UNB rolling out first of its kind standalone sexual assault policy

WATCH ABOVE: Steps are being taken to ensure the standalone policy is in place before students return to university. Jeremy Keefe has more.

Students are set to begin arriving at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) campus for the upcoming school year in less than a week, at which time the post-secondary institution’s new sexual assault policy will be in place.

While most universities and colleges have existing procedures to deal with sexual assault situations, UNB recently finalized a standalone policy, among the first of its kind in the country.

READ MORE: UNB releases long awaited sexual assault policy and procedures document

“We are concerned about student safety and we’ve done some work to develop a standalone policy that will help them know what is appropriate and how to respond if they do end up in an unfortunate situation,” said Shirley Cleave, UNB’s associate vice-president academic.

“We recognize that having a policy is one way to focus attention on an issue that is a primary concern to the university.”

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Multi-faceted campaign roll-out

First year students will be given information packets when they check in on campus and a poster campaign that will line the walls of the school’s buildings.

There will also be a website launched in the near future aimed at providing information and support for any who might need it.

“It adds that much more security to our students and their safety,” said UNB Student Union President Travis Daley.

“In addition to that it demonstrates the university’s willingness to tackle this issue head on.”

READ MORE: Dalhousie Student Union paring down sexual assault helpline due to ‘inadequate’ funding

Assisting with the new policies and procedures will be a campus sexual assault support advocate, located at both the Fredericton and Saint John locations.

“They’ll have a major role to play in the educational initiatives that we’ll put together,” Cleave said.

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Last year, training initiatives were started that were geared towards better educating student leaders in these types of situations, a practice that has been expanded this year.

“All 145 of our red shirt orientation leaders are being trained in bringing in the bystander training,” explained Daley.

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“On top of that our house leaders in residence are being trained, so we have over 400 student leaders being trained in how to deal with this type of measure.

READ MORE: Saint Mary’s University changes frosh week, a year after ‘rape chant’

UNB Students will begin moving into residence on September 3 with classes beginning on September 8.