Advisory Committee to the President and Provost on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence

PDAD&C# 43, 2014-2015

To:  PDAD&C 
From:      Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity
Jill Matus, Vice-Provost, Students & First-Entry Divisions 
Date:  November 28, 2014
Re:  Advisory Committee to the President and Provost on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence 

The University of Toronto strives to maintain an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, and that is safe for its students, faculty, and staff. These efforts are supported by a range of policies and resources. In addition, human rights and criminal legislation set boundaries of behaviour that all are required to respect. The prevention of and response to sexual violence on campus are issues that pose special challenges. Response to criminal conduct remains the primary domain of municipal police, but there is much that the University can and should do in its own sphere by means of the Code of Student Conduct, through the Community Safety Office, Campus Police, the various equity offices, and residence councils, and by means of enhancing education and awareness in a variety of forms.

Recent attention to the issue of sexual violence on University and College campuses, including in the U.S under the Clery Act and Title IX, as well as initiatives taken by schools across North America, signal an important focus on new approaches to prevention of and response to sexual violence. The University intends to examine these issues in the unique context of Canadian law and the University of Toronto environment. 

Accordingly, the Vice-Provost Students & First Entry Divisions and the Vice-President Human Resources & Equity are in the process of establishing an Advisory Committee to the President and Provost on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence.

The Committee will recommend an institutional framework in order to ensure reports of sexual violence are addressed appropriately, that victims receive available support, and that efforts and initiatives to prevent sexual violence from occurring are in place. The Committee’s report and recommendations will be presented to the President and Provost.

The Committee will consider national and international best and promising practices in higher education on preventing and responding to sexual violence. Working groups will review current services and programs to support victims, identify community resources and partnerships external to the University, and review current policies and practice. Focus groups will be held across the institution to solicit the contribution and input of students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.  

Committee and working group membership will be drawn from faculty, staff and students across the University to ensure that the perspectives of all stakeholders are reflected. Information on the work of the Committee will be shared with PDAD&C and the University community as we progress.

For further information please contact: Andrea Carter, Director, High Risk andrea.carter@utoronto.ca