|Year||University Policies||University Practices||Student Union Policies||Student Union Practices|
In its Mission, Vancouver Island University (VIU) describes itself as “a dynamic and diverse educational organization, dedicated to excellence in teaching and learning, service and research. VIU fosters student success, strong community connections and international collaboration…”
VIU lists among its Core Values a commitment to the following:
Learning: we support student success, access to education, appropriate use of technology, development of literacies, communication and exchange of ideas across disciplines and locations, exploration and application of new thought and pursuit of lifelong learning
Discovery: through the pursuit of free enquiry we promote an enduring learning community
Diversity: we value human diversity in all its dimensions and are committed to maintaining learning and working environments which are equitable, diverse and inclusive
The Values Statement states that VIU supports a “collegial, respectful, and supportive working environment. We encourage continuing opportunities for the learning and growth of our employees. We honour the open exchange of ideas, academic freedom, and collaboration across departments and disciplines.”
VIU’s Student Conduct Code includes the following under examples of misconduct:
The Human Rights Policy states that “[i]t is recognized that academic freedom is an important value of the University. This policy will be interpreted in light of our commitment to this value.” It also states “all members of the University community are responsible for treating each other with respect and dignity.”
VIU’s document entitled Responding to Complaints of Personal Harassment defines personal harassment:
This document further states that “[a] single incident, when sufficiently serious, may be considered personal harassment.” Examples of personal harassment listed include “yelling, name calling, or swearing,” “demeaning comments or jokes regarding a person’s character, body, or other personal aspects,” “spreading malicious rumors, gossip or innuendo” and “persistent unwarranted criticism.”
VIU defines disruptive behaviour in its Disruption Free Learning and Working Environment policy as “[any] interruption to the learning environment that serves to obstruct, bring disorder, or break the flow of continuity of the activity.” It further states:
Vancouver Island University recognizes the right of students and employees to have a positive learning and working environment that is free of disruptive and intimidating behaviour. This environment includes all locations on and off campus where any activity may be scheduled under the auspices of Vancouver Island University.
The Presentations on Campus policy states that VIU “will encourage the imparting and exchange of views and opinions on all matters, subject only to restrictions imposed by law.”
The Rental of University Facilities policy states that use is “subject to the understanding that [VIU] does not necessarily support the goals, beliefs or behaviour of the individual or organization.”
On Flyers and Handbills, the Bulletin Boards, Posters and Flyers policy states:
The dissemination of flyers and handbills is restricted to hand-to-hand distribution and placement on tables in general student lounge spaces and the cafeterias, and other public spaces as determined appropriate by the Faculty, department, or campus organization… The distribution of hand-to-hand materials must be conducted in a respectful manner consistent with the policies, procedures and values of the University.
There are no recent cases of the University failing to uphold free expression rights on campus.
The Vancouver Island University Students’ Union (VIUSU) does not reference free expression in its mission statement or other policies.
VIUSU categorizes clubs differently according to their purpose:
The VIUSU takes positions on issues outside its mandate. In the 2015-2016 year, VIUSU passed a statement calling for governments to take action regarding suicides at the Attawapiskat First Nation.
The authors are not aware of the VIUSU discriminating against students because of their views, nor of VIUSU denying access to resources on campus to students or student groups with unpopular messages.