group of people putting a hand in the middle

About Our Office

The BCIT Student Association Advocacy Office offers free, confidential, unbiased, and non-judgmental support and services to all BCIT students.

We value fairness, transparency, and accountability, and we aim to empower students to use their voices to self-advocate and exercise their rights.

The Advocacy Specialists have social work backgrounds and practice from a trauma-informed, intersectional, and student-centered lens.

Confidentiality

The Advocacy office is committed to providing confidential services, and all information shared with the Advocacy team is used in conformity with BCITSA and BCIT policies and procedures. While personal information will not be shared outside the Advocacy Office without express consent, there may be times when information is shared with the Wellness and Advocacy Manager for the purposes of guidance or consultation.

In situations where Advocacy Specialists believe students may be of harm to themselves, someone else, or the BCIT community, they have an obligation to report this information even without the students’ explicit consent.

office chair with pad of paper on it sits beside an end table with a glass of water, plant and LGBTQ+ flag
3 people sitting around a table with their laptops laughing

Advocacy’s Relationship with BCIT

The Advocacy office has a strong, mutually collaborative relationship with BCIT. It’s a common misconception that Advocacy Specialists advocate for students no matter what the situation—in reality, Advocacy Specialists advocate on the side of policy and procedural fairness. If a student has violated the policy, Advocacy Specialists will work with the student to identify options for moving forward.

The strength of the relationship with BCIT allows them to provide effective advocacy to all students because they use a non-adversarial approach that is rooted in fairness, transparency, and accountability.

The Advocacy Office also advocates for the larger student population by holding a seat on various policy committees to enact change at a systemic level.

The Advocacy Specialist will provide:

  • unbiased information and guidance about students’ rights and responsibilities
  • non-judgemental support and services in a safe space
  • guidance to navigate BCIT policy and procedures
  • assistance with conflict resolution, including informal mediation between parties
  • accompaniment to meetings with BCIT as a neutral party
  • assistance with effective communication including complaints, appeals, or emails to BCIT
  • referrals to on-and-off-campus resources or services

The Advocacy Specialist does not:

  • speak directly for students
  • find loopholes or contravene policy/collective bargaining agreements
  • provide advice about conflicts that are external to BCIT
  • force decisions to be reversed
  • compel disciplinary action against a BCIT employee

Learn More About
BCITSA Advocacy Services

ASK THE ADVOCATE

Your advocacy team is here to provide unbiased information and guidance about your rights and responsibilities. We offer non-judgemental support and services to BCIT students in a safe space. If you are experiencing conflict, you can come to speak to us. We can also accompany you to a meeting with BCIT, or to review a letter you’re writing to them.
What we can’t do is speak for you. We can help you navigate the system, but we aren’t here to find loopholes, or to provide advice about any conflicts that aren’t related to BCIT. We will listen to your concerns and provide you with the available options. We’ll do our best to explain relevant BCIT policies and procedures and answer your questions about them. We are here to empower and support you to resolve any issues you have at BCIT.

Post an anonymous question or comment below pertaining to a personal conflict/issue, or BCIT Policy and Procedure. The Advocate will share their advice here for the benefit of all students. No personal information is required. Check this page often for an answer to your question. If you would like to receive a personal response, you must provide your contact information.

*Please note, BCITSA Advocates typically respond within one business day. Alternatively, you can email advocacy directly.

Ask The Responses

How do I appeal a grade?

Answer

As per policy 5104 Academic Integrity and Appeals and procedure 5104-PR1 Academic Decision Review Process, your first step is to speak with your instructor to get some information on why you received the grade you did, and if there is any way you could remediate it. If after speaking with your instructor you wish to pursue an appeal, you have 20 days from the day you received your grade to file an appeal with your associate dean. You can find the paperwork necessary here. You fill out this paperwork, go to the Student Information desk in SW1 and pay the $26 grades appeal fee, then take your receipt, paperwork, and supporting documents to your associate dean. From there your associate dean will assign someone to reassess your grade. It is important to start this process as soon as you wish to appeal the grade. Waiting until the end of the term to appeal your mid-term may not be accepted, as it is assumed that you would have appealed it at the time. A word of note: sometimes when a student has a grade appealed, they may get assessed at a lower grade than the one they are appealing. It is important to clarify this with your program before you consider an appeal.

Failing due to attendance, how is this fair?

Question

I have been told I am failing my course due to too many absences. Is this fair?

Answer

As per policies 5101 Student Regulations and 5103 Student Evaluation, while full attendance is expected, if an instructor assigns a percentage to attendance, it needs to be clearly laid out in the Course Outline. If you did not receive a hard copy of the course outline, you may access it on-line at http://www.bcit.ca/study/outlines/  It is the students’ responsibility to be aware of what instructor expectations are, and to seek clarity if need be. If you did not receive a course outline, and one is not available on-line, please speak with the advocate.

I'm being discriminated against, what can I do?

Question

I think my instructor is unfair and is treating me differently from other students, what can I do?

Answer

As laid out in policy 7507 Harassment and Discrimination, all BCIT students have the right to a learning environment that supports respect, diversity, and human rights, and one which is free from harassment and discrimination. Students have the right to safely pursue academic success, and to be treated with dignity and civility by all those within the BCIT community. If you feel that you are being treated unfairly based on protected grounds, please contact BCIT’s Harassment and Discrimination office (http://www.bcit.ca/harassment/) for immediate assistance. You may also want to consider filing a Student Complaint (http://www.bcit.ca/judicial/complaints.shtml) and you are encouraged to work with the advocate if you choose this route. It is important to document the incident(s) with as much objective information as possible, including the time and date of the incident, what happened, who was involved, and if there were any witnesses. Students are strongly encouraged to speak in confidence with the advocate if they have a complaint or concern about an instructor.

I'm being accused of cheating, what do I do?

Question

Q: I learned that my instructor reported me to the Associate Dean for cheating. What does this mean and what should I do?

Answer

As laid out in procedure 5104-PR1 Procedure for Violations of Code of Academic Integrity, if an instructor suspects you’ve cheated or plagiarized, they have a responsibility to act on that suspicion. You should receive an email which outlines the allegations, but don’t be alarmed by this email — this doesn’t mean you’re automatically guilty. In the email, you should receive an invitation to meet with the investigator where you will be able to share your side of the alleged incident. If you are not afforded an opportunity to provide your side of the story, please see an Advocate ASAP. Remember that cheating and plagiarizing are serious offences in higher education, and it’s important that you’re maintaining academic integrity throughout your time here at BCIT. If you knowingly violated policy, consider owning this mistake. An Advocate can walk you through what to expect and also attend any meetings with you.

I'm having issues with my instructor, what can I do?

Question

Q: I am having issues with a teacher in my program and I’m not sure how to go about it. It has gotten to a point where I am constantly distressed in the class and I am unable to ask for help. I am also planning on avoiding her future classes because of this. Who can I talk to about this in more depth? How can I get the help I need?

Answer

Thank you for your question on Ask the Advocate and I’m sorry to hear you’re having a challenging time with your instructor. Depending on what you’re ideally seeking as a resolution, you have the option to submit a complaint to the department outlining your experience with the instructor. Another option would be to have a mediated meeting with your instructor and an Advocate present—this would strictly be an informal meeting to allow you to address some of the concerns you’re having. Since this would be informal, there would be no record of the meeting. Lastly, students are welcome to connect with a counsellor at BCIT—this service is free for students and they can be reached at 604.432.8608.

If none of these options work for you, please connect back with our office (advocacy@bcitsa.ca) and we can discuss the issue in further detail.

Self-advocacy is a critical skill that will benefit students beyond their time at BCIT. By self-advocating, students represent their own beliefs, needs, and rights when experiencing conflict or adversity.

Problem Solving Basics

Effective Appeals and Complaints

Academic Integrity Violations

Who
to Contact

Is there a place I can go to get food (I don’t always know where my next meal will come from)?

I believe I experienced harassment or discrimination

I’m Indigenous and want to speak with an Elder

I’m concerned about some feelings I’m having (anxiety, depression, overwhelmed)

I’m struggling in my personal life and it’s affecting my academics

I have a disability and need accommodation.

I’m struggling to pay for tuition

Frequently Asked
Questions by Students

Where can I find course outlines?

Answer

Most Course Outlines are found on the BCIT website; some instructors also post course outlines on the Learning Hub.

Students can expect to receive a course outline (either physical or digital) during the first week of class. Please speak with your instructor or program head if you don’t receive one.

I learned that I violated the Academic Integrity policy

Answer

Read Policy 5104 Student Code of Academic Integrity

I would like to withdraw from my course, how do I do this?

Answer

Withdrawal process

Full-Time Technology or Part-Time Degree Withdrawal Form

Part-Time Studies Course Withdrawal

Please keep in mind there are strict withdrawal deadlines. Failing to withdraw from a course may result in a “V” (vanished) grade, which equates to a zero on academic transcripts.

What is the procedure if I need to miss a class?

Answer

Student Regulation

Students who need to miss class are expected to communicate this with their instructor &/or Program/Department Head as soon as reasonably possible.

I believe I was not marked fairly, how can I get my assignment or exam reassessed?

Answer

Read over Procedure 5103-PR2 Grade Re-assessment

Grade Reassessment Form

I have questions about the U-Pass program.

I was told I might be granted a provisional pass, what is this?

Answer

Read over Procedure 5013-PR1 Grading.

A provisional pass is a temporary grade issued in limited circumstances where a grade would otherwise be a failing grade. Students can expect to sign a contract outlining expectations that need to be met to make the grade permanent. It is important to know that if students fail to meet the expectations of the provisional pass by the deadline, they risk being removed from the program completely. Students are highly encouraged to speak with an Advocacy Specialist before agreeing to a provisional pass to ensure full understanding of the risks involved.

I would like to initiate a complaint about an experience I had at BCIT.

Answer

Complaint Process

Complaint Form

You are welcome to send a draft of your complaint to an Advocacy Specialist for review before final submission.

Frequently Asked
Questions by Staff

A student has requested a BCITSA Advocacy Specialist to attend a meeting with them, what is the purpose of this?

Answer

Advocacy Specialists, also referred to as Advocates, are available to attend meetings as support for students when requested by the student. They are silent note-takers in the meeting and typically meet with the student before or after to ensure the student understands the nature of the meeting or what was discussed. While the Advocacy Specialist is there to support the student emotionally, they are there to ensure that policy is being followed and that students have an opportunity to provide their perspectives.

How do I refer a student to speak to an Advocacy Specialist?

Answer

Students may be referred to an Advocacy Specialist via email, phone, or website. Staff and faculty are welcome to speak with an Advocacy Specialist generally about a student, but keep in mind that they will not be able to share information without express consent from students.

What is the Advocacy Office’s relationship with BCIT?

Answer

The Advocacy office has a strong, mutually collaborative relationship with BCIT. It’s a common misconception that Advocacy Specialists advocate for students no matter what the situation—in reality, Advocacy Specialists advocate on the side of policy and procedural fairness. If a student has violated the policy, Advocacy Specialists will work with the student to identify options for moving forward.

The strength of the relationship with BCIT allows them to provide effective advocacy to all students because they use a non-adversarial approach that is rooted in fairness, transparency, and accountability.

The Advocacy Office also advocates for the larger student population by holding a seat on various policy committees to enact change at a systemic level.

FIZZA RASHID
Advocacy Specialist
604.412.7664
frashid@bcitsa.ca
Speaks English, Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi

GIOVANNA CATUSSI
Advocacy Specialist
604.456.1161
gpinheiro@bcitsa.ca
Speaks Portuguese

DANIELLE LANDETA-GAUTHIER
Wellness & Advocacy Manager
604.432.8279
dlandeta@bcitsa.ca

GENERAL INQUIRIES
advocacy@bcitsa.ca