Former philosophy student files Human Rights complaint against Concordia
A former Concordia University student has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, arguing that the school did nothing to help her when she accused a professor of sexual harassment.
The woman came forward with sexual harassment allegations against a professor in 2009.
Neither the woman's name, nor the name of the man she is accusing, is being made public in the complaint.
The philosophy student said she believed she had a cordial, student-teacher relationship with the teacher that changed when she took a second class with the same instructor.
In her complaint, the former student said she started to feel harassed when he sent her persistent emails to drink alcohol, messages that he would slip alcohol into her drink, or requests to drink and go dancing -- despite his knowledge that she did not drink alcohol.
She said the messages, both verbal and email, affected her schoolwork and her grades suffered.
The woman said she complained to several officials but was essentially given a runaround, with various departments saying they could not help her, always suggesting someone else could see, but in the end she never received the help she wanted.
The student ended up leaving Concordia to attend York University to finish her BA.
She returned to Montreal in 2013 and then contacted the school once again to make a complaint. She then learned in 2017 that other female students had made complaints about the same professor and had been allowed to take courses with other teachers.
The student is seeking $60,000 in damages from Concordia University, and demanding the school address sexual harassment.
She is being assisted in her legal action by CRARR, the centre for research-action on race-relations, which is seeking sanctions to prevent the tenured professor from teaching.
Concordia University said it was not going to comment on any individual complaint, but a spokesperson said that the school was taking steps to deal with allegations of misconduct, pointing out the school has recently appointed a task force on sexual misconduct.
That group was created after several current and former students accused teachers in the Creative Writing department of sexual harassment and misconduct, including pressuring students to have sex.
In January Concordia reassigned two teachers accused of wrongdoing.
The school also issued new sexual relationship guidelines that "strongly discourages" instructors from starting or continuing any sexual relationships with students, but recognizes that may not be possible because the school does not have the legal power to ban sexual relationships between consenting adults who are members of the school community.
The task force is expected to release a report on sexual violence and misconduct later this year.