Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX launches resource to emphasize respect, safety and equity

October 20th, 2020

St. Francis Xavier University is excited to announce the launch of Respectful Communities– a resource for all students. This one-hour, self-directed resource introduces the ways students can contribute to a safe, equitable, and respectful environment that identifies how to practice respect and safety in our interactions with others.

In recognition of StFX’s new Sexual Violence Policy, and the university’s commitment to ending sexual violence in our community, the resource (module) emphasizes topics of sexualized violence; consent and coercion; StFX policies and reporting processes; as well as the services and supports available to our students.   

“Creating a culture of respect and addressing the care and safety of students, the campus, and the surrounding community has been and continues to be a priority at StFX. We are working to ensure that everyone within our campus community has access to information, education and supports to contribute to a safe, healthy and respectful community,” says Elizabeth Yeo, Project Lead and StFX Vice President Students. 

"Thanks to funding from the province, this resource is an important step in establishing a minimum standard of expected behavior and consent education on our campus,” adds Ms. Yeo. 

“Creating safer campuses and a culture of consent will take hard work, diligence and collaboration,” said Derek Mombourquette, acting Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. “The Sexual Violence Prevention Grant projects are helping to pave the way for a cultural shift on our university and community college campuses. We will continue to work with our partners to improve education and training around sexual violence prevention and response."

The module is available to all members of the Provincial Sexual Violence Prevention Committee, which is made up of all post- secondary institutions in Nova Scotia, as well as student groups and community organizations that address sexualized violence in the community. 

Developed by a provincial working group, this module reflects the diversity of students studying on campuses across the province and uses a combination of text, video and audio scenarios to reinforce the core concepts. Clancy McDaniel, Executive Director, Students Nova Scotia, and member of the provincial working group states that "At StudentsNS, we have long believed that in order to combat campus-based sexual violence, students need consent education before ever stepping foot on campus. This new online module - combining student feedback with expertise in the field - will ensure that no matter their background before starting classes, students will develop an understanding of consent that they can put in practice."

Funding for this resource was provided by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education and created by a provincial team which included Heather Blackburn, StFX Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Advocate, Clancy McDaniel, Executive Director, Students Nova Scotia, Dee Dooley, Coordinator of Community/Legal Education and Training, Avalon Sexual Assault Center, Jordan Roberts, Sexualized Violence Prevention and Response Officer, University of Kings College, Collette Robert, Provincial Sexual Violence Response Coordinator, Dale Gruchy, Nova Scotia Community College, Olivia Landry and Annie Chau, Antigonish Women’s Resource and Sexual Assault Services Resource Centre and Elizabeth Yeo, Vice President Students, StFX. The team was supported by Corrie Melanson, Project Manager and Instructional Designer, and Chad O’Brien, E-Learning Designer and by a significant number of students who provided input and focus group feedback at every stage of the project.

StFX staff, including Megan Fogarty, Human Rights and Equity Officer, Vishalle Wells, Residence Education Coordinator, Catherine Ashley, Manager of Conduct and Restorative Practices, Larissa Strong, Director of Internationalization, Marcus Wilmot, and Students' Union President Sarah Elliott supplemented the provincial team to tailor the content to the StFX context and support the launch of the module. Mark Kolanko provided technical advice and support.  

StFX is recipient of a second grant to complete phase two of this project for the Provincial Committee.   

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