The role of the Department of Geography’s Equity Committee is to provide advice to the Chair, Department Committees and the Department in general on matters of equity in the Department of Geography’s practices and policies and to provide representation on each faculty search committee as per the Departmental Equity Guidelines.
In 2018 the Equity Committee wrote the following statement that was approved by the Department faculty, in response to events at different Canadian universities that have brought the issue of sexual harassment and violence front and center in the public domain.
Black Lives Matter
The Department of Geography, McGill University firmly denounces all racism and racial violence and stands in solidarity with members of the Black community. We are deeply concerned with the violence and recent events in Canada and the US. We recognize that these events are not isolated and in Canada are situated in our country’s long history of violence against Visible Minorities and Indigenous Communities. Read our full statement here.
Department of Geography Statement on Appropriate Relationships among Faculty, Staff, and Students
Accepted at Department Meeting, 17 September 2018
Preamble: Recent events at different Canadian universities have brought the issue of sexual harassment and violence front and center in the public domain. As a community of students, staff, and faculty in the Department of Geography we aspire and commit to create and sustain an environment that is inclusive and based on interactions of mutual respect. We endeavour to protect members of our community from bullying, harassment, and inappropriate social and sexual behaviour as we conduct our academic activities. As a community, we strive to meet these goals via continuous education regarding acceptable norms and behaviours, and by working with other units at McGill University to provide a safe setting for all.
Department aspirations: The Department of Geography recognizes that romantic or sexual relationships that might be appropriate in other circumstances have inherent dangers when they occur between individuals with different positions of power, real or perceived. As such, the Department of Geography strongly discourages romantic or sexual relationships between individuals in inherently unequal positions (for example, between a professor and student, post-doctoral scholar and student, or TA and student). All members of the Department of Geography are expected to be conscious of and sensitive to such power imbalances.
University policies: There are clear University regulations with regards to sexual violence and harassment. In addition, when a consensual romantic or sexual relationship occurs between individuals in which one individual holds a position of academic authority or influence over another McGill policy states that this is a conflict of interest (see Processes for Reporting Instances of Sexual Misconduct Involving Faculty Members – 10 FAQs).
Who you can talk to: If you are concerned about a romantic or sexual relationship between individuals at McGill in inherently unequal positions, you can seek advice and support from a member of the Department Equity Committee (current members are listed below). You can also contact the Chair of the Department, an Harassment Assessor, the Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support and Education, or the Office of the Ombudsperson (for students).
This statement will be reviewed yearly by the Department’s Equity Committee.
Other useful resources at McGill University
People to reach out to:
- The Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support and Education (OSVRSE) provides confidential, non-judgmental and non-directional support and education to students, faculty and staff of all genders who have been impacted by sexual violence.
- Harassment Assessors - Contact them if you want to file a formal complaint or report, inquire about policies and processes, or be connected to additional supports.
- Office of the Ombudsperson (for students)
- Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Student Society (SACOMSS) is a volunteer-run organization committed to supporting survivors of sexual assault and their allies through direct support, advocacy, and outreach. Their services include Drop-In and Line (DIAL), Support Groups, Advocacy, and Outreach. Additionally, they offer sexual assault sensitivity training to McGill and Montreal groups, provide information and referrals, and organize events to raise awareness about sexual assault.
Policies and other information can be found at the following links:
- Handbook on Student Rights and Responsibilities, Policy on Conflicts of Interest in Academic Supervision and Evaluation
Members of the Department of Geography Equity Committee 2020-2021
Abbey-Leigh Heilig [graduate student representative]
Emma Reddy [undergraduate representative]