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Report of the task force on sexual misconduct and sexual violence


Alan Shepard, President of Concordia, announced the establishment of the Task Force on Sexual

Misconduct and Sexual Violence in January 2018 as part of a coordinated response to allegations of

sexual misconduct at the university.

The task force began its work in March 2018 with weekly meetings that focused on reviewing relevant

university policies and procedures, relevant legislation and presentations from key members and units of

the university community. Through these meetings and presentations, along with a survey, community

conversations and open calls for feedback from stakeholders, the task force was able to identify common

themes and establish priorities.

The recommendations in this report fall into the following five key areas:

1. Policies and Procedures

2. Training and Education

3. Support and Services

4. Communications

5. Standing Committee on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence

Given the university’s commitment to addressing sexual misconduct and sexual violence, it is important

for us to be self-reflective, and open to change. The task force recommendations serve as stepping

stones to a larger cultural shift that is required to ensure that the community knows how to support

victim survivors, that those affected have the tools they need to make informed decisions, and above all

to bring about the safest and most flourishing environment possible for the whole Concordia community.

The task force would like to thank all individuals and groups who contributed to this important process.

Lisa Ostiguy , Deputy Provost

Chair, Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence

Nadia Hardy , Vice-Provost, Faculty Relations

Vice-Chair, Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence

Melodie Sullivan , Senior Legal Counsel

Vice-Chair, Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence





Membership of the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence

Heather Adams-Robinette, Director, Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies Sector

Richard Bernier, Faculty and Instructional Affairs Coordinator, Faculty of Arts and Science

Theresa Bianco, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Science

Fabienne Cyrius, Part-time Lecturer, John Molson School of Business

Madeleine Féquière, Corporate Credit Chief, Domtar (External Consultant)

Masoumeh Hashemi, MA, Film Studies, Faculty of Fine Arts

Vahid Khorasani Ghassab, PhD, Information and Systems Engineering,

Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science

Undergraduate student, BA, English, Faculty of Arts and Science

Sharon Yonan Renold, BA, Journalism, Faculty of Arts and Science

Lisa Ostiguy, Deputy Provost (Chair)

Nadia Hardy, Vice-Provost, Faculty Relations (Vice-Chair)

Melodie Sullivan, Senior Legal Counsel (Vice-Chair)

Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence support staff

Enza De Cubellis, Director, University Secretariat (Task Force Coordinator)

James Roach, Senior Communications Advisor, University Communications Services

(Task Force Communications Advisor)

Barbara Henchey, Director, Office of the Dean, John Molson School of Business

(Task Force Report Writer)




Key Information Consulted

External Documents:

Bill 151

Our Turn – A National, Student-Led Action Plan to End Campus Sexual Violence

McGill – Policy Against Sexual Violence

Internal Documents and Policies:

Retention Requirements for Sexual Harassment Records, April 2018, M.-P. Aubé

Sexual Assault Policy Review Working Group

Policy on Sexual Violence (PRVPAA-3)

Consensual Romantic or Sexual Relationships Guidelines

Policy on Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Psychological Harassment (HR-38)

Code of Rights and Responsibilities (BD-3)

Media Articles:

Equipping Women to Stop Campus Rape, May 30, 2018,

Former Student files human rights complaint against Concordia, March 18, 2018,

Former Concordia student says University didn`t take her sexual harassment complaint seriously,

March 18, 2018,


Former Student Files Human Rights Case Against Concordia Following Sexual Harassment, March 19,



Michigan State Just Agreed to Pay $500 Million to Settle Sexual-Abuse Claims. Where Will It Find the

Money?, May 16, 2018,





List of individuals consulted and interviewed by the Task Force:

 Gaya Arasaratnam, Director, Campus Wellness and Support Services

 Marie-Pierre Aubé, Director, Records Management and Archives

 Stephen Brown, Coordinator, CSU Advocacy Centre

 Lyne Denis, Investigator-Preventionist, Campus Safety and Prevention Services

 Jennifer Drummond, Coordinator, Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)

 Amy Fish, Ombudsperson

 Angela Ghadban, Manager, International Students Office

 Terry Kyle, Manager, Student Life, Dean of Students Office

 Laura Landry, Student Tribunals Officer

Mark Villacorta, Senior Lead, Equity and Diversity

 Lisa White, Interim Director, Office of Rights and Responsibilities

 Andrew Woodall, Dean of Students




List of Stakeholders

• Aboriginal Students Resource Centre

• Academic Cabinet

• Advancement and Alumni Relations

• Alumni Associations

• Applicants (Call for membership)

• Campus Wellness and Support Services

• Concordia Continuing Education

• Department Councils

• Faculty Councils

• Gender Advocacy Centre

• Indigenous Directions Leadership Group

• Concordia Library

• Office of Rights and Responsibilities

• Office of the Ombuds

• President’s Executive Group

• Research Centres and Institutes

• Residence

• Campus Safety and Prevention Services

• Sexual Assault Resource Centre

• Sports Teams

• Student Associations (including CASE and GSA)*

• Student Services Directors

• Unions and Associations

* incl: student faculty associations, large department associations




The following are the questions that were shared and used for discussion purposes at the Community


Question 1

In order to give ourselves a context for discussion, describe what you know about the policies,

procedures, and support services on campus to address sexual violence and misconduct? What needs

to improve or change?

Question 2

What do you think is working well? How easy and accessible are the resources? What additional priorities

should be considered?

Question 3

What are the professional boundaries that should be respected with regards to sexual and romantic


Question 4

If you were in charge of developing the training program regarding sexual misconduct and sexual

violence for Concordia, what would you include that would create an outstanding program, leading to

an environment we can all be proud of?

There were six Community Conversation sessions as follows:

 SGW Campus – 147 registrations

• March 28 (for undergraduate students)

• March 29 (for faculty)

• April 4 (for graduate students)

• April 5 (for staff)

 Loyola Campus – 42 registrations

• May 24 – morning session (for undergraduate and graduate




Survey on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence – Executive Summary




Some Highlights from Survey Raw Data (Qualitative questions)

Responses to the survey’s qualitative questions provided by (survey providers). SOM

developed theme/categories based on the responses submitted to each of the open-ended questions.

Below are the responses (themes only) to give a high-level generalization.

QA 2 - Missing in Concordia’s definition of sexual violence.

• Sexual coercion (threats, blackmail, manipulation, etc.)

• Differentiate between physical violence and sexual harassment

• Verbal violence and psychological harassment (bullying)

• Comments of sexual nature (inappropriate remarks, suggestions, innuendos)

• Abuse of power (using influence or power to obtain something)

• Gender-based violence and discrimination (sexism)

• Unwanted touching (invasion of one’s personal space)

• Make it less general, more precise (it is too broad)

• Power dynamics in relationships (teacher and student, boss and employee, etc.)

• Define “sexual harassment” more clearly (give examples)

QE5R - How your report of sexual violence experience at Concordia was handled.

• Nothing was done (no action taken)

• There was no follow-up

• Did not feel supported (they did not take charge)

• Felt supported (empathy, help, understanding, etc.)

• The staff had a negative attitude (mockery, rudeness, inappropriate response)

• There was no real consequences for the perpetrator

• Were told that nothing could be done about it

• Did not get enough information

• There was follow-up on the situation (actions were taken)

• Were satisfied with how the issue was handled/ resolved

• Their privacy was not protected

1 9

QF5$ - Things Concordia can do to improve its communications on matters of sexual violence

• More training (extensive, concrete, seminars, lectures, training at events, etc.)

• Make the resources known to the community (what they can or cannot do)

• Make Concordia's policies clearer and enforce them (strong stance)

• Take every victim and incident report seriously and act accordingly

• Hold mandatory training sessions or workshops about the issue

• The campaign is blown out of proportion (waste of time and resources)

• More transparency and honesty (past cases, perpetrators, etc.)

• Ensure accountability for perpetrators (zero tolerance)

• Be proactive about the issue (focus on prevention, don't just react, etc.)

• Fire or expel the perpetrators

QF6R - Other thoughts on the topic of sexual misconduct and sexual violence at Concordia

• Educate people on the issues (consequences, behaviours, training, etc.) Take action

(ensure accountability, do something, do more, etc.)

• Take victim seriously (show respect, be open to reports, etc.)

• The issue is larger than just sexual violence (culture, social biases, etc.)

• Improve Concordia's policies (clearer, more inclusive, code of conduct, etc.)

• Is satisfied with Concordia's response to the issue

• Not much seems to be done about the issue (more talk than action)

• There needs to be more prevention (proactivity, acting instead of reacting, etc.)

• Improve the process (less bureaucracy, easier to report, confidential, etc.)

• Everyone should be involved (open dialogue, discuss the issue, listen, etc.)



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