UBC is committed to providing a safe, supportive, and inclusive living and learning environment, with resources and services to support all students.
Responding to discrimination
What is discrimination?
Discrimination is treatment that burdens or disadvantages someone with no reasonable justification, where these disadvantages are related to one’s race, colour, place of origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, mental disability, physical disability, sex, age, religion, family status, and marital status. Discrimination involves unfair or different treatment for reasons unrelated to academic or employment performance.
Discrimination can be a comment or behaviour that is unwelcome or that has a negative impact on the person whether the person intended it or not. Harassment can be either a single, serious incident or a pattern of related, repeated incidents.
Examples of discrimination include:
- Racist, sexist, or homophobic jokes or remarks
- Repeated advances from someone after you have indicated a lack of interest (verbally, by email, texting or through other forms of social media)
- Being mocked for your accent, culture, or religion
- Consistently being mis-gendered or referred to intentionally with the wrong pronoun
- Not being allowed to reschedule an exam when the exam date conflicts with your religious or spiritual observance
- Being denied the appropriate accommodations if you have a disability
- Receiving a negative evaluation because the instructor disapproves of your sexual orientation or cultural perspective
If you experience discrimination
First, understand you do not deserve what is happening
Harassment is unlikely to stop or go away if you ignore it. In fact, harassing behaviour may increase if the harasser feels that he or she can get away with it. It takes courage to address what is happening and the first step is to acknowledge that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Remembering all the details of what happened can be challenging. Do not rely on your memory. Carefully record the details of the harassment as soon as it occurs. Also record any attempts to tell the person that the behaviour is unwelcome. Keep all harassing letters, gifts, emails, texts, voice mail messages, and more as evidence.
Seek advice and resources
UBC offers many services that can help you with your situation:
- If you believe you or others are in physical danger, contact the Campus Security (call 604 822 2222) or the police (call 911) immediately.
- You can request an advising appointment with an impartial human rights advisor at the Equity and Inclusion Office.
- You may also want to contact the Office of the Ombudsperson for Students, an independent, impartial, and confidential service that supports students in addressing and resolving concerns about unfair treatment at UBC.
- Other UBC staff members are available to help, such as academic advisors from your faculty or program. You can also contact staff and faculty members in your department.
- The University provides a wide range of health and wellness resources, including Counselling Services.
If you witness an act of discrimination
A bystander is someone who observes a conflict, unacceptable behaviour, or an unsafe situation. By taking steps to make a difference, you can be an active bystander and support those in the situation.
If you witness an act of discrimination, depending on the situation or your feeling of safety, you can employ any of the 5 Ds of bystander intervention: Distract, Delegate, Document, Delay, or Direct.
Familiarize yourself with the policies set out by the University, which are applicable to all students, staff, and faculty.
- Discrimination Policy SC7
The policy prohibits discrimination on a number of protected grounds including age, family status, physical or mental disability, race, Indigenous identity, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.
- UBC’s Respectful Environment Statement
This statement provides guiding principles to support an environment in which respect, civility, diversity, opportunity and inclusion are valued. It also addresses bullying and harassment not related to human rights grounds.
- Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment Policy SC3
Policy SC3 describes how faculty, staff, and students must act during research, teaching, and learning activities.