Students, staff (representing management, administrative, professional and support functions), faculty and the Chair make up the standing committee on sexual misconduct and sexual violence, which meets regularly throughout the academic year.
In addition, alternate members are designated to attend meetings in cases where regular members are unavailable.
Concordia University is a unique environment and an intellectual community with a responsibility for the discovery, creation and sharing of knowledge. Community members can only fulfill these aspirations if there is a broadly shared commitment to ensure a positive learning, working and living environment in which sexual violence will not be tolerated.
The university recognizes that some members of the community are more exposed to sexual violence than others based on intersecting experiences of oppression, and accordingly, the sexual violence policy provides measures that take into account the different perspectives, voices or circumstances of each survivor of sexual violence.
This policy articulates Concordia’s commitment to fostering a safe and healthy campus, and to confirm its commitment to supporting our community members who are directly affected by sexual violence. At its essence, the policy is a framework for accountability for the entire community.
History of the policy and processes
The evolution of Concordia’s approach to sexual violence response and prevention is informed by feedback from students, faculty and staff, including campus conversations and consultations, university information sessions, visits to various sectors, units and departments, individual feedback, recommendations from the Students for Consent Culture and Our Turn report and debate and discussion amongst members of the standing committee on sexual violence.
As a result of invaluable feedback from, and priorities articulated by, the Concordia community, the committee recommended numerous modifications to the policy on sexual violence. Given the university’s commitment to addressing sexual misconduct and sexual violence, it is important for the university to be self-reflective, and open to feedback and suggestions on the implementation of the policy. The ongoing review of and adjustment to our processes ensures responsiveness to the pressing and pervasive issue of campus sexual violence.
March to June 2018: Through meetings and presentations, along with a survey, community conversations and open calls for feedback from stakeholders, the task force identifies common themes and establishes priorities, resulting in the report from the task force on sexual misconduct and sexual violence.
December 2018: The Board of Governors adopts the standing committee’s first update of the sexual violence policy .
July 2019: Creation of a subcommittee to enhance the distinct nature of the sexual violence policy. The subcommittee is also composed of students, faculty and staff.
August 2019: Launch of the mandatory sexual violence prevention online training It Takes All of Us for students and employees.
September 2022: Update of the sexual violence policy to include new legislation/guidelines regarding communicating outcomes of sexual violence complaints. The university, upon request, can now inform the complainant of the outcome of complaints against employees (faculty and staff).
September 2022 to present: The standing committee continues to receive feedback and suggestions on the implementation of the 2022 policy.
Overview of the policy's evolution
The evolution of the sexual violence policy and processes falls into three categories.
Survivor-centric measures and support
Feedback in this area identified that more must be added to the policy and related communications to demonstrate a commitment to supporting survivors in ways that are survivor-centric.
To address this feedback, more information regarding the Sexual Assault Resource Centre has been incorporated in the policy, in university communications, as well as in the mandatory prevention training. This includes information about accommodations and other measures such as those related to:
changes of class, schedule, housing or supervision
the imposition of a no-contact order
suspension of library and athletic privileges
suspension of an email account
relocation of residence
Complaints and processes
More detail and clarity around the policy’s processes helps support victim/survivors navigate making a disclosure or formal complaint. The accessibility of these processes is vital given that sexual violence is the most underreported criminal activity and the number of disclosed or reported incidents on campuses do not reflect the true number of assaults. To address this, the policy was updated in 2019 to make it more detailed, precise and comprehensible, and therefore easier to navigate.
Privacy and confidentiality
The challenging and complex circumstances of sexual violence make it difficult for survivors/victims to report, disclose or make complaints. This understanding has been supported by feedback from the Concordia community. To address this issue, a specific section was added to the policy, entitled Confidentiality and Privacy, which addresses specific details and provides clarity and information for survivors/victims about privacy and confidentiality.