Title

Failed by Universities: A Class Action Proposal on Behalf of Survivors of Sexual Assault on or Around Ontario University Campuses

Submitter and Co-author information

Cherlene CheungFollow

Standing

Undergraduate

Type of Proposal

Poster Presentation

Challenges Theme

Open Challenge

Your Location

University of Windsor

Faculty

Faculty of Law

Faculty Sponsor

N/A

Abstract/Description of Original Work

As #MeToo takes the world by storm, post-secondary institutions must take up the challenge of effectively preventing and handling sexual violence on Canadian campuses. In 2016, Ontario’s Bill 132 mandated the creation of sexual violence policies at all universities. Though the response was well-intentioned, recent research indicates that many of the resulting policies fall short because they are not comprehensive enough and they lack oversight. Legal avenues exist outside universities, but many argue that students may be no better served by a combative and ineffective criminal process (Bonnyman, 2017) (SFCC, 2019). As such, the presentation proposes a class action lawsuit as a measure to increase accountability for sexual violence. The focus of the allegations in such an action would concern the past and present policies and practices of universities in responding to reports of sexual assault, including the level and quality of support available to survivors. The presentation explores the potential of allegations on grounds of negligence, breaches of fiduciary duties, and breaches of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Post-secondary institutions owe their students a safe learning environment and must provide them with a robust and proper policy and procedures when violence does occur.

Special Considerations

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Failed by Universities: A Class Action Proposal on Behalf of Survivors of Sexual Assault on or Around Ontario University Campuses

As #MeToo takes the world by storm, post-secondary institutions must take up the challenge of effectively preventing and handling sexual violence on Canadian campuses. In 2016, Ontario’s Bill 132 mandated the creation of sexual violence policies at all universities. Though the response was well-intentioned, recent research indicates that many of the resulting policies fall short because they are not comprehensive enough and they lack oversight. Legal avenues exist outside universities, but many argue that students may be no better served by a combative and ineffective criminal process (Bonnyman, 2017) (SFCC, 2019). As such, the presentation proposes a class action lawsuit as a measure to increase accountability for sexual violence. The focus of the allegations in such an action would concern the past and present policies and practices of universities in responding to reports of sexual assault, including the level and quality of support available to survivors. The presentation explores the potential of allegations on grounds of negligence, breaches of fiduciary duties, and breaches of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Post-secondary institutions owe their students a safe learning environment and must provide them with a robust and proper policy and procedures when violence does occur.