York University Board of Governors approves new Sexual Violence Policy

Vari Hall as seen during the early evening

The following is a special message from Vice-President Academic and Provost Rhonda Lenton and Vice-President Finance and Administration Gary Brewer to the York University community:

At a special meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, the York University Board of Governors approved York’s new Sexual Violence Policy. The policy confirms the University’s longstanding commitment to foster a culture where attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate sexual violence are rejected, survivors are supported, and those who are found to have committed sexual violence are held accountable. Through this new policy, York commits to working collaboratively with our community to build effective training and education programs to address sexual violence and rape culture.

This policy, through its “Commitment and Statement of Principles,” recognizes the intersectional experiences of survivors and the barriers they face.  We are determined to break down those barriers wherever possible and we are committed to providing survivor-centric supports and services.

The policy is the culmination of many months of work undertaken by our Sexual Violence Policy Working Group. In the last several weeks, more than 35 consultations have been undertaken, with close to 600 members of our community participating, the vast majority of whom were our students. With candor and insights, members of our community helped to guide and shape the final document approved by the Board. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Working Group and all those members of our community who participated in this important process.

We also wish to acknowledge the leadership of the Province of Ontario for bringing sexual violence to the forefront of their agenda by requiring all post-secondary institutions to address this issue and to work collaboratively with their student communities to strengthen supports and procedures for survivors of sexual violence.

As a university community, we know that sexual violence is prevalent in society. We also recognize the important role that we and other universities and colleges can and must play in ensuring that sexual violence is understood by all members of our society as unacceptable.

The approval of York’s Sexual Violence Policy is an important milestone for our community. In January, the University will be providing the community with more information about how we intend to implement the policy along with key institutional commitments stemming from our community consultations.

For more information about York’s new policy, visit http://sexual-violence-response.info.yorku.ca/policy/.


Rhonda Lenton
Vice-President Academic and Provost 

Gary Brewer
Vice-President Finance and Administration