Mount Allison posts highest reported sexual assault rate among N.B. universities
CBC News contacted 87 universities and major colleges across Canada to request data on sex assault reports
Mount Allison University has the second highest rate of sexual assault reports among Canadian universities and colleges over a five-year period, according to a CBC News investigation.
The liberal arts university in Sackville reported 14 cases of sexual assault between 2009 and 2013, which works out to a rate of 11.429 cases per 10,000 students over the five years.
A Mount Allison University official said in a statement the school has developed a "reporting culture" in the last 20 years and that may have led to a higher figure.
"Encouraging people to come forward may naturally result in a higher reporting rate than other schools, but this does not imply a higher incidence rate," the statement said.
The university hired a sexual harassment adviser about 15 years ago and has engaged in student education and awareness campaigns.
The national numbers were compiled during a CBC News investigation, which revealed more than 700 sexual assaults were reported to Canadian universities and colleges over the past five years.
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Nova Scotia’s Acadia University had 22 reports of sexual assault over five years.
When adjusted for its full-time student population, it has the highest rate of reporting in the country. Its rate per 10,000 students over the five years was 11.518, which was just above Mount Allison University.
In a statement to CBC News, Acadia said inter-institutional comparisons have "little meaning" because universities and colleges have different methods of reporting these incidents. The university also said its standards for reporting sexual assaults have changed, which makes its score appear higher.
"We have lowered the bar for reporting of any behaviour that relates to sexual assault (including touching), therefore we count a broad range of behaviour in our reporting," the statement said.
The University of New Brunswick had 11 reports of sexual assault during the five-year period. When factoring in UNB’s full-time enrolment, it had a rate of 2.469 per 10,000 students between 2009 and 2013.
St. Thomas University had six sexual assault reports during the same time period. The liberal arts university in Fredericton has 2,210 students, which gave it a sexual assault reporting rate per 10,000 students of 5.43.
The University of Moncton did not report data that could be used in the investigation.
Overall, experts say the number of sexual assaults reported to Canadian post-secondary schools is surprisingly low, and an indication that they are doing a poor job of encouraging students to come forward.
While schools with higher numbers could have a higher rate of sexual assault compared to other campuses, it could also mean the school is doing a better job of encouraging students to come forward and report incidents.
And it could mean a university has a good system for keeping track of what is reported to them.
When it comes to the most total sexual assaults reported, Toronto’s Ryerson University recorded 57 assaults, which was the highest in Canada.