Concordia releases its task force report on sexual misconduct and sexual violence
In January 2018, Concordia University formed a task force on sexual misconduct and sexual violence in response to accounts from survivors who shared personal experiences and difficulty navigating university policies and procedures.
The task force’s mandate
The task force was mandated to consult with members of the community, and to review policies and processes, all aimed at ensuring that members of the community learn, teach, work and conduct research in a respectful and safe environment.
The task force encouraged the Concordia community to share their own experiences and provide candid feedback on issues and concerns surrounding university processes, procedures and policies relating to sexual misconduct and sexual violence.
Community consultations included survey responses from 1,595 students, staff and faculty. The task force also received feedback and suggestions from the discussions in six community-wide conversations, as well as from university stakeholder groups and individuals.
From March to June 2018, the task force met on a weekly basis to review and discuss contributions from the community, and put forward recommendations to create a safer, more informed and supportive campus that is rooted in zero tolerance for sexual misconduct and violence
The voices of Concordia students, faculty and staff are reflected in the final report and recommendations that will be implemented university-wide.
The recommendations are structured in five key sections that include the establishment of a standing committee on sexual misconduct and sexual violence, policies and procedures, training and education, support and services and communications.
The task force’s main conclusion is that there is an overwhelming lack of awareness among students, faculty and staff about the university’s policies and procedures relating to sexual violence.
In fact, the university-wide survey found respondents rated their level of familiarity with the university’s sexual violence policies and resources a 2.1 out of 5.
As such, the task force’s main recommendations include:
- Improving awareness, through training, communication and education, about the university’s existing policies, procedures and resources.
- Creating a dedicated web hub that provides information on sexual misconduct and sexual violence.
- Developing a step-by-step guide for filing complaints and disclosures, and for making all available options (including accommodations, support and advocacy services) clear to all parties.
- Determining the optimal level of human resources for each of the support services relating to sexual misconduct and sexual violence.
- It will also work to develop training modules for the entire community.
"I am highly encouraged that the work and recommendations of the task force will identify university priorities and guide the work that lies ahead for the standing committee on sexual misconduct and sexual violence,” says Lisa Ostiguy, Concordia’s deputy provost and chair of the task force.
The committee will be formed in the coming months to review the task force recommendations, and to assess the university’s obligations to be developed in line with the requirements of Bill 151. The standing committee will be chaired by Ostiguy.
“I am confident that the events from past years can serve as a catalyst to help Concordia further raise the bar, and set higher standards for all institutions to create safer environments where all community members feel supported to disclose and report cases of sexual misconduct and sexual violence,” she says.
Read the report from the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence.
If you have any questions or comments, you may reach Lisa Ostiguy by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.