Students had until Monday to share any thoughts, concerns or suggestions about TRU’s sexual violence policy to the B.C. government. The process, which originally began on Dec. 4, asked all post-secondary institutions in the province to review their policies on sexual violence and misconduct.
Despite many of B.C.’s universities having fairly new policies, as the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act only came into effect last May, many students and staff have been eager to submit feedback.
Here at TRU, Saprina Chandi, TRUSU women’s representative, believes that both TRU’s second round of consultation, which will run until Feb. 28 (with two general consultations on Feb. 1 and 6) and the government’s will allow students to voice their opinions if they couldn’t before.
“The policy review is giving students, staff and faculty, the university community, the opportunity to give feedback regarding the policy,” Chandi said. “So maybe students who didn’t have the opportunity to participate in the construction of the policy prior have the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on the policy now.”
Though TRU’s current policy was finalized after a lengthy consultation process, the effort to educate students, staff and faculty on sexual violence and misconduct is ongoing. While Chandi believes that the policy is currently sound, she does understand the need to involve the entirety of the TRU community in such an important discussion.
“Reviewing it, I feel it does a good job of addressing those issues,” she said. “The important thing is that the community is participating. It’s a safe opportunity to give your feedback.”
Amber Huva, TRU’s sexualized violence prevention and response manager, agrees with Chandi’s sentiment, but is also interested to see how students are reacting to the policy given that it’s still less than a year old.
“People have had a little bit of time to get used to the idea of this topic being talked about on campus, being more visible on campus, spending the year encouraging people to go read the policy,” Huva said. “What will they think about it now versus the first round of consultation?”
In addition to this, Huva wants students and staff to know that anyone, even if they are not a survivor themselves, can participate in these policy reviews.
“Sometimes people feel like they can’t participate in the conversation because they are not an expert or survivor, anyone in this policy can participate,” Huva said.
Huva, who worked on the development of the original policy, has been instrumental to TRU’s effort to prevent sexual violence on campus as well as educate the campus community on the topic. In the future, she’d like to see TRU dig even further into the education and prevention side of things, with more collaboration with community experts.
“I would like to see further collaboration with community experts, that’s a big piece of the puzzle,” Huva said. “I would like to see more conversations around connecting the dots between sexualized violence, racism, homophobia, transphobia and sexism.”
Huva would also like to make students aware that every Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., a victim services worker from the Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre, Jody Beesley, is on campus to provide her services.
“It’s a service completely separate from TRU and it’s important for people to know that if they share something with Jodie or access that service while they are here, that doesn’t leave Jody,” Amber said.
You can contact Jody to book an appointment at 250-372-0179 or drop by Student Services.