EUS Equity Policy

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Adopted 2011-07
Last Modified 2017-07

ENGINEERING UNDERGRADUATE SOCIETY OF MCGILL UNIVERSITY EUS EQUITY POLICY Adopted July 2011 Amended August 2017

Background:

The EUS has a long standing history of leadership on issues of Equity and Social Justice. The development of formal mechanisms for addressing Equity matters has been in a constant process of growth, development, and improvement over the past two decades. The EUS has demonstrated in its history a commitment to not only excel in the practice of Equity, but to be a progressive leader in the field. The third pillar of the EUS’s commitment to its membership, Leadership, is described solely in the context of social justice and equity related matters in the EUS Constitution.
The EUS’s history has seen extensive student organization against sexism, racism homophobia, classism, and other forms of discrimination on the local, University, Provincial, Federal, and International levels. The EUS counts among its Services student groups with a strong commitment to equity, safety, and the creation of safe(r) spaces for its membership; including Queer Engineer, POWE, EWB. Dozens of EUS clubs and affiliated student groups also share a commitment to equity and anti-discrimination in their mandates.
Civil rights movements over the last 40 years have shown the impact Universities and students have on progress in equity issues. From the struggles for Women’s rights to Francophone rights to Gay rights; the EUS and its members have played an active part in the struggle for equal treatment and personal sovereignty. Much of the EUS’s commitment to equity comes from the responsibility of University organizations to create safe havens from the rest of Society, where disadvantaged persons can come together and create communities centered on ways to enact positive change to better their situation.
EUS defines itself as an “anti-oppressive” organization. This was an important step in defining ourselves as leaders in the field of Equity. Oppression is defined by Iris Young as the interaction between “Exploitation, Marginalization, Powerlessness, Cultural Imperialism, and Violence” imposed by a dominant class of people onto a powerless class of people through systems (formal laws and institutional practices) and interpersonal interactions.
By incorporating anti-oppression practice into the EUS, we expanded our formal understanding of Equity beyond the simple relationship of person-to-person isolated events of harassment and discrimination into an in depth evaluation of the situation of certain groups that leads to a lack of access and respect in Society for those groups. This method for evaluating and addressing injustice, discrimination, and inclusion is utilized by many non-profits across North America and is a staple in academic discourse surrounding social movements.
Since 2011, the EUS Equity Policy has gone through its most intensive process of review and implementation as Equity has grown in importance to our membership. The most important developments in the Policy over this time period have focused on the protocol for addressing violations of the policy, the delegation of responsibility, and settling of disputes over equity matters.
The following EUS Equity Policy is the culmination of revisions done by the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 SSMU Equity Committees and is based off of the most recent SSMU Equity Policy passed at SSMU Legislative Council in 2010.

Policy Statement:

The EUS has a responsibility as a leader, representative, and service provider to a diverse membership, to conduct ourselves by the highest standards of respect, fairness, integrity, safety and equitable treatment for all persons. At the forefront of this responsibility are respect for personal and professional integrity, dignity, academic freedom, diversity, personal and social property, and safety. We strive to create a community that exceeds social standards of equitable treatment, creating a safe haven for all of our members where collegial debate and marginalized ideas can flourish in a culture of respect. To support this responsibility as well as our mission of service, representation, and leadership, the EUS will promote a functional anti-oppressive environment. We acknowledge that a functional anti-oppressive environment is achieved through:

1. recognizing that systematic processes and cultural biases disadvantage certain groups of people on the basis of irrelevant personal characteristics;
2. taking pro-active steps to challenge and acknowledge the current and historical processes and biases that affect the safety and well being of these disadvantaged groups;
3. acknowledging that certain groups of socially privileged people knowingly or unconsciously benefit from this process and do not have the same experience of disrespect and exclusion as those in disadvantaged groups;
4. and taking pro-active steps to challenge the actions, attitudes, and assumptions that result from this social privilege.

The EUS condemns harassment or discrimination of disadvantaged groups on the basis of, but not limited to gender, gender expression, age, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, sexuality or sexual orientation, mental or physical abilities, language, size, or social class. The EUS regards harassment or discrimination on the basis of these considerations as serious offences. This does not prevent any program or activity whose purpose is to improve the conditions of a specific disadvantaged individual or group from conducting events or activities. The EUS will actively support projects and policies that aim to end discrimination or to promote accessibility and inclusiveness in their community. In accordance with this, the EUS and its affiliated clubs and services will not affiliate or collaborate with organizations known to promote or engage in the previously aforementioned discrimination or harassment.

Article 1: Definitions

1.1 The Engineering Undergraduate Society of McGill University (hereafter referred as “ EUS ”) is the registered name of the non-for-profit corporation representing the engineering and architecture undergraduate students at McGill University
1.2 The Board of Governors of the EUS is the administrative board of the Engineering Undergraduate Society of McGill University which is composed of Administrators as defined by the EUS Constitution
1.3 The EUS shall recognise all Departmental Societies, Clubs, and Design Teams set forth in the relevant articles of the EUS Constitution as EUS Groups
1.4 Oppression means the exercise of power to suppress a group of people by another with specific consideration of cultural, historical, and living legacies.
1.5 Privilege means a benefit, right, advantage, or immunity usually allocated to and held by a small, "dominant" group of persons to the disadvantage of others.
1.6 Marginalization means the creation of a dominant group of people which is defined as the “normal” group, creating classes of people who do not fit into the dominant group. These groups are thus “at the margins” of society, and deemed not belonging to society or not worthy of certain rights or privileges.
1.7 Disadvantage occurs when a group or person is denied equal treatment, access to resources and opportunities, respect, and/or safety of person;
1.8 Complaint a formal written declaration of a violation of the Equity Policy to the Equity Officers.
1.9 Plaintiff means the person or group which has experienced the alleged discrimination and/or harassment.
1.10 Respondent means the person or group which has been accused of committing an action which may be defined as harassment or discrimination as defined in this policy.
1.11 Discrimination means the differential treatment of an individual, typically to their disadvantage.
1.12 Harassment means an overt act of discrimination.
1.13 Minority means a group or individual having reduced power or representation relative to other groups within society.

Article 2: Purpose

2.1 This policy shall apply to:
2.1.1 The members and the staff of the EUS.
2.1.2 All activities and events hosted, funded, and promoted by the EUS and its affiliated clubs and services.
2.1.3 Written or graphic material which is published, distributed, endorsed or funded by the Society.
2.1.4 Activities, events, and promotions held in (building, room, etc list of all engineering buildings).
2.1.5 Funding allocated by the Society.
2.2 Neither this policy in general, nor its definitions in particular, are to be applied in such a way as to detract from the right of members to engage in open discussion of potentially controversial matters. No individual student or student group should have the effect of limiting dialogue on legitimate topics provided that such discussion is conducted in a respectful, non- coercive, collegial manner that conforms to the policy on discrimination and harassment set out in the “Policy Statement” of this policy.

Article 3: Protocol Student Equity Commissioner

3.1 The purpose of the Student Equity Commissioner (‘SEC’) shall be to ensure the awareness and the respect of student rights as well as the advocacy of equity issues in the EUS.
3.2 The SEC shall function as:
3.2.1 Advocate concerning equity issues;
3.2.2 Confidential resource person for students regarding their rights and responsibilities at McGill University.
3.3 The SEC shall:
3.3.1 Report at least bi-weekly to the President and/or the Vice President Internal of the EUS;
3.3.2 Present each semester a report to EUS Council detailing projects undertaken by the SEC as well as recommendations for actions to be taken by EUS;
3.3.3 Meet monthly with SSMU Equity Commissioner and other faculty Equity Commissioners.
3.3.4 Keep students informed about their rights and responsibilities and promote their respect actively through regular EUS Pipeline & Ten postings;
3.4 Accessibility
3.4.1 Upon selection, the Equity Commissioner will be advertised over the EUS Pipeline.
3.4.2 Be available to answer students’ concerns regarding grievances and equity issues in general, through office hours & email/online complaints.

Article 4: Complaints

4.1 All complaints are to be kept confidential between the Equity Commissioner, Equity Officers, the Respondent, the Plaintiff and any parties consulted in the investigation process.
4.1.1 Complaints deemed pertinent to the Engineering Student body as a whole will be released from confidentiality and advertised, at the discretion of the Equity Commissioner and the Equity Officers.
4.2 All complaints shall be submitted in writing, or addressed in writing to an Equity Officer. [Refer to Equity Committee Policy]
4.3 A complaint can be submitted anonymously.
4.4 All complaints submitted will be investigated, provided the plaintiff party is willing to assist the Equity Commissioner in a capacity that will not put their personal safety of the safety of any other individual or group at risk.
4.4.1 Equity Officers shall investigate any information that is not explicitly confidential.
4.4.2 Complaints will be investigated primarily by the Equity Commissioner; in certain cases, the EUS Executive Committee will be consulted for further investigation and procedural matters.
4.5 All complaints will be resolved as per the stipulations in section 5. The Equity Commissioner will be given a page on the EUS Website with their contact information, an online complaint form and a copy of the Equity Policy

Article 5: Discipline and Resolution of Complaints

5.1 Act(s) of discrimination and harassment will be considered an offence and subject to disciplinary action. Disciplinary action in the case of EUS Employees is an HR matter and is at the discretion of the Executive Committee.
5.2 Disciplinary actions and resolutions include, but are not limited to:
5.2.1 Letter(s) of apology.
5.2.2 Suspension of the respondent from their position within the EUS and its affiliated clubs, services, or publications.
5.2.3 Suspension of financial support by the EUS for committees, EUS Groups, or publications that violate this policy.
5.2.4 Dismissal of the respondent from their position within the EUS.
5.2.5 In the case of more serious violations, the complaint may be referred to the administrative powers of the University, or to an external legal source.
5.3 A complaint is considered finalized upon the successful resolution of the complaint.
5.3.1 A successful resolution is dependent upon the mutual acceptance by all three parties, the Plaintiff, Respondent & the Equity Committee.
5.3.2 In the case of an unsuccessful resolution, the Equity Report shall be submitted to the EUS Executive. In a timely manner, the Executive will rule an appeal in or out of order.

Article 6: Documentation - Equity Log

6.1 Any formal decision and/or action shall be documented in writing and provided to the plaintiff and to the respondent.
6.2 A copy of the report must be signed by an Equity Commissioner and a witness, confirming that the report was received by both plaintiff and respondent.
6.3 A copy of all written complaints shall be kept in the Equity Log.
6.4 Any informal action undertaken shall be noted in the Equity Log, along with the signature of the Equity Commissioner.
6.5 The Equity Log will be a Confidential Document.

Article 7: Budget

7.1 No complaint shall be considered with respect to an incident of discrimination or harassment, which occurred more than one calendar year prior to the complaint.
7.2 Nothing in this Policy precludes either party from exercising any recourse available external to the EUS.

Article 8: Amendments

8.1 Amendments to this policy must be approved by a simple majority vote of the Board of Governors of the EUS

Article 9: Interpretation

9.1 In the case of a conflict between this policy and the following documents, the following documents prevail in the order they are listed in:
9.1.1 The Quebec Companies Act
9.1.2 The EUS Letters Patent
9.1.3 The EUS Constitution
9.1.4 The EUS Bylaws