Concordia Responds to Webster Sexual Harassment Incident
“Zero Tolerance” Procedure and Prevention Program in the Works
Concordia University is revamping procedure following an alleged incident of sexual harassment in the downtown Webster Library.
“We have readjusted our process with the Montreal police,” said Concordia spokesperson Chris Mota.
“So in the past, whereas the agreed upon process was that we’d try to diffuse a situation and remove the individual and then encourage the student to file a report, that’s going to change to the point where, anytime anything happens, the minute we get a report from a student that something has happened, we’re calling the police […] it really is a zero-tolerance approach.”
Concordia security personnel will also be more visible in and around the downtown campus, including the Webster Library, Mota continued.
The university is also developing a prevention program, according to Mota, but what specifically that will entail has yet to be decided.
“Literally it’s just been decided on, and it’s not yet a reality. It needs to be built, but it’s supposed to teach personal safety: how to avoid being the victim of some kind of unfortunate situation, but also what to do if you are witness to something like that, what are the steps you should take,” she said.
Tess Juan-Gaillot told The Link she witnessed a man touching his genitals through his clothing in a quiet zone of the Webster Library on Sept. 25. She says this is the third such incident that she knows about. She immediately notified security but did not attempt to file a police report until two days later.
In a statement released last week to students via the portal myconcordia.ca, Interim University Librarian Guylaine Beaudry addressed suggestions of closing the library to non-Concordia students.
“In light of a recent event involving an inappropriate and offensive behaviour of a non-student in the Webster Library, it has been suggested that our library spaces should only be accessible to Concordia community members,” she said. “However, as public institutions, all Canadian academic libraries are open to everyone.”