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Here are 4 ways Western University plans to combat gender-based and sexual violence on campus

A Western University committee has come up with four interim recommendations to help combat gender-based and sexual violence on campus. They come into effect immediately.

The recommendations were developed by the school’s Gender-Based and Sexual Violence Action Committee

Claudia Allen, Amy Cater and Katie Tone, all third-year Western University students, at the protest on Sept. 17, 2021, in London, Ont. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

A Western University committee has come up with four interim recommendations to help combat gender-based and sexual violence on campus.

"Students have been passionate and vocal over the course of the school year about their ideas and really open with their stories and experiences," said Ziyana Kotadia. She is a fourth year student with the Gender-Based and Sexual Violence (GSBV) Action Committee.

"I would say that it's vital that the task force, as we build out our long term recommendations, continues to centre and listen to these voices."

The committee was formed last October, following reports of alleged sexual assaults by Western students, and subsequent student walkouts calling for change. Four people were arrested in connection to incidents that allegedly took place during orientation week.

Ziyana Kotadia is a fourth year student who is on the action committee working groups. (Submitted by Western University )

The recommendations from the action committee include:

  1. Educating future students about GBSV safety prior to starting the school year.
  2. GBSV training for all student mentors, including sophmores who help first-year students adjust to life on campus. GBSV staff will be involved in their hiring. 
  3. Looking at programs implemented at student residences to reduce GBSV, in order to evaluate their success. This will be done by the end of the school year. 
  4. Hiring more GBSV staff for support and education. 

The recommendations come into effect immediately.

The committee, which is composed of stakeholders from Western, including the undergraduate and graduate student associations as well as partners from the community, helped to come up with these four changes. They were also the result of on-campus focus groups and conversations with constituents at the school. 

Terry McQuaid is the co-chair of the Gender-Based and Sexual Violence Action Committee. (Submitted by Western University)

"The interim recommendations represent really putting students voices forward and having them lead the conversation on what's needed to create a safe campus community free of sexual violence," said Terry McQuaid, a co-chair of the GBSV action committee.

The committee was asked by Western to come up with interim recommendations prior to finishing their final report due out in the spring since the school is preparing for the next school year. 

McQuaid doesn't anticipate that these initial recommendations will change much following the release of the final report, however, more recommendations could be included.

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