A report retort
I write in response to “Liberals pay lip service to feminism while failing survivors on campus, again,” the opinion piece submitted by Aidan McNally, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students—Nova Scotia, which appeared in The Coast’s Voice of the City section on March 15. McNally’s commentary on the development and implementation of the report “Changing the Culture of Acceptance: Recommendations to address sexual violence on university campuses,” released in January 2017, is inaccurate and bears correction.
The effective prevention of sexual violence and protection of students are important priorities to Nova Scotia’s universities, which fully endorsed the report’s 10 recommendations. The breadth of the recommendations will lead to identifying opportunities for improvement in the education and training of students, staff and faculty to deal with this serious issue. McNally indicates the report’s “intersectional approach to the issue of sexualized violence... was only the direct result of the tireless contributions of students, the Antigonish Wom- en’s Resources Centre and the Avalon Sexual Violence Centre.” She is correct in crediting their input to the report’s recommendations, but fails to recognize the contributions of others at the table, namely universities, the NSCC and government representatives.
In her capacity as CFS chair for Nova Scotia, McNally goes on to say that while the report’s “final recommendations were ones we could stand behind, the final report omitted the most critical contributions—a call for implementation timelines and accountability mechanisms.”
While McNally was not at the table, I can assure readers that her CFS predecessor was not only an active contributor to the development and vetting of the report’s 10 recommendations, she, along with all committee members, endorsed and signed off on the final text of each recommendation. Universities are fully committed to working in close collaboration and cooperation with students, government and each other, utilizing all resources and best practices in the planning and implementation of the report’s recommendations.
—Peter Halpin, executive director, Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents (CONSUP)