I’m writing to you today with an important message regarding our efforts to promote campuses that are free from sexual assault and sexual violence. This is a very important issue for colleges and universities and if we are to be successful it requires a collaborative effort among students staff and our community partners.
Today Niagara College reinforced its commitment to providing a safe and healthy learning environment and supporting those who experience sexual assault or sexual violence by introducing a stand-alone practice and protocol on sexual assault.
This comprehensive practice provides a clear set of rights and responsibilities standards for reporting and responding to incidents of sexual violence and it establishes a process for complaints and investigations.
Our practice and protocol also ensures that immediate and effective support is available for survivors of sexual assault and sexual violence and that those who make complaints or report incidents of sexual assault or sexual violence are protected from retaliation and threats. A dedicated web page has been developed to make this practice and protocol — along with important on-and-off campus resources — readily available at www.niagaracollege.ca/sexualassaultpolicy.
Our practice and protocol is based on a provincial template that was developed in consultation with students and staff across Ontario’s 24-colleges legal experts the Ontario Women’s Directorate government stakeholders and others. With input from our own students and staff we have used this template to develop a practice and protocol that is unique to Niagara College and reflects the needs of our college community.
Our practice and protocol also supports – and aligns with – “It’s Never Okay:” premier Kathleen Wynne’s action plan for stopping sexual violence and harassment launched in early March.
Our work on this important issue doesn’t stop with the launch of this practice. We are developing important educational and awareness initiatives as well as training for our faculty and staff. We will also review the practice and protocol on an annual basis to ensure that it remains effective and up-to-date.
I urge you to visit the Sexual Assault Practice and Protocol website to learn about rights and responsibilities processes for reporting incidents of sexual assault and the support and resources available for survivors of sexual assault.
Questions regarding the practice and protocol can be directed to Rick Anderson acting vice president student affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 7135.
Dan Patterson PhD