Sexual assault policy review closes in

consent culture ryerson

Materials from a workshop promoting consent culture. (Ryersonian Archives)

The consultation phase of Ryerson’s sexual violence policy review is over. It is expected now to go to the Board of Governors for approval at its meeting later this month.

Lachemi said the plan is to share the new and improved policy with the community before the end of the semester.

The final two open meetings from the consultation phase were held on Nov. 7 and Nov.8,for students and faculty respectively. They focused on investigations and adjudications in sexual violence cases on campus.

The new policy will be longer, in order to meet the regulations mandated by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development and to ensure all of the required content is added. After this period, the policy will be reviewed every three years. Throughout the semester, the school has been hosting town halls and a myriad of workshops on sexual violence tailored to students, faculty and staff.

The Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education held open meetings to provide the university community with an update on Bill 132, Ontario’s Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act, and how it will affect the sexual violence policy.

The meetings were segmented for students and faculty so that each group could freely ask questions and raise personal concerns.

The university also launched Consent and Tea, a series of practical skill-building workshops for students, faculty and staff to learn more about sexual violence and ways to support survivors.

The original policy was created in consultation with the Ryerson community during 2014 and 2015. It was approved by the Board of Governors in June 2015.

“It was important to ensure that the voices of students and survivors were reflected in the policy,” Lane Vetere said of the original policy.

According to Mohamed Lachemi, president and vice-chancellor of Ryerson, there’s always room to improve. “We will do everything possible every time we have an opportunity to improve the policy.”

He says that is one of the reasons why the Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education is offering opportunities for students to interact with the policy during this period.

“I strongly believe in the aspect of bringing many people together discussing and hearing from them,” said president Mohamed Lachemi. “It’s very important for students to tell us what are the areas that we need to improve.”

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