Manitoba Student Unions Sign Action Plan to End Campus Sexual Violence

For Immediate Release:

UMSU (University of Manitoba Students’ Union), UMGSA (University of Manitoba Graduate Students’ Association), and UWSA (University of Winnipeg Students’ Association), are all proudly signing on to the Our Turn National Student Action Plan to End Campus Sexual Violence, including supporter and ally CFS-MB (Canadian Federation of Students – Manitoba Chapter).

The Our Turn National Action Plan lays out a list of programs that student unions can implement to prevent sexual violence, support survivors, and advocate for change on their campuses. UMSU, UMGSA and UWSA are joining twenty student unions from eight provinces across Canada, including student unions from the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill University, Dalhousie University and the University of Ottawa.

“No campus is free from the issue of sexual violence, and it’s time for students across the country to unite our efforts and put an end to rape culture on campuses once and for all,” says Allison Kilgour, Vice-President Advocacy for UMSU.  “We are proud to be signing on to this Action Plan alongside fellow student unions and associations from across the country.”

Along with the Action Plan, Our Turn has scored sexual assault policies from each signing union’s university across the country. Almost half of the campuses received failing grades. Ryerson University was marked the highest at 81 percent, but Concordia University scored 52 percent, the lowest of all marked. The scores, published in the Our Turn National Action Plan (which will be released Oct. 11, 2017), show the lack of consistency amongst policies.

“We are eager to implement Our Turn’s recommendations at UWinnipeg,” says Laura Elsie Garinger, President of the UWSA.  “Students have been at the forefront of this issue in Manitoba and must remain involved in policy-making process to ensure that it reflects the needs of our communities. We are proud to stand with student unions in Manitoba and across Canada in creating a culture of consent on our campuses.”

Some of the issues identified through this evaluation include students being barred from making a complaint to the police and to their school concurrently; the ability of University Presidents to make unilateral exceptions to their sexual assault policies; and, the imposition of gag orders that silence survivors.

Each student union that signs on to the action plan will strike their own Our Turn Taskforce made up of relevant stakeholders in their university community, to decide how best to implement programming from the action plan.

Details

UMSU, UMGSA, UWSA, and CFS-MB will be holding a joint press conference to announce more details about the implementation of the Our Turn National Action Plan on October 11th.

Our Turn Winnipeg Press Conference
University of Manitoba Atrium, Engineering & Information Technology Complex
October 11, 2017
12:30 PM CST

Please note that this press conference may include survivors discussing their experiences of sexual violence and institutional failures, which may be difficult to hear for some. We ask that the press be mindful and respectful of the experiences being discussed.

A press conference will also be held by the National Our Turn Committee and SSMU beforehand at 10:30 EST at McGill University. The national press conference will be streamed on the Our Turn Facebook page.

Contact:

UMSU                                                             UWSA                                                UMGSA

Allison Kilgour                                            Laura Garinger                               Carl Neumann
Vice-President Advocacy                            President                                          President
204-474-6524                                              204-786-9778                                   204-474-9181                                               vpa@umsu.ca                                            pres@theuwsa.ca                             pres@umgsa.org

AND

Carlen Comegan-Ronke                                                    Caitlin Salvino
Manitoba Chairperson                                                        National Our Turn Committee Chair
Canadian Federation of Students                                      (613) – 850-6197
204-998-3294                                                                       nationalourturn@gmail.com
chair@cfsmb.ca