B.C. Green Party MLA introduces bill targeting sexual violence on campus
Estimates are1 in 4 female university students will be sexually assaulted on campus, says MLA
BC Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver has introduced a private member's bill that would require universities and colleges to have policies on sexual violence.
"It is estimated that one in four female university students will be sexually assaulted during their relatively short time they spend on campus," said Weaver in Victoria.
"This bill requires colleges and universities to have sexual violence policies that set out the process that would apply when incidents of sexual violence are reported."
Very few private members bills, particularly from opposition parties, become law, but if passed, the "Post-Secondary Sexual Violence Policies Act" would ensure that students are involved in establishing policies on each college or university campus.
UBC is currently in the process of creating a campus sexual assault policy after a string of high profile sexual assault accusations exposed the school's lack of action and guidelines around the issue.
And last month Saanich police arrested a male University of Victoria student in connection with a series of sexual assaults on campus. Police say four women came forward claiming they had been sexually assaulted in and around the University of Victoria by a fellow student they knew well. The student has now been banned from campus.
Kenya Rogers, UVic's student society's director of external relations, says she hopes to be at the table to discuss any policy changes at a provincial level.
"I think it is a really great step forward forward," says Rogers. "I think the institution plays a whole role because campus communities are different. But there needs to be overarching incentives do this work. Right now, every institution is approaching it in a new way. Every case is approached in a new way because there is no framework to deal with it."
Weaver is a former professor at the University of Victoria.