SFU conducts scheduled review of sexual violence policy

The review happens every three years, and involves many stakeholders across campus

Photo Credits: Chris Ho

Written by: Jess Dela Cruz, News Writer

SFU’s sexual violence policy, otherwise known as the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Prevention, Education and Support General Policy (GP 44), is currently under review by the Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office (SVSPO) for improvement. 

The Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee first started working on the policy in Fall 2016, reaching out to the community for input and jurisdiction. SFU’s Board of Governors then approved the policy on March 30, 2017. The policy includes a requirement that it be reviewed every three years.  

Currently, the purpose of GP 44 “is to affirm the University’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing a safe and healthy campus for all members of the University Community and to state the University’s commitment to addressing Sexual Violence and Misconduct.” 

This is to be accomplished through a multi-faceted approach that includes various kinds of training for staff, “trauma-informed support,” and “clear and fair processes for managing and investigating reports.” 

The process of revision is currently ongoing, and is divided into seven stages: planning, promotion and communications, key stakeholder consultation, drafting recommendations, university community consultation, revising phase, and final approval. 

The final Campus Strategy on Sexual Violence and Misconduct Prevention is planned to be released by April 2020. 

A total of 22 stakeholders amongst, faculty, staff, and students, were involved. Among them were the Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU), Active Bystander Network, Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS), Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Student Union (GSWSSU), and more. 

CJ Rowe, Director of the SVSPO, said “it is important to gather feedback from diverse members of the university community so that we can work to better understand and address the identified gaps.” 

Their team conducted a short, four question survey of students that ended on January 30. It asked community members to specifically focus on certain parts of the policy that were underlined in red, accompanied by annotations. These signified tracked and proposed changes made easily detectable for those viewing GP 44 for the first time. 

Rowe noted that, “within the first round of consultations, no fundamental changes to the policy were suggested. What became clear in our conversations is that there needs to be more clarity with a few key components in the policy.” 

Accessible language is used within the policy, allowing a broader audience to engage with the policy and have a clearer understanding, noted Rowe. 

“This policy, like the majority of SFU policies, impacts all of us.”