12 Oct UPEI’s Stand-Alone Sexual Violence Policy: A Step in the Right Direction
UPEI’s Stand-Alone Sexual Violence Policy: A Step in the Right Direction
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12/October/2018 – Charlottetown, PE
The UPEI Student Union applauds the Board of Governors’ vote to approve a new stand-alone sexual violence policy at the October 4, 2018 meeting.
“This is a good first step towards addressing the systemic issue of sexual violence within the university community and making our campus safer,” says Emma Drake, Vice President Academic and External.
The UPEISU is pleased to see a number of important factors included in the policy, such as explanations of services and supports on campus for those in the university community who have experienced sexual violence, a step by step guide on how to disclose and/or report, a description of the rights that participants have to legal representation, and protection from face to face interactions. These elements are all supported by the principle of respect for survivor autonomy, which is key to a survivor-centric approach.
“This is certainly a good initiative,” Drake added. “We hope to build upon this initial policy and amend it as needed to ensure it functions effectively as a stand-alone policy for UPEI.”
Some elements that the UPEISU believes could be added to the policy are anonymous complaint options, the existence of an independent or third party member of the appeal committee, and required sexual violence support and sensitivity training for all those involved in the complaint process.
The UPEISU would like to note that it took over a week for the results of the vote to be made public. The motion to approve the policy was moved in camera, which the UPEISU feels demonstrates a lack of transparency on the part of the university. This is especially relevant as this policy has come to fruition as a result of over a year’s work by the Sexual Violence Prevention & Response Task Force, co-chaired by the university and the UPEISU.
The UPEI Student Union is appreciative of the time and effort that has been put into the development of this stand alone sexual violence policy and recognizes these efforts as a sign of continued progress. That being said, the UPEISU believes that better is always possible and looks forward to continuing to work with the University on this important matter. The UPEISU also hopes this is not the end of the discussion, but the beginning of a culture shift.