|Year||University Policies||University Practices||Student Union Policies||Student Union Practices|
“Academic Freedom and Rigour” is listed as one of the University of Prince Edward Island’s (UPEI) Values:
The freedom to teach and conduct scholarly work guided by curiousity and intellectual inquiry, without deference to prescribed doctrine, is fundamental to our University. This freedom is essential to advancing and disseminating knowledge, and carries with it the duty to use that freedom in a manner that is consistent with an honest search for knowledge. It is important for the credibility of the University that this quest for knowledge is carried out with integrity and rigour.
Section 1.1 of the UPEI Code of Conduct states that the school is “committed to creating a scholarly community characterized by honesty, civility, diversity, free inquiry, freedom from harassment, mutual respect and individual safety.”
Section 1.3 of the Code states “[t]he Code shall not be construed to prohibit peaceful assemblies, demonstrations, lawful picketing, or to unreasonably restrict freedom of speech or expression.”
Section 220.127.116.11. of the Code prohibits conduct if:
the alleged conduct would be viewed by a reasonable person to have, or might reasonably be seen to have an adverse effect on the proper functioning of the University, or the rights of a member of the University community to use and enjoy the University’s learning and working environment
Section 5 addresses disruption:
Disruptive or Dangerous Behaviours
18.104.22.168 Students are prohibited from conduct that:
22.214.171.124.1 infringes on the rights of others to participate in University activities;
126.96.36.199.2 creates a situation which endangers or threatens the health, safety or well-being of another individual, including conduct that involves an invasion of privacy through electronic communication or other methods; or
188.8.131.52.3 harms, injures or threatens the safety of any person, including where such conduct occurs within the classroom and including conduct that involves an invasion of privacy through electronic communication or other methods.
The UPEI Residence Handbook states as follows in its “Commitment to Diversity”:
Bigotry has no place within our community, nor does the right to disrespect or degrade another human being on the basis of age, national origin, physical challenge, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation.
The Handbook also states that the UPEI will not tolerate any of the following:
…verbal or written abuse, threats, intimidation, violence, or other forms of harassment against any member of its community. Harassment is defined as any attention or conduct (oral, written, graphic, or physical) by an individual or group who knows, or ought reasonably to know, that such attention or conduct is unwelcome/unwanted, offensive, or intimidating.
UPEI’s Fair Treatment Policy replaces UPEI’s previous Sexual Harassment Policy. The reason given for replacing this change was to include “other definitions of sexual harassment” as well as “to enable full investigations within the University.”
The Fair Treatment Policy states:
The University defines "harassment" within any University-related context as an incident or series of vexatious or disrespectful comments, displays or behaviors that demean, belittle, humiliate, embarrass, degrade or attempt to exclude; that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome and/or offensive; and which adversely affects the employment or academic status of the individual.
Section 6.5 further defines the sub-category “personal harassment” as follows:
…behavior, whether deliberate or negligent, which denies individuals their dignity and respect, is offensive, embarrassing or humiliating to the individual, isolates an individual or group and adversely affects the working or learning environment. In most cases this behavior will have manifested itself through a number of incidents. This does not preclude consideration of a single incident as constituting harassment.
The Policy also defines discrimination, in Section 6.6, incorporating the grounds of discrimination found in the Human Rights Act of Prince Edward Island. The Policy then proceeds further and includes “transphobia and heterosexism”, as additional grounds of discrimination.
Section 5.1.3 of the Fair Treatment Policy asserts that the Policy should not be applied to detract from academic freedom, or freedom of expression and association:
The University community is committed to academic freedom and to freedom of expression and association. There should be an environment in which students and teaching and non-teaching staff can engage in free enquiry and open discussion of all issues. Neither this policy in general, nor its definitions in particular, is to be applied in such a way as to detract from the right of employees and students to engage in the frank discussion of potentially controversial matters, such as age, race, politics, religion, sex and sexual orientation. The Fair Treatment Advocate is obliged to uphold academic freedom, and freedom of expression and association. An academic and free community must also include freedom of movement and freedom of access to facilities and resources without fear of harassment, discrimination or violence.
The Space Planning and Administration Policy states, in Section 5.4.2.:
All classrooms, conference rooms, teaching labs, public computer labs, and public study spaces may be booked by any user group conducting University business. Under some circumstances, the availability may be limited by Facilities Management control (i.e. construction schedules, security requirements or staffing capabilities), or University prioritization (i.e. Teaching).
The activities of the UPEI Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office are unclear, but the Office’s vague mandate involves creating a “welcoming” environment.
There are no recent cases of the University failing to uphold free expression rights on campus.
Upholding students’ free expression is not referenced in the Vision, Mission, or Core Values of the University of Prince Edward Island Student Union (UPEISU).
UPEISU Policy #24 - Inclusion Policy provides a definition of discrimination and harassment:
As per the UPEISU Elections and Referenda By-Law, Article X, “All physical campaign materials must be approved by the CRO and must receive an official CRO stamp.”
The authors are not aware of any UPEISU policy that discriminates against clubs based on opinion, belief, or philosophy.
UPEISU does not take official stances on issues outside their mandate.
The UPEISU has not recently failed to uphold free expression rights on campus.
In the 2018–19 financial year,* the University of Prince Edward Island received $76,747,964 in taxpayer dollars in the form of government grants. These taxpayer funds accounted for 50.4% of their annual revenue.
*The University of Prince Edward Island did not make their 2019–20 financial statements available by the time of publication of the 2020 Campus Freedom Index.