The University of Calgary is facing pressure to take action regarding a registered sex offender attending classes at the university.
Connor Neurauter, originally from Kamloops, B.C., pleaded guilty on Jan 4. to sexual interference.
The now 21-year-old student was handed a three-month jail sentence and two years probation. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years and to provide a DNA sample to the national data bank.
His sentence was supposed to start on Jan 4., however, a judge delayed the start of his jail time so he could finish his university semester.
The university said Tuesday it’s “reviewing the situation” and confirmed Neurauter hasn’t been attending classes on campus this week.
“The University of Calgary is committed to providing a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for our campus community,” a statement from the U of C said.
“The university has conduct, sexual violence and harassment policies in place, and extensive support services that provide a wide range of expertise and assistance to all community members. We are committed to providing support and resources to all members of our campus community who wish to access them.”
For students attending the school, the lack of action isn’t enough.
“As a woman, it makes me outraged at the justice system for those victims, young or older, who are victims of assault or sexual abuse,” Paloma Bogacz told Global News on Wednesday.
“And as a woman, too, it just makes me feel unsafe because you know that he could have been a guy in your study group.
“It just makes me feel quite unsafe being on campus.”
Fellow student Dana Cramer called the university’s response offensive to any students that are victims of sexual assault.
“I believe that taking a stance on the issue is just as important… or else you’re just allowing yourself to be a bystander and that’s offensive to anyone on this campus who has experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment.”
“This is a movement. Time’s up. What we have been seeing over this past weekend at the Golden Globes and #Metoo movement… This is a movement that is carrying forward, so we want to do our part at the University of Calgary campus.”
A petition calling Neurauter’s expulsion has also been circulating this week. It gained more than 20,000 signatures in its first day.
“I think people are ready for a change and are not going to tolerate this stuff — whether it be on their university campus or in their justice system — as Canadian citizens,” Bogacz said. “If you’re silent, you’re supporting the oppressor and you’re not supporting the victim.”
Students were seen handing out flyers on the university’s campus on Wednesday. They featured Neurauter’s photo and a warning to students that a convicted sex offender was attending their school.
“There hasn’t really been any affirmative action, like, we stand with the victim or not,” said Jennifer Lee, one of the students posting the flyers around campus.
“We are targetting the lobbies of all the student departments today. We started off in the arts department and now we’re heading over to MacEwan Hall.”
— With files from Global’s Sarah Offin