Anti-Harassment Commitments for SFU Geography

We are committed to building a culture of accountability and safety in our department. Our overview of pathways to SFU supports and department contacts offers guidance and resources for anyone who feels that they have experienced harassment. We understand that SFU bullying and harassment policies are a foundation from which the department can improve. Part of building a culture of accountability requires adopting a trauma-informed approach that underpins both prevention and reaction-based support for students, faculty and staff in the department. This includes deepening our working definitions of bullying and harassment and ensuring that members of our department are supported to access SFU’s existing services if they choose to.

Therefore, we, as a department adopt the following definitions of harassment:[1]

can include bullying, gender-based violence, and racial harassment, and is a form of aggression that may include physical, verbal, emotional, financial and psychological abuse. Harassment can be any behaviour that demeans, intimidates, threatens or is abusive in nature. Sometimes harassment is an intentional harm perpetuated against a victim and sometimes harassment is a toxic behaviour embedded in harmful relations that affirm the power of the perpetrator. Harassment can be repeated experiences or can be a one-time incident, but it undermines authority and serves no legitimate purpose in the work, study or living environment.[2]

  • Bullying is a form of harassment that can include acts of physical, verbal, emotional, financial or psychological abuse. It can include persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behaviour, abuse of power and/or unfair sanctions that make an individual feel threatened, humiliated or vulnerable. It can also include the punitive restrictions of resources. A persistent form of abuse, bullying can poison the work, study and living environment of the person it targets.
  • Gender-based violence includes unwelcome and unwanted behaviour, conduct or comments directed at someone because of their gender or that affects persons of a particular gender disproportionately. Such harassment affects the work, study or living environment, leading to adverse consequences for the person(s) being harassed. This can occur as either an isolated incident or repetitive occurrence. An individual’s apparent passivity or failure to object overtly to sexual advances or routine gender-based violence does not necessarily signal consent to unwelcomed behaviour, especially where a power imbalance exists between the individuals.
  • Racial harassment is unwanted comments, conduct or behaviour about an individual or a group that focuses on their race, ethnicity, ancestry or religion, and reinforces systems of racialized domination and oppression. This behaviour can leave an individual feeling humiliated, excluded, intimated or isolated along with undermining their self-esteem. Racial harassment violates the dignity and security of an individual or group(s) that it targets.

We recognize that the work of creating a workplace free of bullying and harassment will be ongoing. We commit to championing a culture that holds perpetrators of bullying and harassment accountable for their behavior.

The above definitions represent a range of harassment. If you feel you have experienced harassment, please follow this link to the pathways for support.


[1] This definition builds from the University of Alberta. Definitions for Discrimination, Accommodation and Harassment.

[2] Some other examples of bullying and harassment are: spreading malicious rumours, gossip, or innuendo; excluding or isolating someone socially; intimidating a person; undermining or deliberately impeding a person's work; physically abusing or threatening abuse; removing areas of responsibilities without cause; constantly changing work guidelines; establishing impossible deadlines that will set up the individual to fail; withholding necessary information or purposefully giving the wrong information; making jokes that are 'obviously offensive' by spoken word or e-mail; intruding on a person's privacy by pestering, spying or stalking; assigning unreasonable duties or workload in a way that creates unnecessary pressure; underwork - creating a feeling of uselessness; yelling or using profanity; criticizing a person persistently or constantly; belittling a person's opinions; unwarranted (or undeserved) punishment; blocking applications for training, leave or promotion; tampering with a person's personal belongings or work equipment.