Statement from the USC Executive regarding the Anti-Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Council Motion
Last night, the USC executive introduced a motion at Council regarding improving accountability for sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response. We consulted students and student groups for several months and have heard loud and clear that they want to see more immediate, transparent, and meaningful action to make our community safer and more equitable.
We would like to emphasize that we believe in and support the work of the Gender-Based and Sexual Violence Action Committee at Western. The USC sits on the Action Committee and we stand behind the recently released interim recommendations. We encourage all students to complete the climate survey by the end of the day today, February 17th at president.uwo.ca/gbsv. If you are having trouble accessing this survey, please contact [email protected].
While the Action Committee is doing valuable work, we still need university leadership to commit to meaningful accountability mechanisms. Sexual and gender-based violence is a cultural and structural issue that is not new to our campus; it has existed for generations, and committees or task forces alone cannot produce adequate change on the timeline students need.
We want to see meaningful action, and we have created the following recommendations that Council will deliberate and vote on at their next meeting on March 2nd:
- the USC advocate that the University, through the President and Vice-Chancellor, publicly acknowledge the ongoing sexual and gender-based violence crisis occurring across Western’s campuses and amongst its community members
- the USC endorse the interim recommendations produced by the Gender-Based and Sexual Violence Action Committee;
- the USC advocate that the University produce and publicly disseminate a strategy and timeline for the implementation of the interim recommendations of the Action Committee no later than the end of this academic term;
- the USC declare a sexual and gender-based violence crisis is occurring on campus, acknowledge the structural nature of this violence, and commit to rectifying the factors identified by the Action Committee and the USC which perpetuate an unsafe campus environment;
- the USC advocate that the University produce and publicly disseminate a strategy and timeline for the implementation of all recommendations produced by the Action Committee no later than September 2022;
- the USC advocate that the Western’s Board of Governors, in consultation with the USC and students, designate a senior-level administrator as accountable for the University’s progress on sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response efforts indefinitely;
- the USC advocate that the provincial government require all post-secondary institutions to participate in a sexual and gender-based violence campus climate survey administered every three years;
- the USC require the incoming Executive team to discuss and track progress on the above ‘be it resolved’ clauses at the 2nd meeting of Council, 2022-23.
Our priority, first and foremost, is the needs of students. We are committed to advocating for you and for a safer campus for all.
If you have thoughts and perspectives on the USC’s motion and approach to anti-sexual and gender-based violence advocacy, please reach out to your USC Councillor(s) so they can amplify your voice at the March 2nd meeting. If you’d like to share feedback directly with the USC executive, please email President Zamir Fakirani at [email protected] or Vice-President University Affairs Ziyana Kotadia at [email protected].