Subject: Sexual Violence Prevention and Response
Approved by: Board of Regents
Approval date: May 17, 2016
Effective date: May 31, 2016
Revised date: July 27, 2020
Administered by: Vice-President, International and Student Affairs
Sexual violence is known to be harmful to individuals, groups and communities, particularly vulnerable members. Sexual violence is therefore unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Mount Allison University has a legal obligation to provide a working and learning environment that is free from sexual violence. Where there is reason to believe that sexual violence has taken place, action will be taken. Individuals who come forward will be fully involved and informed in decisions with respect to how to proceed. The stand-alone policy and procedures developed by the University for responding to reports of sexual violence will be made accessible to the University community. The University will engage in education and prevention, including training. The University will hold accountable those individuals responsible for sexual violence.
This policy applies to all members of the Mount Allison community: faculty, staff, students, contracted employees working on university property or on behalf of the university, and visitors or guests of the university community.
This policy is inclusive of all university property and events hosted, sponsored by, controlled by or associated with Mount Allison University including but not limited to, travel (such as sports teams, clubs, societies, study abroad, experiential learning, teaching, and/or research conducted off campus).
This policy also includes any form of sexual violence that occurs using university-owned or operated equipment including, but not limited to, telephones, computers, and computer networks.
This policy also extends to private events off campus where the university may have an interest. Mount Allison University cannot monitor the environment external to campus, however, university organizations, teams, clubs or representative individuals may be held responsible for their university-activity-related actions off campus.
The interpretation and application of this policy is the responsibility of the Vice-President International and Student Affairs or delegate for student issues and the Vice-President Finance and Administration or delegate for employee issues.
3.1 Promote Affirmative Consent Culture
Mount Allison University is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy campus environment by addressing sexual violence through: awareness, education, training and prevention programs; survivor support; and, the timely, effective and fair handling of disclosures of sexual violence. This policy outlines how the University will demonstrate its commitment to the establishment of an affirmative consent culture.
3.2 Address Myths and Misconceptions
There are many myths and misconceptions about sexual violence (e.g. rape myths) that downplay the seriousness of sexual violence and confuse an individual's understanding of consent. These ways of thinking contribute to a social context where individuals who experience sexual violence may blame themselves for what happened and worry that they will not be believed. This may dissuade them from seeking help. These misconceptions contribute to victim-blaming responses that excuse perpetrators for their actions. Similarly, there are myths about who can be raped. Victims can include women, men, non-binary, transgender and sexually diverse people, all of whom will be supported under this policy. This policy has been developed to support any member of the university community who has experienced sexual violence and to ensure they are treated with dignity and respect.
3.3 Recognize Intersectionality
Mount Allison University is a diverse community and it is recognized that individual experiences of sexual violence may be affected by factors intersect with social categories covered under the New Brunswick Human Rights Act and including, but not limited to, sex, ancestry, race, ethnicity, language, ability, faith, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. In such circumstances, members of the university community should bring allegations with aspects that may be otherwise captured by other policies forward under this stand-alone policy in order that their experience of sexualized violence can be dealt with in a holistic manner.
Mount Allison encourages members of the University community to disclose as soon as possible after sexual violence occurs so that corrective action may be taken as quickly as possible. Generally, complaints may be accepted up to a year after an incident, recognizing that it is the nature of sexual violence that a survivor may take much longer to feel safe or ready to disclose.
It is an offense to retaliate against a member of the University community who discloses or reports sexual violence. It is an offense to make a frivolous or vexatious complaint of sexual violence.
To encourage reporting of incidents under this policy, complainants and witnesses will have immunity/amnesty from violations of other institutional policies related to consumption of alcohol and or drugs in the context of the incident(s) of sexual violence.
5. TERMINOLOGY AND DEFINITIONS
Complainant: An individual who makes a written complaint of sexual violence
Consent: An active, direct, voluntary, unimpaired and conscious choice and agreement, without coercion, deception or fraud, between adults to engage in physical contact or sexual activity.
Consent Culture: A culture in which the prevailing narrative of sex is centered on mutual consent. It is a culture that does not force anyone into anything, respects bodily autonomy and is based on the belief that a person is always the best judge of their own wants and needs. Consent to any activity is ongoing, freely given, informed and enthusiastic.
Disclosure: When an individual reveals or provides information to a University official that they or another party have experienced sexual violence. This may include a request for support and services.
Employee: Any person who has an employment relationship with Mount Allison University or who had an employment relationship with Mount Allison University at the time an incident occurred.
First Responder: The person to whom the survivor initially discloses. This could be a friend, staff member or faculty member.
Intersectional: Refers to an approach that acknowledges the integrative and complex nature of social identities and social oppressions, including various forms of violence. An intersectional approach to sexualized violence considers the fact that the impact of sexualized violence can overlap and interact with experiences of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, classism, ableism and so on.
Interim Measures: Temporary measures imposed on the Respondent designed to protect the safety of the Complainant and/or other individuals involved in a Disclosure or Complaint. These interim measures are instituted by the SHARE Advisor at any point following the Disclosure or Reporting of an incident of sexual violence, and prior to any finding or determination being made under this policy. Interim measures are arranged by the SHARE Advisor and take into consideration the severity of the allegations and the Complainants desire to restrict access to disclosed information. Examples of interim measures include, without limitation, a no contact order, trespass or restricted access order, suspension, exclusion from social, athletic or other extra-curricular activities, limiting access to services or facilities, or other safety measures.
Rape Culture: An environment in which sexual violence against women, in particular, is normalized and excused in society, the media and popular culture. Rape culture can be perpetuated, for example, by the use of misogynistic language, objectification and fragmentation of women's bodies, and glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards or downgrades women's rights and safety. Rape culture may be found in jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words, and imagery that make sexual violence and sexual coercion seem normal, making people believe that rape is inevitable. It promotes victim blaming through prevention efforts that emphasize "don't get raped" vs. "don't rape"
Natural Justice: The right to procedural fairness including:absence of bias; the right to be heard; the right to know the reason for any decision; and the duty of any decision-maker to act fairly. All processes must be conducted in a fair and unbiased manner, and must protect the rights of all parties involved.
Report/Complaint: A formal verbal or written account of an incident of sexual violence for the purposes of initiating an appropriate form of action on or off campus.
Sexual Assault is illegal under Canada's Criminal Code and refers to:
a) any form of unwanted, forced, or coerced sexual activity, including kissing, fondling, touching and any kind of intercourse, that is done onto another person without their consent; or
b) any attempts or threats, by an act or a gesture, to force sexual activity onto a person, if the person committing the act had or caused another to believe the person committing the act had the present ability to act on the attempt or threat.
Respondent: An individual against whom a written Complaint of sexual violence has been made.
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART): A group of campus and community service providers who work with the SHARE Advisor to ensure that appropriate supports and accomodations are provided to members of the university community who have experienced sexual assault. The team is comprised of the SHARE Advisor, along with professionals and personnel from the Student Wellness, Health, Mental Health, Accessibility, Financial Aid, Academic Support and other Univeristy offices as appropriate to each case. External supports such as police, victim services, crisis services and human rights organizations may also form part of the team on a case-by-case basis.
Sexual Harassment: Vexatious comment or conduct of a sexual nature that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. A vexatious comment or conduct causes humiliation and is offensive or abusive to the recipient because of their sex, gender or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment can also be more general such that it creates a hostile or poisoned environment to persons of a given sex, gender or sexual orientation.
SHARE Advisor: The SHARE Advisor is the University official appointed to carry out responsibilities pursuant to this policy through the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education (SHARE) Service.
Sexual Violence: Any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. This includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, degrading sexual imagery, distribution of sexual images or video of a community member without their consent; or cyber harassment or cyber stalking of a sexual nature. Some acts of sexual violence intersect with or may be influenced by systemic oppression related, but not limited, to protected grounds under the New Brunswick Human Rights Act.
SHARE: Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education Service. This is the service administered by the SHARE Advisor to provide education related to, and to address all concerns related to, sexual violence at Mount Allison University.
Stand-Alone: self-contained especially operating or cap-able of operating independently
Student: An individual who is registered in a course of study at Mount Allison University or who was so registered at the time an incident occurred.
Survivor: An individual who has experienced sexual violence may identify with this label, as a term of empowerment, strength, and healing.
Survivor Centred: An approach that, wherever possible, seeks to empower the individual who has experienced sexual violence by placing their needs at the centre of decision-making related to support and response.
Trauma Informed: An approach that takes into consideration the profound and complex physical, psychological and social impacts of trauma on an individual. For example, providing a stand-alone policy is part of a trauma informed approach.
6. POLICY OBJECTIVES
6.1 Awareness, Prevention, Education and Training
SHARE works with on and off campus partners to develop educational strategies that include campaigns, training sessions, workshops, print and online resources, programs and events on a breadth of topics related to sexual violence on campus. Topics include rape culture, consent culture, sexual assault awareness, how to seek support, resources for survivors, advice and resources for first responders, preventive approaches such as active bystander and positive space campaigns, etc. The audience for these efforts includes staff, faculty, students, and visitors to campus.
Faculties and departments are encouraged to support sexual violence prevention education in course materials and program curricula where appropriate.
6.2 Survivor Support
All members of the Mount Allison community (staff, faculty and students) may receive support from the SHARE Advisor if they have experienced sexual violence. Detailed information about on and off campus supports is provided on the SHARE website.
The SHARE Advisor will work with individual survivors to assist in accessing any needed medical, legal and counselling services along with academic, residence or workplace accommodations including developing a SART for the case as needed.
The SHARE Advisor provides a confidential, survivor-centred, trauma-informed culturally relevant and intersectional service. Survivors need only to Disclose their experience to access support. There will be no requirement to either make or refrain from making a formal written Complaint when seeking support and advice.
Notwithstanding the principle above, in some very rare cases the University may be required — based on risk assessment by the SHARE Advisor in consultation with the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) — to take action without the survivor’s consent. If this is deemed necessary, individuals affected will be fully informed and supported at every step of any process.
The SHARE Advisor provides assistance by working with administrators and/or Security to conduct risk assessments, formulate safety plans, and arrange necessary no contact orders or other interim measures to reduce the likelihood of the survivor having an unexpected encounter with an accused.
6.3 Disclosure and Reporting
Those who have experienced sexual violence have options for Disclosure, Reporting and/or filing a formal Complaint in response to an incident of sexual violence. SHARE can assist persons considering making a Disclosure or Report/Complaint in understanding each of these options and in ensuring that they have all the information they need in order to make an appropriate decision on next steps. SHARE will support members of the Mount Allison community in pursuing any of the options outlined below.
Detailed information about options and what to expect for all parties, survivors, and persons accused are provided on the SHARE website. All processes must follow principles of natural justice and must appropriately protect the rights of all parties involved.
Persons who have experienced sexual violence are encouraged to come forward to disclose as soon as they are able to do so. When a Disclosure of sexual assault is made, the safety, security, and well-being of the survivor are fundamental considerations. All Disclosures are kept confidential to the extent possible in order to take necessary action. Community safety may also be a consideration in some cases.
Options include but are not limited to:
Community Reporting Options:
- Reports/Complaints can be made to the police in an effort to pursue criminal charges under the Criminal Code of Canada;
- Reports can be made to the Human Rights Commission in cases of human rights violations
- Public Safety (Victim) Services are available for counselling, support and advice when a report to police has been made;
- Many community services for survivors of relationship violence and abuse are available and listed on the SHARE Website.
- A process under this policy beginning with Disclosure to the SHARE Advisor and/or a Human Resources Consultant;
- The process following a disclosure may take the form of an informal resolution with the assistance of the SHARE Advisor and/or Human Resources;
- A formal Complaint, in the form of a written letter or verbal report transcribed by another party such as the SHARE Advisor, may result in an investigation by a trained internal investigator or an external, third-party with expertise in sexual violence complaints.
6.3.1 Informal Resolution
When a person is comfortable in doing so, either alone or with the support of another University community member, they are encouraged to Disclose to the SHARE Advisor. A person may seek a resolution through the SHARE Advisor, without filing a formal written Complaint. Disclosures are confidential and no action will be taken without the full consent of the person making the Disclosure, except in the case where imminent harm to others may be a concern or in some very rare cases where the University may be required - based on risk assessment by the SHARE Advisor in consultation with the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) - to take action without the persons consent. If this is deemed necessary, individuals affected will be fully informed and supported at every step of any process.
Upon receipt of a Disclosure, interim measures may be imposed to ensure a sense of security and safety for the victim. In some cases, these measures may resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the person who made the Disclosure.
Examples of interim measures include, but are not limited to:
no contact order
trespass or restricted access order
exclusion from social, athletic or other extra-curricular activities
limiting access to services or facilities
other safety measures
Informal resolution may also include agreement by both parties to other restorative approaches such as change in living or learning arrangements. The SHARE Advisor will liaise with other campus departments - and/or the Sexual Assault Response Team for student cases - to arrange appropriate workplace, academic and safety accomodations (as per the procedures).
6.3.2 Formal Complaint Resolution
Upon written submission of a formal Complaint to the SHARE Advisor, an investigation may be conducted by a trained member of the university community appointed by the SHARE Advisor or by an external third party with expertise in investigating sexual violence complaints. The formal Complaint may be written by the Complainant or a transcribed Complaint recorded by the SHARE Advisor or other support person and must be signed and should include details regarding dates, times, places and names of those involved and contact information for any witnesses. The SHARE Advisor will do an initial review of the Complaint, in consultation with the Dean/Director for employee cases, to determine if the Complaint is more appropriately handled under another University policy; that a Complaint is not covered by this policy; that a complaint is not trivial, frivolous, vexatious, or made in bad faith; or that the time has not
expired for filing a Complaint. In these cases the SHARE Advisor will inform the Complainant in writing of the decision not to conduct an investigation and the reasons for the decision.
Upon initiation of an investigation, the investigator will collect and assess the facts. The investigation will involve but will not necessarily be limited to interviews with both the Complainant and Respondent, interviews with any witnesses and documentation of the evidence gathered.
Members of the University community are obliged to cooperate in the investigation of a Complaint. Upon conclusion of the investigation, a report will be prepared by the investigator, which may include recommendations for resolution of the Complaint. The report will be presented to the SHARE Advisor and will subsequently be submitted to the Director. Student Life (in student cases), and/or to the dean/director of the employee's faculty or department, and to a human resources consultant (when an employee is involved.) In a case where both a student and an employee are involved, a report will go to their dean or director, as well as to a human resources consultant. Typically, the investigation and report will be concluded within thirty (30) working days of the appointment of an investigator. The Director, Student Life and the dean/director of the employee will act upon the findings and recommendation of the report in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct (non-academic) and/or relevant university policies and collective agreements.
The report, in addition to a summary of the facts gathered and the process used to gather the information, will include a clear statement as to whether, in the investigator’s opinion:
i) The Complaint is substantiated; and/or
ii) There is sufficient evidence on which to base a finding; and/or
iii) Any behaviour constituted Sexual Violence.
The investigator will not make specific disciplinary recommendations but may include recommendations for remedial actions that, in the investigator’s opinion, will assist in addressing the situation.
6.3.3 Disposition of an Investigated Complaint
Within ten (10) working days after receiving an investigator’s report, the SHARE Advisor in consultation with the Director, Student Life(in student cases) or the Dean/Director in consultation with Human Resources (in employee cases) shall decide, when Sexual Violence is found to have occurred, and what corrective action consistent with any university regulation or applicable collective agreement is warranted. Within twenty (20) working days of submission of the report to the SHARE Advisor, except in extenuating circumstances, the Complainant and Respondent shall both be provided, in confidence, a copy of the report. The Complainant and the Respondent shall be informed in writing of the decision made and the action to be taken.
Corrective actions may include, but are not limited to:
Letter of Reprimand
Service to the community
No contact orders
Removal from academic classes
Removal from non-academic groups
No trespass orders
Eviction from residence
The decision may be appealed by either party to the Vice-President responsible for the administration of this policy, Student Affairs (in student cases) or the Vice-President, Administrative (in employee cases).
Confidentiality is a key principle in creating an environment where survivors feel safe to disclose and seek support and accommodation. There are, however, limits to confidentiality such as situations in which:
- An individual is judged to be at imminent risk of self-harm;
- An individual is judged to be at imminent risk of harming another;
- There is agreement in writing to share information in order to take action under this policy;
- A client of the SHARE Advisor gives written permission to share information contained in their file for medical, legal or other purposes;
- Legislation requires reporting or action;
- Evidence of sexual violence is available in the public realm (e.g. video shared publicly on social media);
- An individual involved is under 16 years of age and/or there is a legal duty to report (Under the Family Services Act).
Case files will be maintained by the SHARE Advisor and will be destroyed five years after the most recent activity in relation to the file. However, records concerning the numbers and types of cases and the resolution of cases can be kept after five years provided these records do not contain personal identifiers.
The SHARE Advisor will maintain annual statistics on reported incidents of sexual violence on campus for the purposes of community education and any legislated reporting that may be required. This data will never include any information that would identify any member of the Mount Allison community.
9. POLICY REVIEW
This policy and associated procedures will be consistent with current best practices across Canada. To maintain this policy’s currency and relevance, this policy will be reviewed every 4 years, or more frequently when relevant social, resource, or legal changes otherwise warrant an update. The Vice-President International and Student Affairs will initiate review of the policy. Feedback or questions about this policy may be sent to SHARE@mta.ca
Mount Allison wishes to acknowledge the following, whose related expertise, policies, and procedures provided background and a foundation in best practices that assisted in the development of this policy:
Dalhousie University. (2018) Sexualized Violence Policy.
Human Rights Act of New Brunswick. Human Rights Act, RSNB 2011, c 171
Ontario Tech University (April 2019). Student Sexual Violence Policy and Procedures.
Ontario Women’s Directorate. (2013). Developing a Response to Sexual Violence: A Resource Guide For Ontario’s Colleges and Universities
Sexual Violence New Brunswick.
St. Thomas University. (2015). Policy on Sexual Violence.
Saint Mary’s University. (2015). Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures (August 2015).
This policy also acknowledges the employees and students involved in a comprehensive review of the policy in 2019. This review included consultations with all campus constituencies, including all employee and student unions, interest groups, relevant Committees of the Board of Regents, and a comprehensive scan of university policies across Canada.
Principles of Consent
Mount Allison University through the efforts of SHARE and its partners will promote the following principles related to consent:
- Consent is active, not passive or silent.
- Consent cannot be obtained through threats, coercion, deception or fraud.
- Consent can be revoked at any time.
- Consent cannot be obtained through threats, coercion, or other forms of control and intimidation, which includes coercion through abuse of a position of trust, power, or authority
- Consent cannot be obtained if one party abuses a position of power, trust, or authority.
- It is the responsibility of the person who wants to engage in physical contact or sexual activity to make sure that they have consent from the other person(s) involved.
- Consent to one sexual act does not constitute or imply consent to a different sexual act.
- Consent is required regardless of the parties’ relationship status or sexual history together.
- Consent cannot be given by a person who is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, or who is unconscious or otherwise lacks the capacity to give consent.
- If a complainant's judgement is impaired, consent is not valid.
- If the accused’s judgement is impaired, such that they are lead to believe that there was consent, consent is not valid and impairment is not an excuse.