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University of Manitoba to take measures against sexual harassment, violence

"This is only the beginning of the road, " said UMSU vice-president of advocacy Sarah Bonner-Proulx.
"This is only the beginning of the road, " said UMSU vice-president of advocacy Sarah Bonner-Proulx. Global News File

The University of Manitoba is vowing to take action on sexual harassment, which has plagued the school in recent years.

The school said they will accept all 43 recommendations made in an independent report which focused on how the university should take action on prevention, response, and the consequences of sexual violence.

Some of those recommendations include the establishment of a Sexual Violence Resource Centre and the banning of intimate relationships between teaching staff and students.

READ MORE: U of M students union calling for ban of student-faculty relationships

“My colleagues on the executive team and other senior leaders share my commitment to seeing these recommendations implemented in a timely fashion,” said U of M president David Barnard.

The centre is expected to be a hub to help survivors and victims navigate the sexual violence process.

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Last year, Barnard said the school had multiple ongoing investigations into sexual assault, harassment and human rights, five of which involved faculty.

Students on campus were surprised to hear of the policy change because they didn’t know it wasn’t already implemented.

“I honestly thought it was already a rule. Like it’s already there,” said student Joe Karpauskas.

Another student, Diana Bugriak, echoed the surprise.

“They’ll probably be getting better treatments and such but I mean like they’re your prof they shouldn’t be getting with you.”

RELATED: Sexual harassment investigations involving faculty ‘ongoing’ at University of Manitoba

The University of Manitoba Students Union said they previously put forward 15 recommendations to combat sexual violence and 14 of them were adopted by the school.

“This is only the beginning of the road, ” said UMSU vice-president of advocacy Sarah Bonner-Proulx.

“Moving forward, UMSU remains dedicated to creating a safe and accessible campus experience.”

The president said the voices of survivors, students, faculty and staff will be heard in implementing the recommendations.

“We recognize the work ahead of us combating sexual violence will require our unwavering attention,” Barnard added.

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“Responding appropriately to sexual violence remains an area of intense focus for universities across Canada, and I look forward to sharing the findings of this report with peers at other institutions in the country.”

WATCH: UMSU president calls for student-teacher relationship ban

UMSU president explains their student-instructor relationship ban request
UMSU president explains their student-instructor relationship ban request
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