University of Lethbridge updates sexual violence policy

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University of Lethbridge updates sexual violence policy
WATCH ABOVE: The University of Lethbridge has updated its sexual violence policy after an extensive review and several consultations with the community. Jasmine Bala reports – Jun 27, 2019

The University of Lethbridge has approved a newly revised sexual violence policy.

The last policy was created in 2016 with a commitment to future reviews, such as the one that was recently conducted.

“As a post-secondary institution, we have a responsibility to stand up and educate our community about the issue,” said Kathleen Massey, the university’s associate vice-president (students), “[and] to work to make the University of Lethbridge a sexual violence-free community.”

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The university conducted an extensive review of the 2016 policy and held eight community consultations that were open to the public. Students were invited as well.

“It’s a really good feeling and it’s nice… that we were consulted, and it’s something that they clearly know that students have an opinion about and something they want to consider as well,” said Andrew Gammack, president of the university’s student union.

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The new policy is meant to educate U of L community members about consent, provide support and outline a procedure for lodging complaints.

One of the biggest changes is a focus on trauma reduction, as there’s no longer a deadline for an individual to file a complaint.

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“There’s no timeline, no time limit, and that’s very significant in terms of the effect on trauma on individuals who have experienced sexual violence,” Massey explained.

“They need time to process, they need time to make decisions on whether or not to move forward with a complaint.”

The new policy is more informed by diversity on campus, including gender expression, gender identity and cultural identity.

Gammack said the revisions to the policy are a good change for the university.

“A policy like this obviously outlines a lot of rules that are good but also kind of shows a commitment in the future to having policies in place for issues of this nature,” he said.

Massey said the university will continue to improve the policy in the future.


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