Students, staff and faculty members at Brandon University (BU) have provided significant and valuable feedback during the first round of wide community consultation on a new, stand-alone sexualized violence policy.
“What came through loud and clear was that people want this policy, they want it to be as strong as it can be, and they are eager to help us at the university as we work towards that goal,” said Carla Navid, BU’s Sexual Violence Education and Prevention Coordinator. “Not only have people been very engaged in going carefully through this draft and identifying areas of improvements, we have had a lot of very constructive and positive suggestions to help improve those areas, adding clarity and nuance. It has been a thoroughly satisfying series of Town Halls.”
Navid sits on BU’s Sexual Assault Advisory Group (SAAG), a large standing committee that drew together a cross-section of the campus along with wider community experts to develop the new, stand-alone sexualized violence policy. After targeted feedback from staff, students, faculty and community experts, SAAG published the draft online and invited everyone to come to three open Town Hall sessions this month.
“This is just one round of the consultations that we have planned,” said BU Vice President (Academic & Provost) Dr. Steve Robinson, who is chair of SAAG. “We will be conducting small focus groups and reaching out to more community experts as we respond and revise this draft. And of course, everyone is welcome to read and comment on the policy online, where feedback can also be sent completely anonymously.”
The draft policy, along with related information about combatting and preventing sexualized violence, is available at BrandonU.ca/SexualViolence. The online feedback tool has already proven to be a popular way to submit detailed and valuable suggestions, Navid says.
“I have been very impressed with the thought and care that has been evident in all of the submissions we’ve received — both in person and online,” she said.
Common feedback has included a desire for even more engagement with off-campus community resources, and a renewed focus on the nuts and bolts of procedure and process.
“We will certainly be reaching out to more groups in the community who have said they want to be involved, and we hope that the Brandon University experience can help set the standard for an approach to sexualized violence that works everywhere,” Navid said. “This policy is our foundation, and we need it to be as solid and secure as possible as it will guide the development of our protocol.”
Based on the policy, which will capture the university’s overall commitment to combat sexualized violence, SAAG will work to develop a protocol with detailed procedures and process for BU community members to follow.
“The policy is our values, it tells us why our approach is important. The protocol is what we do: Who talks to whom, and when,” Navid said. “We have a good interim protocol in place that is also available online, and that is a good guide for us right now. Also, based on our draft policy and all the feedback that’s come in so far, we are working to develop a new protocol, and we will be proud to take that for wide community consultation as well.”
Over the next few weeks, SAAG will assemble and discuss all the feedback that has been received for the draft policy, and will develop a second draft policy, paired with a draft protocol. A further round of consultations is expected early in the new year.
- Brandon University
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