Concordia notes progress on its sexual assault policy recommendations
As the fall term comes to a close, a progress update against the recommendations of the Concordia Sexual Assault Policy Review Working Group Report, first released to the public in August 2015, is now online.
The report made a series of recommendations grouped under five key areas, including: policy; procedures and processes; education and training; communications and evaluation.
Deputy Provost Lisa Ostiguy, who leads the implementation of recommendations, is co-chairing a new committee with Melodie Sullivan, senior legal counsel, to oversee the policy review work outlined in a detailed implementation plan.
Implementation timeline mapped through 2017
“The implementation plan encompasses all five recommendation categories with specific short and longer term actions,” says Ostiguy.
“In addition to looking specifically at the scope of new policy creation, we identified actions through education and training by our Sexual Assault Resource Centre that could be implemented quickly to see impact this term.”
The majority of implementation work is slated for approvals in spring 2016. Some amendments to Concordia's Code of Rights and Responsibilities and the creation of new procedures will continue into 2017.
A new web page to track progress against the report recommendations timeline was created and is now live. It will be updated on a regular basis to reflect ongoing developments.
Highlights of current work
Focus on new stand-alone policy on sexual violence
A new ad hoc Code of Rights and Responsibilities Review (CRR) Committee met on December 7 to identify policy issues to be addressed and to establish a timeline for adding a new article to the code.
They will seek formal approval of their recommendations for policy changes in spring 2016.
Codes of behaviour for student groups
Led by the Dean of Students Office, the university has begun to work with student associations — at their request — to support development of internal codes of behaviour. Read more about procedures and processes.
Education and training lead awareness
The Sexual Assault Resource Centre in collaboration with the Dean of Students Office has proposed a comprehensive training program for the 2016-17 academic year.
It includes presentations and in-depth workshops targeted to a wide range of groups spanning faculty, staff and students. The capacity to execute on the entire proposal, however, depends on securing adequate resources.
“We are in the process of hiring a new full-time resource to support SARC’s mandate,” says Ostiguy, “and are committed to finding ways to sustain this important work.”
Read more about education initiatives.
The call for an ongoing promotional campaign on sexual violence and consent is addressed by the Sexual Assault Resource Centre’s campus-wide campaigns, focused around three pillars of awareness: consent; bystander intervention; and survivor support.
“Ask. Listen. Respect.” is the consent campaign launched during orientation that aims to give students the tools, strategies and specific language to better communicate and check-in with their partners.
“Notice. Ask. Intervene.” is the theme for the new bystander intervention campaign. A key event was held on November 4, 2015, featuring guest speaker Julie Lalonde, who opened Carleton University’s Sexual Assault Centre. A video about how to intervene appropriately was launched in December 2015.
Dedicated web pages to support these campaigns are online and linked to the centre’s resource pages.
What does success look like? Recommendations point to a system to evaluate the prevalence of sexual violence on campus.
The Code of Rights and Responsibilities Review Committee will propose a methodology for this after the stand-alone policy on sexual violence is adopted. An update will be provided in due course.
Read the Concordia Sexual Assault Policy Review Working Group Report and view ongoing progress in the recommendations timeline.