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U of T seeks feedback on new education and prevention initiatives about sexual violence

A consultation website is available until April 10 to collect feedback online, and there will be three days of in-person consultation meetings in March on the new education and prevention initiatives about sexual violence (photo by Jason Krygier-Baum)

Students, faculty and staff have an opportunity to provide feedback on the principles that will guide the university’s new education and prevention initiatives about sexual violence.

The expert panel developing the guidelines will hold three days of in-person consultation meetings in March, with sessions on all three campuses. The day-long events will include two sessions for students and one each for faculty and staff. A consultation website is also available until April 10 to collect feedback online, and panel members will be meeting with key student, staff and faculty groups in the coming weeks.

 Give your feedback online

“We want a collective community effort around prevention, which requires a broad education about why sexual violence occurs and how to prevent it,” said Gretchen Kerr, the vice-dean, academic (on administrative leave) in the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, and chair of the Expert Panel on Education and Prevention of Sexual Violence.

University of Toronto Provost Cheryl Regehr thanked all members of the panel.

“These draft principles are the result of many hours of work,” Regehr said. “And this important work continues in this consultation phase.”

The expert panel was created last year as part of U of T’s action plan to prevent and respond to sexual violence.  At the centre of that response is a new Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, which took effect in January. The policy applies to all members of the U of T community and sets up a centralized system for reporting and investigation. 

Under the new policy, a Tri-Campus Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre also is being set up on all three campuses with work expected to be completed this spring. Under the draft guidelines, the centre will take the lead in developing curricula and delivering training in consultation with members across the university.

It's an opportunity for the centre to take the lead on implementing a comprehensive, consistent education and prevention program across the university, which can be adapted for local audiences said Terry McQuaid, U of T's executive director, personal safety, high risk, sexual violence prevention and support. A director of the tri-campus centre joined the university in January 02, 2017, some services are now being offered following up on referrals to the centre from various points in the university, and additional staffing will be in place by the spring, McQuaid said.

“It’s important that our education and prevention efforts reflect the voices of our community and the expertise that our university has to offer,” said Kelly Hannah-Moffat, vice-president of human resources and equity.    

The draft principles call for all members of the community to receive education on the contents of the university’s new policy, including the roles and responsibilities of those who witness or become aware of incidents or complaints of sexual violence.  Additional training would be developed for student leaders and some faculty and staff including advisers, counsellors, campus police and senior administrators.

The panel also recommends that some content become part of course curriculum.

Kerr said such efforts could be included in discussions of classroom behaviour or could be a video shown in class.  “We want to reach all students,” she said.

The schedule for the three, in-person consultation days will run as follows:

U of T Scarborough – Wednesday, March 15 (all sessions in AA160 – UTSC Council Chamber)

9:30-10:30              staff session

11:00-12:00            student session

2:30-3:30                faculty session

4:00-5:00                student session

U of T Mississauga – Thursday, March 16 (all sessions in Deerfield Hall 3075)

9:00-10:00              staff session

10:30-11:30            student session

12:30-1:30              student session

2:00-3:00                faculty session

Downtown Toronto campus – Monday, March 20 (all sessions in Governing Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall 2nd floor)

10:00-11:00            staff session

11:30-12:30            student session

1:30-2:30                student session

3:00-4:00                faculty session

Individuals who plan on attending a session and have any accessibility needs are asked to email provost@utoronto.ca to indicate any accommodations they may require.