Policy on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence Involving Students


Category: Board of Trustees
Approval: Queen's University Board of Trustees
Responsibility: Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)
Date Approved: December 8, 2023
Date initially approved: Approved December 2, 2016; administratively amended effective January 1, 2018, December 4, 2020, November 1, 2022

Table of Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Scope 
  3. Policy Statement
  4. Awareness, Education and Training
  5. Support and Accommodation
  6. Confidentiality
  7. Substance Use Amnesty
  8. Incident Response and Disclosure
  9. Immediate and Interim Measures
  10. Complaints and Procedural Protections
  11. Complaints Procedure
  12. Complaint Resolution
  13. Appeals in Cases with Student Respondents
  14. Sexual Misconduct
  15. Maintenance of Statistics
  16. Policy Review
  17. Special Circumstances
  18. Related Resources and Policies
  19. Effective Date

Appendix 1: Glossary of Terms
Appendix 2: List of Related Policies and Procedures

1. Purpose:

1.1. This policy helps Queen's University maintain a positive learning, living and working environment in which sexual violence and sexual misconduct will not be tolerated. This Policy reflects the University's commitment to addressing sexual violence and sexual misconduct through:
  (i) coordinated and comprehensive awareness, training and education programs;
  (ii) coordinated and comprehensive support for students who have been affected by sexual violence or sexual misconduct; and
  (iii) the use of a procedure for addressing complaints of sexual violence and sexual misconduct that meets the requirements of procedural fairness and that is respectful to individuals involved.

2. Scope:

2.1. This policy applies to 
  (i) all individuals who work for, study at or visit the University; and
  (ii) sexual misconduct or sexual violence involving at least one student.

2.2 The University addresses sexual violence between employees under its Harassment and Discrimination Policy.

3. Policy Statement:

3.1. Sexual violence and sexual misconduct:
  (i) are serious problems in society, in the university sector, and at the University;
  (ii) can occur between individuals regardless of sexual orientation, gender, gender expression and gender identity;
  (iii) can occur between those currently or previously in an intimate relationship (Intimate Partner Violence), those in a non-intimate relationship (e.g., acquaintances, friends and co-workers) and between strangers; and
  (iv) can cause trauma and have a serious impact on an individual's health and wellness.

3.2. Individuals affected by sexual violence may make decisions about their situation and may decide whether to:
  (i) pursue internal or external avenues of redress; and
  (ii) disclose and seek out accommodations, safety protections and other support.

3.3 Sexual misconduct – a form of sexualized behaviour by employees directed at students – is particularly harmful. It can:
  (i) negatively impact the University experience;
  (ii) create perceptions of unfairness and favouritism;
  (iii) cause reputational damage to individuals and the University; and
  (iv) invite a risk of civil and criminal liability.

Prohibitions and Duty
3.4. The University prohibits:
  (i) sexual violence 
  (ii) sexual misconduct 
  (ii) reprisals and threats of reprisal

3.5 All employees shall comply with this policy and support its administration.

3.6 The University will address sexual violence and sexual misconduct through:
  (i) coordinated and comprehensive communication and education;
  (ii) the use of fair and respectful procedures; and
  (iii) the elimination of barriers to the making of complaints and disclosures.

3.7. To best support individuals who disclose or who submit a complaint, the University will:
  (i) treat individuals with compassion, dignity, and respect;
  (ii) provide individuals with coordinated, comprehensive, non-judgmental and trauma-informed support;
  (iii) offer individuals timely safety planning support; and
  (iv) provide information about on and off campus support services and resources.

3.8 University staff and investigators will not ask students who disclose, complain, or access supports and services irrelevant questions, including irrelevant questions relating to sexual expression or past sexual history.

3.9. The University will establish reasonable and appropriate academic, Residence, and other accommodations to address the needs of individuals who disclose or who submit a complaint and the needs of respondents to a complaint. 

3.10. The University will provide respondents to a complaint with information about sources of support.

4. Awareness, Education and Training

4.1. The Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Service ("SVPRS") and its Coordinator (the “SVPRC”) will work with campus partners to develop and implement an annual education strategy to:
  (i) promote a culture of consent;
  (ii) address issues of sexual violence and sexual misconduct; and
  (iii) facilitate access to supports for students.

4.2. The University will deliver appropriate information and education related to sexual violence and sexual misconduct to the university community, including students in all years, with a focus on incoming students as part of their orientation. The University will work with campus partners to provide ongoing awareness, education and training throughout the year.

4.3. Subject matter experts will collaborate to adapt existing content, lead the development of new content and format design, in consultation with students, to tailor information and educational material to the audience and context.

4.4. The University will give specific attention to issues of consent, healthy relationships, bystander intervention strategies, and policies and procedures for responding to sexual violence and sexual misconduct.

4.5. The University will ensure that awareness, education and training initiatives consider the vulnerability of particular communities to sexual violence and, specifically, the intersection of sexual violence with categories such as race, gender, religion, class and ability.

4.6. The University will offer training on this policy, the services of the SVPRS, and information on responding to disclosures of sexual violence. Such training will be available to all staff, faculty, students, and members of the governing board and senior administration. The University strongly encourages employees to complete training appropriate to their role within the University.

5. Support and Accommodation

5.1. A person making a disclosure or complaint, or a respondent may attend meetings with and receive the assistance of a support person and/or advisor. 

5.2. A support person provides support and/or help with understanding of the policy, procedures and outcomes from a disclosure or complaint. A support person may be an employee from a designated support office, a friend, a relative, or any other person who has no direct involvement with the events in question. Potential witnesses may not act as support persons.

5.3 An advisor provides more formal support, for example, as legal counsel or a union representative.

5.4 Support persons and advisors are not to answer investigation questions for a party or interfere. Investigators and decision makers may exclude support persons and advisors who are disruptive or interfering, subject to any right of representation under a collective agreement.

5.5. With written consent, a support person or advisor may also act as the primary point of contact between the University and the supported individual. The University may then communicate with the designated contact person alone.

5.6. The designated support office for students who have made, or would like to make, a disclosure or complaint is the SVPRS. The designated support office for student respondents may be accessed through the Office of the University Ombudsperson (“OUO”). A designated support office does not provide advocacy, or representation for students involved in a complaint process. Other support resources are also available and listed on the SVPRS website.

5.7. A designated support office may:
  (i) make referrals to both on and off campus resources;
  (ii) discuss and facilitate appropriate accommodations and supports;
  (iii) provide information about submitting or responding to a complaint; and
  (iv) consult on a confidential basis with other internal personnel or resources for safety and support purposes.

5.8. Students requiring academic considerations (such as extensions on assignments or deferrals of exams), the dropping of classes, or longer-term academic accommodations may obtain assistance from a designated support office or others. Other sources of support include Student Wellness Services, the CARE Referral Program, and the Human Rights and Equity Office.

6. Confidentiality

6.1. The University will treat disclosures and complaints as confidential and comply with applicable privacy legislation.

6.2. There are, however, limits to confidentiality. The University will disclose information to respondents and witnesses as needed to implement immediate or interim measures and to fairly investigate and resolve complaints. The University may also share information about sexual violence (including with its Assessment and Care Team) when there are reasonable grounds to believe that there is a risk of self-harm or harm to others, when a Residence Don receives a disclosure about sexual violence in a University residence, or when required by law.  The University may also disclose information to academic units when sanctions against students are imposed as set out expressly in this Policy.

6.3 Students seeking more confidential support are encouraged to contact Student Wellness Services or community resources listed on the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response website.

7. Substance Use Amnesty

7.1.  The University acknowledges that students who experience sexual violence may be reluctant to disclose or submit a complaint if they were drinking or using drugs when an incident took place. The University will not discipline a student who discloses or complains about sexual violence for using drugs or alcohol at the time of the alleged incident. 

8. Incident Response and Disclosure

Right to Disclose
8.1. Any member of the university community may disclose their experience of sexual violence.

8.2. If there are immediate concerns about personal safety or security, students should contact Campus Security & Emergency Services (CSES) or call 9-1-1. If there is no immediate concern about personal safety or security, students should contact the SVPRS. 

Response to Disclosures
8.3  The University will assess and respond appropriately to every disclosure with a view to maintaining a living, working, and learning environment free of sexual violence. Situations that are not within the scope of this policy may be handled under the University’s Harassment and Discrimination Policy or another University policy, as appropriate.

8.4 A disclosure is different from a complaint. The University recognizes that individuals often make disclosures in confidence and that, in many cases, confidentiality is essential for individuals to come forward. If a student chooses to disclose but does not want to report to the police or make a complaint under this policy, they remain entitled to access available personal supports and accommodations.

8.5 Students who have experienced sexual violence or sexual misconduct might initially disclose to a trusted faculty or staff member. The employee receiving a disclosure should listen, act in a caring, non-judgmental and supportive way, and maintain confidentiality unless the student making the disclosure grants permission to share or if the limits of confidentiality outlined in this policy apply.
  a.    Any Student experiencing Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) may seek support from the SVPRS, even if the IPV they are experiencing is non-sexual in nature.

8.6 All employees who are not health care providers and who receive a disclosure from a student shall:
  a.    inform the student about this policy and the available support services;
  b.    explain the limits of confidentiality, as outlined above;
  c.    explain that the SVPRS can help by providing professional support and advice on options moving forward and encourage the student to contact the SVPRS;
  d.    ask the student if they can share their name and contact information with the SVPRS; 
  e.    notify SVPRS without identifying the student via the secure electronic means available on the SVPRS website; and
  f.    cooperate with the SVPRS to provide support and information to the student in a manner that respects the student’s wishes.

Employees should contact CSES or 911 immediately if there is an urgent safety risk to the student or others;

8.7 The SVPRS will:
  a.    acknowledge receipt of notifications made by employees;
  b.    offer support and provide information about available supports, resources, and options to students who identify themselves to the SVPRS as having made a disclosure;
  c.    offer the same support and provide the same information to students who have not identified themselves to the SVPRS as having made a disclosure through employees who report disclosures.

8.8. University employees who are not health care providers should listen and express support without providing personal or emotional counselling.

8.9. University health care providers shall convey any disclosure of sexual violence to CSES, the police or another person as they believe to be necessary for the purpose of eliminating or reducing a significant risk of serious bodily harm.

9. Immediate and Interim Measures

9.1. “Immediate Measures” are restrictions imposed on a student respondent, following a disclosure, relating to: 
•    the timing and manner of use of campus facilities,
•    communications with another member of the community, and 
•    other privileges. 

The University may impose immediate measures for up to six weeks or the end of the current academic term.   Immediate measures may not include a prohibition on attending campus or classes. 

9.2. “Interim Measures” are restrictions on a student respondent imposed following the receipt of a complaint. The University ordinarily implements interim measures until it resolves a complaint (with no further right of appeal) and may prohibit attending campus and restrict class attendance as interim measures.

9.3. The University uses immediate and interim measures as reasonably necessary to provide those who make disclosures and complaints with an ability to participate in their normal activities with minimal direct contact with a respondent.

9.4. Immediate and interim measures are not punitive in nature. The University implements them without finding misconduct. Likewise, student respondents may agree to immediate and interim measures without acknowledging any misconduct. 

How to Request Immediate Measures
9.5. An individual may request immediate measures without filing a complaint by contacting the SVPRS or a Residence Life Coordinator (for residence issues).

9.6 A Residence Life Coordinator and the SVPRS will promptly notify the Student Conduct Office of requests for immediate measures. A Residence Life Coordinator may implement immediate measures related to residence as they deem necessary.

How the University Implements Measures
9.7. A case manager in the Student Conduct Office will determine what immediate or interim measures, if any, to implement and will review any temporary measures that have been implemented in Residence. 

9.8. Within two weeks of measures being imposed, the case manager will schedule separate meetings with the student who made the disclosure and the respondent to consider the need for and impact of the measures. The case manager may maintain, cancel, or modify, the measures already in place. 

9.9. The case manager may revisit the measures after the initial review if there is a significant change in circumstances or if there has been a breach or reprisal.

9.10 A case manager may refer matters to the Assessment and Care Team if concerned about the risk of harm. The Assessment and Care Team may implement measures or refer the matter back to the case manager. Only the Assessment and Care Team may cancel or modify measures that it implements.

9.11. Either party may request a meeting with the Associate Vice-Provost (Student Affairs) to discuss any alleged failure of administration by a case manager or the Assessment and Care Team.

Requests for Immediate Measures are Not Confidential
9.12. An individual who asks for immediate measures without making a complaint waives confidentiality to the extent necessary to ensure procedural fairness and to implement any measures imposed. The University will, at a minimum, tell respondents that they are the subject of sexual violence allegations, describe the allegations to respondents and name the person making the allegations.

10. Complaints and Procedural Protections

Scope of Complaint Procedure
10.1. The complaint procedure set out below only applies if:
  (i) the parties were both members of the university community at the time of the alleged incident; and
  (ii) at least one of the parties was a student of the University at the time of the alleged incident; and
  (ii) an individual makes the complaint when the respondent is a member of the university community.

10.2. If a respondent's relationship with the University ends before the University resolves a complaint the University may:
  (i) suspend the procedure, with the option of reinstating it if the respondent re-joins the university community; or,
  (ii) continue the procedure, whether or not the respondent participates.

10.3. If the respondent is a student, the Student Code of Conduct provisions regarding the impact of a pending case on the availability of transcripts, transcript notations, and the ability to withdraw will continue to apply until the University resolves the complaint.

10.4. The University will not accept anonymous complaints. The University does receive (via its online reporting platform) information about sexual violence from anonymous sources for its security purposes.

Commitment to Fairness
10.5. Investigators and decision-makers will follow this policy and employ a fair process, including by:
  (i) giving respondents sufficient information to allow them to understand the allegations,
  (ii) providing respondents with a meaningful opportunity to respond;
  (iii) allowing the use of support persons and advisors, including legal counsel; and
  (iv) providing appropriate reasons for their findings and decisions.

Procedural Entitlements
10.6. The University will ordinarily follow the complaint procedure, but may depart from it if fair, appropriate, or required by a collective agreement or statute.

10.7. The complaint procedure applies in place of procedural entitlements set out in other University policies, including the Student Code of Conduct, and the Student Academic Appeals Policy.

Participation in Complaint Process
10.8. The University will not require anyone who has filed a complaint to participate in an investigation or any other part of the complaint procedure.  It is important to understand that a decision not to participate may change the outcome of any investigation or may preclude investigation. The Parties should also be aware that the University may be legally required to provide its files to the Crown Attorney in the event of criminal charges, or to the Court or others in the event of litigation, regarding the incident that is the subject of the complaint or disclosure.

11. Complaint Procedure

How to File a Complaint
11.1. Individuals may submit complaints to the Vice Principal (Culture Equity, and Inclusion) via the SVPRS.

11.2. Complaints need not include all of the details of the incident, but should set out the names of all known respondents, the allegations, and information about locations and dates.

Complaint Intake and Screening
11.3. The Vice Principal (Culture, Equity, and Inclusion) may refer a complaint that involves two employees and is primarily a workplace matter to be handled pursuant to the Harassment and Discrimination Prevention and Response Policy.

11.4. A reviewer from the office of the Vice Principal (Culture, Equity, and Inclusion) will review all other complaints to determine if the allegations, if true, would result in a finding of sexual violence or sexual misconduct. If so, the reviewer will refer the complaint to investigation. If not, the reviewer may contact the person who made the complaint (or their designated contact) to request additional information. If the reviewer decides that there is insufficient information to meet this initial threshold, the reviewer will not refer the complaint to investigation.

Responsibility for Processing Complaints
11.5. The office responsible for processing a complaint depends on status of the parties. The Student Conduct Office (“SCO”) is ordinarily responsible for processing complaints involving only student Respondents. The Office of Complaints and Investigations (the “OCI”) is ordinarily responsible for processing other complaints.

11.6 Each office will appoint an appropriate investigator. The OCI will do so in consultation with Faculty Relations or Employee & Labour Relations and will also determine who will receive and make decisions based on the investigator’s report.

11.7. Each office will appoint a case manager responsible for liaising with the investigator and the parties, keeping the parties apprised of material developments and providing status updates on at least a monthly basis.

11.8.  Once an Investigator is appointed, the individual who made the complaint shall be invited to provide a detailed statement to the investigator, but need not respond to the invitation or continue to participate in the process in any other way. 

11.9. Procedures under this Policy may be undertaken before, at the same time as, or after, civil, criminal, or professional or employment-related proceedings.  

11.10. If a complaint under this Policy relates to the same incident(s) as civil, criminal, or professional or employment-related proceedings against a student, the Associate Vice-Provost (Student Affairs) will determine whether the procedures under this Policy should be deferred until the conclusion, or partial conclusion, of such other proceedings.

12. Complaint Resolution

Complaints Regarding Student Respondents
12.1 Following the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will create a report containing their findings of fact and conclusion as to whether or not the respondent has violated this policy. The case manager will provide a copy of the investigator’s report to the decision-maker and offer to provide a copy to the parties. The case manager may remove irrelevant personal information from the copy provided to the parties. 

12.2. The Associate Vice-Provost (Student Affairs) or a delegate will receive and make decisions based on the investigator’s report. 

12.3. The decision-maker will give the parties an opportunity to provide brief written input that addresses any concerns about the investigation process and conclusions, and if the investigator found a policy violation, on the question of sanction. The decision-maker may meet with each of the parties to obtain further input if the decision-maker believes it would be beneficial.

12.4. The decision-maker will accept the investigator’s conclusions unless a party establishes one or more of the following defects:
  i.    the investigator demonstrated bias;
  ii.    the investigator did not provide meaningful notice and a chance to respond; or
  iii.    the conclusion is not reasonable based on the evidence or the investigator’s reasoning, as defined herein.

12.5. If a party establishes a defect, the decision-maker will either substitute a new conclusion or decide to direct the matter to a new investigator for re-investigation. 

12.6. If the decision-maker accepts that there has been a policy violation, the decision-maker will decide what penalty, if any, to impose. The decision-maker will impose appropriate sanctions considering:

  • the nature and severity of the breach;
  • the respondent’s acceptance of responsibility;
  • the respondent’s record of misconduct;
  • the impact on the person who made the complaint;
  • the risk to re-offend;
  • the principle of general deterrence; and
  • any other relevant factors.

12.7. Sanctions may include any of the following, individually or in combination:
  (i) a written warning or reprimand;
  (ii) a letter of behavioural expectation;
  (iii) educational assignments;
  (iv) an apology;
  (v) community service;
  (vi) restitution;
  (vii) a conditional or monetary fine;
  (viii) loss of privileges;
  (ix) a no-contact Directive;
  (x) non-academic probation;
  (xi) a notice of prohibition
  (xii) suspension or expulsion; or
  (xiii) sanctions delineated in the Residence Contract and Athletics and Recreation Non-Academic Misconduct Policy.

12.8. In addition to the sanctions above, the University may suspend or terminate the employment of students who are also employees of the University.

12.9. The decision-maker will provide a written decision (with reasoning) to the parties within two weeks of obtaining their input. 

Complaints Regarding Non-Student Respondents

12.10 The decision-maker identified in a collective agreement or otherwise appointed by the University will receive and make decisions based on the investigator’s report.

12.11. Prior to imposing a penalty for a policy violation, the decision-maker will confidentially consult the University offices responsible for security and labour relations and may confidentially consult with the head of any affected or potentially affected unit.

12.12. If there has been a policy violation, the decision-maker will decide what penalty, if any, to impose. The decision-maker will impose an appropriate penalty considering:

  • the nature and severity of the breach;
  • the respondent’s acceptance of responsibility;
  • the respondent’s record of misconduct;
  • the impact on the person who made the complaint;
  • the principle of general deterrence; and
  • all other relevant factors

12.13. The decision-maker will provide a written decision (with reasoning) to the parties.

13. Appeals in Cases with Student Respondents

13.1. A party to a complaint decided by the Associate Vice-Provost (Student Affairs) may appeal to the Vice Provost and Dean of Students within ten business days of receiving the decision. They may do so by completing an appeal form and providing supporting documentation.

13.2 An appeal is not a re-determination and is not to address an investigator’s decision or procedure. A party may only raise the following grounds for appeal:
  i.    the Associate Vice-Provost (Student Affairs)’s procedure was unfair and materially affected the outcome; or
  ii.    the outcome is not reasonable based on the evidence before the Associate Vice-Provost (Student Affairs) or their reasoning.

13.3. The Vice Provost and Dean of Students will consider the written appeal and may seek clarification from the parties. They may then dismiss or allow the appeal in a written decision, with reasons. If they allow the appeal, they may substitute their own decision or ask the prior decision-maker to re-decide with the benefit of the reasoning set out in the appeal decision. 

13.4. The University will not implement sanctions until the time limit for an appeal has lapsed and until it has resolved any outstanding appeal.

13.5. When sanctions are implemented on a student enrolled in a program whose graduates are entitled to be recommended, certified, or otherwise admitted as members of a profession governed by the Regulated Health Professions Act or the Teaching Profession Act, the Dean of the student’s program shall be notified.  The Dean may request a summary of the factual findings and reasons, and may refer the matter for further consideration under any program or faculty policy with respect to professionalism.  The factual findings made under this Policy shall be considered conclusive evidence in any such professionalism proceeding.

14. Sexual Misconduct

14.1 A university is unique in that certain interactions and relationships between employees and students can involve heightened vulnerability for students. Students often depend on employees in circumstances in which a power imbalance is inherent and unavoidable.

14.2 Relationships between employees and students are a major component in the foundation of the University’s educational mission. Employees must approach them with integrity and professionalism. Employee-student relationships often also entail considerable trust in employees, particularly in those who regularly interact with students. 

14.3 Employees must ensure their relationships with students always remain professional. They must also be free of personal influence that could interfere with their responsibility for students’ learning and personal growth, both of which are integral to the student experience.

14.4 For these reasons, the University strongly discourages sexual or romantic relationships between employees and students and prohibits employees from engaging in such relationships if doing so would be sexual misconduct.

14.5 The University prohibits sexual misconduct, as defined in Appendix 1 and in this section.

14.6 Subject to the provisions of section 14.8, a sexual or romantic relationship (even if consensual) between an employee and an undergraduate student is sexual misconduct unless:
  (i)    both individuals in the relationship are students;
  (ii)    the student is a second entry undergraduate student; or
  (iii)    the relationship existed before a party to it became an employee or an undergraduate student.

14.7 A sexual or romantic relationship (even if consensual) between an employee and any student is sexual misconduct if the employee has any teaching, advising, supervisory, mentoring, evaluative, coaching, or other similar duties in respect of the student.

14.8 A sexual or romantic relationship (even if consensual) between an employee and any student is sexual misconduct if the relationship is between:
  (i) a student athlete and employee in Athletics and Recreation; or, 
  (ii) a residence don and a student living in residence.

Employee Obligations Regarding Prohibited Conduct
14.9 Employees must terminate all relationships prohibited by sections 14.6 and 14.8 on the date this policy becomes effective (January 2, 2024) Going forward, such employees must avoid the assumption of any teaching, advising, supervisory, mentoring, evaluative, coaching, or other similar duties in respect of the student.

14.10 Employees in a relationship prohibited section 14.7 on the date this policy becomes effective must promptly disclose a conflict of interest to their department head (or equivalent) or supervisor. The department head or supervisor and the employee will work together to resolve the conflict. Going forward, the employee must avoid the assumption of any teaching, advising, supervisory, mentoring, evaluative, coaching, or other similar duties in respect of the student.

14.11 Employees shall not assume any teaching, advising, supervisory, mentoring, evaluative, coaching, or other similar duties in respect of a student with whom they have had prior sexual or romantic relationship and must promptly disclose a potential conflict of interest to their department head (or equivalent) or supervisor. The department head or supervisor and the employee will work together to resolve the conflict.

14.12 Failure to meet an obligation set out in sections 14.9, 14.10 and 14.11 is sexual misconduct.

14.13 Individuals unsure about whether the University prohibits a relationship should seek guidance rather than fail to disclose. Employees may seek confidential input from the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services at svpreducation@queensu.ca

Consequences of Prohibited Conduct for Employees
14.14 Sexual misconduct is subject to discipline up to and including termination from employment.

14.15 Despite any contrary term in an employment contract or collective agreement:
  a.    discipline for sexual misconduct shall be deemed to have been imposed for just cause;
  b.    no employee terminated for sexual misconduct is entitled to notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice or to any other compensation because of the termination, except as may be required by the Employment Standards Act;
  c.    an employee terminated for sexual misconduct will not be re-employed by the University in any capacity.

University Obligations Regarding Sexual Misconduct
14.16 The chair of a hiring committee will check with the human resources director for the position whether a job applicant who is to be short-listed for an interview has been terminated from employment with the University for sexual misconduct and, if so, will remove that applicant from the recruitment process.

14.17 If the University determines that it has re-employed a person whose employment it terminated for sexual misconduct under this policy, the University will terminate that employment. The termination will be deemed to have been imposed for just cause and the employee will not be entitled to notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice or to any other compensation because of the termination, except as may be required by the Employment Standards Act.

14.18 The University will not enter into any agreement that directly or indirectly prohibits it, or any person related to it, from disclosing that an allegation or complaint of sexual misconduct has been made against an employee.

14.19 Any community member who has reason to believe that sexual misconduct has occurred may submit a sexual misconduct complaint. The University will follow the complaint procedure, but individuals who are not the subject of misconduct will not have the status of a party. 

15. Maintenance of Statistics

15.1. The Vice‐Principal (Culture, Equity, and Inclusion) will keep a record of all Complaints for the purpose of administering this Policy and for the purpose of reporting on statistics and trends.

15.2. The office responsible for processing a complaint shall create a file that will include all related communications, memoranda, reports, statements, and evidence related to the complaint. That office is responsible for securing the file and all documentation in the file and for the retention and disposition of the file in accordance with its processes and record retention schedule(s).

15.3. The office responsible for processing a complaint will report back to the Vice‐Principal (Culture, Equity, and Inclusion) as to the disposition of the complaint.

15.4. The SVPRC will maintain annual, anonymized statistics about known disclosures and complaints, as well as information about access to supports, services and accommodations involving students. The SVPRC will also report statistics in accordance with provincial regulations.

15.5. Campus partners who provide supports and services for students affected by sexual violence will assist the SVPRC in the data collection process.

16. Policy Review

16.1. The University recognizes that the issue of sexual violence is evolving. The University will revisit this policy, its associated resources and other related university policies as appropriate.

16.2. At a minimum, the University will review this policy every three years, in consultation with students, and will amend the policy as appropriate.

17. Special Circumstances

17.1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this policy, persons authorized to exercise responsibility under this policy may delegate their responsibility.

18. Related Resources and Policies

18.1. For contact information and a list of on and off campus resources please see the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response website.

18.2. No other University-affiliated entity (including any faculty, school, program, student organization, or club) will have a policy or procedure or set requirements that address the subject matter of this policy unless set out in Appendix 2 or required by applicable laws.

19. Effective date

19.1 This policy is in effect from the day the Board of Trustees approves it. It replaces and supersedes all prior versions and defines all alleged misconduct that falls within its scope regardless of when an individual alleges such conduct to have occurred except as expressly stated above and except if the University has already begun an investigation. The University will complete investigations begun before the effective date in accordance with the prior policy, except the complaint resolution set out in this policy will apply.


The policy uses the following terms as defined below. 

Consent: an active, direct, voluntary and conscious choice and agreement to engage in sexual activity. For additional clarity:
  (i) a person who is Incapacitated due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol or due to some other reason cannot give consent;
  (ii) a person who has been threatened or coerced into engaging in sexual activity is not consenting to it;
  (iii) the fact that consent was given in the past to a sexual, dating or intimate partner does not mean that consent can be assumed to be given for any future sexual activity;
  (iv) consent may be compromised where individuals are in a position of power, trust or authority over the person whose consent is required;
  (v) consent, once given, is revocable, at any time;
  (vi) consent cannot be given on behalf of another person; and
  (vii) consent is active and not passive or silent.

(To) Disclose: to share information about an incident of sexual violence with the University for the purpose of receiving support, counselling or accommodation, to request immediate measures, or to obtain information about how to make a complaint.

Employee: all individuals in an employment relationship with the University, all individuals in a contract with the University under which they provide services and all volunteers.

Incapacity (Incapacitated): an inability to understand the sexual nature of the activity or appreciate the option of declining to participate in the activity. Under this policy, a person who is significantly impaired (and not merely disinhibited) by alcohol or drugs is deemed to be incapable of consenting, as is a person who is asleep, unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate.

Indecent Exposure: the exposure of the private or intimate parts of the body in a lewd or sexual manner, in a public place when the perpetrator may be readily observed. Indecent exposure includes exhibitionism.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): is sometimes called spousal violence or domestic violence. All these terms refer to the ways that someone can cause harm to a current or ex-partner or spouse. IPV is any form of physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological abuse, including financial control, stalking, and harassment in person or online. It can occur between intimate partners of any gender or sexual orientation, who may or may not be married, common law, living together, or dating. It can also continue to happen after a relationship has ended. IPV impacts people of all genders, ages, socioeconomic, racial, educational, ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. IPV that is sexual in nature and otherwise within the scope of this Policy shall be dealt with under this policy. Any Student experiencing IPV may seek support from the SVPRS, even if the IPV they are experiencing is non-sexual in nature.

No-Contact Directive: a requirement that an individual have no direct or indirect contact with one or more individuals, including contact via phone, text, email, social media and contact through a third party.
Notice of Prohibition: a notice to an individual that prohibits entry to all or a part of Queen's University property.

Reasonable: a reasonable decision is one that is rational, in that its findings are based on evidence, thought out, and supported by facts and logical inferences from findings of fact. To be reasonable, the decision must contain adequate reasons for the conclusions. A decision should be upheld if it falls within a range of possible, acceptable outcomes.

Reprisal: the act of penalizing, intimidating, or coercing an individual, whether directly or indirectly, for acting in good faith to carry out or assist with any step provided for in this Policy and includes threatening to do so. Engaging in an act of Reprisal constitutes a breach of this Policy.

Respondent: a person against whom a disclosure or complaint has been made.

Second Entry Undergraduate Student: a student in the Bachelor of Education program in the Faculty of Education, Students in the J.D. program in the Faculty of Law and, students in the M.D. program in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Students in the Con. Ed. Program in the Faculty of Education are not second entry undergraduate students.

Sexual Assault: any form of sexual contact without consent. Sexual assault includes unwanted kissing, fondling, touching, oral or anal sex, vaginal intercourse or other forms of penetration, or any unwanted act of a sexual nature that a person imposes on another without consent.

Sexual Exploitation: taking advantage of another person through non-consensual or abusive sexual control. This may include the digital or electronic broadcasting, distributing, recording and or photographing of people involved in sexual acts without their consent.

Sexual Harassment: means a course of vexatious comment, conduct and/or communication of a sexual nature or based on sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or gender expression that is known, or ought to have been known to be unwelcome. Depending on the circumstances, one incident could be significant or substantial enough for the University to consider it to be sexual harassment. Sexual harassment includes:
   (i) unwanted sexual solicitations, attention, advances, or comments and gestures (including songs and chants);
   (ii) the display of sexually suggestive pictures, posters, objects or graffiti;
   (iii) the implied or express promise of benefits or advancement in return for sexual favours;
   (iv) threats of reprisals for rejecting unwanted solicitations or advances;
   (v) engaging in conduct or making comments that creates a poisoned environment to individuals of a specific sex, sexual identity, gender identity or gender expression;
   (vi) non-consensual posting of pictures, aggressive comments and slurs of a sexual nature on any form of social media or other electronic media.;
   (vii) physical contact of a sexual nature (including sexual assault); and
   (viii) sexual conduct that interferes with an individual's dignity or privacy such as voyeurism and exhibitionism.

Sexual Misconduct: in relation to a student,
  a)    physical sexual relations with a student, touching of a sexual nature of the student or behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature toward a student by an employee if:
   (i) the conduct is an offence under the Criminal Code (Canada),
   (ii) the conduct infringes the right of the student under clause 7 (3) (a) of the Ontario Human Rights Code to be free from a sexual solicitation or advance, or
   (iii) conduct that occurred on or after July 1, 2023, and is otherwise prohibited pursuant to the sexual misconduct section of this policy.
  b)    any conduct by an employee of the institution that infringes a student’s right under subsection 7(3) (b) of the Ontario Human Rights Code to be free from a reprisal or threat of reprisal for the rejection of a sexual solicitation or advance.

Sexual Violence: any sexual act or act targeting a person's sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person's consent, and includes things such as: sexual assault; sexual harassment; stalking; indecent exposure; voyeurism; and, sexual exploitation, regardless of the nature or status of any relationship between the individuals involved.

Stalking: is a behaviour or behaviours that occur on more than one occasion, which collectively instill fear or threaten a person’s safety or mental health, or that of their family or friends.  Stalking includes non-consensual communications (whether face to face, phone, electronic, or otherwise); threatening or obscene conduct or gestures; surveillance and pursuit; and sending unsolicited gifts.

Student: any person who is registered, full-time or part-time, in a course or program of study, including in a non-degree diploma or certificate course or program (whether for credit or not), offered by the University, anyone registered at Queen’s on a letter of permission, and individuals on a student exchange at Queen’s.

Voyeurism: the surreptitious observing of a person without their consent and in circumstances where they could reasonably expect privacy. Voyeurism may include direct observation, observation by mechanical or electronic means, or visual recordings.


1.    Student Code of Conduct
2.    Harassment and Discrimination Prevention and Response Policy and Procedures
3.    Athletics & Recreation Non-Academic Misconduct Policy 
4.    Residence Contract
5.    Bader College Policy on Sexual Violence
6.    Academic Consideration for Students in Extenuating Circumstances Policy
7.    Students at Risk Policy
       a.    Students at Risk Procedure

Policies Superseded by This Policy: 
1.    Policy on Sexual Violence Involving Queen’s University Students
2.    Interim Sexual Misconduct Policy