Sexual assault policy release postponed to April 2017

At the last Board of Governors meeting on December 6, it was announced that there would be an extension on the release of the final draft of UBC’s sexual assault policy. Previously, the public consultation period had been extended to the end of October, which condensed the time for the policy committee to redraft the policy with the community’s suggestions.

“I think there was a recognition that we were going to be presenting a redrafted policy that was going to be so significantly different from the current draft that we were going to need to have another period of consultation following the new draft going to the board,” said Sara-Jane Finlay, the associate vice-president of Equity and Inclusion.

The sexual assault policy committee is on schedule to release a redraft of the policy at the February Board of Governors meeting. Following this, the redraft will go out for more public consultation due to the fact that it is going to be “quite significantly different,” according to Finlay.

“We’ll have about six or seven weeks in which to do some consultation with the community before the policy committee comes back together again to respond to that feedback,” said Finlay.

“We have much more freedom to make the changes needed and more time for us to meet and not have to do it rushed,” says Samantha So, AMS VP Academic. “I think with more time comes a better policy, that means we get more time to consult, we get more time to redraft changes.”

Generally, committee members are feeling positive about the extra time being given to them to work through the redrafting process.

“I think it’s a luxury that we’ve now had the time to be very thoughtful and to gather the information that we need and work so closely with the experts from across the university in developing what I think is going to be a really robust policy,” said Finlay.

The new sexual assault policy is a mandate by Bill 23, which states that that all post-secondary institutions in British Columbia must establish and implement a sexual misconduct policy. The bill was passed last April and set a one-year deadline of May 18, 2017 for post-secondary institutions to comply.