Outgoing ASFA President Accused of Sexual Harassment
Survivor and Allies Launch Campaign for Resignation, New Policies
“This isn’t the roast of Jonathan Roy, this is the exposition and justice for the victims of Jonathan Roy,” Concordia student Harris Turpin told The Link.
This article has been updated.
He alleges that he was sexually harassed for over a year by Roy.
A website launched by Turpin and fellow student Zoe Miceli accuses the outgoing Arts and Science Federation of Associations president of abusing his authority and Concordia’s student associations of power imbalances.
“I didn’t want to make it seem like we were going after a specific person, we’re going after specific bodies that are not holding these people accountable,” Miceli said.
Turpin claims he went on a date with Roy after they first met in 2016, but quickly realized he had no feelings for him and wanted to remain friends. According to Turpin, Roy continued to pursue and proposition him on several occasions, even after he was told he was not interested.
At a Concordia Classics Student Association pub social on Jan. 25, Turpin alleges that he experienced what he refers to as the “catalyst” for the website campaign. While walking back to his group of friends, Roy allegedly flicked his nipple. Turpin yelled at him, telling him to stop.
Turpin alleges that Roy did the same thing at an archaeological conference in Boston in an elevator, and Turpin shouted loudly for him to stop. Turpin alleged that Roy did it again a few moments later and was then yelled at in the hotel room to again stop.
Turpin also alleges that Roy frequently mentioned his genitals to him in Facebook messages and verbally.
The website calls for Roy’s resignation from ASFA and from the Concordia Student Union, where he is an arts and science councillor. His ASFA and CSU mandates end in May and June respectively. Roy also sits on Concordia’s Senate as an undergraduate representative.
The website also calls on ASFA and the Concordia Student Union to put clearer, “more accountable” policies in place for handling allegations against their executives and councils.
In an email dated Feb. 4 posted to the website, Roy informed Miceli that he would be stepping down as president of ASFA.
“I want to whole heartedly say that I want to do everything that I can to make amends to all those I have wronged with my hurtful actions and dismissiveness. Therefore, I will resign my position as President of ASFA. You are right that I should not be in this position, as more people can be hurt by me, as I take the appropriate steps to fix my behaviour and make amends with the people I have hurt and dismissed. I was in an executive meeting with the ASFA execs and we discussed my situation. They agree that my resigning is the best course of action,” he wrote.
But in the end, Roy did not follow through with the resignation.
In a statement sent to The Link, Roy claims that he had initially decided he would step down but then decided not to, because he alleges that his accusers were blackmailing him into resigning from other positions he held.
“My friends brought forward grievances about my actions in our friend group, and I agreed to enter informal mediation in order to preserve my friendships and understand my friends’ grievances. As part of the mediation, I agreed to resign my position at ASFA in order to demonstrate that I was serious about improving my relationships,” Roy said.
Turpin and Micelli had undergone an informal mediation process with Roy, with three of their mutual friends as mediators.
“At this point, the situation is still developing and it is very unclear exactly what accusations are being made against me. Therefore I do not feel comfortable participating in an interview at this time,” Roy continued in his statement.
“I felt unsafe because I knew he’s president of ASFA, I knew he’s a CSU [councillor],” Turpin said.
ASFA’s former harassment policy states that “ASFA wants to ensure that Executives or Employees do not engage in Harassment. Any Executive or Employee who is informed of Harassment being committed should report it.”
This policy was suspended in a February Regular Council Meeting and it was voted by Council to adapt to the CSU’s Harassment policy, pending a new ASFA policy to be drafted by ASFA’s task force.
The original version of this story stated that the former ASFA Harassment Policy was still in force. In the February Regular Council Meeting, Council voted to suspend the policy and follow the CSU policy. The Link regrets the error.
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