Standing Committee Update – February 28, 2019
February, 2019 Update
In the month of February the committee met on two occasions and hosted a community conversation on the Loyola campus.
The following units were given in-person updates on Concordia's updated sexual violence policy:
In the meeting on February 8th the standing committee spent most of the meeting discussing the recent article that came out on February 6 in the Gazette titled Concordia quietly exonerated prof in sexual impropriety investigation
The standing committee addressed comments made in the article on Concordia’s processes as well as the comments by the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur on this subject. We looked at the process of investigations and addressed the frustrations of complainants in not learning the outcome of investigations. The committee discussed Concordia’s requirement to comply with provincial laws including regulations in Bill 151 as well a privacy legislation.
Please refer to page 21 on the Guide for higher education institutions Development of the policy prescribed by the Act to prevent and fight sexual violence in higher education institutions for more details.
The committee members spoke about the need to improve our internal communication to - and support of – complainants. The committee has prioritized the creation of a step by step guide to understanding the complaint process, and supports available from the beginning to end of a process.
The committee discussion also raised the need more frequent updates on the standing committee website and more active communications when it comes to updating the Concordia community on the activities of the standing committee such as department/unit visits to discuss the updated sexual violence policy.
On February 15, the committee continued discussing the issue of improving clarity of our internal processes and support to a complainant. Committee chair Lisa Ostiguy proposed that a designated staff person be assigned the role of liaison who will be a resource to a person filing a complaint and check in periodically with a complainant to update them on the ongoing progress of their file. This person will work in tandem with the Sexual Assault Resource Centre and the Office of Rights and Responsibility. This will also serve as an important vehicle to get feedback from complainants on how the process can improve going forward. This proposal was met with unanimous support from the committee.
The committee confirmed that Concordia will again host a joint meeting with other Quebec post-secondary institutions on March 28, 2019 as a follow up to our Fall 2018 meeting. This will be an opportunity to share best practices on how we are collectively implementing Bill 151 as we move towards the September 2019 deadline
Finally, the committee looked at how we can actively communicate our work to the community. A monthly newsletter will be created that will send updates to any Concordia student, staff or faculty member who signs up. Updates will also be promoted through institutional communication vehicles such as the NOW newsletter and Concordia social media accounts.
Members of the Standing Committee presented the updated Sexual Violence Policy at Senate on Feb 15, 2019.