Statement from the President's Office re Human Rights Tribunal Matter

February 23, 2018 - 3:45pm

This is an update to my communication in November 2017 regarding a potential human rights complaint.

The Human Rights Tribunal is being asked to determine whether or not female employees and students at the University were harassed by a specific student of VIU between 2015 and 2017. Today the Tribunal issued a procedural decision setting out the conditions for the proposed class complaint to move to next steps.

The Tribunal had earlier decided not to accept the complaint, but provided the complainant an opportunity to address identified deficiencies. The decision today was based on additional materials provided by the complainant to the Tribunal. The Tribunal has now accepted some aspects of the complaint for filing. The Tribunal also set out various conditions that must be satisfied by the complainant and established deadlines for action before the complaint can proceed.

The matter is still in the preliminary stages of the process. VIU has not received the materials that were submitted and has not had an opportunity to respond. The Tribunal will not make a determination of the complaint until evidence is presented at a hearing.

Due to the high moral and legal obligations related to student and community member privacy, we have been unable to and cannot comment on or discuss any specific details. We appreciate the clarifications set out in the decision and, if the matter proceeds, welcome the opportunity to review the confidential details surrounding this situation in a fair, impartial and legal setting.

As we have stated previously, we invite feedback from our community and will take this opportunity to learn moving forward and to hone our related policies and procedures to ensure they are responsive, effective and reflect best practices. The safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff is a top priority and essential to maintaining a supportive, respectful, and open university community.

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