New policy vote held
By Becky Somerville
The University Students' Council has decided to wait a week before asking its councillors to vote on a new discrimination policy.
The discrimination and harassment policy, which the USC Board of Directors approved Nov. 10, was to be presented to council and voted on at last night's meeting.
The policy, upon council's approval, would replace the existing race relations policy and is part of the USC's commitment to ensuring a discrimination-free environment, said Pete Hill, VP-campus issues for the USC.
"It's a bit more pro-active than the race relations policy," Hill said. "The major difference is the implementation procedure."
The primary motivation behind not submitting the policy until the next USC meeting was to allow councillors more time to consider it, Hill said. It was brought to his attention that a few councillors felt more time was needed to speculate on such an important policy, he added.
Hill said the policy will address all forms of discrimination on campus and includes, but is not limited to, issues of gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and mental and physical disabilities.
The policy is one of the most comprehensive of its kind among student organizations, Hill said. He added it offers a legitimate procedure for adjudicating harassment complaints and dictates how to enforce the conditions of these complaints.
This is one of the main reasons why Mike Rubinoff, undergraduate Board of Governors representative for the USC, requested more time to review the policy before having it presented to council.
"I think a document such as this, which is quite sensitive, needs the appropriate time to be looked over," he said. "What [the policy] intends to do has some serious implications."
He added to vote on a policy which most members had not even seen was a bad idea. "I want some more time to look into the language of other universities' policies."
Legal affairs officer for the USC, Jennifer Quick, agreed it was a good idea to hold off on the voting until the Dec. 2 council meeting. "We were originally planning on bringing it up [last night] but we thought we should give councillors more time to consider it."
Jeffrey Clayman, student senator and president of the Jewish Students' Union, was not bothered by the delay, adding he thought the intentions of the USC were excellent. "I think the policy can really benefit the USC and the students."