From the Provost's Desk: A new sexual and gender-based violence policy to guide our community

U of A reaffirms commitment to sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response with updated policy.

outdoor winter scene of main quad on North Campus

I am pleased to share that the Board of Governors, on the recommendation of General Faculties Council, finalized and approved a new Sexual and Gender-based Violence Policy for the University of Alberta. The policy was approved on November 22 following an extensive consultation process, alongside a new Student Conduct Policy that will update how our community addresses non-academic misconduct among students.

Through these updates, we have strengthened the policies and procedures guiding the institution’s responsibilities and approaches to sexual and gender-based violence response on our campuses. Our policies have been updated to reflect leading practices through a trauma-informed approach that promotes equity, procedural fairness, options for survivors, and comprehensive support for those impacted by SGBV and non-academic misconduct. 

The Sexual and Gender-based Violence policy now provides direction regarding:

  • principles that guide the interpretation and application of the policy and its associated procedures;
  • the university’s commitment to those affected by sexual and gender-based violence;
  • the responsibilities of the institution, senior leaders, and the University community;
  • privacy, disclosures, and confidentiality;
  • online guides to interpret and apply to the policy;
  • periodic reviews of the policy and its related procedures;
  • definitions around what constitutes sexual and gender-based violence at the university, as well as the terms used to describe our processes used to address and prevent it. 

The Student Conduct Policy updates ensure the Office of the Dean of Students is the first point of contact for all student misconduct. Those affected by a student’s behaviour will have a range of choices to seek redress, including the possibility of a range of non-disciplinary accountability options. Should they choose to make a complaint, complainants have full participatory rights in the new student conduct process, including the ability to appeal decisions. For all other concerns related to sexual and gender-based violence, the Office of Safe Disclosure, the Office of the Student Ombuds or the Office of the Dean of Students can assist those who disclose having been subjected to SGBV to navigate their options. 

I’d like to thank Deb Eerkes, Sexual Violence Response Coordinator, and all of the students, staff, faculty, partners, and members of both the Board of Governors and General Faculties Council who have offered their advice and support throughout the policy development process. 

Fostering a vibrant learning environment that’s inclusive of all our community members requires the participation of us all; working with colleagues and stakeholders across campus, my office is now updating the processes and procedures needed to reflect the approved policy. Updates will be shared as the new processes are finalized and implemented.

Dr. Verna Yiu
Interim Provost and Vice-president (Academic)

Learn more about sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response at the U of A.