A Culture of Consent

Respecting boundaries. Challenging sexist jokes and comments. Talking about gender-based violence and letting friends and family know where you stand on the issue. We can all help create safe spaces and promote a campus culture of consent and respect.


Defining consent

Consent is a voluntary, conscious, active and ongoing agreement to participate in sexual activity. In other words, it's a freely given, enthusiastic, clearly communicated “yes.”

Just because consent was given in the past does not mean that it automatically exists for future sexual activity. Each person has to give consent every time, whether in a one-time encounter or a long-term relationship.

According to the Canadian Criminal Code, there is no consent if

  • someone else says “yes”

  • a person is incapable of consenting because they are unconscious, asleep or impaired by drugs or alcohol

  • there is an abuse of power, trust or authority

  • a person is pressured, manipulated, threatened, intimidated or otherwise coerced into saying "yes"

  • a person does not clearly say “yes” or says or implies “no” through words or behaviour

  • consent is withdrawn or a person changes their mind at any time before or during a sexual activity.

Sexual activity that is not consensual is sexual assault.


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Sexual Violence policy

When you understand the university’s policy on sexual violence, you stand with us in creating a culture of consent. Learn about the rights and responsibilities of all students, faculty and staff.

 

Rights

Universal rights

Everyone has the right to:

  • work and learn in an environment free of sexual violence

  • access supports through the university

  • receive information about filing a complaint

Everyone involved in a report or investigation of sexual violence has the right to confidentiality and to reasonable modifications to working, learning or living arrangements. 

Survivors’ rights

Any individual who experiences sexual violence—whether or not they choose to file a complaint—has the right to:

  • confidentiality

  • information about services on and off campus

  • information about reporting options, including whether or not to report an incident of sexual violence 

  • choose whether or not to report an incident of sexual violence to the university, law enforcement agencies, Alberta Human Rights Commission, or any other authority

  • assistance with safety planning

  • be kept informed about the university's response to a complaint.

Complainants’ rights

Individuals who file a complaint after experiencing sexual violence have the right to:

  • confidentiality

  • information about services on and off campus

  • choose whether or not to report an incident of sexual violence to law enforcement agencies, Alberta Human Rights Commission, or other authority

  • modifications to their working or learning environment

  • a fair and unbiased investigation process

  • withdraw a complaint at any time, but must be aware that the university may be required to pursue an investigation

  • a support person during the investigation process. The role of the support person is not to advocate for the complainant.

  • representation from the MacEwan Staff Association or the MacEwan Faculty Association, if they are a member of the association.

Reporters’ rights

Individuals who are neither survivors nor respondents and file a complaint of sexual violence have the right to:

  • confidentiality

  • information about services on and off campus

  • choose whether or not to report an incident of sexual violence to the police, RCMP, Alberta Human Rights Commission, or any other authority

  • modifications to their working or learning environment.

Respondents’ rights

Respondents are individuals who have been named as carrying out an act of sexual violence. These individuals have the right to:

  • confidentiality

  • a fair and unbiased investigation process

  • a support person during the investigation process. The support person may not advocate for the respondent.

  • information about the complaint review process, investigations and potential outcomes

  • information about on and off campus supports and resources, including academic or work modifications and interim measures as determined during the response

  • representation from the MacEwan Staff Association or the MacEwan Faculty Association, if they are a member of the association

  • appeal if the investigation concludes that the Sexual Violence policy was breached.

MacEwan University’s rights

As outlined in the sexual violence policy, the university has the right to:

  • investigate complaints, whether or not

    • a survivor or complainant wants them to, if they are required to do so by law

    • law enforcement is involved

    • charges have been laid

  • stop investigating a complaint if the complaint is registered more than a year after the incident

  • not investigate a complaint

  • discipline members of the campus community based on university policies and/or collective agreements.

 

Responsibilities

Campus community members’ responsibilities

All members of the MacEwan University community are expected to:

  • promote an environment free of sexual violence

  • know about the sexual violence policy and the procedures for responding to sexual violence.

It is the responsibility of each member of the campus community to:

  • provide appropriate support to anyone who reports sexual violence to them

  • let individuals who disclose know that the Sexual Violence Response Coordinator and Security Services are on-campus resources for support and information 

  • maintain the confidentiality of everyone involved in a report or investigation of sexual violence except when it is believed that there is an immediate risk of harm to self or to another person or the community

  • take appropriate action to prevent further sexual violence.

MacEwan University’s responsibilities

The university’s responsibilities are to:

  • promote an environment free from sexual violence

  • educate on the topic of sexual violence.

When responding to reports of sexual violence, the university must:

  • maintain the confidentiality of everyone involved in a report or investigation of sexual violence. There are limits to the university’s ability to maintain confidentiality.

  • provide thorough information on reporting options

  • respond to complaints in a fair, effective and timely manner to ensure due process

  • support campus community members through access to counselling, medical care and modifications

  • work with the Sexual Violence Response Team.


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Protect privacy

Everyone involved in a complaint or investigation of sexual violence is expected to maintain confidentiality and will have their confidentiality protected.