Brandon University (BU) has scheduled three open town hall sessions this month to gather wide community feedback for its new, stand-alone sexualized violence policy, now in draft form.
The draft policy, related information, resources, and details about the consultation process have been posted to a new website at BrandonU.ca/SexualViolence.
“Our Sexual Assault Advisory Group has done a lot of very good work in putting together this draft policy for all of the BU community,” said BU Vice President (Academic) Steve Robinson, who chairs the SAAG. “It’s been a pleasure to work with such a diverse group of professionals, experts, community members and students all with the same goal in mind: to support survivors and to work towards the ideal of a campus and a community that is free of sexualized violence.”
The new, stand-alone, draft policy builds on best practices at campuses across Canada and elsewhere and takes a survivor-centred approach to addressing sexualized violence.
“We’ve already had substantial consultation with experts, affected groups, and community resources and we are thrilled with the constructive and positive feedback we’ve received,” said Carla Navid, BU’s Sexual Violence Education and Prevention Coordinator. “Our new policy, even in draft form, has the potential to grow to be one of the leading policies on Canadian campuses and we’re eager for wide community consultations to help us make it even better.”
Through the Town Hall sessions, students, faculty, staff and community members will be invited to offer feedback on the scope, approach and details of the policy. There will also be opportunity for individuals to privately offer input to the committee, and the website is set up for anonymous feedback to be submitted. As well, consultations for BU students, staff and faculty at campuses in Winnipeg and Dauphin are in the planning stages.
“The open Town Halls will allow us to exchange ideas in a group setting, and help make this policy one that everyone understands, believes in, and is proud of,” Navid said. “But not everyone is comfortable speaking up in a group setting, and just like the policy itself, we are committed to making sure that everyone knows they can come forward and be heard.”
Navid was hired earlier this year to lead BU’s new policy development, to roll out education around consent and prevention, and to act as a resource for those affected by sexualized violence, including survivors.
“Our committee, our students, our faculty, our community … our campus has embraced this mission and has shown a commitment to progressive change,” Navid said. “I’m looking forward to Brandon University’s future as a leader and as an example of the best possible response to sexualized violence.”
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