University “well ahead of deadline” for sexual violence policy review

Sexual Violence Prevention and Response working group will review policy draft

The policy update deadline for Queen’s will be Jan. 1, 2020. 
Journal File Photo

The Queen’s community can provide feedback on the University’s reviewed sexual violence policy months before the deadline.

In 2016, Bill 132 required post-secondary schools in Ontario to adopt sexual violence policies to be reviewed every three years. The legislation’s schedule came into effect in 2017, meaning the deadline for Queen’s will be Jan. 1, 2020.

Queen’s is “well ahead of the deadline,” Lindsay Winger, assistant dean of support services and community engagement, wrote in a statement to The Journal.

Winger said the University is consulting with various groups on campus, including the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Working Group, which is chaired by Barb Lotan.

She added a number of student representatives in the working group are tasked with reviewing draft updates and providing feedback.

“Our proposed revisions will be based on our experience working with the policy through a number of cases,” she wrote.

According to Winger, the University’s seeking to clarify how a complaint is handled within the system based on the respondent’s status, which could be student, staff member, or faculty member.

A case is triaged to the appropriate unit—whether it be the Student Conduct Office, Human Resources, or Faculty Relations—based on the respondent’s status.

Winger also wrote the University is seeking to “better align” its adjudication process of dealing with incidents of sexual violence with “best practices in this area.”

Division of Student Affairs Executive Director Ellie Sadinsky told The Journal  the University is looking at the policies of other universities in Ontario but declined to disclose which ones.

“We are looking at best practices identified by experts, and identified by institutions, as we all work through more cases under the legislation,” she said.

Once the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Working Group and campus policy advisory sub-committee have provided feedback to the University later this term, there will be a public online consultation period on the entire draft policy.

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