Professor brings concerns over sexual violence policy to Senate

In response to criticism, University will host an open community meeting

Tom Harris, interim provost, addressing Senate. The University will host an open community meeting in response to criticism over sexual violence policy requirements.
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At Queen’s first Senate meeting of the year on Oct. 1, Jordan Morelli, a physics professor and member of Senate, presented concerns over new requirements under the recently updated sexual violence policy.

Approved on May 10, 2019, the new policy states “employees are encouraged to disclose incidents to their supervisor, another manager or directly to human resources of faculty relations” if students disclose to faculties.

As previously reported by The Journal, new requirements under the recently updated sexual violence policy, posted on the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response (SVPR) website, require any University employees who are not healthcare professionals to provide a student’s name, email, and number to the SVPR coordinator in the event of a disclosure.

“I don’t believe we should be collecting that information,” Morelli said at Senate. He added he’s concerned about potential emails the SVPR office may send students who have disclosed incidents.

“This potentially puts our students in a very dangerous position,” he said.

Tom Harris, interim provost and vice-principal (academic), said these concerns are being taken under consideration.

He also said provincial legislation requires every university in Ontario to have a sexual violence policy. Queen’s has had a sexual violence policy since 2016, and its current iteration was drafted in April.

“The University’s policy reflects our commitment to safety,” Harris said. “Sexual violence policy is relatively new at universities. We are trying our best to meet needs in a very challenging environment.”

Teri Shearer, deputy provost, will be hosting an open community meeting for discussion of the policy’s requirements, although a date has not yet been announced.

“Senate is not the right forum for a detailed discussion of [sexual violence policy],” Harris said. According to Harris, there will be an opportunity to submit questions in advance.

“The administration is hearing your response and views on this in a substantial way,” he said.

Corrections

This story has been corrected to reflect that Teri Shearer will host an open community meeting, not Ann Tierney.

The Journal regrets the error.

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