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December 15, 2017

To the Mount community,


The Government of Nova Scotia today released the report and recommendations of the provincial Sexual Violence Prevention Committee. The Committee was comprised of students, campus first responders, faculty, university administrators, government representatives, and representatives of community-based organizations with expertise in sexual violence prevention, and included members of the Mount community.

The report, Changing the culture of acceptance: Recommendations to address sexual violence on university campuses, includes recommendations aimed at shifting the culture in which sexual violence exists and supporting Nova Scotia universities in advancing their efforts to prevent sexual violence on campus. Along with our sister universities and government partners, we endorse all the report’s recommendations. You can view the report and recommendations here.  

Prevention of sexual violence is a priority for the Mount. We recently established the Sexual Assault Prevention Committee in order to move forward with our work on the prevention of and response to sexual violence. The committee, chaired by Paula Barry Mercer our Associate Vice-President Student Experience, reports directly to the President Dr. Mary Bluechardt and includes students, faculty, staff, and a community representative from the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre. The committee has met and created two working groups, one focused on a review of policy and the other on awareness, education, and training. Early in the new year, the full committee will meet again to review the provincial report and recommendations. 

In July 2015, the Mount’s Board of Governors approved a Policy Against Sexual Assault. It defines sexual consent (and the circumstances when consent cannot be obtained), outlines the procedures for responding to reports of sexual assault, and addresses confidentiality and protection from fear of threat or reprisal. All members of the Mount community are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the policy. The policy and related resources can be found on the Mount website. If you or someone you know needs help, resources for survivors and supporters can be found at http://www.breakthesilencens.ca/

We are committed to continually improving our efforts to prevent sexual violence. An open meeting will be held early in 2018 to provide an opportunity for the Mount community to provide input about how we should be continuing to act. Details about the meeting will follow.

Students, faculty and staff with questions about the provincial report or the Mount’s ongoing work, are encouraged to contact msvu.ca or Paula Barry Mercer: msvu.ca.