Equity and Diversity Policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy was approved by the Vice-Chancellor on 1 November 2012.

(2) This Policy is pursuant to the following regulation:

  1. Regulation 4.1 (1) - General Misconduct

Section 2 - Purpose

(3) To articulate the University's commitment to providing an accessible and inclusive learning and work environment and to give effect to the University's legal obligation to provide an environment free from discrimination and sexual harassment.

(4) The Making Reasonable Adjustments for a Member of the University with a Disability or Health Condition Procedure and the Discrimination or Sexual Harassment Complaints by Staff Members and Associates Procedure outline the steps required to comply with this Policy.

Section 3 - Scope

(5) This Policy applies throughout the University.

Section 4 - Policy

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

(7) The University will not tolerate or condone unlawful discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation. It will provide avenues for resolving complaints of unlawful discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation by informal resolution, conciliation or formal investigation. The resolution process will be underpinned by principles of natural justice.

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

  1. all people have inherent dignity and the right to be treated equitably
  2. differences among members of the University are respected and valued
  3. all members of the University have the right to a learning and work environment that is free from discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation
  4. the range of needs of members of the University are best met by the use of inclusive practices and the provision of reasonable adjustments where required.

(9) The University aims to:

  1. 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
  2. foster an inclusive and vibrant culture for students and staff that respects and values diversity
  3. provide an environment free from discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation
  4. implement inclusive policy, practices and programs in all its activities, including services and facilities
  5. broaden its student profile to be more representative of the diversity in the Australian community and to recognise the impact of previous educational disadvantage
  6. take every opportunity to recruit, appoint, develop and promote staff from equity groups, at all levels and across all of its teaching, research and administrative areas
  7. foster and develop curricula and research programs that are inclusive and draw on, and advance, diverse knowledge and experiences, and implement inclusive practices in all activities, including services and facilities
  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. use its best endeavours to ensure that the University's publications and official documents use inclusive and non-discriminatory language.

(10) The University will consider implementing special measures for the purpose of realising substantive equality for members of a group with a particular attribute.

(11) The University will consider making reasonable adjustments where the needs of individual members of the University are not met by inclusive practices.

Roles and responsibilities

(12) All members of the University must not engage in unlawful discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation.

(13) It is the responsibility of all staff with supervisory responsibilities to exercise their leadership and authority and to use their best endeavours to ensure an inclusive learning and work environment that is free from discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation.

(14) Faculties will use their best endeavours to ensure that their staff members are assisted in supporting and enhancing the development of inclusive pedagogies, through appropriate professional development activities and opportunities.

(15) The Academic Board will use its best endeavours to ensure that all courses approved for initial and continuing accreditation accord with the principles for inclusive curricula.

(16) Organisational areas of the University outside the Faculties will contribute to the implementation of this Policy by providing appropriate expertise and advice, supporting course development and learning environments or directly supporting students, as and where appropriate.

(17) The Equity and Diversity Unit is responsible for raising awareness and implementing preventative and educative strategies and programs to eliminate all forms of discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation amongst members of the University, as well as managing complaints of discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation.

(18) A network of Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officers from across the University will provide assistance and support to members of the University who are seeking specific information on discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation.

Section 5 - Procedure

(19) There is no attendant procedure.

Section 6 - Definitions

(20) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. Attribute: as defined in Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) discrimination is prohibited on the basis of the following attributes: age, breastfeeding, employment activity, gender identity, disability, industrial activity, lawful sexual activity, marital status, parental status or status as a carer, physical features, political belief or activity, pregnancy, race, religious belief or activity, sexual orientation, personal association (whether as a relative or otherwise) with a person who is identified by reference to any attributes.
  2. Discrimination: as defined in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic), Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth), Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth), Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth), Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth). Generally described as the unfair or unfavourable treatment of a person because of a personal characteristic or attribute, real or imputed, including the setting of a requirement, condition or practice that is unreasonable and that people with a particular characteristic cannot meet.
  3. 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 in the workplace.
  4. Equal opportunity: equal access to, and participation in, aspects of public life, including learning and employment.
  5. Equity: the fair treatment of people on the basis of respect and merit, the recognition of disadvantage and the absence of discrimination.
  6. Equity groups: identifiable groups of people within the community that, due to one or several personal characteristics, have been affected by systemic disadvantage with regard to access to educational or employment opportunities and have experienced less favourable outcomes in education or employment.
  7. Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officer: a person who provides information and support to an individual who believes they may have been subjected to or accused of unlawful conduct.
  8. 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.
  9. Member of the University: any person within section 4(3) of the Deakin University Act 2009 and includes the Council; staff, graduates; students; emeritus professors of the University and, for the purposes of this Policy, prospective students and staff.
  10. Natural justice: procedural fairness in decision making, including the right to a fair hearing.
  11. Reasonable adjustment: an adjustment that balances the interests of all parties affected and does not cause the University unjustifiable hardship as defined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth).
  12. Sexual harassment: as defined in the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth), a person sexually harasses another person (the person harassed) if:
    1. the person makes an unwelcome sexual advance, or an unwelcome request for sexual favours, to the person harassed; or
    2. engages in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to the person harassed;

      in circumstances in which a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated the possibility that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.
  13. Staff: as defined in section 3 Deakin University Act 2009, any person employed by the University.
  14. Student: means a person enrolled in, or seeking to be enrolled in one or more units of study.
  15. Victimisation: any form of detriment directed at a person for alleging, making or participating in, supporting or resolving a complaint of discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation; or a person associated with a person who alleges, makes or participates in, supports or resolves a complaint of discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation.
  16. Workplace: any place where a person attends for the purpose of carrying out any functions in relation to his or her employment. In the University context, this includes all work-related activities at all campuses as well as off-campus if the activities are directly related to a staff member's employment.