Montreal

McGill University investigating alleged sexual misconduct on campus

An online petition alleges a first-year student has been targeting young women on campus at McGill. The university says it's now looking into the allegations

University was prompted to act after nearly 50,000 people sign online petition

McGill University confirmed Wednesday it's investigating after sexual assault allegations against a student surfaced online. (Charles Contant/CBC)

McGill University said Wednesday it's investigating a number of allegations of sexual misconduct on campus, after an online petition launched Monday demanding action reached nearly 50,000 signatures on Wednesday afternoon.

The petition alleges a first-year student has sexually assaulted several young women on campus and in McGill residences this fall, and that the university has knowledge of the situation.

"We call on McGill University administration to make a statement and take action towards this student in order to reestablish the trust and safety of young women and people in residences," the petition said.

The petition was launched by someone named Catherine Chen. CBC was not able to immediately contact Chen.

University looking into allegations

Fabrice Labeau, McGill's deputy provost for student life and learning, sent an email to all students and staff Wednesday.

"The University's senior administration was made aware yesterday of several messages circulating online about alleged sexual misconduct on campus," Labeau said.

"As soon as we became aware, we began looking into the matter," he continued.

Labeau's email said McGill's foremost concern was student well-being. He urged any students who need support to contact the university's office for sexual violence response.

Labeau's email doesn't address whether the student who's been accused is still on campus.

McGill's media relations department didn't answer questions on that point and simply forwarded CBC a copy of Labeau's email.

CBC has also spoken to a friend of some of the complainants.

The friend said they have filed formal complaints to the university administration, but have not yet done likewise with police.

The friend also said the complainants have consulted a lawyer and don't wish to speak publicly.

About the Author

Steve Rukavina is a journalist with CBC Montreal.

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