Bylaws and Policies

Political Policy Equity Diversity and Inclusivity

Expires: April 30, 2022

1 Facts

  1. The following words are defined to help inform the policy:
    1. Equity: the recognition and respect of equality of opportunity. Equitable treatment involves acknowledging and respecting diversity and actively addressing the barriers that prevent equal inclusion, opportunity, and recognition due to ongoing and historical oppressions and power dynamics.
    2. Diversity: the existence of differences among individuals and groups based on, but not limited to, gender identity, gender expression, age, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, sexuality, sexual orientation, ability, language, size, marital status, or social class.
    3. Inclusivity: the ongoing practice that enables and empowers all individuals on campus, regardless of any barriers they face due to aspects of their identities, to foster a sense of belonging and fully experience University.
    4. Marginalization: the exclusion and relegation of certain individuals and groups to positions of lesser value, power, and access to opportunity

within society.

    1. Disadvantage: a circumstance or situation that puts an individual or group in an inferior or less favourable position compared to others, resulting in compromised access to resources or opportunities.
    2. Discrimination: the differential treatment of an individual or group, typically to their disadvantage, on the basis of their perceived status or characteristics.
    3. Harassment: any behaviour, act, comment, or display that demeans, and or causes personal, psychological, or social harm to an individual or group, including acts of intimidation or threat.
    4. Oppression: the exercising of power over a marginalized group by a dominant group through domination and exploitation resulting from historically and culturally constructed ideas of superiority and inferiority. Oppression is a systemic phenomenon that can manifest in individual or institutional actions, whereby marginalized groups are subjected to political, economic, cultural, or social injustices.
    5. Privilege: the unearned advantages extended to a dominant group. These may include cultural, economic, political, social, and institutional rights maintained by systems of oppression--at the expense of marginalized groups. These advantages are actively reproduced through the normalization of the dominant group.
    6. Intersectionality: the recognition that individuals may experience interconnected systems of oppression differently, in varying configurations and degrees of intensity, due to their membership in multiple identity groups.
  1. The University of Alberta is home to a diverse group of students and staff that come from various backgrounds and hold a multitude of identities.
  2. Students deserve equitable treatment regardless of their gender identity, gender expression, ethnic or national origin, marital status, race, religion, sexuality, sexual orientation, ability, language, size, or social class, age, and gender.
  3. Gender identity, gender expression, ethnic or national origin, race, religion, sexuality, sexual orientation, ability, language, size, or social class, age, and gender do not exist separately from each other but are complexly interwoven.
  4. Students may have different lived experiences depending on how these identities intersect.
  5. Not all students identify their gender to be within the male-female binary.
  6. Existing alternatives to gendered spaces on campus do not have appropriate signage to address their inclusivity.
  7. Students that are racialized, from low-income households, ethnic minorities, transgender, non-binary, sexual minorities, women, students living with disabilities, and international students may feel unsafe or unwelcome within the campus community.
  8. Students face barriers to obtaining non-binary living conditions in housing and residence.
  9. International students and students from ethnic minorities face barriers to obtaining housing and residence accommodations.
  10. Discrimination and harassment may take the form of:
    1. Barriers that prevent students living with disabilities from participating in programs and activities;
    2. Remarks, including jokes or innuendos, that are based on racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, or transphobic sentiments;
    3. Promotional materials, events, or performances that use stereotypes based on any and all grounds protected under the Alberta Human Rights Act;
    4. Offensive comments and/or actions that demean, humiliate or threaten an individual or group;
    5. Printed or digital material, displays, and graffiti that demean, humiliate or threaten an individual or group; and
    6. Sexual harassment, including remarks, jokes or innuendoes about a person’s body, attire, age, marital status, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation or perceived gender identity.
  11. Historical and ongoing processes of oppression disadvantage and harm historically marginalized groups of people.
  12. According to the Student Success Centre, more students are presenting with a disability than ever before.
  13. It is increasingly common for students to present with multiple disabilities.
  14. The most common disability a student presents with is a psychiatric condition including, but not limited to, diagnosed mental illness and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  15. There is more accessibility funding available per-student in K-12 than in post-secondary.
  16. Currently, students need to take a minimum one dollar student loan to be eligible for accessibility funding.
  17. Certain funding arrangements for First Nations students may prevent them from accessing accessibility funding.
  18. Students are required to present formal documentation of disability or chronic disease to be eligible for accessibility accommodations.

2 2 Resolutions

  1. The Students’ Union shall advocate for an increase in specialized supports that reflect the diverse needs of the campus community.
  2. The Students’ Union shall support the development of community engagement processes that consider equity and diversity.
  3. The Students’ Union shall advocate that the University of Alberta formally recognize the existence of gender identities outside the male-female binary.
  4. The Students’ Union shall advocate that the University of Alberta include additional gender options on forms and documents for students other than "male" and "female".
  5. The Students’ Union shall advocate that the University of Alberta not require students to gain administrative approval for changing their gender on any official documentation, including through Bear Tracks.
  6. The Students’ Union shall advocate that the University of Alberta not require students to disclose their gender on Bear Tracks or as part of their student file.
  7. The Students’ Union shall advocate that fraternities, women’s fraternities, and sororities at the University of Alberta create clear and inclusive chapter policies on the admittance of non-binary students identifying with the gender requirements of the organization into their organizations.
  8. The Students’ Union shall advocate that the University of Alberta use gender-neutral terms wherever possible in their documents.
  9. The Students’ Union shall advocate that the University of Alberta provide meaningful professional development opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to learn about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
  10. The Students’ Union shall advocate that the University create scholarships and bursaries that specifically address Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) individuals who are financially insecure.
  11. The Students’ Union shall continue to advocate for sustained support and funding of programs that promote the involvement of members of the communities who are underrepresented in student governance as indicated by ongoing research focused on equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
  12. The Students’ Union shall advocate that the University of Alberta uphold their commitments to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity as outlined in the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Strategic Plan.
  13. The Students’ Union shall continue to publish reports that highlight the lived experiences of marginalized groups, their representation at all levels of governance, and that illustrate the continued oppressions of the nation, province, and institution on marginalized communities.
  14. The Students’ Union shall advocate that the University include accessibility features in all new buildings and work to include accessibility features in existing buildings wherever practical.
  15. The Students’ Union shall strive to provide a variety of food options at major events that meet the diverse cultural and dietary needs of the community.
  16. The Students’ Union shall advocate that the University of Alberta not require students to meet with an advisor prior to placing them in Gender Inclusive Housing upon their request.
  17. The Students’ Union shall advocate that the University of Alberta allow students to choose between gender-segregated housing or gender-inclusive housing in their residence application, and to abide by the students' preferences within reason.
  18. The Students’ Union shall support collective advocacy with community partners that encourages advocate the Government of Alberta to change the Alberta Building Code in its next iteration to include single-unit washrooms free of gender restrictions in every public building with sufficient occupancy.
  19. The Students’ Union shall advocate that the University of Alberta pursue universal design initiatives in the classroom rather than privileging per-student accessibility accommodations[1].
  20. The Students’ Union shall advocate that all examinations are designed to be completed in half of the time available to the student.
  21. The Students’ Union shall advocate that the University of Alberta mandate all professors run their classroom documents through an accessibility program whenever possible.
  22. The Students’ Union shall advocate that the University of Alberta mandate professors post all lecture materials online to ensure that all students have universal access to class materials regardless of religious, cultural, or social commitments.
  23. The Students’ Union shall advocate to the provincial and federal government for an increase in specialized, on-campus, university-led accessibility services.
  24. The Students’ Union shall advocate for an increase in per-student accessibility funding from the federal and provincial government.
  25. The Students’ Union shall take additional measures to intentionally recruit staff from diverse backgrounds. Specifically, the Students’ Union will strive to achieve a staff structure that is reflective of the community, as was outlined in the Workforce Diversity Data document by the University of Alberta[2].
  26. The Students’ Union shall advocate for the expansion of the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights to improve accountability, restorative practices, and grievance resolution processes.

3 References

  1. https://www.ualberta.ca/current-students/accessibility-resources/instructors-staff/universal-design
  2. https://www.ualberta.ca/faculty-and-staff/equity-diversity-inclusion/workforce-diversity-data