Protesters say proposed sexual violence policy at King's falls short

Protesters at the University of King's College in Halifax say they want to see a full-time staff member hired to address the problem of sexual violence on campus.

'I think they need to open their ears a bit more and listen to us,' says one student

Protesters at a rally Thursday at the University of King's College want the school to increase its budget to include a full-time staff member to address sexual violence on campus. (Ross Andersen/CBC)

Students at the University of King's College held a protest Thursday demanding major changes to the school's sexual violence policy.

More than 50 protesters rallied at the university's front steps during its board of governors meeting, carrying signs and chanting demands for an improved policy at the school that includes a full-time external staff member to address sexual violence on campus.

"I'm confident they will try to do the right thing, but I think they need to open their ears a bit more and listen to us," said student Pilar Guynot de Boismenu, who participated in the rally organized by the King's Student Union.

Lianne Xiao, president of the King’s Student Union, speaks at a protest Thursday to urge the university to strengthen its policy addressing sexual violence on campus. (Ross Andersen/CBC)

The Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents released a report in December 2017 outlining 10 recommendations that King's has agreed to implement.

King's president William Lahey said he expects that the school's finalized policy, which will include a plan for implementation, will be ready for the board of governors to consider this fall.

Up to $52,000 is allocated in the school's budget to address sexual violence.

Students on the board of governors want to see that budget doubled to include a full-time staff member to educate people on campus about sexual violence and to investigate complaints.

A protest sign at the University of King's College in Halifax. (Ross Andersen/CBC)

"We're asking for $100,000 to be funded towards the sexual violence policy," said Lianne Xiao, the president of the King's Student Union.

"I think they have enough money and resources to pay for that."

Lahey said the issue is one of his top priorities and he takes sexual violence on campus very seriously.

"We have to be very much informed by what people in our community tell us, particularly our students," he said.