Sexual violence policy offers support to entire campus community

The University of Guelph continues to strengthen its sexual violence programming by revising its existing sexual violence protocol into a more comprehensive policy aimed at supporting including faculty, staff and students.

The policy, which was approved by the Board of Governors in December, includes an expanded definition of sexual violence that incorporates the full spectrum of incidents, ranging from inappropriate comments and harassment through to rape.

Brenda Whiteside, associate vice-president (student affairs), says the new policy is just one of several initiatives that will enhance support of sexual violence programming on campus.

Other initiatives include a Sexual Violence Support and Information website, which contains policy information, as well as information about on- and off-campus resources for those who have experienced sexual violence.

Promoting consent has been a regular part of U of G’s orientation activities. The “Stop. Ask” campaign was launched in September 2016 to remind students to stop and ask for consent before engaging in sexual activity.

Counselling Services and Residence Life front-line staff are trained on how to deal with sexual violence reports. An online training program was launched in January for the rest of the campus community. Both training programs include recommendations on how to offer support and refer people to resources.

“Our focus is the safety and support of survivors and their friends,” says Whiteside. –SUSAN BUBAK