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B.C. government soliciting feedback on post-secondary institution sexual violence and misconduct policies

Melanie Mark

The B.C. government is running a campaign in the hope of informing public post-secondary students of their institutions’ sexual violence and misconduct policies. The online campaign, launched after the provincial government’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act was passed in May 2017, also requests student, faculty, and staff feedback on those policies.

According to a spokesperson for the department of advanced education, skills and training, the website has received more than 700 visitors to date, with 76 feedback forms received. The deadline for submission is Jan. 29.

The educational campaign follows the widely publicized suspension and subsequent termination of UBC creative-writing department chair Steven Galloway for inappropriate conduct with a student, which led to an open letter signed by dozens of notable CanLit authors and industry heavyweights protesting the school’s handling of the process.

A statement provided to Q&Q from Melanie Mark, minister of advanced education, skills and training, explains the campaign as such:

“I want to raise awareness that sexual violence and misconduct policies exist at all our public post-secondary institutions. Feedback from the post-secondary community about these policies will help us build on them.

We are directly reaching out to students, faculty and staff to get their input.

We know that many survivors of sexual violence are reluctant to come forward. It is important that students, faculty and staff know that there are policies in place that outline the process for what to do in the event of an incident and the supports that are available.

All responses will remain confidential. If we see consistent themes then we would share it in the interest of continuous improvement. However, what I can commit to is working with our post-secondary partners to ensure campuses and classrooms are safe.

This is an important issue – and any time is the right time to be talking about it. It is important that students, faculty and staff at all times feel safe on campus and in classrooms.”