Ahead of the approval of the new Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, The Varsity has confirmed that the incoming policy will apply to all U of T students, including those at federated colleges and member colleges of the U of T affiliated Toronto School of Theology (TST).
Per government mandate, all universities within Ontario must have a substantive sexual violence policy in place by January 1, 2017. After months of consultations and a recommendations report, U of T’s draft sexual violence policy was released at the beginning of the school year for review prior to implementation in January.
When speaking to The Varsity on November 4, U of T spokesperson Elizabeth Church stated that U of T students would be bound by the policy; non-U of T students who attend a federated college or the TST would be exempt.
TST Director Alan Hayes recently confirmed that all students enroled in the seven colleges within the TST will be subject to U of T’s Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment.
Hayes confirmed that the TST and U of T had come to a “verbal agreement” on the policy, but also mentioned that “some of our member colleges may need to take it through their governance, and the Provost’s office is taking it to Business Board.”
Hayes noted the importance of consistency between the colleges and U of T: “There are many student course cross-registrations between U of T and TST and a number of status-only or joint faculty appointments between U of T and TST, and if a case arose that involved both U of T and TST people… it would be clumsy to have different jurisdictions and different sets of procedures.”
Hayes was optimistic that the policy would be implemented, adding that he did not “foresee any hitches in the process.”
The TST is made up of seven theological institutions affiliated with U of T: Knox College, Regis College, Wycliffe College, St. Augustine’s Seminary, Victoria University’s Emmanuel College, University of St. Michael’s College’s Faculty of Theology, and University of Trinity College’s Faculty of Divinity.
Echoing Church’s statement, Kelley Castle, Dean of Students for Victoria College, confirmed that all Victoria College students are also U of T students and will be covered by the U of T’s policy.
Emmanuel College Principal Mark Toulouse noted that there would be “no exemptions [from the sexual violence policy] for schools affiliated with TST.” Emmanuel hosts conjoint degree programs with both U of T and Victoria University.
Emmanuel is a constituent college at Victoria University and therefore connected to U of T and its policies by way of its partnership with Victoria University.
“Emmanuel is invested in the policy, and in doing all we can to assist both Vic and U of T in the implementation of the policy,” said Toulouse.
Joseph Schner, who is the interim President of Regis College, also confirmed that U of T’s sexual violence policy would come into effect at Regis on January 1.
Wycliffe College’s Communications Coordinator Connie Chan stated, “In matters of Health and Safety, we try to synchronize our policies with those of the U of T. Members of our board have studied the U of T Sexual Violence Policy, and we anticipate that the U of T policy will be adopted before the end of the year.”
Chan noted that the sexual violence policy would apply to all students at Wycliffe, regardless of whether they were conjoint students with U of T.
Trinity College confirmed that their status as a federated college would impact how the sexual violence policy would operate. Mayo Moran, Provost and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College, stated that the vast majority of Trinity students are undergraduates of the Faculty of Arts & Science or other U of T faculties, who are automatically covered by the policy.
In addition, Moran highlighted that the U of T policy “applies more broadly than just to the student body, and it may be that the federated universities want to adopt the U of T policies because of these broader provisions which cover staff and faculty.”
Moran stated that Trinity may choose to supplement the U of T policy with additions that are specific to Trinity. “Until we know the final shape of the U of T policy… we probably won’t know how exactly the [federated colleges] may choose to supplement or adopt the U of T policy.”
Moran chaired the Expert Panel on Sexual Violence Policies — a group tasked with providing suggestions on how to best implement the sexual violence policy. She advised that she does have some expertise on the issue due to her role on the panel; she was not involved with the development of the policy afterwards.
“As we go forward I hope that may help Trinity decide what additional steps it may want to take but at the end of the day, that will be a decision for the Trinity community,” Moran said.
University of St. Michaels’s College (USMC) President David Mulroney stated: “We are working to ensure that we can implement the policy at St. Michael’s in a manner that fully accords with our rights and status as a federated university.”
Mulroney’s office declined further comment when asked how USMC planned to implement the policy.