Concordia University

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Concordia provides an update on steps it is taking to address recent allegations

A message from President Alan Shepard
January 26, 2018
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By Alan Shepard

Concordia University


I’d like to begin by thanking all members of our community for their ongoing support as we address the allegations of sexual misconduct.

Over the past few years, Concordia, like many institutions, has taken concrete steps to ensure a safe environment. In 2013, we became one of the first institutions to launch a Sexual Assault Resource Centre, designed to inform students, faculty and staff about consent and prevention, and to provide survivor support.

Our Sexual Assault Policy Review Working Group carried out significant work, which led to several recommendations that we have implemented, including the adoption of a new stand-alone policy on sexual violence in 2016.

While we have streamlined the process for reporting sexual violence, it’s clear we can still do better so that people feel safe when they want to bring an allegation to our attention.

On January 10, I announced three actions that the university will take to address the allegations and concerns regarding sexual misconduct. I’d like to provide you with an update today.

Investigation into the allegations 

An external investigator has been hired to carry out the investigation into allegations.

Climate review of the Department of English

We have met with the Department of English Council, whose membership includes faculty, staff and students, as well as with students from the department.

We are now finalizing the selection of a qualified external specialist to carry out a climate review of the department.

We will share details about this process shortly, beginning with the department’s faculty, staff, students and alumni, and then with the broader Concordia community.

Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence 

We are now developing terms of reference for the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence and issued a call for members yesterday.

I hope the task force can begin its work shortly. Its progress will be shared with the community. Students, faculty, staff and alumni will have the opportunity to participate in this review. Its general recommendations will be made public.

Guidelines to address instructor-student relationships

Today we issued conflict of interest guidelines regarding instructor and student relationships. Concordia began a review of these policies and guidelines several months ago. This review was one of the recommendations of the Sexual Assault Policy Review Working Group.

The Government of Quebec adopted new legislation on December 8, 2017 that aims to prevent and combat sexual violence at universities and colleges in the province. It also requires post-secondary institutions to develop codes of conduct that set rules for instructors to follow if they are involved in a consensual intimate relationship with a student.

We are one of the first universities in Quebec to issue guidelines that meet these new legislative requirements of Bill 151.

As a reminder, we encourage students to share instances of any sexual misconduct with the Office of Rights and Responsibilities at 514-848-2424, ext. 8659, or at rights@concordia.ca. They can also contact the Sexual Assault Resource Centre at 514-848-2424, ext. 3353, or sarc@concordia.ca.

For former students, I encourage you to contact our Office of Rights and Responsibilities to report incidents of sexual misconduct.

Concordia is a strong institution, and I remain committed to working together with all the members of our community to ensure we provide a learning environment that is respectful, supportive, caring and safe.
 

Alan Shepard
President

 



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