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Five sexual harassment investigations involving faculty ‘ongoing’ at the University of Manitoba

As 30,000 students poured into classes Wednesday morning, the president of the University of Manitoba stood in front of media and delivered a shocking message.

David Barnard admitted the school has multiple ongoing investigations into sexual assault, harassment and human rights; five of which involve faculty.

READ MORE: Warning issued following sexual assault at U of W Friday

According to number provided by the university, five open investigations under the University of Manitoba’s Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy and Sexual Assault Policy involve faculty as the respondent.

  • One is for sexual assault and personal harassment
  • One is for sexual assault and sexual harassment
  • One is for sexual harassment
  • Two others are human rights investigations

In relation to the five ongoing investigations, two members of faculty are on leave.

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Barnard refused to go into detail on Wednesday, but did apologize to anyone who was a potential victim of any sexual violence.

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He did not specify names or ages of the faculty respondents.

“Investigations can typically be into the behavior of any member of the community and typically there are, at any point in time, investigations going on with respect to different people from different groups,” Barnard said.

Hours after Barnard’s press conference on campus, the university sent the following message to Global News:

While an investigation is ongoing, the university ensures appropriate measures are taken to mitigate any further risk and ensuring the safety of students, faculty and staff. Its policies enable the university to impose interim measures for the safety of students and staff. The safety of the entire university community is our priority; as a result the university always considers and often imposes appropriate interim measures when complaints are filed, especially in relation to sexual harassment or sexual assault. 

READ MORE: Manitoba proposes new law against sexual violence at universities

There are currently no open investigations involving a student complaining about another student.

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Along with the admission was a promise the University of Manitoba will be making some changes about how they receive reports of sexual violence, and a new education campaign launched to aid students who are experiencing any difficulties on or off campus.

Mandatory training for all faculty and staff on sexual violence and consent will be instituted soon, along with a review of the university’s sexual assault policy.

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