Life on campus can be tough. Things happen that catch you off guard, like an argument with one of your instructors, an academic misconduct notice, or an unexpected grade. Whatever academic challenge you’re facing, the BCIT Student Association (BCITSA) Advocacy Department is here to support you! The BCITSA Advocacy Department provides unbiased guidance and information about your rights and responsibilities as a BCIT student. During a visit to Advocacy, you can expect:
- Non-judgmental support and services in a safe space
- Guidance navigating BCIT policies 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
Advocates are committed to providing confidential services. Information shared with an Advocate will not be shared with anyone outside the office without express consent, unless the Wellness and Advocacy Manager has reason to believe that a student may be of harm to themselves, someone else, or to the BCIT community. In this case, they have an obligation to report the information to authorities.
The BCITSA Advocacy Department is available to assist students in various capacities at BCIT, but they cannot assist with all situations. The main priority of the department is assisting with proper procedures and ensuring fairness. It is important that students understand what the Advocacy department is not there to do:
- Speak directly for students
- Find loopholes in BCIT policies to benefit students
- Contravene policy/collective bargaining agreements
- Provide advice about conflicts external to BCIT
- Force decisions to be reversed
- Compel disciplinary action against a BCIT employee
Advocates are professionals with years of trauma-informed, intersectional, and student-centered social work experience. Students can get advice from the Advocacy Department with total anonymity by filling out a form at bcitsa.ca/advocacy
If You Need Help:
Step 1: Take a step back, breathe, and collect your thoughts. You’ve got this.
Step 2: Remain professional and polite. This can make a huge difference in a tense situation. Think about the ideal resolution for you, and how you might get there.
Step 3: Research conflict resolution, review the syllabus, or read up on the policy you are in conflict with. If you feel capable and calm, try resolving the problem directly.
Step 4: Need more help? Contact an Advocate. They’ll be able to guide you in the right direction.
Once the situation has been resolved, consider the benefits of repairing the relationship (if relevant to your situation and you feel comfortable with that). You may be in a class of theirs (or be working together) in the future, so it might be in your best interest. This is your choice, though, and we’re here to support you in your decisions.