The College of New Caledonia (CNC) has joined post-secondary institutions across the province to enact a new sexual violence and misconduct policy.
The CNC policy is accompanied by a set of procedures to help ensure the CNC community enjoys a safer environment.
“Sexual misconduct is never acceptable,” said Henry Reiser, CNC president. “This process has reinforced our commitment to providing members of the College of New Caledonia community with a safe, supportive and respectful environment.”
The policy was formally approved by CNC’s board of governors on May 9 following more than eight months of research, consultation and community engagement.
Universities across B.C. were required to have one implemented by May 18, as mandated by Bill 23. The bill, initiated by B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, passed last March. Since then, universities have been toiling on their new rules.
For Thompson Rivers University graduate Jean Strong, this brings a sense of assurance that students who are sexually assaulted or harassed won’t be quieted.
“I hope the policies are effective in protecting students and giving them the help they need should anything happen to them,” she said. “I also hope they give students a greater sense of safety while attending university or college, that the school should now have the means to support them well.”
Three years ago, Strong was sexually assaulted twice in the same semester. Upon reporting it to university staff, she says she was told she should transfer schools.
“It was suggested I transfer to Queen’s or Carleton – any university that was not TRU,” the now-22-year-old wrote in a blog post a year ago.
She joined efforts with Weaver and together formed Bill 23, called the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act.
Moving forward, Strong said she hopes the conversation doesn’t end here. The universities need to ensure the policy isn’t just words in a handbook, but actually used to protect vulnerable students.
“I think people sharing their stories in a public way created real change across the province and having policies in place is a fantastic step,” she said.
“But there is a lot more work to do to ensure safety and support, for example ensuring the policies are effective, implemented, changing as needed and are a part of a wider effort to change campus cultures and how people think about assault on campuses and elsewhere.”
To read CNC’s new policy and procedures, visit www.cnc.bc.ca/Exploring/Services/Administration/CNC_Policies.htm under the ‘all education and student policies’ section.