College cracking down on allegations
By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor
In May, Douglas College enacted the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Prevention and Response policy to handle instances and allegations sexual assault and harassment. It covers instances of misconduct on campus, off-campus during college-related events, and those which involve Douglas students. It also makes way for the creation of a Sexual Violence and Misconduct Prevention and Response Program.
“This policy articulates the College’s duty and commitment to support members of the College Community who are impacted by Sexual Violence and Misconduct, to create and make available programs and resources to educate its community on the prevention of Sexual Violence and Misconduct, and to provide a fair and effective process for responding to and investigating allegations of Sexual Violence and Misconduct,” reads the opening text of the policy.
The topic of Douglas’ sexual assault policy came into question at a Douglas College board meeting on September 22, 2016. It was motioned that the previous policy should be revised, especially because the provincial government required all public post secondary institutions in the province to have a policy by May 18. It was unanimously passed by the board.
The policy has two main purposes—to prevent sexual misconduct from occurring, and to respond swiftly and seriously to allegations brought forward.
The college hopes to increase prevention as they further educate the college population of the new policy in the coming months, as well as about consent, which is defined in the policy.
Douglas defines what instances fall under jurisdiction of the policy: sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, and any attempts or threats of these violations.
It outlines that complaints should be treated compassionately and respectfully by investigation staff. As well, all of those involved in a case can expect to receive an unbiased investigation, and should expect confidentiality.
The policy will be reviewed in May 2020. However, students and faculty are welcome to make further suggestions on ways the new policy may be improved at any time.