CASE Joins “Protest Concordia’s Inaction on Sexual Violence”

The Concordia Association for Students of English invites students, alumni, and community members to stand in solidarity with us this Friday April 12, 2019 at the CSU Campaign’s Protest Concordia’s Inaction on Sexual Violence. We’ll meet in front of the GM Building at 9:30am to demonstrate against Concordia’s continued inaction and transparency regarding their policies.

We support the CSU’s 3 demands that Concordia:

  1. implement a stand-alone policy on sexual violence
  2. create a concrete action plan with timelines to respond to student recommendations
  3. lobby the Quebec government to change their privacy laws

Joining together this Friday to demand further action from our university is an important step to showing collective support of our various communities. We believe that the violence students in the English and Creative Writing Department have experienced is part of a much larger problem. These issues are becoming more apparent through the hard work of students and alumni, like those from the Psychology Department, who chose to share their stories with news outlets. However, needing to share these stories through the media so that faculty are held accountable is not an appropriate solution. Concordia needs a policy that properly represents and supports survivors of sexual violence and harassment, even when the perpetrators are employees of the school.

C.A.S.E. would like to add several demands of our own to this list. Throughout the past two years, despite C.A.S.E.’s continued work with students, survivors, alumni, staff, and faculty; we continue to be left out of broader conversations on sexual violence at Concordia by administration. This includes their decision to not give students access to the third-party group that completed the English Department Climate Report. Considering these experiences, we demand:

C.A.S.E. firmly believes that professors should not have sexual or romantic relationships with their students and that this type of behavior should not be condoned at Concordia. However, until a stronger policy is implemented, an administrative record of propositions should be used to properly document how often these propositions are occurring.

  1. A concrete action plan with timelines that describe the implementation of the Climate Report’s recommendations.
    • This must include goals to actively include student feedback. Collaboration with student associations must be done to plan and advertise both physical and online feedback options.
    •  Students should be provided with opportunities to respond to the action plan created by the Standing Committee for Sexual Violence and Harassment, as well as to the procedural structure of the Climate Report.
  2. Professors and TAs should have to report to the university when they proposition a student for a romantic or sexual relationship.
    • The same accountability required for having a relationship with a student should be expected when attempting an unsuccessful advance. Propositions to a student, whether successful or not, should adhere to the same conflict of interest, obligations, and consequences referenced in the Consensual Romantic or Sexual Relationship Guidelines provided by Concordia.
    • Any necessary accommodations that need to be made, like adjusting who grades that students, should not disrupt the student’s education or social standing among their peers and other faculty members.
    • Failure to properly report these interactions should have consequences. A series of propositions should concern the university as to that faculty member’s professional integrity – classrooms are not dating pools.
    • C.A.S.E. firmly believes that professors should not have sexual or romantic relationships with their students and that this type of behavior should not be condoned at Concordia. However, until a stronger policy is implemented, an administrative record of propositions should be used to properly document how often these propositions are occurring.
  3. An independent person needs to be assigned to the English department to help C.A.S.E. liaise with students and other Concordia departments about sexual violence and harassment policies.
    • This includes helping C.A.S.E. navigate student complaints against faculty and staff in the department confidentially. These conversations should not require students to report that behavior beyond the assigned ombudsman, but rather serve as an opportunity for students to express concerns.
    • Help ensure that C.A.S.E. and the student body are appropriately updated on the current policies, as well as any changes or updates that are made.
  4. Continue to support inter-community resolution and policy building between C.A.S.E., S.A.G.E., and the English department.
    • This includes, but is not limited to, new initiatives like the department specific code of conduct and the newly created ad hoc committee.

Without these demands being met, C.A.S.E. struggles to envision an improvement of the current climate within and beyond our department. Please join us Friday to share your support.

Thank you for your continued attention and action on this important issue.

Sincerely,
The Concordia Association for Students of English
2018-19 Executive Team