy include derogatory remarks, undermining another's work, or displaying offensive material of a discriminatory nature.
The University of Northern British Columbia's Faculty Agreement states as follows with respect to academic freedom:
The censorship of information is inimical to the free pursuit of knowledge. The collection of knowledge will be done freely and without bias in support of the research, teaching, and study needs of the UNBC community.
UNBC's Fraternities, Sororities, and Student Organizations Policy outlines that all university groups, regardless of their goals, cause, etc., are entitled to the same privileges on campus, unless they operate under a secret constitution or violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or federal and provincial statutes.
UNB does not clarify whether security fees can be charged to students holding controversial events, nor does it have a policy expressly compelling the University to defend against disruption of events on controversial subject matter.
The authors are not aware of cases of UNBC administration censoring speech on campus, or discriminating against students or groups on the basis of the content of their expression.
The Mission Statement of the Northern Undergraduate Student Society (NUGSS) is “to enhance the social and academic life of UNBC students by providing services that address the diversity of student needs in a responsible and inclusive manner.” There is no policy compelling the NUGSS to uphold campus free speech rights and it does not take positions on issues outside its mandate.
NUGSS passed a new policy in April 2016 to protect free speech. Policy 14.1 General: Free Speech states:
Members, students, and employees of NUGSS must conduct themselves so as to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for its members, employees, and for visitors. The freedom protected by this policy is confined to the exercise of freedom of speech within the law. NUGSS believes that a culture of free, open and robust discussion can be achieved only if all concerned avoid needlessly offensive or provocative action and language.
I. No NUGSS policy will permit discrimination against a S.L.O. in regards to S.L.O. certification, funding, or bookings, on the basis of its beliefs, opinions, or philosophy
(3) student elections rules and regulations which do not empower elections officers to censor speech during elections or referenda;
(4) policies which restrict the student union's advocacy on issues related to post-secondary education, without adopting or promoting formal positions in respect of provincial, federal or international issues.
Regarding Student-led Organizations, the NUGSS Policy Manual states that in order to be given official club status, student groups must “[n]ot be similar to a club that already exists under NUGSS” and that it must not “restrict membership to any particular group of students (e.g. class, race, creed, political orientation, degree program, sexual orientation, religion, sex, gender, etc.) Club membership must be open to all students.”
The NUGSS policy on Posters states:
Postings shall adhere to UNBC’s policies on harassment and discrimination. They may not contain any statements or images derogatory towards any group of people as defined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the BC Human Rights Act.
If the person approving the poster is indecisive about the content of the poster, the poster may be presented to the following Board of Directors meeting for approval
The contents of a posting do not in any way represent the views and/or opinions of the Society, its Directors, and/or its Staff.
The size of a posting may not exceed 27.5cm X 42.5cm (11” X 17”).
Policy 3.8, s.V.III restricts campaign spending in NUGSS elections to $50 per candidate.
In November of 2010, concerns were raised regarding the imagery used on posters put up by on-campus groups. Specifically, the Women's Centre expressed concern at the use of women's bodies being used in advertisements. NUGSS council decided that, as long as the club or organization claimed sole responsibility for content on the poster itself, no censorship was necessary.