Selkirk consulting with community on sexual misconduct policy

Selkirk College is engaged in a community consultation process to fine-tune its new sexual misconduct policy.

Leslie Comrie

Leslie Comrie

Selkirk College is currently engaged in a community consultation process to fine-tune its new sexual misconduct policy.

The policy is being developed in response to the BC government’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act, which requires all “public post-secondary institutions to establish and implement a sexual misconduct policy” and which comes into force on May 19.

Compliance with the act requires Selkirk to develop a standalone sexual assault policy, but the institution did have a previous policy in place.

“We had policy that would cover sexual assaults, but it was embedded within our … human rights and harassment policies, and most of the colleges were the same,” explains Leslie Comrie, healthy campus advisor at Selkirk.

The college began developing the new policy in September, with a larger working group that began the process and a smaller group that then worked on fine tuning the document.

The policy is now be reviewed by Selkirk College’s policy review committee, and will then go out to staff at all of the campuses, who will have 22 days to review it.

At the same time, Comrie is engaged in a community consultation process with the assistance of two third-year nursing students.

“We’re going into the community with the policy, and we’re going to community agencies that are involved with working with women who are survivors, and we’re saying, ‘Here’s the policy, … what do you think of it? What kind of input do you have for this? If you were somebody who was coming to Selkirk College and had experienced sexual violence, when you look at this policy would it guide you? Would it tell you what you needed to do? Where you needed to go? What kind of support you’d receive?’” explains Comrie.

She’ll also be going out to each campus to consult with staff after they’ve read the new policy, and she and the nursing students will be consulting with students.

“Once we receive all of the input then we will once again go back to the policy and make the required changes, and then it goes to government for their approval,” says Comrie.

The consultation process will wrap up by the middle of March so that the input can be collated and changes can be made in time to have the policy delivered to the government by May.