The Canadian Federation of Students – Nova Scotia stands in solidarity with the Dalhousie Student Union after revelations that additional incidents of sexual harassment and gender based violence have occurred at Dalhousie University. This incident of gendered violence was made public through a Chronicle Herald article published on Friday, March 27.
Incidents of misogyny and gender-based violence within the Dalhousie School of Dentistry and Howe Hall Residence draw attention to a systemic and prevalent culture of sexism and misogyny that students must face every day. In response, students continue to call for university and government decision-makers to take action and join students in combating rape culture on campus.
Unfortunately, university administrators prove time and time again that their reputation and the reputation of their institution matters more than the safety and wellbeing of students. When incidences of gender-based violence happen on campus, we demand university administrators take concrete steps to combat rape culture on campus, and not engage in covering up or downplaying ongoing occurrences of sexualized violence.
Students in Nova Scotia and across Canada have been combating rape culture on our campuses for decades. We will continue to work through the No Means No campaign and with our coalition partners to build a culture of consent at our universities. From March 19 to 20, students from across the country took part in a national forum to combat sexual violence and rape culture on campus. University and government decision makers need follow the lead of students when responding to these incidents.
Therefore, we reiterate the calls of the Dalhousie Student Union for the administration at Dalhousie to seek out leaders on these issues within the student union and on campus and to act on the following recommendations:
- Provide accommodations for students who have experienced harm as a result of incidences of misogyny, sexual harassment, or gender-based violence on campus;
- Implement an acceptable formal complaint process for students to anonymously report incidents of discrimination and harassment;
- Create a student advocate office to assist students in navigating current University services and to identify where services are inadequate or non-existent;
- Develop a process for students to share their experiences of discrimination and harassment and provide input into addressing these forms of oppression on campus in partnership with the Dalhousie Student Union and other Dalhousie student groups;
- Require that all faculty and staff at Dalhousie attend a mandatory training on sexism, misogyny, and the roots of gendered violence in working and learning environments; and
- Require that all students at Dalhousie take an equity course as a part of their degree which discusses the root causes of gender-based violence and intersecting forms of oppression.
It is time that university and government decision makers recognize the role they must play in combatting rape culture and preventing sexual violence on campus by working with organisations like the Dalhousie Student Union and the Canadian Federation of Students—Nova Scotia.
For more information please contact Michaela Sam, Chairperson, (902) 999-4318