York University Board of Governors approves sexual assault policy

Vari Hall as seen during the early evening

During its Feb. 23 meeting, the Board of Governors of York University approved the York University Policy on Sexual Assault Awareness, Prevention and Response, affirming the institution’s ongoing commitment to foster a culture where its impact is understood, survivors are supported, and those who commit incidents of sexual assault are held accountable through due process.

“This policy emphasizes that York and other universities play an important role in addressing this very serious societal issue, especially when it occurs on our campuses,” says York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “We are strongly committed to raising awareness, reducing the number of incidents, and providing support to those who have been impacted through a culture of compassion and understanding.”

The policy builds on York’s efforts to date by providing an integrated framework for education, awareness, and prevention. It also fosters engagement to enable students, faculty and staff to recognize, respond to, and help prevent sexual assault on campus, ensuring that appropriate procedures are in place.

A policy development working group comprised of students, faculty and staff worked over several months to determine best practices for policy, pan-university prevention and response and active bystander programs. York University was among the first postsecondary institutions in Canada to communicate to its community when sexual assaults occur on its campuses and is a recognized leader in gender studies, social justice and equity studies.

The University uses the Criminal Code of Canada definition in its reporting of sexual assault.