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Updated and strengthened

New Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Policy taking effect

Campus and Community

By Melissa Watton

Following extensive research and consultation, Memorial’s new Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Policy and procedures come into effect Nov. 1.

Approved by the Board of Regents on Oct. 4, the policy is the result of consultations among student, faculty and administration groups, says Rhonda Shortall, Memorial’s sexual harassment advisor.

Extensive process

“We recognized that our policy needed to be both updated and strengthened, and we embarked on an extensive process of research and consultations,” she said.

“We established a drafting group, which included student, faculty and staff members. Once drafted, the policy went out to the university community for review and feedback. Based on the feedback, changes to the policy were made last winter.”

Memorial’s sexual harassment board oversaw and participated in the review and will collaborate with Ms. Shortall during the implementation.

Jason Geary, chair of the St. John’s campus sexual harassment board component, says the policy and procedures are now more comprehensive.

“The policy name now includes “sexual assault” and the policy has clear definitions of “consent,” “bystander” and “sexual assault” — terms that weren’t included in earlier versions,” he said. “It also identifies that sexual harassment can occur online, addresses victim blaming and encourages people who witness sexual harassment or sexual assault to report.”

Information sessions

Anyone interested in learning more about the new policy and procedures is encouraged to attend one of the open information sessions. Session dates and times are below:

  • Friday, Nov. 3, from 12-1 p.m. in SN-2036
  • Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 12-1 p.m. in SN-2041
  • Thursday, Nov. 16, from 12-1 p.m. in A-1043
  • Tuesday, Nov. 21, from 12-1 p.m. in A-1043
  • Wednesday, Nov. 29, from 12-1 p.m. in SN-2041

Information to access the sessions online will be posted in the events listing.

Ms. Shortall will also hold an in-person information session at Grenfell Campus in late November.

Ongoing commitment

Ms. Shortall emphasizes that the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Policy and procedures are important, and such policies and procedures are in need of ongoing monitoring and revision, so they will be reviewed on a regular basis.

The new policy and procedures will be posted to Memorial’s policy website.

Anyone at the university with a concern about sexual harassment or sexual assault should contact the Sexual Harassment Office.


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