A report re­tort

The Coast - - THIS WEEK -

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)

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