Do you know your rights? Lest we forget, censorship and verbal harassment is against UofT policies and the law.

There are times when it is important to remember that the University of Toronto is a public institution which prides itself in supporting and abiding by certain ethical and moral principles and, in particular, the laws protecting human dignity and harassment in the workplace. It becomes particularly unjust when individuals in positions of authority abuse their authority and breach these laws. We need to remember that being quiet, protects those who harm others. Here are the policies which protect you and your colleagues:

Ontario Human Rights Code:

“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world and is in accord with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as proclaimed by the United Nations;

And Whereas it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination that is contrary to law, and having as its aim the creation of a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person so that each person feels a part of the community and able to contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community and the Province;” (Ontario Human Rights Code)

University of Toronto Policy on Civil Conduct

“Some examples of behaviour that will generally not be viewed as civil are set out below…e.g. Humiliating, degrading, demeaning, belittling, insulting, frightening or intimidating another person”

In addition, we have the Memorandum of Agreement between UTFA and the University of Toronto. Librarians need to read article 5:

Article 5: Academic Freedom and Responsibilities

1. The parties to this Agreement acknowledge that the University is committed to the pursuit of truth, the advancement of learning, and the dissemination of knowledge. To this end, they agree to abide by the principles of academic freedom as expressed in the following statement: academic freedom is the freedom to examine, question, teach, and learn, and it involves the right to investigate, speculate, and comment without reference to prescribed doctrine, as well as the right to criticize the University and society at large. Specifically, and without limiting the above, academic freedom entitles faculty and librarians to:

(a) freedom in carrying out their activities: (b) freedom in pursuing research and scholarship and in publishing or making public the results thereof; and (c) freedom from institutional censorship. Academic freedom does not require neutrality on the part of the individual nor does it preclude commitment on the part of the individual. Rather academic freedom makes such commitment possible.

2. A faculty member’s professional obligations and responsibilities to the University shall encompass (i) teaching; (ii) research, scholarly or creative activity; (iii) service to the University. While the pattern of these duties may vary from individual to individual, they constitute the faculty member’s principal obligation during the employment year, and include, without being restricted to, responsibilities as follows:

(a) A faculty member shall carry out his or her responsibility for teaching with all due attention to the establishment of fair and ethical dealings with students, taking care to make himself or herself accessible to students for academic consultation, to inform students adequately regarding course formats, assignments, and methods of evaluation, to maintain teaching schedules in all but exceptional circumstances, to inform students adequately of any necessary cancellation and rescheduling of instructions and to comply with established procedures and deadlines for determining, reporting and reviewing the grades of his or her students.

(b) A faculty member shall be entitled to and be expected to devote a reasonable proportion of his or her time to research and scholarly or creative work. He or she shall endeavour to make the results of such work accessible to the scholarly and general public through publications, lectures and other appropriate means. Faculty shall, in published works, indicate any reliance on the work and assistance of academic colleagues and students.

(c) Service to the University is performed by faculty members through participation in the decision making councils of the University, and through sharing in the necessary administrative work of their Departments, Faculties, the University or the Association. In performance of these collegial and administrative activities, faculty members shall deal fairly and ethically with their colleagues, shall objectively assess the performance of their colleagues, shall avoid discrimination, shall not infringe their colleagues’ academic freedom, and shall observe appropriate principles of confidentiality.

3. A librarian’s professional obligations and responsibilities shall encompass (i) the development of his or her professional knowledge and performance, (ii) contributions to scholarship, (iii) service to the University. While the patterns of these duties may vary from individual to individual, they constitute the librarian’s principal obligation during the employment year. A librarian shall cany out his or her responsibilities with all due attention to the establishment of fair and ethical dealings with library users, colleagues and staff taking care to be properly accessible. A librarian shall foster a free exchange of ideas and shall not impose nor permit censorship. A librarian shall ensure the fullest possible access to library materials.

This entry was posted in Academic Librarianship, Uncategorized, University of Toronto, University of Toronto Libraries, UTFA. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Do you know your rights? Lest we forget, censorship and verbal harassment is against UofT policies and the law.

  1. Rochelle says:

    Thanks for reminding us about these issues of civility in the workplace; it’s too easy to let poor behaviour persist rather than addressing it head on. I agree that it’s important to speak up and defend a collegial environment. I think it’s relatively clear what we ought to do should we ever find ourselves in such a situation; what is the process for addressing such behaviour if we are witnesses to it? Does a report follow the same channels? Do we have a responsibility to report such incidents directly to our supervisors, or does it go through UTFA?

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