Safe Environment Statement, Department of Archaeology

October 10, 2019


Department of Archaeology
Simon Fraser University


The Department of Archaeology is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment. We strive for a setting in which ideas can be fostered, controversial issues debated, and personal and professional growth supported.

We expect that all members and affiliates of our department — faculty, staff, students, and guests—engage in fair, respectful, and safe interactions with each other at all times. There is no place in our department, whether on campus or in the field, for any form of harassment, bullying, intimidation, and aggressive or otherwise unwanted behavior.

It is the also the responsibility of all of us to be aware of what constitutes bullying, sexual harassment, and other undesired behaviors. Our students are beholden to the university’s statement on Student Conduct; our faculty to both university and professional expectations of conduct, as defined by both SFU policies and professional standards (e.g., American Anthropological Association and Society for American Archaeology); and everyone to the SFU Policy on Sexual Violence and Misconduct.

We hold that our students deserve to be treated with respect by faculty, staff, and their peers; that our faculty are expected to always act in a professional manner; and that all members and affiliates of our department look out for each other’s welfare.

Students should know what actions to take in the event of an incident. We are especially aware that students may hesitate to report incident or uncomfortable situations for a variety of reasons, so knowing there is a safe and confidential space/person/office to contact is vital. There is a variety of reporting options, contingent upon the type of incident (see Reporting Options below). Contacting the Department Chair, especially for advice, is but one option. If and when a student makes a formal complaint, Departmental governance is committed to act upon it in an appropriate and timely manner and with complete confidentiality.

The department will, on a regular basis or upon request, hold town hall meetings or training sessions on the topics or concerns relating to a safe environment.

Finally, everyone should also be aware that sometimes actions intended as friendly engagement, such as a pat on the back or a hug, can be misinterpreted, or that words can be taken out of context. But ignorance of how actions may be received, whether real or feigned, does not excuse unwanted behavior. We thus encourage frank and honest conversation about what may be unwelcome behavior.

SFU is committed to creating a scholarly community characterized by honesty, civility, diversity, free inquiry, mutual respect, individual safety and freedom from harassment and discrimination. As members of the Department of Archaeology, it is both our desire and responsibility to uphold that commitment.

Download a PDF here.

Resources and Reporting Options

Archaeology Department Chair - Hugo Cardoso (
If you are comfortable with meeting with the department chair to discuss your concerns, either informally or formally, this can be a useful starting point. My door is always open, and all conversations treated with strict confidence.

The SFU Ombudsperson -
An independent, impartial and confidential resource for students. We provide information and guidance on students' rights and responsibilities, and University regulations, policies and procedures. The Ombuds Office provides advice only; it is not a reporting option.

My Student Services -
Offers free, confidential counselling support and wellness resources for SFU graduate and undergraduate students and advice for staff/faculty supporting students. Available in multiple languages, 24/7.
Tel: 1.844.451.9700 or 011.416.380.6578 from outside North America.

SFU Sexual Violence Support and Prevention Office
Offers free and confidential support, resources, and reporting options for students, staff, and faculty. You do not need to report sexual violence or misconduct to receive support.

SFU Human Rights
As an SFU student, you are entitled to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. However, knowing what constitutes discrimination and harassment is often difficult. Freedom from discrimination and harassment does not mean that you will be protected from exposure to controversial material and ideas, nor does it mean that every encounter you have on campus will be agreeable. SFU is, first and foremost, a place of learning in which academic excellence and the free exchange of information, ideas and perspectives are valued and encouraged.

Note: This document is intended as a work-in-progress statement of expected behavior, and will be revisited and revised on a regular basis. Although the various policies cited above do offer clear guidelines, there are situations in which they may not apply, such as field projects hosted by other universities, professional conferences, and other off-campus, non-work-related settings. We are aware that in such settings, power-dynamics and professional conduct policies involved are less clear-cut than in situations involving faculty and students, and will seek ways to discuss and address these challenges. This document was written by George Nicholas, former chair of Archaeology.