When the students of the University of Guelph come back to campus next week, they'll find an even less-tolerant attitude, at least in regards to those that commit sexual violence. At a Board of Governance meeting before the holiday, the U of G enacted new policies and resources aimed to support any and all victims of sexual violence on campus.
In a statement on the U of G website, the new policy is meant to expand the definition of sexual violence, including "the full spectrum of incidents, ranging from inappropriate comments and harassment through to rape." According to the University, it's the latest move to support survivors and create a safer space on campus for everyone.
"This policy is just one initiative that the sexual violence advisory committee is working on to enhance support of sexual violence programming on campus," said Brenda Whiteside, associate vice-president (student affairs) and chair of the committee. "We encourage anyone to disclose and to provide support to survivors," she added. "Our focus is the safety and support of survivors and their friends."
Whiteside also encourages students to keep an eye out for friends and peers that might need assistance, and to intervene if they see an "unsafe situation" like intoxication or a mental health concern. Amongst the new endeavours the U of G is launching in this regard is a website filled with resources, policies, and educational materials. Front-line staff in Counselling Services and Residence Life have also been given new training, and the university is offering an online training course for members of the campus community to learn how to offer support and refer people to resources. All this is in addition to the "Stop. Ask" campaign that the U of G launched this past September to remind students about the 'C' word, consent.
Students can share their concerns with Robin Begin, student affairs case director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 519-824-4120, Ext. 53020.