Safe Student Community

Safe Student Learning Community Policy Process

1

Authority for Procedure

The authority for the enforcement of the Safe Student Learning Community policy is legislatively granted to the University Board of Governors by the University Amendment Act, 2008.

The University Board of Governors delegates this authority through the President to the Vice President, Students.

The Vice President, Students and Enrolment Management, normally delegates this authority to the Office of Student Life and Development (OSLD) and its Director, but reserves the right to reassign this authority at their discretion.

SSLC Procedures Printable PDF

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Informal Complaint Resolution

Informal Complaint:  It is expected that attempts of resolving conflict will first be addressed using informal resolution.  For example, parties in conflict should try to talk through issues directly before proceeding to a formal complaint. If an issue cannot be resolved informally, or if one party feels unsafe in following the informal complaint process, students, faculty, or instructors should then approach the Dean of their Faculty or the Office for Human Rights & Conflict Resolution for support. If the conflict cannot be resolved or is of a more serious nature, the OSLD should be contacted for assistance.

3

Filing a Complaint

Formal ComplaintFormal complaints of student disruptive behaviour must be submitted in writing. Written complaints can be in the form of an official incident report submitted through security or by an email/letter submitted to the OSLD. Anonymous complaints or statements will not be accepted or considered.  All authored complaints will be reviewed and a decision will be made as to whether the incident warrants further action by the OSLD. Actions from the OSLD may include the following: consulting with the parties; recommending a course of action; assisting the parties with an informal process; initiating a formal student disruptive behaviour analysis and investigation; facilitating a restorative process; or documenting the incident with no further action.

In accordance with section 4 of the Safe Student Learning Community policy, where there is a reasonable concern that the safety of self and/or others is endangered or threatened, damage to University Property is likely to occur, or where the continued presence of the student(s) would be disruptive to the legitimate operations of the University, a student(s) may be temporarily restricted from campus pending an investigation. A temporary restriction from campus is a complete separation of a student from the university that helps maintain a safe learning and working environment for UFV’s community, until it is determined that the student(s) can return to campus without risk to others or him/herself. In cases involving an assault, if it is not clearly discernible who is at fault, all parties will be temporarily restricted from campus while investigators gather information as to what transpired. A temporary restriction from campus isan emergency short-term administrative response that provides time for administrators to assess the situation. Temporary restrictions from campus are not indicated on a student’s transcript. The length of a temporary restriction from campus depends on the level of risk involved with the incident. Temporary restrictions do not indicate any culpability of the allegations.

4

Opening a Case File

When the OSLD receives a written allegation of disruptive behaviour, a case file will be opened regardless if the case proceeds to a formal investigation. If a case proceeds to an investigation, then all relevant information regarding the case is housed within the student’s conduct case file, including the student’s personal information, which is extracted from UFV’s student database and any other relevant personal or academic information.  

In the event that no action is deemed required to address the complaint, the case file information is kept for statistical purposes only.

5

Options for Resolution

The university reserves the right to utilize the most appropriate option for resolution recognizing that this option may change based on the availability of new information.

Respectful Resolution: UFV recognizes that many disputes or incidents can be resolved informally by mutual agreement.  Wherever possible and appropriate to do so, parties are encouraged to resolve minor disputes using respectful and direct communication by ways such as: an apology, conciliation, education, consultation, facilitated dialogue, mediation, or restorative justice practices.

Behavioural Intervention Process Referral: The University recognizes that while educational, sanctioning may not be the best developmental option available in addressing disruptive behaviour. When warranted and solely in the discretion of the Vice President, Students and Enrolment Management or designate, student disruptive behaviour complaints may be temporarily, or completely directed into a Behavioural Intervention Process which will be supervised and coordinated by a designate of the Vice President, Students and Enrolment Management.

Restorative Process: When the Respondent takes responsibility for their actions and the harm they have caused, the OSLD may recommend a restorative process to the parties to address the incident of disruptive behaviour.  Restorative process is a structured process where a neutral third party facilitates a discussion between the parties in conflict, with the intention of repairing the harm that was caused by the disruptive behaviour. Those most affected by the disruptive behaviour will work together to create a consensus agreement on how the harm will be repaired by the person who caused harm. By way of example, the complainant, respondent, and supporters will all have a say in how the harm will be repaired. The agreement reached (the “Resolution Agreement”) will be signed by all parties, and the respondent will have a specific period of time to complete the agreement. Appeals are not available nor are they considered in a restorative process. If the respondent does not fulfill the terms of the Resolution Agreement, the matter will then be addressed through a formal administrative process and sanctions will be applied.

A restorative process will be an option only in cases that all complainants and respondents, and the Director of OSLD (or designate) agree on resolving in this manner. A respondent’s conduct file will indicate that he/she participated in a restorative action process and a copy of the accepted Resolution Agreement will be kept on file for seven years, unless otherwise noted.

Disruptive Behaviour Analysis:   When an allegation of disruptive behaviour has been submitted and it is deemed the allegations warrant further investigation, a formal disruptive behaviour analysis may be initiated.  An investigator will interview all witnesses, review facts, and make recommendations regarding appropriate sanctions. A report will be forward to the Director, OSLD, who will render a final decision of policy violation.  Appeals of decisions may be made, in writing, within fourteen (14) working days if the appropriate criteria are met (see Appeals section for criteria).

 

6

Disruptive Behaviour Analysis

When it is deemed a formal disruptive behaviour analysis is warranted the complainant and respondent will receive initial letters along with guidelines for participation in an investigation interview and copy of the policy related to the alleged policy violation. All communications will be sent to the student’s UFV issued email address.

Complainant(s):  Initial letters to the complainant will include:

  • acknowledgment of complaint;
  • the action being taken by the OSLD;
  • a request for an interview (if required); and,
  • informing them of their responsibility for maintaining confidentiality.

Respondent(s): Initial letters informing the respondent(s) of the allegations are sent to their UFV issued email address.  If the Respondent does not respond to the email, the letter will be couriered to their home address as listed in UFV’s student record database.  If the letter cannot be delivered by courier, it may be necessary to deliver the letter in person while he/she is on campus. The letter to the Respondent will include the following: 

  • the allegation(s) of disruptive behaviour;
  • the identification of who made the allegation;
  • a request for an investigative interview, how to prepare for it and the consequences for failing to respond by the required date;
  • a request to contact the OSLD by a specific date;
  • a statement that retaliation (direct or indirect) against the complainant (or any person associated with the incident or its investigation) is expressly prohibited;
  • information about the role of a support person;
  • information on how to contact the UFV Student Union Society student advocate; and,
  • informing them of their responsibility regarding confidentiality. 

Students may contact the UFVSUS for assistance only with process, but not facts of the case.
 

7

Disruptive Behaviour Analysis Interviews

Investigative interviews are an integral part of the student disruptive behaviour process. They provide an opportunity for all parties involved in an alleged disruptive behaviour or grievance to share their perspectives on what occurred. The information gathered in investigative interviews is relevant when considering the totality of the information used in rendering a decision.

Students participating in an investigative interview will be required to show picture identification at the beginning of the investigative interview.

Initial Interviews:  All participants involved in a complaint are provided an opportunity to present their account of the incident and provide names of witness(es) if necessary. The purpose of the investigative interview is to accomplish the following:

  • Gather and record information;
  • Hear the narratives of the case by those involved;
  • Give the respondent the opportunity to hear the allegations, to respond, and to ask questions;
  • Explain due process, the expectation of confidentiality and its limits and the roles of investigator and decision maker;
  • Inform the parties of the decision-making process and explain standard of proof used to make the decision;
  • Explain the role of the support person;
  • Ask the interviewee if they understand the process and clarify any questions or concerns that they may have.

It is expected that all participants present during the interviews will display mature and respectful behaviour. Offensive or threatening language will not be tolerated. It is further expected that participants will betruthful and forthright in all answers.

It is a serious violation of the Safe Student Learning Community Policy to make a false allegation and/or to provide the University with false information.Students will be asked to sign a statement indicating their understanding of each of the above points.

Subsequent Investigative Interviews: When required the investigator may request an additional interview(s) with any participant related to the investigation.  This may be necessary to corroborate facts, clarify questions that arose during interviews, and to give participant the opportunity to respond to all relevant allegations.

Subsequent Interview with Respondent:

  • Once all participants involved in a complaint, including witnesses, have been interviewed, the Respondent may at the discretion of the investigator be granted a final opportunity to respond to the allegation against him/her.
  • The Respondent has the right to know the information that will be considered in rendering a final decision. Accordingly, the investigator will review the findings of the investigation with the Respondent, and give him/her an opportunity to provide any other information to be considered before a decision is made.
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The Role of the Support Person in an Investigative Interview

A Complainant or Respondent may bring a support person(s) to the investigative interview for moral support only. Support persons are not representatives who speak on behalf of the student and are not permitted to answer the questions of the investigator.  However, the support person (s) may ask questions regarding the process.

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UFV Student Society Advocate

UFV’s Student Union Society provides student advocacy for students facing non-academic conduct allegations. The Student Union Society student advocate may assist students in preparing for their investigative interview; help them in understanding UFV’s policies and procedures, and in understanding the student conduct process. The Student Union Society student advocate may also attend investigative interviews and/or hearings at a student’s discretion. However, the student advocate may not speak on behalf of the student and are not permitted to answer the questions of the investigator. The student advocate may ask questions regarding the process. The Student Union Society can be reached by phone at (604) 864-4613 or by email at vpexternal@ufvsus.ca.

10

Rendering a Decision

Information considered in making a decision includes;

  • collaborating and/or contradicting facts;
  • nature of the behaviour;
  • consideration of the severity and/or extent of the behaviour;
  • consideration of the impact of the behaviour to the University or University community;
  • consideration of respondent’s willingness to take responsibility; 
  • consideration of whether the misconduct was inadvertent or deliberate in nature; and,
  • mitigating and/or aggravating factors.
11

Standard of Proof

In student disruptive behaviour analysis investigations, UFV adheres to a standard of proof that is ‘more likely than not’. For an allegation of disruptive behaviour to be substantiated, it must be shown that it is ‘more likely than not’ that disruptive behaviour occurred. Allegations of disruptive behaviour will either be substantiated or unsubstantiated.

12

Authority to Suspend/Expel

The President, as per the University Act (Section 61.1) has the authority to suspend a student and to deal summarily with any matter of student discipline.  In cases where the disruptive behaviour is deemed to be so egregious where a suspension of the student is recommended, the OSLD will inform the Vice President, Students who will make a recommendation to the President. 

A suspension will result in mandatory and complete separation from the University for a specified period of time. During this time, the student is prohibited from attending all UFV classes, campuses, and any UFV event and/or activity. Suspensions are given at the discretion of the President. Students may have conditions placed upon them, which must be fulfilled prior to returning to UFV as a student. The length of a given suspension will be dependent on the facts related to the conduct and subsequent investigation and decision.

When a suspension is warranted, the following individuals will be informed via email: the Registrar, Security, and the academic Dean(s) to which courses the student was attending.  Deans are then to inform the faculty to which classes the student is enrolled. Information to be shared includes the terms of the suspension, the time frame of the suspension and a copy of the student’s photo ID.  Instructors are informed to call Security in the event the student shows up for class.

An expulsion is the highest level of sanction that a student can receive. An expelled student is permanently barred from the University, and will not be eligible for future readmission. An expelled student is prohibited from being on any UFV campus, or from attending any UFV activity or event.

Decisions regarding expulsions may be appealed in writing to the Senate Committee on Student Appeals within fifteen (15) days of the original decision. The Senate Committee on Student Appeals has the sole authority to decide whether or not to hear an appeal. The decision of the Senate Committee on Student Appeals is the final decision of the University.

13

Decision Letters and Meetings

Respondents and complainants will receive a decision letter in writing regarding all student disruptive behaviour analysis investigations.  All decision letters will be kept in the case file. 

Decision letters will indicate the findings of the investigation, subsequent sanctions (if applicable) and the complainant’s and respondent’s responsibility in receiving this information.

Respondents and Complainants are required to uphold utmost confidentiality regarding the findings and outcome of the investigation.  If sanctions are given, they are to be kept in complete confidence by both the complainants and respondents. 

In the case of substantiated allegations of disruptive behaviour, the respondent will also receive a “Finding of Facts” letter that will document the information that was gathered and that was used in the determination of the finding. Complainants may also request a copy of this document.

The OSLD will track the progress of the respondent’s cooperation with any given sanctions (e.g. meeting deadlines for submitting reflection papers or apology letters, etc.). Failure to complete sanctions in the decided time may result in further sanctions under this policy. Any circumstances which may delay the completion of any sanctions should be communicated immediately with the OSLD.

Witnesses who provided information during the investigation will receive a letter once a decision has been made thanking them for their involvement in the investigative process. Final decisions will not be disclosed to witnesses.

14

Final Report and Closing a File

At the conclusion of the student disruptive behaviour analysis investigation or a restorative process, a final report will be completed. The final report will contain the following information (as applicable);

  • identification of the respondent, complainant, and witnesses;
  • a statement of allegations;
  • an outline of the due process and due diligence taken in the investigation;
  • the findings of the allegations (whether or not they are found substantiated), considerations of corroborating and contradicting evidence, mitigating factors; and,
  • a decision and when appropriate assign sanctions.

The Director OSLD, renders the final decision regarding the substantiation of the allegations of student disruptive behaviour policy violations, determines responsibility and assigns sanctions when appropriate. 

In cases where a suspension is warranted, a recommendation is made to the VP Students for submission to the President for final decision. 

The final report and final letters will be added the case file, and the investigation will be considered complete.

In cases where sanctions are rendered, a case file will be considered closed when appeal deadlines have passed and all sanctions are fulfilled.

15

Appeals

A student may appeal a decision based only upon the following grounds:

  • The student is able to demonstrate there was procedural unfairness or bias in the investigative process that is material to the decision;
  • New information has become available that was not available at the time of the initial investigation and this information could reasonably alter the final decision; or
  • The student is able to demonstrate that the final decision is excessive, unreasonable or unfair.

Appeals must be submitted in writing within fifteen (15) UFV working days of receiving the decision letter.

The appeal decision shall be delivered within sixty (60) days of the filing of the Request for the Appeal.

Where reasonable grounds for appeal are not evident; at the discretion of the University, the appeal may not be heard.

The Vice President, Students and Enrolment Management shall act as hearer of the appeal.

If the Vice President, Students and Enrolment Management has retained the decision authority on the investigation, the President shall be the hearer of the appeal.


  • All timelines are guidelines only. Parties should attempt to comply with such time frames. The failure to do so shall in no way nullify the process unless the delay is unreasonable and prejudicial.

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