Recent harassment toward candidates has underscored the need for equitable elections that respect the basic dignity of everyone who runs for public office.
In one incident, candidate Haruun Ali's residence door was urinated on, a serious escalation of harassment. We can confirm that the situation is being addressed by the appropriate authorities. Meanwhile, candidate Rowan Morris is facing gender-based harassment and contempt from unnamed students. Both candidates represent equity-seeking groups that are historically underrepresented in student leadership, and both candidates have faced discrimination and harassment while running for office in previous years. We are engaging with both candidates to address these situations, and to make this statement, in keeping with their wishes.
These kinds of dehumanizing behavior violate University policy and are unacceptable in our community. No student should face harassment, bullying, and discrimination while trying to participate in public life.
The Discrimination, Harassment and Duty to Accommodate Policy forbids comments or actions "that the person knows or ought to reasonably know will or would cause offence or humiliation," including behavior because of personal characteristics like "race, religious beliefs, colour, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status, gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation." This policy also forbids bullying, sexual harassment, and gender-based discrimination.
All candidates are expected to ensure that they and their campaign teams are ready to play a proactive role in an equitable and respectful election process. The UASU will review candidate materials and election advertising to reinforce this point for future elections.
Candidates are running to represent and serve the student community. It is crucial that we maintain a respectful and professional atmosphere throughout the election process. This means refraining from personally attacking or belittling candidates, in person or online. We want to emphasize that we do not tolerate any behaviour that endangers any student on our campuses.
We recognize that the impact of this behavior is falling primarily on candidates from equity-seeking groups, and we urge our community to take equity and fundamental dignity more seriously. We are engaging with University administration to develop opportunities to educate and strengthen the campus community. We hope to work together to promote a fair, respectful, and inclusive election process, ensuring that anyone who wants to run for office can do so safely without fear of harassment, bullying, or discrimination.
Abner Monteiro — President, UASU
Matin Koohkan — Chief Returning Officer
The UASU Chief Returning Officer will address complaints about discrimination, bullying, and harassment in the context of student elections. See the new Regulation 320.16: Complaint Procedure and the Elections Complaint Form for more information. Making a report to the CRO does not stop you from making a disclosure or formal complaint to the University as you see fit.
If you have experienced discrimination or harassment in the University of Alberta community, options and resources are available.
- The Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights, while it cannot accept formal complaints of harassment or discrimination, is a safe and neutral place for learning about what resources and potential resolution processes are available.The OSDHR can also advise you about the differences between a disclosure and a formal complaint.
- The Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Procedure is an invaluable resource.
- The UASU Cares database can connect you with a variety of support services related to mental health, abuse, and personal safety.
- To learn more about addressing discrimination or harassment by students, refer to the Student Conduct and Accountability office.
- Per Article 7 of the AASUA Collective Agreement, complaints about discrimination or other misconduct by instructors can be directed to the Provost's office.