University cancels employee sessions on student disclosures of sexual violence

Sessions postponed while sexual violence policy is under review

University cancels employee information sessions while the sexual violence policy is under review.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo
All employee training sessions about how to respond to student sexual violence disclosures have been cancelled while the sexual violence policy disclosure requirements are under review, according to Barb Lotan, the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator (SVPRC).  
 
Suspended on Oct. 10 following widespread criticism, the disclosure requirements mandated non-health care professionals to provide Lotan with a student’s name, email address, and student number following a disclosure of sexual violence. 
 
“Information sessions for employees about responding to disclosures of sexual violence have regularly been offered on campus,” Lotan wrote in a statement to The Journal. “The fall sessions have now been postponed due to the ongoing sexual violence policy consultation and review.”
 
On Tuesday, Lotan was scheduled to host an Employee Information Session about how to respond to student disclosures of sexual violence. The two-hour meeting was to be held in Macintosh-Corry Hall. 
 
“In July, information sessions for summer and fall were scheduled and announced,” Lotan wrote. 
 
According to a post on the Queen’s events calendar, the information session was “designed to give all employees an overview of how to effectively respond to student disclosures of sexual violence.”
 
The session was supposed to cover how employees should notify Lotan upon receiving a student sexual violence disclosure. The post on the calendar references Section 8.8 as part of the University sexual violence policy, which requires notification to the SVPRC. 
 
Despite the cancellation of the sessions, multiple staff members suggested in the open consultation meetings that the University provide more training to its employees about the sexual violence policy disclosure requirements. 
 
While the updated sexual violence policy was approved by the Board of Trustees on May 10, the notification requirement was introduced as an implementation of section 8.8 of the policy on the SVPRC website. 
 
However, after both faculty and students raised concerns about how the new policy could affect both the safety and the willingness of students who disclose sexual violence to University employees, the requirement was suspended. 
 
The University announced last week it will be conducting a review of the sexual violence policy during the suspension period. The review will include consultations with students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders.
 
Feedback from open consultation meetings hosted by Teri Shearer, deputy provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) on Oct. 17 and 23 will also be incorporated into the policy review. Queen’s community members are able to provide the University with feedback in a confidential, online form.
 
The consultation period will close on Nov. 22, and the University’s senior leadership team said it will review all the feedback it has received.
 
The University’s final decision about the suspended disclosure requirements will be announced at the end of the winter term. 
 
“The number of sessions scheduled in the future will be based on demand,” Lotan said.

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