Sex as­sault poli­cies pass grade


Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page -

A stu­dent-led re­view of 14 uni­ver­si­ties’ sex­ual vi­o­lence re­sponse poli­cies handed out a B grade to the Univer­sity of Ottawa, while Car­leton re­ceived a B-.

The scores were re­leased in a re­port called ‘Our Turn,’ which was pub­lished by the Stu­dents’ So­ci­ety of Mcgill Univer­sity (SSMU).

Of the 14 poli­cies stud­ied, those are on the up­per end — half of the schools scored a Cor be­low — but ad­vo­cates say there is still plenty of work to be done to make those poli­cies sur­vivor-friendly.

The re­view was born out of the frus­tra­tion that three Car­leton stu­dents — Caitlin Salvino, Kelsey Gilchrist and Jade Cooli­gan Pang — ex­pe­ri­enced while try­ing to work with the school’s ad­min­is­tra­tion when their draft sex­ual vi­o­lence re­sponse pol­icy was first re­leased last fall.

What be­gan as an at­tempt to im­prove Car­leton’s poli­cies quickly grew into a na­tion­wide re­port that ex­am­ined the poli­cies of schools across the coun­try. “We de­cided that we were going to cre­ate a plan at Car­leton,” said Gilchrist. “But we re­al­ized that this wasn’t a Car­leton prob­lem. This was a univer­sity prob­lem, a so­ci­etal prob­lem.”

Ul­ti­mately, the three teamed up with the SSMU at Mcgill to cre­ate and re­lease the national re­port.

Cather­ine Kelly, VP of in­ter­nal af­fairs at Car­leton Univer­sity Stu­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion, wel­comed the re­view and hopes it will gen­er­ate fur­ther co­op­er­a­tion with the ad­min­is­tra­tion to im­prove the pol­icy.

“Car­leton is work­ing with us, they’re see­ing us as a stu­dent move­ment,” she said. She and her stu­dent union worked with Salvino, Gilchrist and Cooli­gan Pang on a pol­icy that will tie club fund­ing to mem­bers re­ceiv­ing con­sent train­ing.

She hoped the re­port will al­low schools to look at what oth­ers are do­ing and in­cor­po­rate that when re­view­ing their own poli­cies around sex­ual vi­o­lence. “If stu­dents didn’t agree with the ac­tual pol­icy, there re­ally wasn’t a way for us to un­der­stand what other stu­dent unions or stu­dent groups were going through as well,” she said.

One of the prob­lems, said Leila Moumouni-tchouassi, is that poli­cies are in­ac­ces­si­ble to stu­dents, many of whom don’t even know they ex­ist. “How many stu­dents know that we have a pol­icy?” she asked. “To have arms open in the dark means noth­ing to a lot of peo­ple.”

Kieran De­la­m­ont/metro

Jade Cooli­gan Pang, Kelsey gilchrist and Caitlin salvino are the chairs of Our turn, a study of 14 univer­sity sex­ual vi­o­lence poli­cies that was re­leased on Wednesday.

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