University administration is treading cautiously to develop a coordinated response to sexual violence on campus, an announcement on Thursday revealed.
The announcement came in a letter from vice-president, human resources and equity Angela Hildyard and vice-provost, students & first entry divisions Jill Matus, and was addressed to the Principals, Deans, and the Academic Directors & Chairs Committee.
It reveals the university’s plan to create an “Advisory Committee to the President and Provost on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence.”
The announcement comes after a series of legislative developments in the US and corresponding university commitments across North America to tackle the issue of sexual violence on university and secondary school campuses.
The events put increased pressure on university administration to develop a coordinated strategy to respond to sexual violence.
The letter addressed these pressures. “Recent attention to the issue of sexual violence on University and College campuses… signals an important focus on new approaches to prevention of and response to sexual violence,” it reads.
The letter also maintains that sexual violence remains in the jurisdiction of the municipal police, making the university’s scope of involvement complicated. “The University intends to examine these issues in the unique context of Canadian law and the University of Toronto environment,” the letter says.
The committee will be mandated to determine the best practices to prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus, and to report findings to the president and provost of the university.
Students, staff, and faculty will make up the committee, and focus groups will be held to solicit input from constituents across campus.