The draft sexual assault prevention policy highlights the importance of supporting those who have been assaulted and of holding those who commit incidents of sexual assault accountable. It also covers definitions—what constitutes sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, coercion, consent and stalking—something previously missing at the university.
"Another important value in these documents is that they will help build awareness around these issues and lead us to the next step of offering more education and training," said McDougall, the lead author of the policy.
Cheryl Carver, U of S associate vice-president of human resources, said it was clear that the policy needed to cover all members of the campus community and supports the policy extending to faculty and staff in addition to students.
"It is one of our top priorities to ensure the entire university community is safe on our campus," said Carver. "This is something, of course, we will need to continue addressing and working towards, but having this policy is a critical step."
The policy was an important part of USSU President Jack Saddleback's campaign platform last spring and he is pleased with the progress the university has made.
"When I ran for president, I made it clear that I would do all I could to ensure that the voices of students would be heard," said Saddleback. "Today I am pleased that the university administration has listened and I look forward to working with our campus community for the safety of all."
Following comments from the public, which are due back by Oct. 5, the next step will be to have the policy approved by the Board of Governors at its December meeting. Prior to the new policy, sexual assault was included as a prohibited behavior within the university's non-academic misconduct regulations. However, university officials realized that more needed to be done in this area.
"Having a policy is one thing, enforcing it is another, and that will be everyone's responsibility on campus," said McDougall. "The goal of all of this is to ensure someone who has been affected by sexual assault or sexual misconduct feels supported and those who commit incidents of sexual assault are held accountable."
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