Huron’s Commitment to Safety on Campus
TW: Sexual Violence
To the Huron Community,
This week has been difficult for everyone. At Huron, we strive to create a positive, safe and open community. However, the events of the past week remind us our culture must be worked at and reinforced all the times in order to remain strong.
I am encouraged by the student leadership we witnessed at today’s walkout and through my conversations this week with HUCSC, but safety is not something that our student body should need to advocate for. Our students deserve to feel safe on campus – that’s what we want.
The pandemic has put us in a unique position where we have two cohorts of new students to campus, while upper-years have spent more than a year and a half away. We’ve worked hard over the years to put safety measures in place, but we need to make sure those resources are known and accessible to everyone.
To that end, I want to update you on some of the resources you can access now, as well as the actions we will be taking immediately to make our campus safer.
Who to Contact:
- Huron’s Community Safety Office: We established a Community Safety Office in 2019 to offer training, awareness and preventative programming related to safety issues on campus, particularly gender-based sexual violence. Our Director of Community Safety, Sarah Read, not only responds to personal safety concerns, she works to create proactive safety plans with a focus on prevention. You can get in touch with Sarah by calling 519-438-7224 ext. 854 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Wellness Centre: Huron’s Wellness Centre is open and available to students who may need support or counselling. Anyone can book an appointment by clicking here. Student also have access to TAO, our online self-help platform in case they do not want to speak to someone in person. While our Wellness Centre is always available, additional support has also been made available during this time by our EFAP by calling 1-877-632-3165.
- ANOVA: The ANOVA 24/7 support line for individuals who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence is available by calling 519-642-3000 or 1-800-265-1576.
Safety on Campus:
- Gender-Based Sexual Violence Policy: This summer, Huron undertook a bi-annual review of our gender-based sexual violence policy alongside expert, external partners. This revised and strengthened policy has been approved and can be found online here.
- Increased Security in Residences: We have increased security around our residence at night from Thursday to Saturday. As well, residence staff will be completing extra sweeps in order to deter or deal with crisis situations, should they arise. Sweeps are conducted by either all-female or male-female teams, in accordance with best practices.
- Security and Lighting: Since 2020, we have added 20 new security cameras on campus, providing better sightlines and to act as a deterrence. We have also added new lighting on campus and under the New Academic Building, with additional lights to be added to identified areas on campus. If you have concerns about a specific area of campus, please contact email@example.com.
- Sexual Assault Training: Huron has mandated Sexual Violence Disclosure training for staff, faculty and student leaders since 2019. This training, provided by ANOVA, is scheduled to be on campus again this coming Fall for anyone whose training is outstanding or who is interested in attending.
- Sexual Violence Prevention Programming: Each school year, our Community Safety Office provides prevention programming including sessions on dismantling toxic masculinity and women’s self-defense courses. More information on Fall programming (which will adhere to COVID-19 protocols) will be available soon.
Actions We Are Taking
We can always do more. Following consultation with HUCSC, Huron has committed to the following changes on campus:
- Huron Foot Patrol: Building on successful programs at other campuses, Huron will be introducing a Foot Patrol as a means of safely accessing campus when you are alone. Information on how to access Foot Patrol will be distributed and posted around campus in the coming days.
- Drink Covers and Test Kits: Working with HUCSC, we are committing to purchase drink covers and drink test kits and making them available to students on campus.
- Advocating for Safety Measures in the Greater Western Community: In my conversations with Western and the affiliates, I will be advocating for increased shuttle services to King’s and Brescia, more lights on shared property such as the tunnels connecting our campuses, and the capacity to administer rape kits at University Hospital.
Take Back the Night
Finally, on behalf of the HUCSC, I would like to extend an open invite to all female-identifying members of the Huron community for a Take Back the Night March this coming Monday, Sept. 20 at 9 p.m. All interested participants should meet at the Huron Dining Hall for the march that will extend through Western’s campus. Thank you to Urvi Maheshwari and the HUCSC for putting this event together.
Finally, while the safety measures listed above are essential, they pale in comparison to the work we need to do to change the overall culture. I am personally committed to further conversations about what we can do to create a positive, caring culture here at Huron University where everyone feels safe.
Dr. Barry Craig
President, Huron University College