SFU’s new Bullying & Harassment Policy: What students need to know

May 28, 2021

It’s important to us that all students feel safe, valued and respected during their time at SFU. We have heard feedback from the community through various inputs that SFU’s policies must clarify and facilitate our commitment to safety from discrimination, bullying and harassment.

In response to this feedback, we consulted with the SFU community last year on changes proposed to SFU’s Human Rights Policy (GP-18) and the newly proposed Bullying & Harassment Policy.

Along with updates to SFU's Human Rights Policy (GP-18), the new Bullying & Harassment Policy (GP-47) was approved by SFU’s Board of Governors on May 20, 2021 and is now in effect for all community members. Keep reading to learn more about why these changes were made, and what they mean for students at SFU.

What’s the origin of the new Bullying & Harassment Policy?

We have heard feedback from our community through various inputs that SFU’s policies must clarify and facilitate our commitment to safety from discrimination, bullying and harassment.

The creation of the Bullying & Harassment Policy (GP-47) was proposed to address this feedback, which included:

  • The need for a clear definition of the terms bullying and harassment
  • The need to provide education and training to members of the University community
  • The need to ensure appropriate supports and resources for those who experience bullying and harassment
  • The need for a central, standardized intake process to handle complaints related to bullying and harassment, as well as a clear process for reporting and resolution

Why did we need a new policy, and how is the Bullying & Harassment Policy (GP-47) different from the Human Rights Policy (GP-18)?

You might already know that SFU has a Human Rights Policy (GP-18). This policy protects against discrimination and harassment based on personal characteristics protected by the BC Human Rights Code, such as age, religion, or race. Unfortunately, personal harassment that is not connected to one of these personal characteristics is not considered “discrimination,” so it doesn’t “fit” under the Human Rights Policy.

The Bullying & Harassment Policy gives us a way to address bullying and harassment reports that do not fall under the category of “discrimination,” and it gives us a path to create more education and training opportunities around how we can all contribute to building a safe and respectful learning environment at SFU.

What does this mean for students?

In order to help all community members understand the effects of the Bullying & Harassment Policy, a Respectful Working & Learning Environment training module was developed that covers:

  • The contents of the Bullying & Harassment Policy
  • Your role in contributing to respectful learning environments at SFU
  • Where to get support if you experience bullying and harassment
  • What happens when you make a bullying and harassment reportt

All SFU faculty and staff members are required to take the training, and it is also highly recommended that you take the training module so you know what to do and what supports you can access if you ever witness or experience bullying and harassment on our campuses. This includes instances of bullying and harassment committed by other students, as well as by faculty and staff members.

We highly encourage all community members to complete this training before our return to campus in September.

What’s next for the Bullying & Harassment Policy?

The Bullying & Harassment Policy is currently in effect under interim procedures. This means that the current reporting mechanisms are temporary.

We’re in the process of establishing a “central hub” that will receive all reports of bullying and harassment, alongside providing support and resources for community members impacted by bullying and harassment. Our goal is to have this hub up and running by September. Once the Central Hub is established, we’ll let you know what the new procedures are.

For now, you can learn more about the training, as well as additional supports and resources available to you, at the Bullying & Harassment webpage. If you have any questions about the new Bullying & Harassment Policy, please reach out to bh-support@sfu.ca.