UBC fields 10 reports under new sexual assault policy
The University of British Columbia (UBC) says it has fielded 10 reports under a new sexual assault policy that was implemented six months ago.
However, exactly what types of incidents were reported remains unclear.
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More detailed information on individual cases is protected by privacy restrictions, said UBC associate vice-president of equity and inclusion Sara-Jane Finlay, meaning the reported incidents could be any type of sexual misconduct.
“We have really been trying to ensure that what’s put in place and what we establish follows through with the commitments we made in the policy,” she said.
Under the new policy, the school has hired two directors, one in charge of prevention and response, and the other in charge of investigations.
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The director heading up sexual assault investigations has 14 days to review reports of sexual misconduct and refer them to external investigators, who then have 60 days to probe the allegations.
Finlay said with the new policy just six months old, the school has yet to determine whether it is having a positive effect.
“As we move along and we have more interaction with students, we’ll hear about the ways in which we can improve the work we are doing.”
B.C.’s public post secondary institutions were required by provincial law to develop sexual assault policies by May of this year.
Prior to developing the new policy, UBC had relied on a combination of a sexual harassment and a non-academic misconduct policy for complaints against students, which allowed a panel of students to judge whether an attack occurred. Complaints against faculty were made to department heads.
UBC’s record on handling cases of sexual assault has come under fire in recent years.
An independent review of UBC’s handling of multiple reports about a PhD student in 2015 found that while staff acted in good faith, miscommunications and an unclear process led to delays.
-With files from the Canadian Press