BRANDON, Man. – Brandon University (BU) is undertaking decisive actions and initiatives to accelerate the development, consultation and implementation of sexual violence, assault and harassment policies and protocols at BU.
“It is even more evident and urgent that the prevention and response to sexual violence be a top priority – every day and on every university campus. The work of protecting the safety and well-being of students, faculty and staff requires an ongoing commitment and effort by the entire university community. I am hopeful that these actions will further strengthen the capacity of our BU community to prevent sexual violence and protect survivors,” said Dr. Gervan Fearon, Brandon University President.
Key Actions and Initiatives:
Standing Committee on Sexual Violence, Assault and Harassment: The Sexual Violence, Assault and Harassment Advisory Committee will be an ongoing BU Standing Committee. The committee has been elevated to a standing committee to reflect the critical nature of the issue and ongoing importance of ensuring BU’s policies and protocols are effective, comprehensive and reflect best practices.
The committee – which will have strong representation from students, faculty and staff – will be chaired by Dr. Steven Robinson, Acting Vice-President (Academic and Provost).
The committee will finalize membership in the coming days with its top priority being consultation on and the development of a stand-alone, dedicated BU policy and protocol on the prevention of and response to sexual violence, assault and harassment for implementation by the University. The committee is to have a draft policy ready for further consultation by September 2016.
Establishment of a Sexual Assault, Education and Prevention Coordinator: Similar to positions that have been successful at several other Canadian universities, Brandon University is establishing the position of Sexual Assault, Education and Prevention Coordinator to serve as the lead point of contact for reporting sexual violence, assault and harassment and serve as an advocate for survivors at the university. Additionally, a list of university services and community resources has been made available to all students, faculty and staff to facilitate the reporting and addressing of any incident of sexual violence.
The coordinator will lead BU’s efforts in education and training for the prevention of sexual violence and the support of survivors at the university. The coordinator will also serve on the standing committee as secretary and participate in the implementation and communication of the committee’s work. The recruitment of the coordinator is already underway.
National University Dialogue on Sexual Assault and Violence: Brandon University, through Dr. Gervan Fearon, will reach out to other Canadian universities to suggest special attention and action on the prevention of and response to sexual violence on Canada’s university campuses. Given the importance of this issue across the country, Canada’s university leaders should ensure that there is an ongoing dialogue to promote the sharing of best practices for policy development, protocols and procedures as well as education and training programs.
Promoting transparency and accountability: To promote transparency and accountability on the work conducted by the Sexual Violence Task Force, the Task Force’s Final Report, including terms of reference, membership and appendices, along with the meeting dates, has been made available. To protect the personal information and privacy of individuals in accordance with the Manitoba Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the report has been redacted by legal counsel to remove any information that might compromise the identity or privacy of any individual relating to these matters. The Task Force has ended and the newly created Advisory Committee (standing committee) will further advance the work needed to establish a stand-alone policy and protocol on the prevention of and response to sexual violence, assault and harassment.
The University will continue to update all stakeholders on other important developments in the coming weeks including the announcement of the Sexual Assault, Education and Prevention Coordinator.
Brandon University’s actions stand in support of survivors and for the prevention of and education on sexual violence.
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