Sexual assault task force makes 14 recommendations

With the release of a draft sexual assault policy, TRU has turned to students, staff and faculty

The task force report made 14 recommendations to the university, including hiring a sexual assault prevention and response manager, and delivering a policy to the board. (Sean Brady/The Omega)

The task force report made 14 recommendations to the university, including hiring a sexual assault prevention and response manager, and delivering a policy to the board. (Sean Brady/The Omega)

The President’s Task Force on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, which formed in the summer of 2015, has made 14 recommendations to the university to address sexual assault.

The first recommendation of the task force is to present a sexual assault policy to the TRU Board of Governors. That policy is currently being developed and a draft was released alongside the task force’s report.

The task force also recommended that the university hire a sexual violence prevention and response manager, collect data on assaults that happen both on and off campus, develop training and education programs and ensure that victims are given a choice in how their report is handled after they’ve disclosed an assault.

A full list of the recommendations is available in the report.

TRU has invited students, faculty and staff to a series of information sessions to discuss the draft policy. Students are invited to provide input on the draft policy on Sept. 29 (3-4 p.m.) and Oct. 27 (10-11 a.m.). Faculty and staff have separate meetings on Sept. 22 (3-4 p.m.) and Oct. 13 (10-11 a.m.). The meetings will take place in the TRUSU Lecture Hall.

“It’s a draft policy – and it is ‘drafty.’ We’ll collect input for revising it before it goes to the board,” said Christine Adam, TRU’s dean of students.

“We’ll work along the same lines as UBC has, to produce a bit of a guide for people to consider the policy and what things to ask about it.”

TRU began developing a sexual assault policy in July 2015, but the provincial government effectively put a clock on the implementation of a policy in May 2016, when a bill requiring universities to have a sexual assault policy received royal assent. The bill was introduced by Green MP Andrew Weaver, who shared the story of Jean Strong, a TRU student who said she was merely told to change schools when she reported a sexual assault to the university in 2012.

As a result, TRU must have a sexual assault policy implemented by May 2017 under the Post-Secondary Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act.

The task force’s 14 members came from all over campus and the local community, including security and risk management staff, student affairs staff, legal staff, athletics staff, RCMP members, human resources staff, marketing staff, human resources staff, counselling staff and four unnamed students.

One recommendation that has already been picked up on by the university is the hiring of a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Manager, with the hiring of Amber Huva, who began work at the school on Sept. 1.