Indigenous

UVic's Indigenous governance program under 3rd-party probe

The University of Victoria has asked two experts in conflict resolution, lateral violence and trauma to lead a review of its Indigenous governance program, CBC News has learned.​

Review of program launched under university’s discrimination and harassment policy

The University of Victoria has launched a review of its Indigenous governance program. (CBC)

The University of Victoria has asked two experts in conflict resolution, lateral violence and trauma to lead a review of its Indigenous governance program, CBC News has learned.

The university's acting director of ethics and human rights initiated the "environmental assessment" of the program under the institution's discrimination and harassment policy, according the the terms of reference obtained by CBC.

Cassbreea Dewis, the university's acting director of equity and human rights, said she could not provide any information on the reasons behind the review's launch.

"There are a variety of reasons why environmental reviews are held, and we are unable to elaborate on those reasons because of privacy and integrity of process that we need to respect," said Dewis, in a statement provided by a university spokesperson.

Dewis said the independent, internal review would "look at whether and where there are strengths and challenges in a work or learning environment at the university."

The internal review is "not designed to find fault, wrongdoing or blameworthy conduct on the part of any person or work unit," according to the terms of reference.

Review to last 2 months

Madeleine Kétéskwew Dion Stout, a retired professor and nurse who specializes in Indigenous health, racism, lateral violence and trauma, and Jamie Chicanot, a partner with ADR Education, a firm which specializes in workplace conflict resolution, have been appointed to conduct the review.

Stout and Chicanot will be interviewing current and former students, faculty and management, the faculty dean and program director, along with union and faculty association representatives during the review. They are also expected to produce a report that will include recommendations and provide it to Dewis and all participants, according to the terms of reference.

The whole process is scheduled to take about two months to complete, according to the document.

Stout and Chicano met with current students Tuesday to answer questions about the process, according to an email sent by Dewis to students currently enrolled in the program that was obtained by CBC News.

Former students of the program were also sent an email by Dewis informing them of the review. The email told former students they could either set up interviews with Stout and Chicanot, or submit their views confidentially.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jorge Barrera is a Caracas-born, award-winning journalist who has worked across the country and internationally. He works for CBC's Indigenous unit based out of Ottawa. Follow him on Twitter @JorgeBarrera or email him jorge.barrera@cbc.ca.

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