Recently, incidents involving administrative mishandling of sexual assault allegations against professors, particularly at Concordia and McGill, have brought the conversation around sexual violence on Québec campuses back to the forefront. But this is by no means a new problem.¹ ² ³

According to a recent study, which surveyed over 9000 people connected to francophone universities across Québec, over one third of respondents – the majority of whom were women – reported having experienced some form of sexual violence on campus at the hands of another member of their university community.¹ Of the women in the sample, it was found that less than 10% had reported the incident(s) to the university¹ —this illustrates not only the culture of silence around sexual violence that persists in the university environment, but also serious institutional barriers around reporting sexual violence and being taken seriously. This is especially the case when there is an imbalance of power between the accuser and the accused – for example, when a student reports sexual harassment perpetrated by a tenured professor.

Concordia is no exception to the rule.

A recent survey on sexual violence, conducted by the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence, revealed that at least 1 in 10 Concordia students has experienced some form of sexual violence on campus.⁴ While Concordia does have a policy on sexual violence, its provisions are clearly insufficient to properly address the problem – in a recent report which evaluated universities across the country in terms of their sexual violence policies, Concordia received a D-, the lowest grade of all the universities included in the report.² Among other things, Concordia’s current approach to sexual violence notably lacks:²

  1. Mandatory sensitivity training on sexual violence.
  2. Protections for survivors against invasive questions regarding past sexual behaviour.
  3. A clause specific to situations involving drugs or alcohol.
  4. Clearly-defined timelines for the complaint process.
  5. An explicit acknowledgement of rape culture on campus.
  6. The expressed ability of survivors to speak openly about their experiences without repercussions.

We can’t let this continue to be the elephant in the room. It’s time to speak up, support each other, and create a necessary dialogue within and beyond our campuses about sexual violence and consent. We need to hold Concordia accountable to ensure that our school lives up to its stated goal of creating a safe environment for everyone!⁵

Let’s demand:

  1. Better policies on sexual violence
  2. More resources available on campus
  3. Mandatory training for faculty, staff and student executives

To get involved, send us an e-mail at ✊

Concordia Sexual Assault Resource Centre

H-645 (SGW)
(514) 848-2424, ext. 3353
Crisis intervention, advocacy, accompaniment, referrals.

CSU Advocacy Centre

H-222 (SGW) | CC-426 (Loyola)
SGW: (514) 848-7474 ext. 7313
Loyola: (514) 848-7474, ext. 409
Support for filing complaints.

Centre for Gender Advocacy

2110 Mackay St.
(514) 848-2424, ext. 7431
Peer support and advocacy group.

Montreal Sexual Assault Centre

Montreal: (514) 933-9007
Greater Quebec (toll-free): 1 (888) 933-9007
24-hour hotline.

1. Bergeron, Manon, Martine Hébert, Sandrine Ricci, Marie-France Goyer, Nathalie Duhamel, and Lyne Kurtzman. 2016. “Violences sexuelles en milieu universitaire au Québec.” Research report.
2. Students’ Society of McGill University. 2017. “Our Turn: A National, Student-Led Action Plan to End Campus Sexual Violence.” Report.
3. Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario. 2015. “Sexual Violence on Campus.” Report.
4. Concordia University. 2018. “Report of the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence.” Report.
5. Concordia University. 2017. “Code of Rights and Responsibilities (BD-3).” Official policy document. Citation on page 4.