York's Secretive Sexual Assault Policy Does Not Support Survivors

TORONTO, Nov. 23, 2016 /CNW/ - CUPE 3903 publicly withdraws from the Sexual Assault Policy Working Group and urges the York University Board of Governors to reject the draft policy for failing to support survivors of sexual violence.  

The CUPE 3903 executive committee, Trans Feminist Action Caucus (TFAC), and the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) were excluded from meaningful consultation. As a result, this policy does not reflect the needs of CUPE 3903 members or the broader York community.

"This policy was drafted behind closed doors, in a working group led by York's VP Finance," states Annelies Cooper, member of the JHSC. "Since September, York has been directing survivors to a Sexual Violence Response Office that has no budget or dedicated staff attached to it."

CUPE 3903 has demanded involvement in the policy's development for over a year. On September 30th, York allowed CUPE 3903 to join the York Sexual Assault Policy Working Group. Upon joining, CUPE 3903 was disappointed to discover the policy was near completion and did not reflect previous discussions between CUPE 3903 and York. It was clear from the tone of the working group that criticism was not welcome, and that long standing issues such as confidentiality of and support offered to survivors would not be addressed. As York University is committed to pushing through a policy that we fundamentally cannot support, CUPE 3903 has no choice but to publicly withdraw from the Working Group.

"A shared concern is that the secrecy behind this policy development process stunts open and meaningful consultation, which will undoubtedly result in a problematic sexual assault policy, contrary to the interests of community members", says Nicole Leach, TFAC Co-Chair.

Ontario's Bill 132 requires Ontario universities to introduce sexual assault policies by January 1st. The bill stipulates the policy be developed in consultation with the community. These consultations are undermined by the fact that they are based on an interim document, not the most recent draft, and are taking place just weeks prior being presented to the Board of Governors.

CUPE 3903 represents contract faculty, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, and part-time librarians and archivists at York University.



For further information: Nicole Leach, TFAC Co-Chair, tfac.cupe3903@gmail.com; Annelies Cooper, Joint Health and Safety, jhsccupe3903@gmail.com


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