After two long years of pushing the new sexual violence policy through, it’s finally official
The Concordia Student Union (CSU) voted in a new policy with a survivor-centred approach towards handling sexual misconduct involving CSU representatives.
Following a meeting on Sept. 23, the new policy was officially put in place and acknowledged in the CSU bylaws.
This policy was initially voted on in the 2018–19 academic year; however, after a failure to enforce it in the bylaws and delays due to leadership issues, the policy has never fully been enforced. This situation is now rectified.
The policy pertains to any complaints that involves CSU representatives in matters of sexual violence and harrasment, stating, “Creating a Sexual Violence Policy (the “Policy”) will ensure that allegations of sexual violence involving CSU members are properly addressed and that every CSU member is made aware of their roles and responsibilities regarding the prevention and response towards sexual violence.”
Eduardo Malorni, the CSU’s Student Life Coordinator, spoke to The Concordian to explain the circumstances around which the policy was voted in, and the urgency felt within the CSU. Previous to this new policy, there was no way of holding the student union accountable.
Malorni said, “Other than handling it individually one-on-one, or trying to work it out behind the scenes, there was nothing [in place] for a student to make an official complaint against a CSU representative.”
Each complaint will be evaluated by the committee members, who remain separate from the CSU.
“The committee members are someone from the judicial board, a student-at-large that was appointed, someone with experience in sexual violence, an investigator/HR person that has experience dealing with this, and the last one is someone on the Standing Committee of SMSV [Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence] from the university,” explained Malorni.
This policy and procedure is very different from Concordia’s policies related to sexual violence. When there are complaints of a sexual nature to be made that do not involve a CSU representative, the university will be responsible for said investigation.
In addition to a new way of handling complaints, this policy also enforces a mandatory consent training for each representative. This training module was the main point used to delay the implementation of this policy.
According to Malorni, ”[CSU members] were casually mentioning how failing or not attending consent training [should not] be a reason to get removed from the CSU; they were implying it wasn’t an impeachable thing.”
However, most CSU representatives were very eager for the training, and saw it as an opportunity to learn.
“There’s always going to be a few people who think it’s a waste of time. Sometime[s] there are people who are generally curious and they ask questions,” said Malorni.