From Rummana Khan Hemani | Next steps for the Human Rights Policy and the Bullying & Harassment Policy

January 27, 2021

The following message is sent on behalf of Rummana Khan Hemani, vice-provost and associate vice-president, students and international. It has been sent to all faculty and staff.

Late last year we consulted with the community on changes proposed to the Human Rights Policy (GP-18) and the newly proposed Bullying & Harassment Policy. We started work on these policies because of the feedback we received from the community through different inputs, including the Diversity Meter Survey, that told us SFU’s policies must clarify our commitment to safety from discrimination, bullying and harassment.

SFU is committed to creating and maintaining a healthy, safe and respectful learning, teaching, research and work environment in which bullying, harassment and discrimination are neither acceptable nor tolerated. Part of creating this culture is establishing clear policies that clarify the behaviours we expect and the consequences for not aligning to expectations. In response to this feedback from our community and to comply with WorkSafe BC legislative requirements, we:

  • Updated the Human Rights Policy (GP-18) as part of the five-year review process to remove personal harassment. The Human Rights Policy will continue to protect students, faculty and staff from discrimination on the basis of a person’s race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or age and the University’s Human Rights Office will continue to receive and address complaints about discrimination.
  • Drafted the new Bullying & Harassment Policy that will provide a definition of the terms bullying and harassment in alignment with the Workers Compensation Act to provide clarity for the SFU community. It outlines education and training supports and clear communication about resources available to those who experience bullying and harassment. It will also outline the process for reporting and resolution.

The consultation

Last November and December we consulted with the SFU community on these two policies. We received feedback on the policies through our website and meetings with stakeholders including:

  • Student groups: SFSS, GSS
  • Employee groups: CUPE, TSSU, APSA, Poly Party, SFUFA
  • Deans' Council
  • EDI Administrative Group and EDI Advisory Council
  • Human Resources
  • Office of Student Support, Rights and Responsibilities
  • Office for Aboriginal Peoples
  • Ombudsperson
  • Senate
  • Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office
  • SFU Human Rights Office and Human Rights Policy Board
  • University Safety Committee
  • WorkSafe

The policy consultation period is now closed

The policy consultation period closed on December 10, 2020. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on these important policies. The drafts were revised in a number of areas based on what we heard:

  • We updated definitions for Academic Freedom, Responsible Office and Supervisor.
  • The scope was clarified in the areas of online bullying, harassment and discrimination, Academic Freedom, reasonable managerial action as well as how reports regarding bullying and harassment or discrimination against community members by non-community members may be handled.
  • Clarification was also provided on how concerns of retaliation can be raised and who is responsible for responding.

We are still considering options to address the feedback we received on how the Bullying & Harassment Policy will be implemented including concerns we heard about the need for a centralized hub to receive complaints, as well as the potential for conflicts of interest to arise. So, we are taking extra time to closely consider this feedback and develop an approach that is supportive, consistent and equitable for all community members with a focus on prevention.

Next steps 

Both policies will be submitted to the SFU Board of Governors this week for information and we are targeting to submit them in March for approval. Once the policies have been approved, we will share them with the community as well as the next steps for implementation. 

If you have any questions, please email:


Rummana Khan Hemani
Vice-Provost & Associate Vice-President, Students & International
Simon Fraser University