In the Interest of Transparency; York’s Sexual Assault Policy Documents

Because you can’t have open consultation without transparency, here is the Draft Sexual Violence Policy, v.7, October 26, 2016

Statement to accompany the release of York’s Draft Sexual Violence Awareness Policy

Upon attending the Open Consultation called by the York Sexual Assault Policy Working Group, CUPE 3903 feels that we have a duty to immediately release York’s Draft Sexual Violence Awareness, Prevention, and Response Policy, Version 7, which has so far only been released to the Working Group and not the wider York community or the public. We are releasing this now for a number of reasons:

1. There is no reason for this document to be hidden from the broader York community. In order for this document to be representative of the interests of the whole York community, it needs to be widely available in its fullest form at all stages of the consultation process. This has not happened at any point in the process.

2. York has stated that they will be releasing an updated version of the draft to the public on Friday December 2nd , which will encompass all feedback from consultations thus far. CUPE 3903’s experience with Rob Castle (the head of the working group) is that none of our feedback, comments, or critiques have been seriously taken up or integrated in the policy. Releasing this version allows community groups to determine if York is listening to and incorporating their feedback.

3. As far as we can tell, to date, only student groups have been involved and/or consulted in the process. It was only after two years of agitation, on September 30th, 2016, that CUPE 3903 was finally included in the Working Group. However, after only two meetings, we were given no choice but to withdraw our support and our bodies. Details here: ‪CUPE 3903 press release. Furthermore, today at the open consultation it was confirmed that other groups have also been actively excluded. YUSA spoke to this eloquently today at the consultation. We acknowledge that groups like YUSA have so much to add to this process and this policy, and it is both disappointing and discouraging to see their voices silenced.

4. This policy is going to be presented to the Board of Governors for approval in less than a month (mid-to-late December, as yet the meeting is unscheduled). The legislation that is driving this process (Bill 132) requires that a policy be in place by January 1st. Withholding consultations on the most complete document until the 11th hour ensures that vital feedback will not be genuinely incorporated into the policy. Nor is this fair to the Board of Governors who will, due to the legislative demands, be force to rubber stamp whatever policy falls before them.

The urgency of this issue requires the immediate release of the document. A more detailed analysis and response to the policy will be provided by CUPE 3903 shortly.