Dr. Peter J. Ricketts,
President and Vice-Chancellor

From the President's Desk


Sexualized violence on campuses must end


Dear students and colleagues,

We have all been shocked by the recent news from one of our sister institutions in Ontario that 30 female students have reported being drugged and sexually assaulted in their residence, and that a male student died from injuries received in an alleged sexual assault off campus.  While police are investigating these reports and the death, students have demonstrated their support for survivors and their right to safety both on and off campus. We know, however, that sexual violence occurs at all universities, and this particular case only serves to highlight the problem that exists on all campuses and in our society at large.

Acadia University stands in solidarity with these survivors and with survivors and victims everywhere.

I want to take this opportunity to remind all members of our campus community that Acadia University believes, values, and is committed to supporting survivors.

Sexualized violence is a systemic issue that can happen in all communities, including our own. Acadia is committed to addressing sexualized violence through broad educational efforts across campus and through direct support for survivors. Together, we can build a culture of informed consent on our campus and ensure that Acadia is safe for all to live, study, and work.

Acadia has a robust trauma-informed and survivor-centered Sexualized Violence Policy designed to help survivors access the available supports. Our policy is designed to help survivors regain their power, allowing for both an investigative process and other non-investigative means of resolution depending on what is best for the survivor and the safety of the university community.

Acadia is proud that we have hired our first Sexualized Violence Response and Education Coordinator this year, Allison Smith. Her role is to provide compassionate and confidential support to survivors, assist them in navigating options under the Sexualized Violence Policy, and help them access supports such as academic accommodations, counselling, legal aid, and healthcare.

Allison also provides training across our campus on issues such as consent and the law, bystander intervention techniques, and other topics related to sexualized violence response and prevention. She has recently trained all of our residence staff on best practices when responding to sexualized violence disclosures. She will deliver this and other training initiatives to student groups and staff across our campus in the coming months. You can read more about Allison, the Sexualized Violence Policy, and Acadia’s commitment to addressing sexualized violence here.

In addition to Acadia’s efforts, the Acadia Students’ Union has created a Sexual Health Resource Centre and hired a manager to better support student knowledge and awareness.

Our thoughts are with all survivors of sexualized violence and the communities that are deeply impacted by these latest events. We know that news of this nature resonates far beyond the community where it occurred. So I encourage anyone who has been especially impacted to reach out for support.

In reality, everyone should be impacted by these kinds of events. They are a wake-up call to us all to make sure that each one of us is doing our part to make Acadia and our surrounding community a safe haven from the scourge of sexual assault.

Sincerely,

Peter

Dr. Peter Ricketts
President and Vice-Chancellor


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