New Brunswick

UNB, STU and NBCC announce joint funding to combat campus sexual assault

The University of New Brunswick, St. Thomas University and New Brunswick Community College will get about $80,000 per year in funding to combat campus sexual assault.

Three Fredericton campuses will receive funding to help support, awareness and education on sexual assault

The University of New Brunswick, St. Thomas University, and the New Brunswick Community College received $80,000 in funding over three years to help develop their sexual assault policy. (Nathalie Sturgeon/CBC )

The University of New Brunswick, St. Thomas University and New Brunswick Community College are making a joint investment of about $240,000 over three years as part of a tri-campus sexual assault strategy.

UNB announced their policy last June while STU announced its own in the fall of 2015.

Brock Richardson is the director of student services at St. Thomas University said there have been 13 disclosures this year. Four of those were resolved. (CBC )

The $80,000 in annual funding will help create full-time support, promote public awareness, and train student leaders.

"We are well aware that sexual assault is not contained within campus property lines," said George MacLean, vice-president academic at UNB.

"With our three institutions located so closely, many of the incidents reported involve members of more than one institution, so as a result we recognize the most effective way to address campus sexual assault is to work together."

Increase in disclosures

Maggie Forsythe is the campus sexual assault advocate at UNB. She will be working with the three universities to help develop support, education and awareness. (Nathalie Sturgeon/CBC )
Brock Richardson, director of student services at STU, said the development of a clear policy has allowed students to be more comfortable coming forward.

He said there have been 13 reported disclosures this year, up from three last year. 

"We are tracking them in a more careful way," he said. "It is a bit of an uptick from last year but so to has our ability to deal with those complaints."

Richardson said four of the formal complaints filed this year at STU went through the official complaint process and were resolved.

UNB had 34 disclosures. The university had 18 sexual assault complaints this year from UNB students. Three formal complaints were forwarded to police.

According to the university, none of those complaints have been resolved. 

Goals for the future

The university hired Maggie Forsythe as a campus sexual assault advocate to work with students.

"My biggest goal is I want to start looking at not just doing consent workshops or let's talk about healthy relationships, but let's talk about how we got to this state of unhealthy relationships and people not understanding consent," said Forsythe.

She said this funding will help push the conversation about sexual assault on campus forward.

"The biggest challenge is always going to be facing the misconceptions," she said.