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Loyalist president to attend sexual assault policy meeting next week

By Alisa Howlett
Women of Belleville [1]

BELLEVILLE – Loyalist College [2] President Maureen Piercy is expected to meet with the presidents of other Ontario colleges next week to develop a provincial sexual assault policy.

The exact time frame of when the policy will be implemented is unknown, Dianne Spencer, executive director of college advancement and external relations at Loyalist College, said. This is high priority and the college will be moving forward with it, she added.

This meeting comes after the Toronto Star launched an investigation [3] into the lack of sexual assault policies at Canada’s post-secondary schools. The report concluded that out of 100 Canadian universities and colleges polled only nine have specific policies in place that address sexual assault.

Out of the 24 publicly funded colleges across Ontario none had specific policies, including Loyalist.

One of the universities polled, Queen’s University [4] in Kingston, has already launched it’s sexual assault protocol.

Linda Franklin, president and chief executive officer of Colleges Ontario, said in November, the college presidents were creating a task force to investigate the creation of a sexual assault policy. The task force was going to reach out to student representatives to receive input.

If an incident is to occur in the interim at Loyalist, Spencer said the individual with a concern is to contact student services for the required support. She added there are already policies and guidelines in effect in regards to safety and respect.

In addition to this meeting, Premier Kathleen Wynne just wrapped up a 10-day tour of colleges and universities. Loyalist College wasn’t one of the stops, but students at other postsecondary schools in Ontario raised issues about preventing sexual violence on campus and improving mental health services.

Premier Wynne was also a part of a roundtable meeting on campus sexual violence with the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario at Queen’s Park.

“Students have always been at the forefront of combatting sexual assault on campus. We applaud the Premier’s leadership in holding a student roundtable to discuss solutions to this important issue, including mandatory consent education, student-led policy development and sector-wide accountability measures,” Anna Goldfinch, the national executive representative of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario, said in a press release.

Fourteen projects were also funded to help more postsecondary students get access to mental health services faster, Wynne announced.