Reported by Jessica Purver
Members of Langara’s Sexual Violence Working Group are in the final stages of drafting the school’s new sexual assault policy.
Since the beginning of term, the group – made up of instructors, staff and a student representative – conducted campus-wide consultations to receive student feedback and shape the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy. Members will be meeting next week to review the policy with consideration to student input.
In November, online questionnaires and focus groups were advertised to engage students, although the results of the consultations have not yet been officially determined.
Nancy Pollak, instructor of women’s studies and member of the working group, believes it’s important that the school’s approach is student-centred.
“Our process in having those student focus groups was to hear from students how they’re talking about it, how they’re framing it, how they’re experiencing these issues of what to do when […] something really scary happens,” Pollak said. “How do I talk about it, who can I talk to about it.”
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Deborah Schratter, Langara communications officer, reached out to students across all platforms.
“Our goal is to let as many students as possible know [about the policy],” she said. “I’m trying to keep it pretty transparent because I do think that having the student voice is important.”
Schratter said the group is looking for patterns from student feedback. For example, she said some students hope the policy will be offered in many different languages.
“It’s really going to be dependent on [feedback],” she said. “If what I hear back from the students is they want to see more specific events on campus, then that’s what we’re going to be thinking about.”
For student representative Janine Sicotte, the next steps for the group will be to engage with students and advertise available services.
“What I would really like is to see [the policy] just be really visible,” she said. “That’s kind of the next step – how we actually get to do the outreach and education portion.”
“It creates awareness of what is and what is not okay for them,” Sicotte said. “That is the beginning of changing the culture and the behaviour.”
The policy group will meet on Dec. 5 to review and revise the draft.