From the Provost’s Desk: U of A appoints Lead, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Response

This new, permanent role will advance U of A's ongoing efforts toward preventing and responding to sexual violence within our community.

Deb Eerkes

Deborah Eerkes, lead, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Response

As part of the University of Alberta’s ongoing commitment to preventing and responding to sexual violence within our community, I am pleased to share that Deborah Eerkes was appointed on February 1, 2024, to the permanent, continuing role of lead, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Response. In 2021, Deb was seconded to the inaugural two-year position of Sexual Violence Response Coordinator. In the past two years, thanks to Deb's leadership, a number of key institutional achievements have been met, including the development of the Sexual and Gender-based Violence policy, the launch of the Options Navigation Network and the launch of an eclass training. This continuing position ensures we are keeping pace with tackling issues of sexual and gender-based violence in our community.

In this role, Deb will continue to lead and engage experts and service units across the University of Alberta in policy development and implementation, communications, education and training and in best and promising practices, as well as with internal partners to manage institutional accountability as it relates to sexual and gender-based violence, interpersonal violence and other psychosocial safety concerns. To this end, Deb is chairing a number of working groups to engage in a collaborative approach to addressing specific and emerging issues in sexual and gender-based violence.

Deb has held a number of positions and roles since joining the U of A in 2000, including a two-year secondment as sexual violence response coordinator, director of the Office of Student Conduct and Accountability, student ombudsperson, university discipline officer and human rights officer. She has been a key participant and leader of many institutional initiatives, including the development of the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Policy, the creation of the Options Navigation Network, the development of a comprehensive training program for those administering disclosure and complaint processes, non-disciplinary accountability options across the university, the Helping Individuals at Risk policy suite and the academic integrity program.

I am pleased to welcome Deb to her new role, and I want to thank her for her guidance and leadership on the critical work ahead.

Verna Yiu

Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

Carrie Smith
Vice-Provost (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion)