The same day protests are scheduled on two of its campuses, the University of New Brunswick (UNB) has released a statement denouncing sexual violence.
“Sexual violence of any kind is not tolerated at UNB,” the school’s Friday statement said.
UNB assured all incidents of sexual violence that come to the institution’s attention are taken seriously.
“We work to provide clear advice and support to victims of sexual violence,” it said.
Protests at UNB and UNBSJ were scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, amid stories of sexual violence on campus being shared over social media.
On Thursday, hundreds of people took part in a solidarity protest held at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., as a way to support survivors and demand action.
This discourse started over the last weekend when MtA student Michelle Roy took to social media, saying students are being silenced when reporting sexual violence on campus.
Roy told Global News she’s spent the last five years lobbying for changes after experiencing harassment and hearing of many other incidents of sexual violence on campus.
“I started realizing that the university really did nothing at all, and that people trusted me more than the university,” she said.
When Roy posted her story on Facebook and Instagram on Saturday, the posts received hundreds of shares, and similar stories started flooding in.
Students, alumni and community members started sharing concerns involving other New Brunswick universities — UNB was one of them.
In the Friday statement to the community, UNB acknowledged sexual violence is a serious issue posing “significant consequences for victims and their families.”
Sexual violence is a global and local challenge, but one that is prevalent amongst university populations, it said.
“We acknowledge that female university students are especially at risk for sexual victimisation and it is essential that universities have policies and programs in place to provide support and assistance,” the statement reads.
Protest against sexual violence, calls for Mount Allison University to take action
Five years ago, the university undertook a comprehensive review that included public consultation, and a review of best practices to inform the creation of the institution’s Sexual Assault Policy.
New staff positions were created at each campus as part of the policy, called a Campus Sexual Assault Support Advocate (CSASA). At UNB’s Fredericton campus, a “well-trained, highly skilled” counsellor from Sexual Violence New Brunswick was contracted to do the work.
People are encouraged to learn more about the UNB’s Sexual Assault Policy, resources and supports, or to contact Campus Sexual Assault Support Advocates at email@example.com.
“We acknowledge the ongoing risks and challenges in addressing sexual violence across the community and we are committed to an ongoing process of improvement in responding to the needs of survivors of sexual violence,” the statement concludes.
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