Respectful Learning Environment Policy

The Institute of Authentic Tantra Education is committed to ensuring that its learning environment promotes the respectful and fair treatment of all students. Under the BC Human Rights Code everyone has the right to be free from discrimination based on the following personal characteristics (current as of the date of approval of this Policy) age (actual or perceived), ancestry, colour, family status, marital status, physical or mental disability, place of origin, political belief, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and criminal conviction unrelated to employment.

  1. Statement of Principle[1]

 

The best possible environment for working, learning, and living is one in which respect, civility, diversity, opportunity, and inclusion are valued. Everyone at the Institute of Authentic Tantra Education (IATE) is expected to conduct themselves in a manner that upholds these principles in all communications and interactions with fellow IATE community members and the public in all IATE-related settings.

 

  1. The Respectful Learning Environment

 

In the context of an academic community, responsibility for maintaining a respectful environment falls on all community members, including students, faculty, staff, and members of the public who participate in IATE-related activities. Excellence in learning, research, and work in the community is fostered by promoting the freest possible exchange of information, ideas, beliefs, and opinions in diverse forms, and it necessarily includes dissemination and discussion of controversial topics and unpopular points of view. Respect for the value of freedom of expression and promotion of free inquiry are central to the mission of the IATE. However, these freedoms cannot exist without an equally vigorous commitment to recognition of and respect for the freedoms of others, and concern for the well-being of every member of the community. Excellence in scholarship, teaching and employment activities flows from active concern and respect for others, including their ability to participate meaningfully in the exchange of information, ideas, beliefs and opinions. Therefore, freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry must be exercised responsibly, in ways that recognize and respect the dignity of others, having careful regard to the dynamics of different relationships within the learning environment, such as between instructor and student, or supervisor and employee. A respectful environment is a climate in which the human dignity of each individual is valued, and the diverse perspectives, ideas and experiences of all members of the community are able to flourish.

 

  1. Activities Harmful to a Respectful Environment

 

Activities harmful to a respectful environment include behaviours ranging from:

  • Expressions of disrespect such as rudeness and gossip
  • To bullying or verbal harassment

Disrespectful behaviour, including bullying or harassment, is harmful to a respectful environment and therefore has no place within the IATE community. It is not only a direct attack on the dignity and worth of the individual or group at whom it is directed, it undermines the freedoms of the whole community. For these reasons, disrespectful behaviour, including bullying or harassment, is not acceptable and will not be tolerated by the IATE.

Bullying or harassment is objectionable and unwanted behaviour that is verbally or physically abusive, vexatious or hostile, that is without reasonable justification, and that creates a hostile or intimidating environment for working, learning or living.

Harassment may be intentional or unintentional. While bullying or harassment usually consists of repeated acts, a single serious incident that has a lasting harmful effect may also constitute bullying or harassment.

Bullying or harassing behaviour includes;

  • cumulative demeaning or intimidating comments
  • gestures or conduct
  • verbal aggression or yelling
  • threats to a person’s employment or educational status person or property
  • persistent comments or conduct, including ostracism or exclusion of a person, that undermines an individual’s self-esteem so as to compromise their ability to achieve work or study goals
  • abuse of power, authority or position
  • stealing or sabotage of a person’s work
  • humiliating initiation practices
  • hazing
  • calling someone derogatory names
  • spreading of malicious rumours or lies
  • or making malicious or vexatious complaints about a person.

Bullying or harassment does not include the exercise of appropriate managerial or supervisory direction, including performance management and the imposition of discipline; constructive criticism; respectful expression of differences of opinions; reasonable changes to assignments or duties; correction of inappropriate student behaviour; instructional techniques such as irony, conjecture, and refutation, or assigning readings or other instructional materials that advocate controversial positions; and single incidents of thoughtless, petty or foolish words or acts that cause fleeting harm. A determination that disrespectful behaviour, including bullying or harassment, has occurred is based not only on what the alleged perpetrator and target of the disrespectful behaviour actually experienced, knew, or understood about each other and the situation, but on what a reasonable person in each of their circumstances would have experienced, known or understood, taking into account the full context of the situation.

 

  1. Addressing Respectful Environment Concerns

 

Primary responsibility for addressing respectful environment concerns, including concerns about bullying or harassment lies with all members of the IATE community who exercise supervisory or leadership roles. These individuals are well-placed to set examples for others by their own conduct, to communicate to those under their direction IATE’s commitment to a respectful learning environment, and to take appropriate action to preserve or restore a respectful environment if problems arise. They are expected to take steps to maintain an environment free from disrespectful behaviour, and to prevent such behaviour, where possible.

 

  1. Reporting of Concerns / Incidents / Complaints

 

Specifically, when faculty, staff or students have concerns about disrespectful behaviour they have experienced or witnessed, they should contact their direct supervisor or the Senior Educational Administrator. Where the issue is not resolved or there is concern about conflict of interest, students should contact the Senior Educational Administrator or any of the Senior Instructors.

 

  1. Investigation of Concerns/Incidents/Complaints

 

The Senior Educational Administrator will be responsible for the investigation of any concerns/incidents /complaints related to this policy. Should there be a conflict of interest, investigations will be directed by the Board of Directors. The Senior Educational Administrator or Board members, whether responding to a concern raised to them or taking action because they have otherwise become aware that a person may be engaging in disrespectful behaviour in their unit, are expected to act promptly to determine if behaviour contrary to the Respectful Environment Statement including incidents of bullying or harassment has occurred or is ongoing, and if so, to address the behaviour and its damaging effects.

 

[1] Adapted from the UBC Statement on Respectful Environment for Students, Faculty and Staff, as approved by the UBC Executive, May, 2014.

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