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Equity and Diversity policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy is effective from 17 August 2017.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Policy articulates the University's commitment to providing an accessible and inclusive learning and work environment free from discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation and vilification.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Policy applies throughout the University.

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) The University recognises the Gunditjmara, Wadawurrung and Wurundjeri peoples of Victoria as the original inhabitants and traditional custodians of the lands on which the University stands. The University acknowledges and values Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and knowledges.

(5) The University is committed to providing equitable access to learning and employment opportunities as well as equitable learning and employment outcomes.

(6) The University will not tolerate or condone unlawful discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation or vilification. It will provide avenues for resolving complaints of unlawful discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation and vilification by informal resolution or formal investigation. The resolution process will be fair, consistent, transparant and timely.

(7) The University is committed to preventing sexual assault and provides a framework to effectively respond to reports of sexual assault in accordance with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response policy and Sexual Assault Response procedure.

(8) University activities are underpinned by the following principles:

  1. all people have inherent dignity and the right to be treated fairly
  2. differences among members of the University are respected and valued
  3. everyone has the right to a learning and work environment that is free from discrimination, sexual harassment,  victimisation and vilification
  4. individuals’ needs are best met by inclusive practices and individual adjustments where required.

(9) The University aims to:

  1. broaden its student and staff profile to be more representative of the diversity in the Australian community and to recognise the impact of previous educational disadvantage
  2. build a University community in which all members of the University are able to realise their full potential and participate in all aspects of University life
  3. foster an inclusive and vibrant culture that respects and values diversity
  4. provide an environment free from discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation and vilification
  5. implement accessible and inclusive policy, practices and programs in all its activities, including services, facilities and communications
  6. provide digital content, services and systems that are as accessible to as many people as possible by adhering to digital accessibility guidelines
  7. foster and develop curricula and research programs that are inclusive and draw on, and advance, diverse knowledge and experiences
  8. promote social inclusion, for example, by partnering with other sectors and community-based organisations, to increase access to and promote success in learning and employment
  9. ensure that the University's publications and official documents use inclusive and non-discriminatory language.

(10) The University will consider:

  1. implementing special measures for the purpose of realising substantive equality for members of a group with a particular attribute
  2. making reasonable adjustments where the needs of individual members of the University are not met by inclusive practices including under the Making Reasonable Adjustments for a Member of the University with a Disability or Health Condition procedure and Domestic and Family Violence (Staff and Student Support) policy.

Roles and responsibilities

(11) Members of the University must behave in a fair and equitable way and must not discriminate, sexually harass, victimise or vilify others or request, instruct, induce, encourage, authorise or assist any other person to discriminate, sexually harass, victimise or vilify others.

(12) Staff with supervisory responsibilities must exercise their leadership and authority to ensure an inclusive learning and work environment that is free from discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation and vilification.

(13) The Academic Board will ensure that all courses approved for initial and continuing accreditation comply with the principles for inclusive curricula.

(14) Faculties will ensure staff members develop accessible and inclusive pedagogies by providing appropriate professional development activities and opportunities.

(15) Organisational units will support accessible and inclusive learning and work environments including through the provision of services, expertise and communications.

(16) The Equity and Diversity Unit is responsible for raising awareness and implementing preventative, responsive and relevant strategies that value diversity, enable access and promote inclusion.

(17) The University will enable a network of trained Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officers from across the University to provide assistance and information to students and staff about discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation, vilification, domestic and family violence, child safety and complaint handling processes.

(18) Students may make a complaint of discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation or vilification under the Student Complaints Resolution procedure. Allegations of student misconduct are managed under the Student General Misconduct procedure. Staff can make a complaint of discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation or vilification under the Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Victimisation and Vilification (Staff) Complaints procedure.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(19) Refer to the:

  1. Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Victimisation and Vilification (Staff) Complaints procedure 
  2. Making Reasonable Adjustments for a Member of the University with a Disability or Health Condition procedure.
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Section 6 - Definitions

(20) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. adjustment: an individual measure or action taken by the University that has the effect of assisting a member of the University to participate in the University environment.
  2. complaint: an allegation of discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation or vilification.
  3. digital accessibility guidelines: Deakin has committed to, and is working towards, achieving compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA.
  4. discrimination: as defined in the Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Victimisation and Vilification (Staff) Complaints procedure.
  5. diversity: differences between individuals or groups of people in age, cultural background, disability, ethnicity, family responsibilities, gender, language, marital status, religious belief and sexual orientation; diversity may also include other ways in which people are different, such as learning, life experience, work experience and socio-economic background. Acknowledging diversity enables differences to be recognised and valued in the learning environment and workplace.
  6. equal opportunity: equal access to, and participation in, aspects of public life, including learning and employment.
  7. inclusive practices: practices that anticipate and accommodate the needs of a diversity of people, minimising the need for adjustments to respond to individual needs, while maintaining quality and other standards.
  8. sexual assault: as defined in the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response policy.
  9. sexual harassment: as defined in the Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Victimisation and Vilification (Staff) Complaints procedure.
  10. staff: any person employed by the University as defined in section 3 Deakin University Act 2009 (Vic).
  11. student: a person enrolled in, or seeking to be enrolled in one or more units of study.
  12. victimisation: when a person subjects (or threatens to subject) another person to a detriment (which includes humiliation and denigration) because that other person has made a complaint or been involved in a complaints procedure, or because the first person thinks the other person intends to make a complaint or be involved in a complaint of discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation or vilification.
  13. vilification: racial or religious vilification as defined in the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (Vic) includes engaging in conduct that incites hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of another person or group of people for their race and or religion.