Ontario government recommends sexual violence policy changes

AMS explains plans to combat sexual violence on campus

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities’ proposed changes affect students.

In response to student concerns concerning consent, abuse of power, and being silenced in cases of faculty or staff sexual misconduct against students, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) proposed legislative changes on Oct. 27.

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliances (OUSA) report goes over the legislative changes concerning faculty and staff sexual and gender-based violence. The report includes systemic and immediate prevention measures, as well as policies regarding human trafficking on campus.

The changes emphasize students having a safe and equitable access to education and prevention efforts becoming more prevalent on campuses.

In an OUSA statement, several employees explained how the new changes will affect faculty.

“We are pleased with Minister Dunlop’s [Minister of Colleges and Universities] legislative changes that support survivors and protect students from harm in potential incidents of faculty-perpetrated sexual violence,” Jessica Look, president of OUSA, said.

“Students across Ontario need continued governmental and institutional support to create a safer learning environment free of sexual harassment,” Look added.

Kayla Han, OUSA Steering Committee member, explained OUSA is hopeful these legislative changes will help students feel safer on campus.

“This announcement is another step towards trauma-informed and survivor-centric models of responding to sexual and gender-based violence,” Han added.

Callum Robertson, AMS vice-president (university affairs), said the AMS believes Queen’s can endorse specific sexual and gender-based violence changes at the University.

“The AMS welcomes the legislative changes surrounding sexual misconduct, gender-based violence, and consent on campuses,” Robertson said in a statement to The Journal.

“Supporting survivors and ensuring accountability on university campuses throughout Ontario are goals that we continue to advocate for on behalf of students, and Minister Dunlop’s proposed changes are a step towards said goals.”

Robertson explained the AMS continues to take part in conversations on campus regarding gender-based violence and building a consent culture at Queen’s.

“We’re hopeful that these changes serve to reinforce the efforts of Queen’s faculty, administration, and students on these issues,” Robertson said.

“We’ve been pleased to take part in the work being done by the [Human Rights and Equity Office] and the wider Division of Student Affairs as they undergo a review of policy relating to these issues at Queen’s, and we’re hopeful that the implementation of the VESTA online support hub will contribute to a more accountable, and survivor-centric culture on campus.”

Robertson said the AMS will advocate for the Minister’s changes to be implemented at the University.

“We’re hopeful that this change represents a new step towards true, survivor-centric models of responding to sexual and gender-based violence.”

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.