My fellow students,
As you may be aware there is an investigation underway regarding a sexual harassment claim. The claim that a faculty member sexually harassed a student is disheartening because Brock University prides itself on being a safe and secure campus. Sexual violence is an issue that university campuses across the country have made a high priority in recent years, most specifically universities in Ontario who are awaiting Bill 132, the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act.
Recently CBC has published a media story that documents discontent with the current policy framework from the student survivor. The concerns are related to the restrictions on communication of details regarding the case and the ability to share the results of the investigation and outcomes. Brock University President Jack Lightstone has outlined the Universities obligations. Earlier today I met with CBC News to provide the student union’s perspective on the issue which I wish to articulate to you, the students below:
We (BUSU) would like to ensure that students are aware of the resources that the Brock Community offers students dealing with sexual violence and harassment which include our OMBUDS office, The Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Centre, The Student Justice Centre, Student Health Services and Campus Security. We encourage any student who has dealt with or is dealing with sexual violence to utilize any of these free and confidential services.
We feel that this specific incident is indicative of the inadequate current policy framework around sexual violence at Brock and only adds increased focus to the work being done on the Sexual Violence Prevention Committee, a body in which I, BUSU President sit. Through this committee we will develop increased supports for students on and off campus. We will increase awareness and access points for support services and will be creating a new policy framework that reflects Bill 132. This new policy will ensure survivors feel safe throughout and after investigations, that they will find closure, they will feel supported and that justice will be achieved once a claim has been vetted appropriately.
In closing, because Brock University aims to provide a culture of safety and security; and because BUSU aims to protect its students while providing the best university experience possible – BUSU will be working diligently to ensure that this reputation as a safe campus is earned.