Statement Regarding Disclosure of Misconduct

Read the Statement Released by the GSA.

16 September 2021

Yesterday the GSA, along with many other members of the campus community, was made aware of a public appeal to the University and to the Students’ Union (SU) made by a survivor of sexual violence, who disclosed that they were assaulted by Ricardo Acuña, President of the Association of Academic Staff of the University of Alberta (AASUA).

The GSA Board, along with the SU (who have also released a statement, here) believes survivors. The GSA Board commends the survivor for their immense bravery and demands action in kind. In solidarity with the SU, we also call for Acuña’s resignation as AASUA President and as Executive Director of the University’s Parkland Institute. Good-faith relationships between University administration and its student population are reliant on mutual respect of each others’ safety and dignity. Allowing Acuña to retain his position would be a flagrant symbol of disregard to the many survivors who constitute our campus community.

Likewise, the GSA Board joins the SU in expressing serious concerns about inequitable and non-transparent reporting and investigation processes related to sexual misconduct. We agree with the SU that “students demand transparent and robust reporting pathways, as well as sexual misconduct investigation mechanisms that align with trauma-informed care” and want to ensure existing policies against discrimination and harassment on campus are fully enforced, and strengthened. We also echo the SU’s call to make hiring a Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator an immediate priority. This position is, in part, funded through Mandatory Non-Instructional Fees paid by students and, despite previously expressed plans to hire over the summer, remains vacant.

GSA President, Anas Fassih, remains in discussions with members of University administration, as well as with SU President, Rowen Ley, about these matters. Resources for those who have survived sexual violence can be found here. If you need to talk to someone and are safe to do so, you can also call, text, or chat the Alberta One Line for Sexual Violence at 1-866-403-8000.