Defamation documentation

The problem wasn’t just that senior officers from public sector institutions failed to listen to both sides of the story before making up their minds. Most came to a conclusion when they heard the complaint. I’m sure they were so confident in their incompetence that they believed if a complaint didn’t sound like it could be substantiated, it didn’t need to be.

“Close enough for government work” isn’t the bar for final Decision Makers.

It was the people who listened to the whole story and still decided that the institution hadn’t done anything wrong that broke my heart. It is bad enough if they believed a senior officer may serve his own interest with institutional funds or be a Final Decision Maker in a complaint that involved him.

Very few acts are worse in an institutional setting than using institutional funds to serve a personal interest that conflicts with the institution’s best interest. No person with a conflict of interest can be trusted to honestly disclose the nature of their conflict. Officers with the appearance of a conflict are supposed to contact the Office of the University Counsel for a COI advisor, who is supposed to objectively judge whether that officer can even be involved in the decision-making process if they have a personal interest in the decision.

If senior officers in compliance institutions do not understand conflicts, none of them are competent enough to be a Decision Maker involving ones.

One officer, in particular, listened to the whole story and decided they would ask the institution how they handled student harassment complaints in an administrative setting. They should have asked the institution about the conflict of interest or the violations of academic freedom. But I trusted an officer from that particular organization would know that “we don’t have a way to take harassment complaints from students” wasn’t an acceptable answer.

But it apparently was to them, despite stating their policy knowledge was “on par” with mine.

I assume British Columbia’s test for defamation is as follows:

Spreading malicious rumours or lies about someone is an act harmful to a respectful environment:

I was told that the only type of improper conduct the institution had to care about was the ones with legal consequences when I tried to file a retaliation and harassment complaint about the former Director of my program.

Any other harassment listed other than spreading defamatory lies about someone requires administrative authority to abuse. Any non-employee student in a public post-secondary institution in BC is vulnerable to institutional harassment. They don’t have the protections from institutional harassment that an employee has — and public post-secondary institutions aren’t famous for handling employee complaints much better:

I could not verify that “Chris” said, “these things happen all the time.” But the organization’s final PFO stated it wasn’t getting involved because it had never gotten involved before. It also stated the officer had looked into my complaint and found nothing of concern.

This meant they were satisfied with the institution’s response of not having a way to report non-employee harassment meant they didn’t have to take harassment complaints from non-employee students. This person didn’t understand — despite being told — that the ability for non-employee students to report harassment had been removed in error through an “administrative edit.” That means the OUC signed off to the BoG that the edit did not make any substantive change to the policy that would cause legal or government concerns.

Anyone responsible for policy as this person claimed to be must know that meant it was erroneously removed. And if it was erroneously removed, any decision maker’s decision not to take a harassment complaint from a student based on the language is an institutional error caused by an institutional policy error.

Not one institutional officer understood what an institutional error even was.

Audi alteram partem can’t help if senior organizational officers have no idea that policies must be followed in an organization operating as a public institution.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s