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University working to implement sexual assault recommendations

The implementation team that is reviewing and prioritizing the recommendations made in a June comprehensive report on sexual assault has made progress over the summer. The report, by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Working Group, includes recommendations to guide the university in addressing sexual assault, as well as a draft sexual misconduct policy.

Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Alan Harrison is chairing the implementation team, which will continue to meet in the fall.

“I am very pleased with the continued efforts of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Working Group and the implementation team as we work towards achieving the objectives outlined in the report,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Queen’s is also well positioned to meet the requirements we expect the provincial government to set out in legislation later this year.”

One of the report’s recommendations was to enhance the profile of sexual assault support services and resources, including those that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To achieve that objective, an updated poster has been circulated and is available electronically to help students more easily access the resources on and off campus. 

In addition, the green folder resource for faculty members, teaching assistants and staff has been updated to include more information about the steps students can take if they or someone they know has been sexually assaulted, and about the university’s dedicated supports. 

New sexual assault-related prevention and education initiatives and resources were also put in place for this year’s orientation week. A guest speaker, Dr. Rachel Griffin, an American gender violence scholar, gave a talk to first-year students and staff, and consent and resource information will be delivered to all first-year undergraduate students and incoming graduate students. New first-responder and bystander training was provided to all orientation leaders and student volunteers, dons and other residence student leaders, counsellors, and other first responders, including security staff.

Progress has also been made towards the development of dedicated space for sexual assault support services, and work has begun on recommendations for a campus-wide policy for students requiring academic accommodations in respect of issues related to sexual assault and other exceptional circumstances. 

“The team is committed to working expeditiously on behalf of the university,” says Provost Harrison. “Some recommendations require longer-term resource allocation and planning, but I am very encouraged by the progress already made.”