|Student Union Policies
|Student Union Practices
The University of Winnipeg’s Mission Statement reads, in part:
In the practice of scholarly enquiry through both teaching and research, we provide students with breadth and depth of knowledge, the skills to communicate effectively and to make informed decisions, an understanding of the ethical problems facing our society, and an appreciation of the full range of human, aesthetic, and environmental values. The University of Winnipeg values academic freedom, self-governance and community service.
The University of Winnipeg’s Respectful Learning and Working Environment Policy states that the University “continues to be committed to academic freedom and freedom of thought, inquiry, and expression among its members.”
The Respectful Learning and Working Environment Policy defines “personal harassment” as:
repeated, non-constructive, intentional and offensive comments or actions designed to offend, abuse or humiliate a person, when such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance, or which create an intimidating, hostile or offensive learning or working environment.
Section 3.1 of the University of Winnipeg’s Poster Policy states:
Poster, banners, and/or notices presented for approval must not in any form promote or encourage discrimination, racism, hatred, and/or bigotry.
The University of Winnipeg’s policy on Non-Academic Conduct and Discipline states:
In order to accomplish its stated mission, the University must be a community in which there is freedom to learn, to teach, to create and to engage in research without fear of retaliation or intimidation and without threat to person or property. Students have a responsibility to act in a fair and reasonable manner in their interactions with their peers, faculty, staff and administration and in their use of campus property. The intent of this policy is to encourage appropriate student conduct and to identify and regulate student nonacademic misconduct which infringes on the above mentioned freedoms and thereby jeopardizes the essential values of our academic community: mutual respect, dignity and civility.
This statement indicates that it is misconduct to interfere with a scheduled event, since disruption of a lecture or display would violate the freedom of the presenter and his or her audience to learn, teach, create and engage.
The University of Winnipeg funds a Human Rights & Diversity Office that promotes the vague and ambiguous concepts of “social justice” and “diversity.”
The authors are not aware of any cases of the University of Winnipeg censoring speech, or discriminating against students or student groups on the basis of the content of the group’s expression, or of cases of residence assistants censoring speech in residence.
The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association does not reference free expression in its Mission, Vision, or Values.
The UWSA Policy Manual states a policy on “Positive Space” is still in development (see Article VIII), yet cites the non-existent Positive Space policy in other policies.
For instance, the UWSA Student Groups policy reads:
In order to maintain Student Group Status, a group must:
3) Deliver a conceivable benefit or outcome for University of Winnipeg students;
4) Operate within municipal, provincial, and federal laws, the UWSA Positive Space Policy,
the UWSA Events Policy, applicable University of Winnipeg Policies, including the
Respectful Work & Learning Environment Policy, as well as any requirements related to
insurance coverage in a given space or event;
5) Undergo Positive Space training
Under the Events policy section 12.01(d), “Space Booking”, it reads:
The Events Manager and General Manager shall ensure that space bookings are allocated in a fair and equitable manner. Any registered Student Group, Student Service Group, Community Partner, External Partner, or unaffiliated community group may book UWSA spaces at the discretion of the Events Manager. The UWSA has priority use of its spaces for UWSA events. The UWSA reserves the right to reject any advertisers or sponsors. The UWSA reserves the right to refuse use of UWSA spaces to community organizations whose values or track record are not in line with the Positive Space Policy.
Bylaw V. Elections and Referenda states “Campaign materials must be approved by the CEC [Chief Election Commissioner].”
The UWSA does not take official stances outside its mandate.
The authors are not aware of any cases of the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association censoring speech, or discriminating against students or student groups on the basis of the content of the group’s expression.