MRU looks for student’s opinions on how to handle gender-based violence in post-secondary campuses
Samantha Bingeman, Contributor & Mikaela Delos Santos, News Editor
Mount Royal University (MRU) proposes a part to play when it comes to the prevention of gender-based violence in post-secondary campuses, and is seeking MRU students’ input.
In an email sent out by the Office of the Executive Director of Student Affairs, the university encourages students to participate in the Provincial Survey on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. Future provincial efforts and initiatives addressing gender-based violence on post-secondary campuses will be guided by the survey results.
Gender-based violence is a complex issue. According to the Government of Canada, it is acknowledged that commonly race, ethnicity, disability and other identifiers may tie into who is targeted for gender-based violence. In an information session held last Feb. 6 by the Office of the Executive Director of Student Affairs, four out of five Canadian undergraduate students have reported having experienced dating violence, and 13.9 per cent of MRU students have experienced non-consensual sexual touching.
The policy review
According to the email, “MRU’s Gender-Based Violence Working group — composed of students, staff and faculty — has been reviewing, assessing and updating MRU’s policies and procedures. The group has drafted a new Gender-Based Violence and Misconduct Prevention and Response policy and procedures.”
The University has taken steps in establishing a gender-based violence working group, a review of best practices, assessing the current policy, establishing policy priorities, consulting stakeholders and drafting the policy. Twenty-three members of the committee compose of Dating, Domestic, Sexual Violence (DDSV)services co-chair, three faculty experts, eight students, the Stepping Up Program, CCASA Representatives, HR, Student Affairs, Housing, Security, Safe Disclosure, Iniskim Centre, Legal and Wellness Services. The Stakeholders include SAMRU, CCASA, Human Resources, and the Ministry of Advanced Education.
The new policy and procedures highlight the updated language to reflect best practices, separate documents for procedures the policy in itself, reinforcing DDSV services and eliminating the ‘response team’, introducing interim measures, accommodate supports and alternative resolutions, as well as an established committee oversight.
What does MRU propose to offer support?
An individual a part of the MRU community (students, staff, faculty, and any others related to the institution) are able to disclose or report to DDSV services on campus if they have experienced gender-based violence. Disclosing through DDSV will provide resources, confidentiality (with an exception of circumstances that possess safety risk), compassionate and confidential responses, and will not initiate a report. Meanwhile, filing a report will consist of going through various policies depending on the relationship of the individual to the institution, going through interim measures, alternative resolutions, trauma informed investigation and a decision. Throughout the different processes, support will be accommodated.
The Office of the Executive Director of Student Affairs also reiterates that individuals can provide anonymous disclosures. DDSV responses to disclosures include listening, believing and providing choices.
The university has campus services available for victims who want help reporting gender-based violence. DDSV advocates are accessible by appointment, along with medical and mental health services which can be found on the MRU DDSV website.
Students are encouraged to provide feedback regarding gender-based violence before Feb. 17 on the MRU website.