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UNB seeks input on sexual assault policy draft

UNB has unveiled a draft of its sexual assault policy. The document, available on the UNB site, outlines university policy on responding, reporting, investigating and dealing with cases of sexual assault in the UNB community.

The policy was drafted by a committee of four, two representatives from each of the Fredericton and Saint John UNB campuses.

The policy will “set out … response protocol to sexual assault and ensures that those who experience sexual assault are believed and their rights respected.”

It will also insure that “UNB has a process of investigation that protects the rights of all individuals and hold individuals who have committed an act of sexual assault accountable.”

The policy also addresses the need for confidentiality, procedural fairness and support for survivors of sexual assault. It promises that UNB will provide “awareness, educational, and risk management programs that contribute to a safe environment.”

View the policy here.

The university had been criticized in the past for its lack of coherent policy. UNB’s response was often that it needed time to draft a policy that properly addressed the complexities of sexual assault in a university community. Part of this process was bringing information and experiences from policies across Canada and the United States.

“The Committee consulted several existing documents regarding best practices for sexual assault policies on post-secondary campuses,” stated the university in its release of the draft.

These documents include White House task force reports and recommendations to protect students from sexual assault across campuses in the states. UNB also looked to resources guides addressing sexual assault in Ontario, as well as the Ontario Women’s Directorate and Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities Ending Sexual Violence on Campus.

The university also looked to the reports put out by the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre.

The policy covers all students, faculty, employees and members of the community. Those dealing with sexual assault may also choose to follow different policies as defined by particular collective agreements or other policies. One of the graduate student workers union complaints was that there was no assault or harassment policy for their worker.

The university is inviting community feedback in either written form emailed to policyreview@unb.ca  or in the town hall meetings scheduled Feb. 24, 25, and 29.

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