McGill University students want a sexual assault policy


Some McGill University students have sent an open letter to administration criticizing the way it deals with sexual assault cases on campus. They are demanding that the university take steps to make the campus safer by implementing a sexual assault policy.

Eight university associations have signed the letter and close to 400 students have signed a petition that supports the proposed policy.

“The administration hasn't done enough to take the issue seriously, that’s evident by the lack of a sexual assault policy, so we decided not to wait around for them to do things for us but to take the initiative to formulate some solutions and guidelines,” Lily Hoffman, a student with the union for gender empowerment, one of the groups behind the letter, said.

“The students role, often, is to push for change that they see is urgent and our role then is too look at how we can make it happen together,” André Costopoulos, the dean of students, said.

Costopoulos added that a number of the measures proposed are already in place but he agrees that an official policy is needed.

“Bringing it together under one document and making it more visible is a good idea,” he said.

The letter says the call to action is a result of the university's weak reaction to allegations of sexual assault against three varsity football players in 2011.

It says a proactive approach is needed instead of a reactive one and that a “sexual assault response coordinator”, should be hired to make sure that happens.

It says until the university makes something official, it is giving empty promises.

Costopoulos said he would be meeting with students.

Read the proposed policy here.

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  1. Melanie posted on 03/27/2014 12:15 PM
    Let me say first I am not saying anyone deserves to be assaulted. I am actally a female student muself. However, I often see on weekends many girls from McGill strolling downtown intoxicated, flirting with guys they never met as well as other immature behaviour that could put them at risk for being vulnerable . This goes on at all universities actually and my point is there needs to be a new culture among young people to respect themselves and each other. Our culture seems to glamorize sexualization, drinking, etc. Also the young men these days also grew up on rap music that glamorizes these things. The culture needs to change.
    1. Sarah posted on 03/30/2014 11:19 AM
      @Melanie Dear Melanie,
      I agree with you on the point that sometimes girls contribute the phenomenon of rape, in fact, by making a comment which blames girls for "getting" raped, you just contribute to the phenomenon of rape. Have you considered why it is that going out and having a good time, and (gasp!) flirting is a such a high risk behaviour for girls but not for boys?
    2. Flynn posted on 03/30/2014 04:55 PM
      @Melanie What needs to change is victim blaming. What needs to change is how we talk about sexual assault.
      Instead of focusing on the behavior of the person being sexually assaulted, we should focus on the behavior of the person SEXUALLY ASSAULTING another person.
  2. Patrick posted on 03/27/2014 12:18 PM
    This is the same generation that has role models like rappers who glamorize sexual behaviour and girls like Miley cyrus this is why this stuff happens. . This is not a surprise that these things are happening to our kids.
    1. Sarah posted on 03/30/2014 11:15 AM
      @Patrick Dear Patrick,
      Rape existed long before Miley was born or rap was invented.
  3. Tiffany posted on 03/27/2014 12:22 PM
    quick question girls: are you under the influence of alcohol or drugs when this stuff happens? Is the guy that does this to you someone you just wanted a one night stand with? THere will always be guys out there to take advantage of easy, drunk girls so try to not put yourself in that situation
    1. Sarah posted on 03/30/2014 11:11 AM
      @Tiffany Dear Tiffany,
      There will indeed always be guys out there to take advantage of drunk girls if they are not held responsible for their actions and their victims are blamed instead... One time, I had my computer stolen while working on it in a coffee shop (no, i did not leave it unattended, i was assaulted and it was stolen out of my hands, before anyone jumps to any conclusions), was that my fault for irresponsibly using my computer in a public place?
  4. Jordanj posted on 03/27/2014 12:28 PM
    as a guy I feel lately there is this anti-male campaign going on amongst the female McGill student body. I therefore need to defend ourselves with some points: first, yes there are guys out there that have no respect I grew up seeing this first hand. I avoided them and also the girls they attracted so I know this. 2: you girls need to take some responsibility for your actions. I AM NOT CONDONING ASSAULT but you can't expect to constantly get drunk, etc and have nothing happen. 3: lately i saw hash tags on twitter saying kill all men. This is not a way to win my support and because of this I feel the need to come out swinging especially when you paint all of us with the same brush.
    1. Sarah posted on 03/30/2014 11:07 AM
      @Jordanj Dear Jordanj,
      1. The only reason an anti-sexual assault campaign would be an anti-male campaign is if you were assuming that sexually assaulting is an inherently male trait. Have some respect for your gender man!
      2. just wondering, can boys constatly go out and get drunk and expect nothing to happen?
      3. you saw a hash tag on twitter that says kill all men. You then painted all women (or maybe just the ones who have a problem with rape?) with the same brush and assumed that all women think all men should be dead, thus discrediting all women's opinions? Nice!
    2. Flynn posted on 03/30/2014 04:49 PM
      @Jordanj Why shouldn't someone expect to get drunk and have nothing happen? Do you expect to get sexually assaulted when drunk?
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