It’s the latest step in the University of Toronto’s efforts to improve and integrate support for those affected by sexual violence: filling a key new post to lead the initiative on all three campuses.
Terry McQuaid is joining U of T in the newly created role of executive director, personal safety, high risk and sexual violence prevention and support.
“The University of Toronto is taking a leadership role in looking at safety more broadly – considering threats, safe spaces and addressing issues of sexual violence,” Provost Cheryl Regehr said. “We are excited to welcome Terry. Her varied background and her skills make her ideal for this role.”
McQuaid comes from Seneca College, where she was the director of counselling and accessibility services for the past four years. She begins her new job Oct. 11.
The new role, created earlier this year in response to advice from an expert committee, is the latest in a series of actions taken by the university to address sexual violence. It comes as the university considers a new draft policy on sexual violence that includes a centralized system to access support and for reporting and investigating all complaints.
The new executive director post is central to those changes, Regehr said, along with plans for a new Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre, which will have a presence on all three campuses by January.
Halifax-born McQuaid, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology, has worked as a counsellor, psychotherapist, and clinical psychologist. She takes her new job at a time when sexual violence on campuses across North America is gaining increasing attention.
Here in Ontario, new legislation requires that all post-secondary campuses have a sexual violence policy in place by January of 2017.
“This is a pivotal time” McQuaid said, noting that the changes at U of T are a result of more than two years of work and consultations.
“That speaks volumes to the commitment of the university,” McQuaid said. “It is top of mind for the leadership. I think that is amazing.”
McQuaid said she has much to learn from U of T staff and plans to build on and enhance existing services.
“We need to provide support to a very diverse group of vulnerable people and help them navigate systems to get the support and services they need,” she said.
U of T also has named Laura Bradbury as the new director of the Office of Safety & High Risk under a one-year secondment. Bradbury has been the manager of the Community Safety Office at the university since 2008. In her new role she will report to the new executive director and work closely with the vice-president of Human Resources & Equity, the vice- provost of Students, and the vice-provost of Faculty & Academic Life.
The university is also recruiting a director for the new Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre.