Office of the Students’ Advocate

The  Students’ Union of VCC Students’ Advocate provides a safe, confidential and informal environment for students to discuss conflicts, complaints or disputes. The Students’ Advocate can provide support and assistance with interpretation of VCC policies and procedures.

How can the Students’ Advocate help?

Whether you have a question about your rights, are looking for information about college policies and regulations, wanting to file a formal appeal, or just need someone to help answer your questions, you can contact the Student Advocate.

The Students’ Advocate can help you develop strategies and options for resolving your issues, as well as provide information to you regarding policies and procedures as well as addressing fairness issues at Vancouver Community College

The Students’ Advocate is available to attend meetings with the student to help facilitate communication and problem solving process and is also available to attend formal appeals with students.

The Students’ Advocate will:

  • Listen to student concerns and assess the situation presented;
  • Provide information on university policies and procedures, as well as related student rights and responsibilities;
  • Assist students in gathering information about their case;
  • Discuss possible courses of action;
  • Offer coaching and help students prepare for conversations with supervisors, instructors or administrators, or to prepare for formal hearings;
  • Participate in meetings between students and college officials as a witness; and,
  • Refer students to service departments, or external agencies, for assistance and/or advice.

The Students’ Advocate will not:

  • Offer legal advice or answer legal questions;
  • Offer counselling;
  • Represent students to the university;
  • Testify at an academic hearing or other administrative tribunal convened by the college; and,
  • Offer advice on how to initiate legal action against the university, or participate in a legal proceeding against the college.

Confidential – the Students’ Union will maintain the confidentiality of information provided to the Student Advocate unless directed otherwise by the student providing the information. This confidentiality enables students to discuss matters with the Student Advocate and receive advice without taking action. Confidentiality will be deemed void if a student makes comments about doing harm to themselves or others, or if a student speaks to the Student Advocate about a criminal act. The Student Advocate is neither a lawyer nor medical professional, and there is no legal privilege attached to communications between students and the Student Advocate.

Impartial – The Students’ Union will not take sides in disputes, complaints or appeals but will work to ensure the rights of students are respected, and that both the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness are applied in dealing with student appeals, complaints and disputes.

Independent – The Students’ Union operates independently from Vancouver Community College and is responsible to VCC students who are Students’ Union members.

You can find VCC Policies and Procedures here

Vancouver Community College has a number of student services that may provide additional advice or support.

Know Your Rights

One of the primary functions of a students’ union is to ensure that all members receive fair and equitable treatment while they attend a post-secondary institution. A significant aspect of our work is advocating on behalf of members who feel that their rights may have been violated during their course of their studies. If at any point during your studies you have questions, or need advocacy with grade or other appeals you can contact your students’ union by emailing the Office of the Student Advocate.

While attending classes at VCC, you can reasonably expect that:

  • Students have a right to a healthy and safe environment, and to be free from physical, sexual or mental harassment, indignity, injury or violence.
  • You have a right to be informed of, prior to registration, the extent of College related expenses to be incurred during studies at the College.
  • You have the right to refer to any documents contained in your student records. Additionally, you have the right to add documents to College student records, including written documentation refuting the contents of documents of a disparaging nature.
  • You have the right to be provided with written course descriptions including means of student assessment and to be assured that these will not be substantially changed throughout the course of your semester.
  • You have the right to be informed of methodologies, assignments to be handed in, penalties for delays, and the estimated waiting period for obtaining academic results at the beginning of the course.
  • You have a right to attend class. If you cannot attend class for any reason, you can request the information that has been missed. You should not be penalized for missing any part of your class as long as you are fulfilling the attendance requirement of your course.
  • All students have a right to freedom of opinion and expression in the classroom within the context of the course content.
  • You have a right to proper and impartial evaluation of performance.
  • Students have the right to be provided with instructors who possess appropriate knowledge and teaching skills in relation to their course of instruction.
  • Students have the right to appropriate services and resources that support instruction and student learning.