POLICY NO: C-21.2
AMENDMENTS: 3 September 1998 (SMG)
(Director: Human Resources)
Amended and approved by Council 18 May 2004
18 August 2006 (Director: Human Resources)
16 June 2014 (Director: Human Resources)
REFERENCE AUTHORITY: Director: Human Resources
CROSS REFERENCES: Commonwealth Racial Discrimination
Act 1975, incorporating the Racial Hatred Act 1995
South Australia Equal Opportunity Act 1984
South Australian Racial Vilification Act 1996
University of South Australia Act 1990
University of South Australia Equal Opportunity Policy
University of South Australia Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedures (Staff)
University of South Australia Discrimination Student complaints resolution
The University of South Australia recognises that contemporary
Australia is made up of many cultures, including those of Indigenous
Australians. The University upholds the rights of its students and staff
to enjoy an education and employment environment that is free from race
discrimination. The University commits itself to providing such an
The University proudly celebrates and seeks to expand the cultural and linguistic diversity within its midst, promoting this diversity as a resource that broadens and enriches all teaching, research, curricular and community service activities.
The University embraces the challenge of preparing graduates for global diversity. In upholding its tradition of excellence, the University restates its commitment to the pursuit of scholarship, research and intellectual innovation that is responsive to the local, national and international communities that the University serves.
Culture refers to the distinctive patterns of values, beliefs, and ways of life of a social group. It is a dynamic concept, which is influenced by environmental, historical, political, geographical, linguistic, spiritual, and social factors.
Of or pertaining to people who regard themselves and/or are regarded as having common origins and who share or have shared such attributes as culture, history, language, religion or traditions.
An Indigenous Australian is a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which the person lives (commonwealth government working definition). Throughout this policy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be referred to by that name, or by the term 'Indigenous Australians'.
The term 'race' is understood to be flexible and evolving. It includes a person’s nationality, country of birth, colour, ancestry, ethnic origin, or people associated with those of a particular race. The word ‘race’ is used in these procedures to reflect relevant legislation.
Use of the term 'race'
The word 'race' is used in this policy to reflect anti-discrimination legislation. 'Race' is commonly taken as the basis upon which groups of people are identified as distinct from each other. This policy recognises however, that the range of difference within groups or 'races' can be great.
The term 'racism' relates to discriminatory attitudes, beliefs,
behaviour, distinctions, exclusions, restrictions or preferences that
are based on presumptions about a group or person's race (see definition
of 'race' above).
"Refers to a pattern of distribution of social goods, including
power, which regularly and systematically advantages some ethnic and
racial groups and disadvantages others. It operates through key
institutions: organised social arrangements through which social goods
and services are distributed. These include the public service, the
legal and medical systems, the education system... People working in
these institutions hold expectations and beliefs which influence how
they do their jobs, and how these institutions affect other people."
(Chambers, Barbara and Pettman, Jan. Anti-racism: A Handbook for Adult
Educators. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. 1986, p.
Racially based conduct that subjects a staff member or a student to discrimination on the basis of race (see definition of 'race' above) or has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's work or study performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or study environment.
Racial harassment may include, but is not limited to the following:
A group of people or a person's entitlements based on Australian law or international agreements to which Australia is a signatory. In addition, the term is often used to refer to rights which do not exist in law but which are based on notions of social justice and fair treatment.
In affirmation of its commitment to a culturally inclusive environment the University will:
An essential element in the implementation of this policy is raising the awareness of all members of the University community to the values of cultural diversity.
This policy applies to the whole University community and includes any activity related to the University both on and off campus (for example, camps or field trips) and off-shore activities.
The policy applies to all members or agents of the University community as follows:
All staff and students have a responsibility to contribute to the valuing of culturally diverse groups.
Managers and supervisors are accountable for ensuring the workplace and study environment is culturally inclusive and free from race discrimination and harassment.
Both state and federal legislation deem that the University can be found vicariously liable for racial discrimination or harassment inflicted on others by its employees.
Both state and federal legislation deem that the University may be found vicariously liable for racial discrimination or harassment inflicted on others by its agents.
As a defence against any finding of vicarious liability, the
University, through the Director: Human Resources and the Student Ombud
will fulfil its commitment to educating members of the University
community as to the nature and effects of this behaviour. Through
professional development, information sessions and publicising this
policy the University, through the Director: Human Resources and the
Student Ombud will provide its community with an understanding of the
rights and responsibilities of all individuals arising from the policy.
This includes ensuring staff and students have access to and are aware
of effective measures for the investigation and resolution of
Staff who fail to fulfil their responsibilities under this policy may find themselves personally liable for damages.
This policy does not automatically cover members of the University community undertaking work or study placement in other organisations. In the event that racial discrimination or harassment occurs under these circumstances, the University will act as far as possible to protect its members, and will work jointly with the other organisation (and in accordance with this policy, if deemed appropriate) to investigate the complaint and take such precautions as are possible to prevent further incidents.
The effect of this policy will be evaluated regularly by the Human Resources Unit and the Student Ombud's Office and recommendations reported to the Vice Chancellor.
In compliance with its legislative obligations, the University has developed separate student and staff complaint procedures for investigating and resolving any complaints that might arise on the basis of discrimination or harassment. These two processes are laid out in the University's Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedures (Staff) and the University of South Australia Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedures (Students).
Copies for staff are available at:
Copies for students are available at: