STU announces new sexual violence policy

(Book Sadprasid/The Aquinian)

St. Thomas University has unveiled new policies regarding sexual violence, and non-academic codes of conduct.
The release of the new policies comes after the university had its first sexual assault of the school year.
Shannon Clarke is the something at STU. She said the policy will help students who have been victims of sexual assault.
“This policy allows students who experience sexual violence to understand what their rights are in choosing to disclose,” said Clarke. “The support piece, the prevention education pieces, those were not in the old policy.”
The policy also outlines the rights of students who have been accused of sexual violence.
“The updated non-academic misconduct policy is where you see the rights of people who’ve been accused of alleged violations of the conduct code in general,” said Clarke.
The policy isn’t just geared towards those who have alleged or have been alleged to have committed sexual assault. The policy is applicable to all students, because it includes information on what to do if any student is told that a sexual assault has taken place..
“We all create a community of support in continuing to keep [the] campus safe,” said Clarke. “We want to all take a role in prevention education pieces.”
STU had originally reported only two sexual assaults between 2009 and 2013. However, when the CBC filed a right-to-information request, the true number turned out to be six. There have also been stories reported in local and national media about sexual assaults on the STU campus. Jeffery Carleton, director of communication, said the release of the policies are not because of these factors. Clarke agrees.
“This policy work started more than a year ago in response to a conversation that was being had, facilitated by the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre on how do we end sexual violence on campus,” said Clarke.
The new policies were already being taught to staff so they would be up to date when the policy came into place. Carleton would not confirm whether or not the new policy was in place when the first sexual assault of the year occurred.
“We’re not going to say anything related to that at all,” said Carleton.

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