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Response to Anti-Discrimination CALL OUT: more time required for consultation

August 3, 2011

From: Joseph Hickey
To: Student associations, Campus Unions, Campus community, Student media
Date: August 3, 2011
Subject: Re: CALL OUT: Working Group on Policy 67a

Dear Student Association and Union Contacts,

Thanks to Taiva and Olivier for setting up the meeting re: the Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy this Friday.

I agree that it’s very important for the campus student associations and unions to have a joint position on what needs to be included in this policy.  I attended the first meeting with many of you on July 11, and I found that there was a general consensus on the major changes that need to be made to the current draft Policy (here, dated June 16, 2011).  I have also attached the July 11 meeting notes, as written by student Senator Brenna Quiqley.

As for my background, I have been working on the Policy issue since last March with other student Members of University Senate and with the SFUO’s Student Appeal Centre and Centre for Equity and Human Rights.  In case you weren’t aware, student Senator Hazel Gashoka’s June 6, 2011 motion to delay the adoption of the Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy is the reason that this consultation process has been reopened and the reason that we have a second chance to carry out a broad consultation across all areas of the campus community.  Without that Senate work, the Policy would have been pushed through at the Board of Governors without even allowing time for review of the finalized Policy.  Please see my Senator’s blog at “A Student’s-Eye View” for much more detail: link to posts on discrimination

I want to stress the point that now that we have successfully reopened the consultation process on this very important Policy, that we must carry out a broad and comprehensive consultation that allows all sections of the campus community to participate.  There are many campus members who are away for the summer (student groups, clubs, representatives, Union leaders, profs, etc.) and therefore the consultation process should at least be extended into the Fall session to allow time for these people to participate.

We have a very strong and unified position.  We have a right to provide our feedback and to receive a response from the administration in this final round of consultation on the Policy on the Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment.  I propose that we take the unified position that the University Administration’s August 15 deadline for this consultation is too soon, and must be extended.  In order to enforce this position, we should agree NOT to submit our consultation points until adequate time in the Fall Semester has passed for all members of campus to participate in this consultation process.

There is no way that the University Administration would be justified in pushing through the Policy while the representatives of the entire student and Union population have jointly insisted on more time to consult their constituents and formulate a cohesive response.  Let’s do this right.  Racism, discrimination, and harassment on campus is too big an issue for us to attempt to push through a narrowly constructed consultation response in order to obey an illegitimate deadline imposed by the administration, without broadly informing the campus population of what is taking place and what is at stake.

Please let me know what you think about this proposal, and I hope that we can seriously discuss it this Friday, August 5 at 1 p.m. in the GSAED boardroom (601 Cumberland Street).

Sincerely,

Joseph Hickey
Graduate student representative to the University of Ottawa Senate

Cc: student media, concerned community members

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