Committee submits harassment office proposal to board

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By Carolyn Wong

After months of meetings, discussions and presentations, Ryerson’s executive committee has handed its recommendations on the harassment office.The committee presented the report to Ryerson’s board of governors Monday night.

The 14th floor boardroom in Jorgenson Hall was full, so students were moved to another room to watch the meeting on television.

Only three RyeSAC representatives were in the boardroom.

“The fact that there are only three students present at this meeting is a huge concern,” said RyeSAC president Erin George.

The report recommends making brochures outlining the confidentiality policy of the office of discrimination and harassment, adding an external investigator and creation an advisory committee to meet with Ryerson’s president at the time of the harassment office’s annual report.

So far, the most contentious issue has been the blending of the office’s two positions – manager of harassment prevention and investigative officer. Wendy Roberts, manager for the past eight years of discrimination and harassment prevention services, was let go on Aug. 16.

A coalition comprising RyeSAC, the Ryerson Faculty Association, OPSEU, CUPE and CESAR, had concerns one person wasn’t adequate for the job.

The executive committee says the office should have a full-time officer, a part-time adjunct officer and an investigator on contract.

Also, a fund of $80,000 has been created for education and external investigations if needed.

Since it was the first time members of the board of governors had seen the report, they were not prepared to comment.

“The report was approved in principle, but a special meeting will be conducted to discuss the details of the report and the implementation,” said Dale Patterson, vice-chair of the executive committee.

That meeting is scheduled for Dec. 9.

“The number one thing has to be that students, staff and faculty feel safe,” said Cory Wright, RyeSAC’s v.p. education and a student representative on the executive committee. “If that can be implemented through this structure, then great. If not, then we have to revisit it.”

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