St. Thomas University (STU) and the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) have signed a joint agreement with the University of New Brunswick (UNB) to adopt and further develop the comprehensive sexual assault strategy launched last year.
The strategy, released in June 2016 after more than a year of consultations, outlined the actions UNB will take when sexual assaults are reported along with how to reduce and discourage incidents from taking place.
A joint agreement between the three campuses will see each provide approximately $80,000 in funding per year to further develop training for student leaders and staff, as well as increase public awareness and provide support for victims.
“When we reached out to the other institutions and made the proposal that we work together it was an immediate ‘yes,'” said UNB vice-president academic Dr. George MacLean. “So things moved very quickly on that score because we recognized that we share a community, we share this issue and it’s something that we need to be pooling our resources on.”
In September, UNB hired Maggie Forsythe to work as the campus sexual assault advocate.
Forsythe said when starting in the role neither she nor the university knew how it would be received, but the commitment to expand on the work that’s been done over the past several months will help diminish the negative stigma surrounding victims speaking up and encourage students to seek help.
“I think that it’s really good news because now we’re all on the same page,” Forsythe explained. “We can all start working together to be more innovative and think about this issue in a different light.”