U of Ottawa town hall seeks to unravel 'rape culture' on campus
Several dozen University of Ottawa students gathered Friday afternoon for a town hall discussion about fighting what they call "rape culture" on campus.
Student groups organized the after two high-profile sexual misconduct incidents. In one incident, male student leaders made explicit comments on Facebook about student federation president Anne-Marie Roy.
Third-year student Alison Murphy said she's glad attention is now being paid to how students behave and what they say and said all students should be talking about the right way to react to cases like the one involving the student president.
"It's kind of mandatory to come out to this, everyone needs to know what's going on needs to know how to handle it and how to deal with it," said Murphy.
After the incident involving the student leaders, the school faced a second troubling situation when allegations emerged of a sexual assault involving the men's hockey team while they were playing in Thunder Bay.
Thunder Bay police investigating men's hockey team
Thunder Bay police were recently in Ottawa interviewing team members and said not all of the players were co-operating with the investigators. No charges have been laid in the investigation.
The two incidents prompted the university to launch a new "Task Force on Respect and Equality" assigned to come up with specific recommendations on how to promote respectful behaviour on campus.
Students leaders and staff have put together their own task force, saying they did not have faith in the university's own investigation.
Panellists at the town hall discussed how students need to speak out against a culture in which people use language and tell jokes that belittle women for clothes they wear, for instance.
Student Erin Tinsley attended and said it comes down to respect.
"A lot of people don't question... their ideas about how they treat women and I hope this council meeting will help more people be aware of the situation and more aware of their actions," she said.