CSU’s Loyola coordinator questions lack of adequate services
Resources for sexual assault victims “are non-existent at Concordia University’s Loyola campus,” said the Concordia Student Union’s Loyola coordinator.
In an interview with The Concordian, Alexis G. Searcy highlighted the inadequacies of the existing services. “There is Health Services that you can go to for an appointment [with a nurse], but you still have to go downtown to the Sexual Assault Resource Centre,” said Searcy. “There is always security you can go to if you are in an immediate danger. As far as support services and accomodations, there [are] literally none [at Loyola].”
The Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) is Concordia’s primary resource centre for confidential support and services for victims of sexual assault or harassment. Searcy said one of the reasons SARC hasn’t been able to open more doors for students is because it’s underfunded. She wishes there was more funding available to help students at Loyola.
The Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence released its report on June 26. Section 3.5 recommended a “review be conducted of the services offered on the Loyola campus in regards to sexual misconduct and sexual violence.”
The report also recommended that “investments be made where needed to ensure that the services are available and adequate.”
Searcy was told by Jennifer Drummond, SARC’s coordinator and social worker, that the centre hasn’t started this process yet. “They haven’t been able to expand services at all [to Loyola], but they will get back to me once these kinds of things have been done,” said Searcy.
Drummond told The Concordian that having SARC services at Loyola will only be possible once another staff member has been hired. “SARC will be hiring a social worker in the coming months and I look forward to the possibilities this will present regarding expanded services,” she said.
Fiona Downey, Concordia’s senior advisor of public affairs and deputy spokesperson, said there are presently numerous resources on both campuses to help students affected by sexual misconduct. These include staff at the Campus Wellness and Support Services, Health Services, and Counselling and Psychological Services.
“The ideal is to have some SARC presence at Loyola, whether it is office hours or an actual physical space similar to SARC,” Searcy agreed.
Downey said that “once [an additional SARC staff person is] in place, one of our priorities is to have a regular presence on the Loyola campus.” She added that SARC holds regular meetings and training sessions on how to properly respond to disclosures of sexual misconduct, violence or assault.
Searcy recently received multiple questions from students such as, “Why isn’t there SARC at Loyola?” and, “Where are sexual assault resources at the Loyola campus?” She was unable to respond due to the lack of updates from SARC. “Right now, it is very present in people’s minds,” she said.
As for the future, Downey said that Lisa Ostiguy, special advisor to the provost on campus life at Concordia, will be reviewing the needs of, and support for, students on the Loyola campus.
Searcy is currently looking into how other sexual assault resources, such as consent and sexual violence support workshops, can branch out to the Loyola campus. She is keeping in touch with SARC and the task force to make sure this happens.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, you can contact the Sexual Assault Resource Centre in room H-645 on the downtown campus or call Jennifer Drummond at 514-848-2424 Ext. 3353. If you are in immediate danger, call security at 514-848-3717.
Graphic by @spooky_soda