Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

An annoucement from StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald

October 12th, 2018


From StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald related to an incident of sexual assault that occurred last year:


To the Campus Community,

I wish to provide you with an update on the steps we are taking to address recent concerns related to an incident of sexual violence that occurred last year on our campus. Let me begin by affirming that the safety of every member of the StFX community is an expectation and a priority of mine.

I have spent considerable time having conversations with a variety of individuals and listening to concerns raised about this case. I have engaged with colleagues and members of the StFX community, both on the campus and off. I have heard many perspectives and what is clear to me is that there is a shared belief that we must provide a learning environment that is safe and free of sexual violence.

After much reflection and advice from my senior administration colleagues, I concluded that the student in question should withdraw from the university. I announce this morning that the student has withdrawn, effective immediately.

In addition to the decision that led to the student withdrawing from StFX, I have also asked that the existing wording within our disciplinary code as it relates to appeals be reviewed. Further, I have asked for an update regarding the connection between our relatively new Sexual Violence Policy and the university’s Code of Conduct. The purpose of this update is to ensure continuity between the good work produced by our Sexualized Violence Prevention Committee and the university’s judicial process.

I know many members of our community have worked very hard to ensure an open, fair and transparent process with respect to how we address the challenges associated with sexual violence. We remain committed to believing and supporting people who disclose that they have experienced sexual violence. We recognize and honour their courage and resilience, and respect their rights to make decisions that are in their own best interest. However, we must continue to develop and improve our policies and interventions, in order to truly succeed in achieving the goal of a victim/survivor-focused approach.

I acknowledge and accept the fact that we can do better. In this particular case, there were clear gaps in communication and apparent issues relating to our appeal processes that negatively affected our university community and, in some cases, retraumatized victim/survivors. For this, I am sorry.

I was inspired by several of the recent recommendations made by our student union leaders.

To that end, I can confirm that in the coming days and weeks we will engage with our broader community to provide opportunities to inform our review process. All comments and perspectives will be welcome as they help make our processes stronger and our university safer. Please note that more details related to this consultation work will be forthcoming.

We appreciate the continued support and engagement of our community as we navigate this very complex, and long-standing societal issue. I would like to recognize the commitment and efforts of those involved in developing and implementing the current policies that govern our campus life. This is important work, and we are committed to continuing to strengthen our policies and practices as we go forward.

In conclusion, we can, and will, do better to support victim/survivors of sexual violence.


Kent D. MacDonald

President and Vice Chancellor

St. Francis Xavier University

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