Concordia Student Union wants more input in sexual misconduct task force
The Concordia Student Union wants more input in the composition of a sexual misconduct task force.
Last week the university announced it was putting together a 12-member committee to address sexual misconduct and violence on campus.
That group is going to review the school's policies about sexual misconduct, then write a report
The administration put out a call last week for people who would fill the task force, and their list calls for two undergraduate students, two graduate students, two professors, two staff members, and one person from outside the school.
The student union wants to be able to choose the undergraduate students on the task force, and increase their number to four.
"It's very concerning to me that the university would see itself as the appropriate body to choose what students would be speaking on students' behalf," said Leyla Sutherland, student life coordinator of the Concordia Student Union.
"There is mistrust and I think for the university to not recognize that is problematic."
The student union also wants to eliminate the requirement that students be in good academic standing, with Sutherland saying that students who have been subject to sexual misconduct or abuse would have valid reasons for not maintaining good grades.
“Good academic standing is important perhaps for some kinds of participation but in this case, for this committee, there's a very clear relationship between experiencing sexual violence and having your grades suffer as a result and to add that as one of the conditions is concerning as to who it might exclude from the committee,” said Sutherland.
According to Our Turn, a national student movement to end on-campus violence, student voices are often left out of the process.
“In October we published a report working with 20 student unions from eight provinces across the country, representing over 500,000 students as a response to the lack of centralization of student voices in this movement,” said Our Turn chair Caitlin Salbino.
In response, Concordia University sent CTV a statement that said in part, their task force was designed to be "open, robust and inclusive".
The administration said it is "sensitive" to the CSU's argument, and pointed out that students will have more representation on the task force than on other groups.
In a statement it said it "needed to ensure that all members are engaged with this subject, are knowledgeable about our existing policies and can make the time commitment necessary."
The deadline for applications to the task force has been extended to Feb. 8, 2018.