ASFA Implements New Sexual Harassment and Racial Discrimination Policy, Effective Immediately
Policy was Voted Unanimously, On Hiatus Since February
The Arts and Science Federation of Association unanimously passed a sexual assault and racial discrimination policy during their council meeting Thursday night.
This article has been updated.
The policy was made in collaboration with the Sexual Assault Resource Centre, the Concordia Student Union and the Gender Advocacy Center.
While the policy had been absent in ASFA’s regulations since February, the new policy allows ASFA to delegate how they handle reports of sexual violence within the association.
Timeline of The Links Coverage
Mar. 1 – ASFA To Change Harassment Policy
Apr. 9 – Outgoing ASFA President Accused of Sexual Harassment
Apr. 13 – Outgoing ASFA President Resigns Amid Allegations
Sept. 18 – Another Complaint Against ASFA at the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission
The policy is internal and will allow them to handle issues when people report to them rather than the university. Although Concordia has a code of rights and responsibilities, this policy is a separate entity that tells ASFA how to operate if allegations are submitted.
“People who have been affected are welcome to pursue action through Concordia, through ASFA, or both,” said Margot Berner, an Irish Studies councillor who presented the policy.
ASFA’s new policy will include an investigative committee, to be made up of people who have lived experience of discrimination or harassment, or who have worked around these issues and have proven knowledgeable about the subject, as well as legal representatives and a representative from either the SARC or the CGA.
“We’ve proven multiple times in the past that the ASFA is not quite equipped to deal with these types of situations,” said Berner. “Having the experts help us out on how we respond to these cases is really important.”
“This policy was sent twice to policy committee it’s been going on for over six months now,” said Elliott Boulanger, Internal Affairs and Administration at ASFA.
The first policy written by the ASFA task force was put on pause because the lawyers who were involved in its creation said the policies weren’t achievable.
After the first attempt was put to a halt, a second policy was created and reviewed by ASFA’s policy committee which was sent to the SARC, the GCA and lawyers for review.
“I just want to emphasize that it’s been very diligent,” said Marguerite Rolland, ASFA’s Advocacy and Executive Coordinator.
ASFA’s initial policy on sexual harassment was taken down in February, due to criticisms that there was a lack of empathy towards survivor of sexual misconduct, since it mandated survivors to reach an agreement with the accused.
A launch party will be held to get people more informed on the policy on Oct. 24 in the Hive at the Hall Building from 6:30 P.M. to 9 P.M.
The original version of this story stated that the investigative committee was to be made up of people who have been discriminated against. The committee is not only to be made up specifically of people who have been discriminated against but it is open to people who have lived experience of discrimination or harassment, or who have worked around these issues and have proven knowledgeable about the subject. The Link regrets this error.