Advocacy

information, advice, intervention and referrals.

Here to provide confidential, unbiased services to current, former, or prospective BCIT students, and other membersof the BCIT community

Advocacy

What is the Advocate?

The BCIT Student Association Advocate provides confidential, unbiased services to current, former, or prospective BCIT students, and other members of the BCIT community, by providing information, advice, intervention and referrals. The Advocate also champions procedural fairness for all BCIT students and seeks to educate the BCIT community at large in regards to accurate policy and procedure implementation, effective communication, and informal dispute resolution.

The Advocate provides information and guidance on students’ rights and responsibilities, as well as BCIT regulations, policies and procedures. The Advocate may also make recommendations, where appropriate, for changes to BCIT policies and procedures, and to promote discussion on institution-wide concerns. The Advocate will review all situations in an impartial manner, and will strive to help students become their own advocates by providing them with information or advice about regulations, policies and procedures, and strategies for constructive ways to raise and resolve issues. The Advocacy office seeks to empower students to resolve their own issues with support, and so encourages students to speak for themselves. The Advocate will only speak on behalf of a student under extenuating circumstances, and on a case-by-case basis. Please note that the Advocate has the right to refuse service, at the discretion of the office.

All dealings with the BCIT Student Association Advocate are deemed to be confidential, and may only be revealed on a “need to know” basis, and with the written consent of the student.

Looking for something specific here? click the links below to be taken to corresponding section.

FAQ    |    Problem Solving: The Basics    |    Policies Every Student Should Know    |    Resource Links    |    Sexual Assault Policy

Ask the Advocate

Post an anonymous question or comment below pertaining to a personal conflict/issue, or BCIT Policy and Procedure. When appropriate, the Advocate will do their best to share their advice here for the benefit of all students.

No personal information is required. Check this page often for a response to your question, or you may provide contact information if you choose and receive a private response within 1 business day(s).

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Advocate Responses

Question 4 (new submission)

In September 2016, I applied for a course exemption and was approved. The course I took that was similar to BCIT’s course was known as APSC 201 (at UBC).

Winter 2017 comes along and I see I am taking another course that has a very similar curriculum to the APSC 201 course, so I applied for a course exemption again, using the same course.

A few of my classmates took APSC 201 at UBC as well, and they were approved for the exemption from this course. Unfortunately, my application was denied due to:

“Your APSCI 201 course was used for course exemption for COMM 1116 so it can’t be used again for a second course.”

What are my options if I do not agree with the Program Head’s decision as I believe they are acting outside of policy?

View Response
Question 3

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

View Response
Question 2:

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

View Response

FAQ

When Should You Contact the BCITSA Advocate:

  • When you want to discuss a sensitive issue in confidence;
  • When you have a conflict with another party and need help in facilitating a resolution;
  • When you require assistance or support communicating or negotiating with faculty, staff or others;
  • When you are unsure which policies, procedures, or guidelines apply;
  • When you feel a policy, procedure, or guideline has been unfairly applied to you;
  • When you have a complaint about an office or service at BCIT; and
  • When you don’t know who to talk to, where to turn, or what options are available.

The BCITSA Advocate Can help you by:

  • Listening and helping analyze the problem or complaint, and defining available options;
  • Identifying and explaining relevant and applicable BCIT policies and procedures;
  • Expediting “red tape” tangles;
  • Referring you to the appropriate offices where means exist for the resolution of your complaint;
  • Providing support in meetings between BCIT Students, faculty, and/or staff;
  • Facilitating effective communication discussions between students, staff and/or faculty members;
  • Editing, or assisting in the composition of, emails, letters, or procedural paperwork;
  • Making referrals to campus and/or community resources;
  • Recommending changes to outdated, ineffectual or arbitrary BCIT policies or procedures

The BCITSA Advocate can help with issues such as:

  • Fear of coming forward or of acting to stop unacceptable behaviour;
  • Abuse of power, bullying, or unfair treatment;
  • Issues related to non-academic misconduct;
  • Policy issues;
  • Problems with rules that govern courses and course requirements;
  • Problems with instructors;
  • Issues related to Academic Integrity;
  • Grade appeals.

 

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The BCITSA Advocate cannot:

  • Speak for a student;
  • Order or force and decision to be changed;
  • Circumvent existing policies or procedures to resolve issues;
  • Intervene in conflicts with individuals or groups outside of BCIT;
  • Intervene in any matter covered by a collective agreement between an individual and BCIT.

The Advocate has the right to refuse or discontinue work on any case in which the Advocate believes it unworthy of investigation where such complaints may be frivolous, vexatious, not brought in good faith, or is an abuse of the Advocacy office’s functions.

PROBLEM SOLVING: THE BASICS

  • First and foremost, being aggressive or rude will never help you solve a problem, always remain calm and objective; be polite (this encourages people to want to help you).
  • Review the history of your problem so you can clearly present your perspective. Write down incidents in chronological order. This will help you organize your thoughts and concerns.
  • Be clear about the nature of the problem and what reasonable solution(s) or option(s) you are hoping for.
  • Document, document, document! Write down important information and always keep a record of all the steps you have taken to resolve you problem; who you have spoken to, and the dates and times.
  • Keep copies of all your correspondence (emails, letters and even text messages) and forms.
  • Ask questions and make sure you understand the other person’s point of view and any advice or instructions that you are given. Sending a follow-up email after a meeting is a great way to ensure clarity.
  • Be prepared for a meeting with instructors or staff by reviewing policies and procedures that relate to your problem, and know your facts.
  • Deal with things immediately! Waiting to deal with a problem may create more problems in the future. Most appeals and other formal processes must be made within specific timelines.
  • Stay cool! Never try to solve a problem when you are angry – wait, cool off, and then try.
  • Don’t give up! BCIT is a big and complex organization. Sometimes the first person you speak to many not be able to help you. Don’t take it personally if they refer you to someone else.
  • It’s OK to ask questions.
  • Don’t panic! There are a lot of people at BCIT who want to help you.
  • Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you have exhausted all your options or if you don’t know where to begin, then contact the BCITSA Advocate.

Effective appeals & Complaints:

As a BCIT student, you have the right to appeal decisions made about your academic efforts (Academic Appeal), and your non-academic conduct (Decision Review Board), as well as file complaints if you believe you were treated unfairly. Before seeking an appeal, it is important to review the proper procedure associated with it, so that you are appropriately prepared for what is expected of you, and what you can expect from BCIT.

The first thing you should do before asking for an appeal or making a complaint is to brainstorm a list of every reason why you believe the appeal or compliant should be reviewed. Disagreeing with a decision simply because you don’t like it is not a good enough reason. Was it a fair decision? Did the decision follow the rules of Procedural Fairness? There needs to be specific reasons relating to policy or procedure to warrant a review.

Some basic rules to follow when submitting an appeal or complaint:

  • DON’T RUSH!  Far too often students do not take the time to write a proper appeal or complaint. When you rush or submit a poorly written appeal you increase the chances that your request will be denied, even if you have a good case.
  • BE FACTUAL!  Include as much factual detail as possible and where possible reference your comments to supporting documentation. Avoid dramatizing the situation. It is tempting to overstate the case when something is important to us. When feelings are a legitimate part of the message, state it as a fact but, again, avoid being overly dramatic.
  • BE RESPECTFUL TO THE READER!  At the very least, students should know the name and the title of the person they are sending an appeal to, or making a complaint about. Threatening, name-calling, cajoling, begging, pleading, flattery and making extravagant promises are manipulative and ineffective methods of getting the resolution you are seeking.
  • BE BRIEF!  Yes, it is more work to write a good letter than a long one, but it makes a difference. Decision makers appreciate the extra effort that goes into composing a good, short letter. It should be written in clear, concise, and succinct sentences.
  • BE HONEST!  If you have actually done something wrong, accept responsibility. Everyone makes mistakes and if you express your regret, and demonstrate that you have learned from the situation, it sends a positive message to the reader.
  • AVOID ERRORS!  A request or complaint will make a better impression if it is typed, free of spelling and grammar mistakes, free of slang, and addressed to the correct person or department.
  • KEEP COPIES!  Photocopy everything, and hold onto it until the matter is settled. Keep copies of all letters sent or received, as well as relevant supporting documents, and forms.

Remember: The Advocate is available to assist you in writing and editing your appeal. Please contact the office if you require support or guidance.

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POLICIES EVERY STUDENT SHOULD KNOW:

When students register to attend BCIT they do so with the understanding that they are agreeing to conduct themselves in a way that respects all BCIT policies and procedures. These policies and procedures are easily accessibly on-line at http://www.bcit.ca/welcome/regulations.shtml.

Because of the ease with which students can access these policies, it is expected that they are not only familiar with them, but also understand the consequences they may face if they are found to have breached BCIT policy. Ignorance is no excuse, and therefore reactions of “But I didn’t know this!” will not be accepted. Please take note of the following policies and procedures, as they are a sample of just some of the important regulations that guide all members of the BCIT community.

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Sexual Assault

In collaboration with the BCIT Student Association, Counselling and Student Development, and off-campus resource groups, BCIT has created a new sexual assault policy and procedure. It is important to the entire BCIT community to ensure all students, staff, and faculty are aware of not only this new policy, but more importantly the resources available to those who may have experienced sexual assault, in an effort to build a safe and supportive community for all of us.

For more information, please feel free to contact BCIT directly, or visit the website at http://www.bcit.ca/safetyandsecurity/sexualassault/. For any emergencies related to sexual assault, please contact the RCMP by calling 911, or Campus Security 24 hours a day at 604-451-6856.

BCIT Sexual Assault Procedures & Response Policies

Policy Number

Policy Subject

PR7103 Sexual Assault
PR7103-PR1 Response to Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault FAQ

What is sexual assault? Click Here
What is consent? Click Here
Get Help – If you have been sexually assaulted Click Here
Give Support – Resources for friends, family & the BCIT community Click Here
What each of us can do to end sexual assault in our communities? Click Here
What are the BCIT policies relating to sexual assault? Click Here

 

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Unfortunately, the Advocate may not always be able to help. If your complaint or issue is outside the jurisdiction of the BCITSA Advocacy office (for example, a complaint that does not relate to BCIT, such as a landlord/tenant dispute) we may not be able to assist you.

Below are some of the resources available to students at BCIT, and in the community. We recommend that you access them as needed in an effort to resolve an complaints or concerns.

BCITSA Brochures & Resources

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