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Learn how the Bullying and Harassment Central Hub will help create a safer campus community

July 28, 2021

By Natalie Lim

SFU is taking an important step towards its goal of creating safer, more inclusive campus environments with the creation of the Bullying and Harassment Central Hub. Starting this fall, members of the SFU community who are experiencing bullying and harassment on campus will have access to support and resources through the new hub.

“One major consideration in our return to campus planning is ensuring that we create respectful workplace and learning environments for our community, which is why the establishment of the Central Hub has been such a priority,” says Rummana Khan Hemani, vice-provost and associate vice-president, students and international.

Modelled after SFU’s Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office (SVSPO), the Central Hub will support the mandate of SFU’s new Bullying and Harassment Policy (GP-47), which is now in effect for all community members.

“Bullying and harassment are never okay, and the Bullying and Harassment Policy is one tool we can use to help stop these behaviors on our campuses,” says CJ Rowe, director of the SVSPO, who is supporting the hub’s creation.

“But it’s only one piece of the puzzle. While the policy outlines what to do when you have witnessed or experienced bullying and harassment, it’s also important for the university to provide trauma-informed care to those who are affected.”

Bullying and harassment have the potential to manifest on campus through a variety of disrespectful behaviors, from microaggressions and verbally abusive emails to exclusionary actions such as belittling a colleague’s efforts or constantly interrupting someone while they’re speaking.

While SFU community members have the right to report these experiences under the new policy, the process may feel intimidating or confusing for those who have never made a report before. According to Rowe, that’s where the Central Hub comes in.

“SFU has a lot of policies, structures and systems in place, and it can be difficult to know where to go and who to talk to if you need support,” says Rowe.

“Our first step towards establishing the Central Hub is hiring a full-time case manager who can act as kind of a ‘wayfinder’—someone who knows these structures really well and can walk you through all of your options, from reporting and accommodations to mental health services and more.”

Hiring for the hub’s first case manager is currently underway, with the successful candidate expected to start in October. And while providing support to those impacted by bullying and harassment is SFU’s current priority, future plans for the hub include hiring an educational specialist who can expand upon the university’s current Bullying and Harassment training and curate educational opportunities for faculty, staff and students—another important piece of the puzzle when it comes to identifying and changing harmful behaviors.

“All members of the SFU community deserve to feel safe, valued and respected on our campuses,” says Khan Hemani. “I know the Central Hub will play a major role moving forward as we work towards our goal of ensuring that SFU is a more welcoming and inclusive place to work, study and live—for everyone.”

SFU’s new Bullying & Harassment Policy is now in effect for all community members. If you haven’t yet, please take the Respectful Working & Learning Environment training module to learn more about the policy, see examples of what behaviors constitute bullying and harassment, and understand what you can do if you witness or experience bullying and harassment on our campuses.