Policy #131: Sexual Assault and Other Sexual Misconduct
UBC has a responsibility to maintain a respectful environment where its members can study, work, and live free from sexual misconduct. UBC Policy #131 articulates UBC’s duty and commitment to support members of the UBC community who are impacted by sexual misconduct, to provide a central site for information regarding the resources and options available to those affected by sexual misconduct, to create and make available programs and resources to educate its community on the prevention of sexual misconduct, and to provide a process to respond to and investigate allegations of sexual misconduct.
An important feature of the policy is a Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office on each campus which will be a single point of contact, individualized support, and liaison for UBC students, faculty and staff who have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, or any other form of sexual violence/misconduct. These offices will provide a broad range of individualized support including receiving disclosures of sexual assault and responding to immediate needs, coordinating accommodations, making referrals to counselling services, and providing clarity on options and processes for formalizing complaints into reports for investigation.
Sonya Boyce has been hired as the Director of the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office at the Vancouver campus and will begin in her role October 16, 2017. In the interim, the duties of the SVPRO are being carried by Peak Resilience, a counselling practice in Vancouver with expertise in supporting survivors of sexual violence.
The hiring process for the Director of the Okanagan campus Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office is currently under way. In the interim, these services are being provided by the Health and Wellness Office.
A dedicated Director of Investigations, who works across both campuses to ensure investigations are conducting in a fair and timely manner, is another important element of Policy #131. Myrna McCallum has been appointed as the Director of Investigations, and began in her role August 8, 2017. You can contact Myrna McCallum at 604.827.1875 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In late 2015, a committee was established to develop a sexual assault policy for the University. In April, 2016, the Provincial Government passed legislation requiring all BC post-secondary institutions to establish and implement a sexual misconduct policy by May 18, 2017.
In February 2016, then-President Martha Piper appointed the UBC Sexual Assault Panel to undertake a review of sexual assault and make recommendations for University policy and practice. The panel report was released in June, 2016.
A draft policy was presented to the Board of Governors in June, 2016. Extensive consultation with the UBC community followed, resulting in over 160 written submissions that touched on all aspects of the draft policy, but focused on:
- the need for a central support office; and
- the need for a separate and distinct investigatory process.
In October 2016, as a comprehensive rewrite of the proposed policy began, President Santa J. Ono asked Louise Cowin, Vice-President, Students to convene a Steering Committee on sexual assault to recognize and bring together the richness of work happening across UBC’s campuses around issues of sexual assault.
In late 2016, resources were approved for a central support office, and for a separate and distinct investigatory process.
Following a second round of consultation with the UBC community, Policy #131 – Sexual Assault and other Sexual Misconduct was approved by the Board of Governors on April 13. The new policy took effect May 18, 2017.