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Ontario colleges working quickly to create a sexual assault policy

By Suzanne Coolen [1]and Bevan Hamilton [2]

BELLEVILLE – Ontario colleges intend to move very quickly with the creation of a specific sexual assault policy says Dianne Spencer, executive director of college advancement and external relations at Loyalist College.

“This policy, which has received unanimous support from every college president, is extremely important, has a very high priority and it will be put in place as quickly as possible,” said Spencer. “It’s also important that the policy is clear and easily accessible and understood by individuals anywhere anytime.”

All 24 Ontario’s public college presidents voted on Tuesday to created a province-wide policy that specifically addresses sexual assault on campus.

This decision, follows a special investigation [3] by the Toronto Star last week on the lack of sexual assault policies at Canada’s post-secondary schools. The report found that only nine of more than 100 Canadian universities and colleges polled have a specific policy in place to address sexual assault. All nine institutions are universities. None of Ontario’s 24 colleges had specific policies, including Loyalist.

Although Loyalist had no specific policy for sexual assault, Spencer said that the school’s other policies include an awareness of it.

“There a number of policies in place at the college currently, that do reference the importance of awareness and what to do in the case of any sexual assault or sexual harassment, anything that is not in line with our respectable college community policy,” she said.

There has been no specific date on when the policy will be in place but a task force, which includes student government, is currently working on the details.