2016 Policy Consultation

Western University recognizes the value of community input in the review of the University’s Policy on Sexual Violence. The community consultation process was jointly developed by Western University, the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) and the University Students’ Council (USC). The goal was to ensure diverse voices within the University community had the opportunity to provide input on the update of Western’s Policy on Sexual Violence.

Background

Recent legislation stipulates that each university and college "shall ensure that student input is considered, in accordance with any regulations put forth by the Ministry, in the development of its sexual violence policy and every time the policy is reviewed or amended".

Regulations from the Ministry of Training Colleges and University Act directs that in development and approval of a sexual violence policy universities shall:

(a) establish a process, in consultation with representatives of the college's or university's elected student governing bodies, for the provision and consideration of input from a diverse selection of students regarding the college’s or university’s sexual violence policy.

Sexual Violence Policy Working Group

The Sexual Violence Policy Working Group (SVPWG) was tasked with leading the review and revision of Western’s Policy on Sexual Violence. This involved coordinating the various aspect of the community consultation process.

Members of the SVPWG include:

  • Sexual Violence Prevention Education Coordinator  – Danielle Carr (Chair)
  • Director, Equity & Human Rights Services – Larissa Bartlett
  • AVP, Student Experience – Jana Luker
  • University Legal Counsel – Steve Jarrett
  • SOGS, President or designate
  • USC, President or designate

Sexual Violence Policy Review Consultation Process

The consultation process involved the following:

1. Consultation Questionnaire

  • Western students, staff and faculty were invited to provide general feedback and input on Western’s current Policy on Sexual Violence and recommended updates through a campus-wide questionnaire
  • The link to the consultation questionnaire, along with background information, was e-mailed to all Western community members (students, staff and faculty) on Sunday, September 11, 2016 by Western’s Provost. The link was also promoted through Western, SOGS and USC social media channels during September. Community members had until Friday, September 30, 2016 to fill out the survey.
  •  The questionnaire asked the following questions:
    • What do you see as the strengths of Western’s current Sexual Violence Policy?
    • What’s missing from Western’s current Sexual Violence Policy? Think about what you would you like to see added to Western’s Sexual Violence Policy. Please list as many ideas as you have.
    • What do you think should happen when an incident of sexual violence is disclosed to a faculty or staff member at Western?
    • Is there anything else you think the Sexual Violence Policy Working Group should consider when drafting revisions to Western’s Policy on Sexual Violence?

2. Student Focus Groups

  • Four focus groups were held. The focus groups were designed for undergraduate students, graduate students and student senators.
  • The focus groups were promoted in an e-mail sent out by The Provost, by members of the Sexual Violence Prevention Education Committee and through Western, USC and SOGS social media channels
  • The focus groups were two-hours in length and asked the following questions:
    • What are key issues facing students related to sexual violence on campus?
      • How can the sexual violence policy represent the key concerns that students are facing on campus? 
    • What messages have you been hearing related to sexual violence on campus?
      • What messages would you like to hear?
      • How can we effectively deliver educational programs or messaging related to sexual violence?
    • What are some essential messages we need to include IN the updated sexual violence policy?
    • How would you like the university to support students navigating processes related to sexual violence?
    • How do you see this policy representing the diverse challenges students face in multiple roles they may play on campus?

3. Student Council Recommendations to the Sexual Violence Policy Working Group

  • The USC and SOGS were provided with a summary of feedback from the survey and focus groups for their respective populations - undergraduate and graduate students.
  • In addition to this feedback, the USC and SOGS developed their own internal processes to gather input and feedback from their constituencies.
  • The USC & SOGS presented a set of recommendations to Sexual Violence Policy Working Group to consider for the policy update.

4. Community Feedback on Updated Policy

  • The SVPWG will solicit feedback from members of the USC and SOGS on the updated Policy on Sexual Violence.
  • An updated Policy on Sexual Violence has been posted on Western’s Sexual Violence webpage. The community is able to provide final feedback and comments on the updated policy through a survey that is open from December 20, 2016 – January 12, 2017.
  • The Sexual Violence Policy Working Group will review the feedback from the survey and make any necessary revisions / recommendations to present back to the Board of Governors for approval at their January 26, 2017 Board Meeting.