Sexual violence task force meeting minutes and agendas don't exist: Brandon University
Freedom of information request put to the school by CBC News produces no documents
Despite Brandon University releasing a list of 12 dates when a sexual violence task force met last fall, no record of minutes or meeting agendas exists, CBC News has learned from a freedom of information request for documents.
CBC News requested on April 8 all agendas and minutes of the Brandon University task force on sexual violence from September 2015 to the present.
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The school responded to that request this week, saying no such records exist.
"Brandon University does not have any minutes or meeting agendas from the Brandon University Task Force on Sexual Violence on and between Sept. 12, 2015 - present," BU's response stated.
Brandon University does not have any minutes or meeting agendas...- FIPPA response from BU
The 12 dates the committee reportedly met and a partially redacted interim report from the committee were released by the school last Friday. That information is so far the only documentation that the committee actually met. The three-member committee consisted of the school's faculty of health studies chair, a human resources representative and a faculty of education professor.
"I think that it undermines what they are saying about taking sexual violence on campus seriously," said Carissa Taylor, a former Brandon University Students' Union president who has been working closely with the campus group We Believe Survivors. She now attends Brock University.
"I don't believe anyone on campus knew this task force existed," she said Wednesday. "I don't know how they went about finding the three participants that they had."
She said the fact no minutes or agendas exist tell her the task force was more of a reactionary move than a proactive approach.
The school came under fire earlier this month for its handling of sexual assault cases on campus after a student came forward saying she was forced to sign a behavioural contract after reporting that she was sexually assaulted last fall.
The school responded by saying that staff was wrong to use a behavioural contract in the situation and vowed to never use them again in cases involving sexual assault or sexual violence.
Brandon University then found itself in the spotlight again days later, after students accused the university of plagiarizing a set of sexual violence task force recommendations from Queen's University. BU didn't respond to questions about the allegations, but Queen's University told CBC News that universities have a shared goal to support students.
BU can't say why records weren't kept
Brandon University didn't say why no minutes or agendas were kept, but in a statement said the task force committee did meet regularly in person.
"In most of those meetings, they were joined by other experts or stakeholders," the statement said. "The group met both on and off campus, including at least one meeting at Klinic in Winnipeg."
Brandon University is currently in the process of developing a new sexual violence policy and hopes to have something ready for review by September.
The university is also currently recruiting a sexual assault education and prevention co-ordinator, officials said.
An announcement about hiring for the position is expected to be made in the coming weeks, Brandon University staff said.
Process needs restart: former student
But Taylor believes the entire process needs to start from scratch.
"I think that … they need to start by having open campus consultation," Taylor said. "I think that rather than having it be a top-down approach that has been enforced, the entire campus community needs to feel like they have a stake in what's created."
Taylor said controversy surrounding sexual violence reporting isn't unique to Brandon University. Brock University is currently going through its own issues surrounding sexual assaults, she said.
"It's not just about creating policy that you can enforce, it's about how do we combat rape culture on campuses."
Task force redacted report (PDF KB)
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Task force meeting dates (PDF KB)
Task force meeting dates (Text KB)CBC is not responsible for 3rd party content