Guidance for Ongoing Collegial Discussions

UBC scholars enjoy academic freedom which entitles them to engage in full and unrestricted consideration of any opinion within the law. UBC encourages an environment where ideas and perspectives can coexist freely in a reasoned, collegial and respectful manner.

We should maintain an atmosphere where scholars feel free to express divergent viewpoints, UBC must remain institutionally impartial and inclusive on matters that extend beyond its immediate purview. Statements that could compromise the perception of institutional neutrality and inclusivity should not be made in a way that might reasonably be perceived as being made on behalf of UBC, its faculties, departments, institutes, or any other constituent units of UBC.

If UBC faculty members choose to jointly issue a public statement, they may choose to issue an unsigned or a signed statement (with or without their rank and departmental affiliation, as they wish). In either case, they should state that the statement is being issued by faculty members within that department, and that the statement is not being made on behalf of the department itself or on behalf of UBC or any of its other constituent units. In addition, it would be best to clarify that the statement may not be reflective of all members’ views in that department and that there may be dissenting opinions within the department.

While students may want to join a statement, UBC faculty members should refrain from soliciting student signatures on joint public statements. Despite the best intentions of faculty members, the power dynamic between students and faculty members can result in many students feeling pressure to sign such statements regardless of their personal beliefs.

Where faculty members from a UBC unit have issued a statement, steps should be taken within the UBC unit to continue to cultivate an environment where faculty members and students feel free to express divergent views. Consistent with the academic freedom of all members of the academic community to engage in full and unrestricted consideration of any opinion within the law, faculty members and students should feel free to express views that differ from those set out in the statement.

Draft Disclaimer Language:

Faculty members within the (unit name) are issuing the following statement on (the issue). The statement does not represent the views of UBC, or any of its departments or other constituent units and the faculty members issuing this statement recognize that there are or may be dissenting viewpoints within the unit.

[Note: This Guidance does not take precedence over the advice in the Election Guide issued by UBC before elections which notes that: “The university and its administrators (when acting in a capacity that can be reasonably viewed as representative of the institution) must not act in a way that could be construed as promoting, endorsing or opposing a candidate or party or promoting or endorsing a position closely associated with that of a candidate or party.”]