We were shocked, saddened and shamed by recent news of one survivor’s experience with UOIT. How could something like this happen? Our hearts are with the courageous survivor that shone her light on this appalling incident. Now that we are aware of this, it is imperative that we work to improve our responses so survivors have the support they need on this campus when they come forward.
We wish we could tell you we haven’t been struggling to be heard on this issue by the university administration for some time. The Faculty Association, along with many campus allies, has been fighting for years over the development and implementation of a sexual violence policy that meets and eventually exceeds legislative obligations, informed by qualified, expert opinion, and broad, real, community consultation. We, along with others, have been raising grave concerns about this process to date. In fact, the President of the Faculty Association was denied an opportunity to address the Board of Governors on this topic. We wish we could tell you the university administration has committed to create a dedicated safe space for equity-seeking groups on campus, but that simply is not the case.
But we can tell you this.
To all survivors on our campus, please know that you are not alone, but have hundreds of faculty members at UOIT who are committed to creating a safe space standing behind you. We believe you. And we will not relent in our mission to foster safe and equitable spaces and behaviours on our campus.
To all survivors and allies who refuse to stand by in silence, who want to raise a voice and/or hand in support of advancing safe and equitable spaces at UOIT, we invite you to join us by signing up below to this network – let’s magnify the discussion of how we’re going to create the kind of campus we can all participate in safely and equitably. We’ll be calling a meeting in the next couple of weeks so please sign up promptly.
To the brave survivor who highlighted how urgent this action is, thank you for your heroic efforts in raising awareness of the work we have ahead of us. Thank you for inspiring us to act, speak out, and intensify our advocacy efforts. We are grateful and will not tolerate this on our campus.
To the university administration, please know you’ll be hearing much more from us on this issue.