Guidelines for Students, Staff and Faculty in the Administration of the Harassment Policy

Upon joining Trinity Western University, students, faculty and staff agree to accept the Community Covenant. The University insists that its members follow biblical principles of lifestyle and conduct and refrain from biblically prohibited practices. The Community Covenant Agreement (i.e., Community Standards) expresses some of the lifestyle and conduct expectations which contribute to our distinctiveness as a Christian academic community and make possible the creation of a living learning environment conducive to the accomplishment of the University’s mission “to develop godly Christian leaders.”

The University is committed to providing a community in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, free from harassment. The University considers harassment a serious offence and will not tolerate behaviour that may undermine the respect, dignity, self-esteem, or productivity of any student, faculty, staff, or administrative member.

Policies and procedures

The Harassment Policy document is available from the Student Life Office for students, from the Office of the Provost for faculty, and from Human Resources for staff. This document contains sections on policy, purposes, seriousness, retaliation, confidentiality, application of the policy, and definitions. The Procedures document is also available from the same offices as stated above. It contains sections on roles and responsibilities, complaint procedure, investigation procedure, appeal process, results of the investigation, and records of complaint. As well, appropriate appendixes of lists and forms are included for use during the procedures.

Preferred action

It is the University’s desire to see any instances of possible harassment resolved quickly and in a Christian manner. Such an approach, when sincerely engaged through to resolution, is honouring to the Lord and brings a peace and contentment that will mature and grow the Christian faith. Therefore, the University encourages anyone with a possible harassment complaint to carefully consider the informal resolution process that is available as part of this policy. This can be accomplished through informal interaction with the contact person (see below) or by engaging the Mutual Resolution or Fast Track Process under points 3.3 and 3.4 of the Procedures document. This encouragement for use of the informal process should not be construed to suppress any individual’s desire or decision to invoke a formal process of investigation and resolution. The formal process is always available.

Contact Person

If you have any concern about possible harassment, the Contact Person is your point of initial contact. There are six such individuals available on campus and all have been trained in dealing with harassment issues. The list of Contact Persons is posted on the main bulletin board in the Reimer Student Centre. Your initial discussion with a Contact Person is confidential. If a complaint of harassment is to proceed into a formal investigation, then such complaints will need to be put into written form.

As a complainant, you are encouraged to keep written records of consultation discussions. Contact Persons, however, will NOT keep records of the discussion unless they proceed to a formal investigation. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted or investigated. In the event a complaint is received regarding a Vice-President or the President, the Senior Harassment Officer shall serve as the Contact Person and will initiate an investigation through an external investigator, notifying the Governance Committee of the Board of Governors.

Senior Harassment Officer

The Senior Harassment Officer is the person who has been appointed by the University to guide and manage the complaint and investigation process from beginning to end. Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the Contact Person will advise the Senior Harassment Officer who will follow the process outlined in the Procedures document.

Investigation Team

An Investigation Team will be appointed to conduct a full, fair and impartial investigation of a formal complaint of harassment. The University expects the full co-operation of the complainant, the respondent, and any witnesses to the alleged incident(s). These individuals will be notified of the investigation and asked to attend the proceedings (noncompliance or refusal to attend will NOT stop the investigation). The team will make all reasonable efforts to complete the investigation and render its report within the time frames outlined in the Procedures document.

Appeals procedure

An appeals mechanism is also available as part of the Procedures. Appeals are accepted initially on the basis of a concern or disagreement on a point of fact or matter of law. Once a decision has been finalized, appeals regarding discipline will also be accepted. All appeals must be submitted in writing and include all grounds or reasons for the appeal.

Discipline

Discipline will be implemented through the Vice-President for the area. Discipline will be guided by the processes established under the Staff, Faculty or Student Handbooks and related materials, and by any predetermined consequences stated therein.

Notes:

  1. The University’s administration may take immediate action to stop harassment if deemed necessary. This action is not limited to the process described in the Procedures document. Immediate action is NOT discipline but is simply action that is intended to protect the campus community as a whole or an individual member.
  2. Retaliation in any form is specifically prohibited and, if proven, will result in serious and immediate discipline. This may include expulsion or dismissal for cause.
  3. Subject to 1 and 2 above, there will be NO initial discipline as a result of complaint information provided to Contact Persons that alleges infractions of the Responsibilities of Membership.
  4. While each harassment complaint will be adjudicated individually, this does not preclude additional, appropriate discipline where there are repeat instances. The governing vice president for the area will determine the need for and implementation of additional discipline consequences.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality shall be maintained to the greatest extent possible within the requirements of completing a reasonable investigation. Only those individuals with an immediate need to know will have knowledge of the incident or investigation. All materials and notes relating to the incident will be kept in a separate, private and confidential file that is the property of the University. A complete description of TWU’s Harassment Policy and corresponding Procedures is located at twu.ca/governance/policies.