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This online version is for convenience; the official version of this policy is housed in the University Secretariat. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the official version held by the Secretariat, the official version shall prevail.

Approving Authority: Board of Governors

Original Approval Date: November 24, 2016

Date of Most Recent Review/Revision: September 13, 2018

Office of Accountability: President and Vice Chancellor

Administrative Responsibility: Office of Dispute Resolution and Support

Preamble

1.00 Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier) recognizes an individual’s right to work, study and live in an environment of mutual respect and understanding that is free from Sexual Violence. As such, Laurier is committed to addressing Sexual Violence within the University community through education, awareness, prevention, support and accountability.

Purpose

2.00 The purpose of this policy is to set out how Laurier will respond to and address Sexual Violence involving Students at Laurier.

2.01 When an act of Sexual Violence involving a Laurier Student becomes known to the University in accordance with this policy and its associated procedures, Laurier will respond with the aim of providing appropriate supports and accommodations to all affected individuals.

Definitions

3.00 Bystander: a bystander is anyone who is in a position to intervene before, during or after the action(s) of sexual violence and includes those who receive a Disclosure of sexual violence. A bystander is neither a person who is the subject of sexual violence nor a person accused of engaging in the sexual violence.

3.01 Complaint: making a Complaint initiates the procedures related to this Policy. A Complaint may prompt an internal or external investigation and may result in a range of possible accountability measures and sanctions. Such action will require a declaration of the particulars of the allegations to the University (e.g., names, date, details of the incident) for the purpose of due process and procedural fairness.

3.02 Complainant: a Student Member of the University Community who has brought forward a Complaint.

3.03 Consent: Consent is an active, direct, voluntary, and conscious choice and agreement to engage in any sexual activity by a person capable of consenting.  Consent cannot be given by a person who is incapacitated by alcohol, drugs, or who is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise lacks the capacity to give consent. Consent can be revoked at any time and cannot be assumed nor implied. These elements of consent must be implicit. It is not acceptable for a person who is said to have engaged in sexual violence to use their own consumption of alcohol or drugs as an excuse for their mistaken belief that there was consent.

For further clarity, consent:

  • Consent is active: the absence of “no” is not consent;
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time through words or behaviour;
  • When engaging in physical contact or sexual activity it is the responsibility of all person(s) to attain consent;
  • Consent to one sexual act does not constitute or imply consent to a different sexual act;
  • Consent given at one time does not indicate or suggest that consent has been given at other times or will be given at a future time;
  • Consent is required regardless of the parties’ relationship status or sexual history together;
  • Consent can never be obtained through threats, trickery, coercion, pressure or other forms of control or intimidation; and,
  • Consent may be compromised where individuals are in a position of power and/or authority.

3.04 Disclosure: when a Student who has experienced Sexual Violence tells someone about their experience. The student who discloses can receive support without making a Complaint. Any Member of the University Community can receive disclosures and there is no mandatory Reporting requirement when a Member of the University Community receives a Disclosure except in the instances described in the Limits to Confidentiality section.

3.05 Member(s) of the University Community: persons who currently live, work, or study on any Laurier campus. Members include Students, staff, faculty (including Contract Academic Staff, adjunct and visiting faculty), administrators and volunteers at Laurier.

3.06 Respondent(s): a Member or Members of the University Community against whom allegations of Sexual Violence have been made. Use of this term does not imply pre-determination that the Respondent is culpable of misconduct.

3.07 Sexual Violence: means any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent, and includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism and sexual exploitation.

3.08 Student: includes all undergraduate and graduate Students registered in a degree or certificate program at Laurier and includes On-line learning and the Laurier English for Academic Foundations program.

3.09 Survivor: for the purpose of this Policy means an individual who identifies their experience as Sexual Violence. A Survivor may also be referred to by other terms such as “Complainant”.

Jurisdiction / Scope

4.00 This policy and the accompanying procedures apply to all Students—regardless of their position or role or time of incident (e.g., evenings, weekends and holidays)—when on University property or when off-campus.

4.01 Other University policies and procedures apply to complaints involving University employees.

4.02 While the University is committed to providing supports and resources, there may be geographical limitations that affect the University’s ability to investigate for the purposes of an Complaint, such as if the experience occurred during an international student experience.

4.03 The University will work with other institutions where Students are cross-registered to facilitate the application of this policy and procedures.

4.04 This Policy does not prevent Survivors from seeking alternative or additional recourse through criminal or civil proceedings. Procedures set out under this policy may be suspended when there are criminal or civil proceedings; however, the University will continue to provide accommodations and support to the Survivor(s) and may resume with internal procedures when appropriate.

4.05 University policy 6.1, Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination and its procedures addresses discrimination and harassment based on the prohibited grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, which are outside the scope of this policy.

4.06 Intimate partner violence involving Students includes violence that targets a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression and is addressed within the scope of this policy.

Policy

5.00 Laurier condemns Sexual Violence of any kind. Laurier recognizes that Sexual Violence impacts people of all genders but it does not impact everyone equally; therefore, responses, prevention efforts, and supports will take into consideration the complexities of violence as experienced by people with Intersecting Identities.

5.01 Laurier is committed to fostering a University culture where:

  • Sexual Violence is unacceptable and not tolerated;
  • All students will be treated with compassion, dignity and respect;
  • There are a range of supports available to Survivors that are responsive to their intersecting identities, lived experiences, and healing needs;
  • All members of the University community have access to education about Sexual Violence;
  • Individuals and groups who commit acts of Sexual Violence are held accountable through University procedures that follow principles of fairness;
  • Survivors will not be blamed for having experienced Sexual Violence.

5.02 All Students impacted by Sexual Violence at Laurier have the right to:

i. Be provided with non-judgmental and compassionate support;

ii. Be treated with dignity and respect;

iii. Be informed about on- and off-campus services, resources, and Complaint options;

iv. Choose whether or not to access support services and decide which services they feel would be most beneficial;

v. Include a support person of their choice in meetings related to their case;

vi. Have reasonable actions taken to provide a safe and supportive working, learning and living environment including accommodations related to academics, work, campus life, recreation, and residence;

vii. Assistance in the creation of a personal safety plan; and

viii. Be kept informed, in a timely manner, about University processes that are undertaken as a result of information they have provided in a Disclosure or following the filing of a Complaint, including who is informed about a case, the status and outcome of an investigation, and whether early resolution or interim measures have been taken.

ix. Act as an integral decision-makers in situations pertaining to themselves. Please consult  Appendix A: Limits to Confidentiality for further information. 

5.03  A Student affected by Sexual Violence may choose to:

  • Make a Disclosure in order to access ongoing support, accommodations and resources related to Sexual Violence experienced prior to or during their time at Laurier (see Procedure 2.01);
  • File a Complaint to engage the Complaint procedures and possible accommodations, actions or sanctions as noted in the  Procedures (see Procedure 3.00-8.05)
  • These options are not mutually exclusive; a Survivor may pursue any, all, or none of them.

5.04 The University is committed to responding to Complaints of Sexual Violence fairly and expeditiously and recognizes the difficulty of being involved in a Complaint process. Responses are guided by a commitment to the respectful treatment of all individuals involved and to procedural fairness.

5.05 Laurier will offer on-campus supports and welcomes Survivors to choose to seek a number of different off-campus supports based on their unique needs. Examples of on- and off-campus resources that serve diverse populations could include LGBTQ+ supports, elders, faith or culturally based counselling, etc. Laurier is committed to collaborating with community agencies to fulfill the education and support commitments outlined in this policy.

5.06 In collaboration with Members of the University Community and community partners, Laurier will continue to monitor best practices and existing research within and beyond the institution, and review and update this policy at least every three years or as may be required.

5.07 Education is an essential component of prevention efforts, which strengthens personal and institutional accountability; therefore, Laurier is committed to providing ongoing education about Sexual Violence to all Members of the University Community.  The University will provide those who will be enacting this policy and staff members who are the most likely to receive Disclosures with training on this policy, Sexual Violence, and how to respond in a trauma-informed way to Disclosures (please see Appendix B:  Education & Awareness).

5.08 Accompanying procedures outline how the University responds to incidents of Sexual Violence involving Laurier Students. These procedures aim to be responsive to the complexities of Sexual Violence. All Laurier Students found responsible for committing acts of Sexual Violence will be held accountable and may be subject to sanctions and discipline under this policy and procedures.

Retaliation and Reprisal

6.00 The University will not tolerate any retaliation or reprisal, through any means including through social or other electronic media, against anyone who discloses or reports an Incident of Sexual Violence, or who participates in a University process that is addressing allegations of Sexual Violence. Retaliation or threat of retaliation or reprisal may result in further disciplinary action under this or other University policies.

Relevant Legislation

  • Canadian Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c. C-46
  • Child and Family Services Act, RSO 1990, c. C. 11
  • Ontario Human Rights Code, RSO 1990, c. H.19
  • Occupational Health & Safety Act, RSO 1990, c. 0.1
  • Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), SO 2016

Related Policies, Procedures and Documents

Acknowledgements

This policy was a collaborative effort of the Advocates for a Student Culture of Consent and Laurier’s Gendered Violence Task Force. Thanks also to the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region, the Sexual Assault Centre of Brant, the Collective for Feminist Action and Research and the Students of the Diversity and Equity Office for their review and analysis. The contributions of the Ontario Women’s Directorate to this policy are also acknowledged as this document was made in close consultation with their resource guide (Developing a Response to Sexual Violence: A Resource Guide for Ontario’s Colleges and Universities).

Student Procedures for Responding to Incidents of Gendered and Sexual Violence

Supports

1.00 Supports, services and/or accommodations are available to all Students affected by  Sexual Violence regardless of when or where the violence took place and whether or not a Complaint is made. 

1.01 To Disclose Sexual Violence, seek support or accommodations, and/or learn about resolution and/or Complaint options Students may contact the Sexual Violence Response Coordinator, Office of Dispute Resolution & Support, by e-mailing sscanlon@wlu.ca or by phoning 519.884.0710 x4847.

1.02 Additional supports are available to persons who have experienced, witnessed, or who have received a Disclosure through partnerships with the Sexual Assault Centre of Brant and the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region.

Waterloo:

  • The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region 24-hour support line: 519.741.8633. Phone support is available in over 200 languages through an interpreter service.
  • Sexual Assault Support Centre Counselling (available on or off-campus): 571.0121, intake@sascwr.org.

Brantford:

  • The Sexual Assault Centre of Brant 24-hour crisis and support line: 519.751.3471
  • The Sexual Assault Centre of Brant Business Line: 519.751.1164
  • Sexual Assault Centre Counselling and Advocacy (available on or off-campus): Hayley Moody at hayley@sacbrant.ca or 519.751.1164 x209.

Disclosure, Support and Complaint Options

2.00 Survivors are encouraged to connect with the Sexual Violence Response Coordinator for support and guidance about options.

2.01 Students affected by Sexual Violence may access University supports and services (e.g. Sexual Violence Response Coordinator, Wellness Centre, Dean of Students) at any step in this procedure.  A Survivor can access the Sexual Violence Response Coordinator for referrals to on and off-campus Sexual Violence counselling, resources, accommodations, supports, and to learn about options and complaint processes. The Sexual Violence Response Coordinator records non-identifying data about Disclosures of incidents of Sexual Violence.

2.02 A Student who has experienced Sexual Violence may:

  • Make a Disclosure – A Disclosure is when a person who has experienced Sexual Violence tells someone about their experience. Someone who discloses can receive support without making a Complaint. Disclosures can be received by any Member of the University Community and there is no mandatory reporting requirement when a Member of the University Community receives a Disclosure except in the instances described in Appendix A: Limits to Confidentiality. Members of the University Community who receive a Disclosure from a Student should inform the Student about this policy and about the Sexual Violence Support Coordinator.
  • Make a Complaint – A Complaint initiates a formal process under this Policy. A Complaint may prompt an internal or external investigation and may result in a range of possible accommodations, actions or sanctions as noted in this procedure. The process for initiating a Complaint is set out below.  Survivors are encouraged to connect with the Sexual Violence Response Coordinator for assistance prior to filing a Complaint.

Complaint

3.00 Right to Representation and Support. At any interview or proceeding related to the decision-making process of a Complaint under this policy, individuals may bring a support person who may be internal or external to the University and/or be accompanied by a legal representative.

3.01 As the Complaint moves through the resolution processes, the Complainant(s) will receive written notification, in advance, of steps to be taken under this Procedure to provide an opportunity for internal University or external community supports to be put in place to address plans for safety, wellness, and academic accommodations.  

Filing a Complaint

3.03 Any Student may file a Complaint under this Policy against a Student regarding Sexual Violence.

3.04 Complaints against other Members of the University Community (e.g. University staff, faculty or volunteers) will be addressed under other University policies, collective agreements or dispute resolution processes. Students may access the Sexual Violence Response Coordinator or the Senior Advisor, Dispute Resolution and Support for information and advice on the appropriate complaint process.

3.05 If, following consultation and informal resolution processes (where appropriate) there is no resolution, the individual bringing forward the concern may choose to file a Complaint. In filing a Complaint, the Complaint Form must be completed and submitted to the Office of Dispute Resolution and Support (ODRS).  Forms are available in the Office of Dispute Resolution and Support. 

3.06 Upon receipt of the Complaint Form, the Senior Advisor, Dispute Resolution and Support (or designate) will determine whether the issues noted in the Complaint are within the jurisdiction of the University to resolve and within the scope of this policy. 

3.07 Individuals are encouraged to submit Complaints in a timely way and generally it is recommended that the Complaint be filed within one year of the date of the incident(s) addressed in the Complaint to facilitate investigation and resolution efforts. However, the University will accept a Complaint for as long as the individual(s) against whom the allegations of Sexual Violence are made is/are a Student(s).

3.08 Upon receipt of a Complaint, the Senior Advisor, Dispute Resolution and Support, or designate, will follow-up in a timely way to address the Complaint and to make assessments related to risk and the applicability of this policy.

3.09 The integrity and efficacy of the Complaint process requires that all individuals involved in the process consider their actions and obligations under University policies and procedures, including privacy and confidentiality. University employees as well as the Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) who, by virtue of their position, are privy to information or in possession of documentation pertaining to a Complaint shall hold such information in confidence. Confidentiality shall not prevent the University from fulfilling its responsibilities under applicable legislation, or where there is a concern relating to the safety or security of individuals.

Response

3.10 The Office of Dispute Resolution and Support will provide complaint details to the individual(s) named in the Complaint (the Respondent(s)).  The Respondent(s) may provide a written response to the Complaint, which should be filed with the ODRS as soon as reasonably possible, and in accordance with timelines established by the ODRS.

Complaint Resolution

3.11 The ODRS may consult with or seek assistance from appropriate University officials or external advisors in resolving a Complaint. Unless disclosure is required for safety or security reasons, confidential identifiers will be used for all consultations.

3.12 Allegations of Sexual Violence are very serious and must be handled accordingly. Once a Complaint has been filed, the University has an obligation to respond expeditiously.

3.13 If a Complaint has also resulted in criminal or civil proceedings, the ODRS may choose to defer investigation and/or resolution of the Complaint. A Complainant or Respondent may request to the ODRS in writing that the university postpone the Complaint Resolution process until completion of the criminal or civil proceedings. The Senior Advisor, Dispute Resolution and Support, or designate, will provide a decision, with reasons, to a Complainant’s or Respondent’s request prior to the start of an investigation or further steps in the Complaint Resolution process. During this time, the University may institute and maintain Interim Measures as appropriate.

Interim Measures

4.00 The ODRS will determine if measures are required to protect the safety and security of the Complainant(s) or Members of the University Community or to facilitate resolution of the Complaint (“Interim Measures”). In determining whether to impose Interim Measures and the most appropriate Interim Measure, the ODRS will consult with the administrator responsible for student conduct for the applicable campus (“Student Conduct Administrator”) and consider all relevant and necessary information, including the nature of the allegations and specific circumstances in the situation.

4.01 Interim Measures will be required when:

a. There are reasonable grounds to believe that a Student’s continued presence on campus poses a significant threat and/or risk to the safety or security of themselves, others or to property. In such cases, referrals will be made to the Behaviour Intervention Team (BIT) for review;

b. The Student’s presence on campus could lead to a breach of court imposed restrictions (e.g. release or probation conditions or a peace bond including a non-association order) or where the University is unable to reasonably accommodate the conditions;

c. There are reasonable grounds to believe that the Student poses a threat of disruption or of interference with the normal operations of the University;

d. There are reasonable grounds to believe that a Student’s personal health and wellness are significantly impacting their academic success and/or conduct. 

4.02 Interim Measures may include:

  • Banning access from campus (includes all University buildings or property);
  • Restricted access to University facilities (including classes, buildings or residence);
  • Involuntary withdrawal (i.e. suspension);
  • Voluntary withdrawal; and/or
  • Restrictions on any other University activities or privileges for which the Student might otherwise be eligible, as the University may determine to be necessary or appropriate.

4.03 When Interim Measures are determined to be reasonably necessary, the ODRS will recommend the applicable Interim Measure to the Student Conduct Administrator, who is responsible to impose and monitor the application of Interim Measures for Students.

4.04 Interim Measures will remain in effect for as long as reasonably required pending the outcome of the Complaint.

Review of Interim Measures

4.05 Students affected by Interim Measures may request, in writing, a review of the Interim Measures at the following times:

a. where there has been a change in the status of court conditions or criminal charges (e.g. charges amended/dropped, bail conditions amended);

b. following completion of a University approved violence risk assessment completed internally or externally;

c. when the Student has additional or new information relevant to the decision to impose Interim Measures; or

d. when the Interim Measure may have the effect of a Student losing their academic year.

4.06 Reviews of Interim Measures will be completed by a Dean of Students (or equivalent position).  The Dean of Students completing the review will be appointed to a campus other than the campus where the Student subject to the Interim Measures is primarily registered.

4.07  All reviews by the Dean of Students will be in writing. A Student requesting a review of Interim Measures must submit a written request for a review to the Dean of Students and include, at a minimum, the following information:

  • the Interim Measure to be reviewed;
  • the alleged conduct by the Student;
  • the impact of the Interim Measure on the Student; and
  • the reason(s), from 4.05 above, for the review. 

4.08 The Dean of Students will review all information provided by the Student and any other information deemed relevant from internal or external sources and will provide a decision, in writing, including reasons, as soon as reasonably possible, and usually within ten (10) working days.

Early Resolution of the Complaint

5.00 The Senior Advisor, Dispute Resolution and Support, or designate, will offer to meet or speak with all participants in the Complaint to discuss the issues in the Complaint in an effort to seek understanding and develop consensual, mutually satisfying solutions. 

5.01 Solutions may include voluntary mediation, facilitated conversation or other resolution mechanisms.  Early intervention and resolution are encouraged.  Participants must remain free from reprisal during these confidential resolution meetings if meaningful resolution is to occur.  These conversations, or mediation sessions are confidential and cannot be relied upon for future processes (both internal and external).

5.02 Prior to engaging in a resolution process, the Senior Advisor, Dispute Resolution and Support, or designate, will inform all individuals involved in the process of their need to consider the possible impact of their participation on other external processes (e.g. criminal or civil legal processes) and encourage participants to seek further advice as they may deem appropriate. The Sexual Violence Response Coordinator is available to provide support for the Complainant.  The Early Resolution Support Coordinator is available to provide support for the Respondent(s).

5.03 If a resolution is achieved, the details will be documented and set out in a written agreement that must be reviewed and signed by all parties. The agreement may be created by the ODRS, or an appointed mediator/facilitator. A copy of the signed resolution agreement will be provided to all parties and may be provided to university administrators as reasonably necessary to implement the terms of the resolution. The Senior Advisor, Dispute Resolution and Support, or designate, will monitor the implementation of the terms of the resolution agreement.

5.04 A copy of the terms of the resolution shall be confidentially retained in the files of the ODRS and shall not be placed in official student or employee files. Files will be confidentially destroyed after 5 years. 

Investigation

6.00 An investigation may be required when other efforts to resolve the complaint have not been successful or are not appropriate. 

6.01 A Complainant may choose not to request an investigation by the University and has the right not to participate in any investigation; however, where the University determines there are issues relating to safety, security or legal obligations, it may decide to proceed to conduct an investigation without the Complainant’s participation.

6.02 Investigator(s) shall be appointed by the University and the investigation shall occur as promptly as possible. Investigator(s) may include individuals internal or external to the university, but in no event will an individual in a reporting relationship to the Complaint(s) or Respondent(s), or who may have a conflict of interest, be appointed as an investigator.

6.03 The investigator(s) shall receive a copy of the Complaint, Response and any relevant documents. The investigator will interview the Complainant(s), Respondent(s) and any applicable witnesses or individuals with knowledge of the events being investigated.

6.04 Members of the university community will not be penalized for filing a Complaint in good faith or participating in an investigation.

6.05 Where early resolution processes were conducted, no information shall be provided to the investigator other than a notation that the parties participated in the resolution process.

6.06 Students involved in an investigation may be accompanied by another person during all investigation and decision-making processes, which may include a colleague or support person of his or her choosing, legal or other representation at the Student’s expense. The support person’s role is not to act or speak on behalf of the Student, but to be available for assistance and support. The Student is responsible for notifying the Office of Dispute Resolution and Support in advance of any meetings when the Student will be accompanied by another person. The Sexual Violence Response Coordinator and Early Resolution Support Coordinator are available for support and advice.

Investigation Report

6.07 Following completion of the investigation, the investigator(s) shall provide a written report that will be securely maintained in the Office of Dispute Resolution and Support. The report will include:

a. a finding on each allegation in the complaint;

b. sufficient detail to outline the rationale for the finding(s);

c. as appropriate, recommendations on actions or sanctions relating to the issues in the complaint or more general workplace or conflict resolution issues.

6.08 The Complainant and Respondent shall receive a written summary of the investigator’s report including the outcome of the investigation of the complaint and steps to be taken by the University arising from the complaint. Witnesses will not be identified to either the Complainant or Respondent.  The information in the investigator’s report is confidential and will only be disclosed in accordance with University privacy policies and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Decision

7.00 The Senior Advisor, Dispute Resolution and Support, or designate, will set out their decision, with reasons, in writing, including a summary of the information relied upon in making the decision. This written decision will be provided to the Complainant and the Respondent.

7.01 The Senior Advisor, Dispute Resolution and Support, or designate, may access internal University or external resources for guidance in the decision making process. Such resources do not include the investigator, the Sexual Violence Response Coordinator, or any facilitator of an Early Resolution process completed as part of the Complaint.

7.02 If, on a balance of probabilities, the Senior Advisor, Dispute Resolution and Support, or designate, determines there has been a breach of the Gendered and Sexual Violence Policy and that the Complaint (in whole or in part) is upheld, the Senior Advisor, Dispute Resolution and Support will make recommendations to the appropriate University officials on whether sanctions or other action is appropriate to reasonably address the Complaint.

Action or Sanction

8.00 Sanctions will consider the nature of the harm, the interests of the University Community, and whether there has been acceptance of responsibility. Sanctions may include one or more of:

a. Disciplinary Warning or Written Reprimand – This includes notice that the Student violated this Policy. A warning or reprimand may be for a designated or indefinite period of time.

b. Restriction or Denial of University Services or Privileges – Removal of, prohibition of, or limitations on specific access to or use of University services and premises.

c. Behavioural Contract – A set of specific behavioural expectations, terms and conditions that is developed with and signed by the Student. The contract clearly outlines expectations being placed on the Student and that any breach of the contract may result in more serious sanctions including suspension or expulsion from the University.

d. Educational programs or assignments, written or oral apologies, restorative justice, peer conduct advising, facilitated discussion, community service, individual assessment, counseling, substance abuse education, intervention, or treatment, or other related educational sanctions may be offered or required.

e. Suspension – Removal of the Student from the University for a specified period of time after which the Student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified. Suspensions are noted on the Student’s transcript for the duration of the suspension.  The decision to suspend a student may only be made by a Dean of Students or equivalent position.

f. Expulsion – Permanent separation of the Student from the University. Expulsions are noted on the Student’s transcript. The decision to expel a student may only be made by the University President and Vice-Chancellor.

8.01 Prior to deciding on an action or sanction, the Complainant(s) will have an opportunity to submit written comments addressing the impact of the harm and any requested actions that consider the Complainant’s needs.

8.02 The University’s decision, including reasons, along with recommended sanctions and the individual(s) involved in facilitating the implementation of the sanctions will be set out in writing and provided to the Respondent(s). As an official decision of the University, a copy of the decision will be retained in the Student Conduct Administrator’s office in accordance with University retention practices.  Copies of the decision shall be provided to the University offices and employees as required to administer the decision.

8.03 The Complainant(s) shall receive the University’s written decision, including any recommended sanctions.  

8.04 Failure to complete or abide by a required sanction may result in further disciplinary action.

8.05 If an action includes suspension or voluntary withdrawal from the University, the University may impose conditions upon return prior to permitting the Student(s) to return in order to ensure a safe and reasonable return to campus. This information will allow the University to determine whether the University can provide and maintain a safe learning environment and uphold conditions from criminal or civil proceedings.

Appeals

9.00 Either party in a Complaint process may appeal the University’s decision and/or sanctions only if one of the following applies:

a. There was a serious procedural error in the handling of the Complaint which was prejudicial to the Student or might have substantially affected the final decision;

b. The decision and/or sanction(s) are unreasonable or unsupportable on the evidence and (i) will have the effect of deregistration, removal and restriction from campus, suspension, or expulsion of a Student, or (ii) fail to sufficiently address the severity of the conduct, the impact on the Complainant, or the safety to the University community.

9.01 All requests for an appeal must be provided to the University within fifteen (15) business days of the decision and should follow the appeal process set out in Appendix C Appeals.  Appeals are filed using the Appeal Form and submitted to the University Secretariat.  The form is available through the University Secretariat. 

9.02 Participation in the appeal process is voluntary; however, the choice not to participate may impact the process and outcome of the appeal.

9.03 Appeals of the University’s decision or process followed in making the decision shall be made to the Sexual Violence Policy Appeal Committee (the “Committee”). Members of the Committee will be independent of all prior decisions or processes relating to the Complaint and have no prior knowledge of the matters to be addressed in the appeal hearing.

9.04  The Appeal Committee shall have three members:

  • One (1) external representative who shall be a lawyer with experience in administrative law and adjudicative processes addressing Sexual Violence; The Provost and VP, Academic or designate when the Provost and VP Academic is unable to serve who shall be an academic Dean, AVP or VP; and
  • The VP, Student Affairs, who shall chair the Committee, or designate when the VP, Student Affairs is unable to serve who shall be a Dean of Students or VP.

9.05 The Student(s) appealing the University’s decision is the Appellant in the Appeal and the University is responding to the Appeal. Appeal hearings are conducted as a new hearing and will be conducted in accordance with procedural fairness.

9.06 Appeals will generally be conducted as a written hearing with all evidence to be relied upon submitted in writing. Where an appeal raises issues requiring an assessment of credibility, the Committee shall provide the Appellant the opportunity for an oral hearing. For oral hearings, both the Appellant and the University shall have the right to appear, call evidence, make oral representations and cross-examine in accordance with Committee determined procedures. 

9.07 In all hearings, whether oral or written, the Committee will consider all information, documents and submissions provided in the decision-making process and all new evidence provided in the hearing. The Committee may ask questions of the participants and may invite witnesses to provide evidence, as the Committee deems necessary.

9.08 The Sexual Violence Response Coordinator is available to provide support and information to a Complainant(s) about the appeal process, including the availability of additional accommodations (see Appendix C: Appeals). The Early Resolution Support Coordinator is available to provide support and information to a Respondent(s) about the appeal process.

9.09 Due to the confidential nature of the issues and impact on participants, appeal hearings shall be closed and not open to the public.

9.10 The Committee will act expeditiously in making its decision and will consider all relevant documents and evidence, and the reasonableness of the decision and recommended sanctions.

9.11 All Interim Measures and/or conditions implemented by the University shall remain in place pending the Appeal.

9.12 The Committee’s decision shall be final and shall include a written decision along with reasons. A copy of the decision shall be provided to the Complainant, Respondent, Office of Dispute Resolution and Support and such other university representatives involved in the Complaint as may be required. Recipients of the Committee’s decision shall keep confidential the personal information of those involved and avoid acts of reprisal.

Appendix A: Limits to Confidentiality

Confidentiality is an essential consideration whenever an individual has made a Disclosure or filed a Complaint about an incident of Sexual Violence.

The University will respect a Survivor’s privacy and honour requests for confidentiality to the greatest extent possible; however, there may limits to confidentiality, including when:

i. There is reasonable basis to believe someone is at imminent risk, risk of self-harm, or risk of harming another; Members of the University or broader community may be at risk of harm as determined by the University (e.g., when there is an established pattern of behaviour, or the alleged perpetrator is in a position of authority);

ii. Reporting is legally required as per the Child and Family Services Act because an incident involves a child 16 or under;

iii. University officials require information for the purposes of implementing this policy (including providing accommodation and interim measures and investigative and decision-making processes);

iv. A Complaint process has been initiated and the Respondent must be informed of the details of the Complaint;

v. Laurier Special Constables become aware in any way of Sexual Violence and may have an obligation to report to the local police;

vi. A Laurier employee is legally obligated to hand over case notes or other documentation in relation to a criminal or civil proceeding;

vii. A Member of the University community becomes aware of workplace violence or the threat of violence which they must report immediately under Laurier’s Workplace Violence Prevention Policy; or,

viii. A Residence Don receives information about an incident of Sexual Violence that took place in a Laurier residence.

Noteworthy instances of limits to confidentiality have been listed above; however, Survivors should be aware that there are other instances where information may be shared among staff and faculty in the University in order to facilitate requests for accommodations, support, and/or Complaints. In cases where information has been shared among staff and faculty in the University, Survivors will be kept informed about University offices notified and the information provided.

The Sexual Violence Response Coordinator records non-identifying data about Disclosures or Reports of incidents of Sexual Violence.

Appendix B: Education and Awareness

Laurier recognizes the importance of education and awareness for Members of the University Community to help them address the prevalence of Sexual Violence and appropriately respond to Disclosures. The University is committed to working with its community and University partners in the development and delivery of excellent and timely education programs.

Education & Awareness at Laurier will:

  • Empower the University Community to be proactive bystanders.
  • Be rooted in the knowledge that Sexual Violence impacts everyone but does not impact everyone equally. Women, in particular Aboriginal and racialized women and women with disabilities, children, and members of the LGBTQ+ community experience Sexual Violence more frequently.
  • Address prevalent myths about Sexual Violence that function to blame and stigmatize Survivors, and perpetuate a culture in which this violence is normalized.
  • Encourage compassionate responses guided by trauma-informed principles that prioritize safety, trust, choice, collaboration and empowerment.

Appendix C: Appeals

(see Procedure section 9.00)

No one shall serve on a Committee for an Appeal that has any direct interest or prior involvement in the Complaint, Decision or issues under consideration. Committee members are expected to identify any actual or perceived conflicts of interest as soon as possible and in advance of the start of the Appeal hearing. A Student appealing the Decision (the “Appellant”) who believes that a Committee member has a conflict of interest is required to identify the conflict as soon as possible and in advance of the start of the Appeal hearing. The University Secretary shall make a determination on the potential conflict of interest and communicate the decision to the Appellant and Committee members prior to the start of the Appeal hearing. Members of the Committee will be trained on myths about Sexual Violence (for e.g. myths related to relationship status, dress, prior sexual history, lack of resistance, delayed disclosure or participation in counselling or therapy) and on responses to trauma.

Parties to the Appeal

The Student (Complainant or Respondent) submitting the appeal is the Appellant. Appeals are to the University, which is the Respondent in the Appeal.

Notice and Scheduling

Upon receipt of an appeal, the University Secretary will constitute an Appeal Committee. The Appellant will be notified of the membership of the Committee and provided with reasonable written notice, through the Student’s Laurier email account, of the date(s), time and location for the Appeal hearing.

Hearings will be arranged as expeditiously as possible but depending on the academic calendar, may need to be extended to address availability of witnesses and parties. The date(s) for Appeal hearings will be set sufficiently in advance for both the Appellant(s) and University to have an opportunity to review documents and prepare for full and fair presentation of their case.

All reasonable efforts will be made to schedule the Appeal hearing at a time and place convenient for all parties. However, if a party, who has been notified of the date, time and location for the Appeal hearing does not attend the hearing, the Appeal Committee may proceed in the party’s absence and the party will not be entitled to any further notice of the proceeding.

Notice of the Appeal hearing will be provided, in writing, to the Appellant, University, Complainant(s) (where the Respondent is the Appellant), or the Respondent(s) (where the Complainant(s) is the Appellant). The Complainant(s) is encouraged to work with the Sexual Violence Response Coordinator or other internal University or external community supports to address plans for safety and wellness and consider the need for accommodations.

Documents

All relevant documents relating to the Complaint and Decision will be provided to the Appellant and Respondent.

This will include (as may be applicable):

  • The Complaint and any submissions provided by the Complainant;
  • The Response and any submissions provided by the Respondent;
  • The investigation report and investigation file;
  • File notes and records held by the Office of Dispute Resolution and Support relating to the Complaint and Decision (unless confidential as noted in the Policy and Procedures);
  • File notes and records (if any) held by Special Constable Services or Residence.

Representation

The parties to the Appeal have the right to have an advisor or retain and be represented by counsel for the Appeal hearing, at their own expense. The Appeal Committee reserves the right to retain counsel. The Appeal Committee has no authority to make any order for the payment of costs.

Notice of the name of any advisor or legal counsel retained by a party shall be provided to the Committee and to the other party(ies) as soon as possible and at least three working days prior to the start of the Appeal hearing. Appeal Committee hearings will not be unreasonably postponed or rescheduled due to the unavailability of the advisor or counsel.

Procedures

Subject to the requirements set out in this Policy and Procedures, the Committee shall determine its own procedures and practices in any Appeal and the Chair may make such rules and orders as they deem necessary and proper to ensure a fair and expeditious proceeding. In determining its own hearing procedures, the Committee shall take into account the need for participants to be safe and have access to supports. The Committee is bound by neither strict legal procedures nor strict rules of evidence. It shall proceed fairly in its disposition of the appeal, ensuring that all parties are aware of the evidence to be considered, provided copies of all relevant documents to be considered by the Committee, and are given an opportunity to be heard during the process.

The University Secretary, or designate, shall provide administrative support and procedural advice to the Committee.

Summary Dismissal

The Committee may summarily dismiss an Appeal if the Appeal, in the judgment of the Committee, does not raise a valid ground for an appeal.

Decision

At the conclusion of the Appeal Hearing, the Committee shall render a decision, in writing, including written reasons setting out the basis for the Committee’s decision. The decision and reasons shall be provided to the Appellant, University and the Respondent and Complainant in the Complaint. 

The Committee decision shall consider all of the relevant evidence in making its determination. The standard to apply is a balance of probabilities. For appeals of a finding of breach of this Policy and Procedures and/or the sanctions imposed, the Committee’s decision will include a determination on whether sanctions or other action is appropriate to reasonably address the Complaint.

The Committee has no authority to order general, aggravated or special damages or costs.

The Committee’s decision is final.

 

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