In response to on-campus action against sexual violence and the requirements of provincial legislation, the University of Toronto’s draft Policy on Sexual Violence was released on September 7.
The draft is the result of 18 months of research and consultation by experts and panels; it covers the process of reporting or disclosing an act of sexual violence, whether perpetrated by a member of the university community or not, and whether committed on- or off-campus. All members of the university community will be covered by this policy.
The policy also calls for the establishment of a Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre, which will undertake education and prevention initiatives to ensure that a culture of sexual violence is not tolerated and is treated from all angles.
Stipulations within the draft policy include not requiring that a complainant file a report to be able to use academic accommodation, such as exam or assignment deferrals, housing services, and counselling.
While the Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre will focus on educational and preventative efforts, reports and subsequent investigations will be dealt with through the Office of Safety and High Risk. Both the complainant and the respondent would have access to the investigator’s name and particulars about the case.
In the case of a staff member respondent, the Vice-President Human Resources and Equity will review the investigation. In the case of a faculty or librarian respondent, the Vice-President and Provost will review the case details and coordinate with the Vice-President Human Resources and Equity to determine the appropriate response.
U of T Vice-President and Provost Cheryl Regehr sent an email to students when the policy was released, which informed them of the draft policy and encouraged feedback online. Additionally, the University of Toronto Students’ Union is holding a consultation session on September 19.