UNB, STU still finalizing sexual assault policies
UNB will wait 1 academic year for sex assault policy, while STU students will have 2 policies next week
The University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University do not have policies on sexual assault in place, months after stating such policies were expected for fall and following multiple reports by students of sexual assaults over the last five years.
A CBC News investigation earlier this year revealed UNB received 11 reports of sexual assault between 2009 and 2013 and St. Thomas University had received six during that same period.
Without a clear policy and a reporting structure it is very likely that sexual assaults are going unreported because there is no formal reporting structure.- Katie Davie, UNB Student Union
Both universities are in the process of implementing sexual assault policies, but they have vastly different timeframes for implementing the new rules.
Sonya Gilks, UNB's director of communications, stated a policy at that university is not expected until the end of the academic year in the spring of 2016.
"The policy is expected to go for approval by the end of the academic year, after we have consulted with students and all stakeholders on both campuses," wrote Gilks.
The absence of a sexual assault policy is concerning to one student leader.
Katie Davey, the president of the UNB Student Union, said no stand-alone sexual assault policy leaves UNB's more than 11,000 students vulnerable.
"Without a clear policy and a reporting structure it is very likely that sexual assaults are going unreported because there is no formal reporting structure," said Davey.
"So it's a likely reality that our students are suffering in silence."
While UNB students will be without a sexual assault policy for another year, St. Thomas University is planning on releasing a policy on sexual violence next week.
"One of them is a new policy on sexual violence and what that lays out is a core policy and set of procedures to follow in the case there is an incident of sexual violence."
"The second new policy is a policy on non-academic misconduct and that lays out the steps we follow for students who have a misconduct allegation against them that is of a non-academic nature."
The university confirmed this week that it received a report of a sexual assault since the fall semester began and police are now investigating, according to Carleton.
It is important for universities to have clear policies regarding how it handles sexual assault reports, according to a crisis centre official.
"Sexual assault policies are crucial," said Whalley.
"It's important that institutions are prepared for not only when a disclosure happens, and what practices and procedures need to be followed, but also creating that climate where disclosures can take place."
Currently, UNB uses its discrimination, sexual harassment and harassment policy as well as its student disciplinary code to deal with sexual assaults.
St. Thomas relies on its student code of conduct policy in tandem with an harassment and discrimination policy.