The University of Northern British Columbia has enacted a new Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy and accompanying set of procedures
The policy was formally adopted by UNBC’s Board of Governors following more than eight months of research, consultation and community engagement specific to the policy’s development.
“Sexual violence and misconduct are never acceptable,” said Dr. Daniel Weeks, UNBC President and Vice-Chancellor, in a press release. “We are committed to providing members of the University community with a safe, supportive and respectful environment in which to live, learn and work.”
The policy provides clear definitions, outlines UNBC’s commitments (including response, training, and education provisions), and deals with matters such as jurisdiction and safety. It is accompanied by a set of procedures that outline more specific details, such as differentiating between reports and disclosures, process choices, and confidentiality and privacy restrictions. These procedures are designed to act as a living document that can be easily revised and updated to adapt to changing circumstances.
The work to develop the policy was led by a committee chaired by faculty member Dr. Gary Wilson, with Assistant Director Student Affairs Brenda Slomka, Northern Women’s Centre Executive Director Sarah Boyd, and Human Resources Manager Kerry Roberts making up the remaining membership. This committee worked closely with a wide range of stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff and senior administration.
“This committee did an exceptional job of reaching out to our University community, and developed a thoughtful, informed and timely policy regarding this topic,” said Dr. Weeks. “I thank the committee for their work, along with our student body governance leadership, the many staff and faculty members who provided their expertise during the consultation process, and the many hundreds of people who took time to share their thoughts with us regarding this policy’s development. It has been an extraordinary community effort.”
The policy is meant to help contribute to a broader and longer-term conversation about the issue of sexual violence and misconduct at our campuses. It is also a response to Bill 23 – 2016: Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act, provincial legislation that mandates the creation of such a policy at all post-secondary institutions in British Columbia.
The university has refused to release actual numbers of incidents that could constitute sexual harassment.
More information about UNBC’s work regarding Sexual Violence and Misconduct, including complete copies of the policy and procedures, is available at http://www.unbc.ca/sexual-violence/policy-procedures