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Alberta To Invest $2.5M Into Campus Safety

T

he Alberta provincial government plans to spend $2.5 million across the province to boost campus security at post-secondary institutions. The decision to spend the amount has come in support of creating safer and more comfortable environments for students on campuses. It will help address the issue of sexual violence in post-secondary institutions' campuses.

In a recent press conference in Calgary, Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides said that this is a step towards addressing the issue of sexual violence in campus communities.

Talking to CTV News, Nicolaides said, "The steps we are taking today are a direct result of student advocacy. They have told us this is important and we have listened. We must do more to support survivors of sexual violence and create safer campus communities across our province."

Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides speaking at a press conference in Calgary.

The money will be used by post-secondary institutions in Alberta to support training and awareness programs, as well as the creation of a new province-wide survey to give officials a "better understanding of the state of sexual violence and harassment in Alberta's post-secondary communities," according to the government.

The survey is slated for launch with the return of students on campus for the fall 2022 semester. The results of the survey are expected to be gathered by the end of the 2022-23 academic year. Expressing her views on the matter, Associate Status of Women Minister Whitney Issik said, “Creating a culture shift concerning campus sexual violence is the only way to face this issue head-on.”

"This investment will help post-secondary institutions work directly with students to develop sexual violence policies that will help protect everyone on campus, prevent sexual violence, and ensure students get the support they need,” she added.

The announcement came as a bolster for the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) and the members shared that they were happy with this move. CAUS Chair Rachel Timmermans said, “It is the responsibility of every member of our community to take active steps to promote safe and healthy relationships." 

CAUS Chair Rachel Timmermans expressed happiness about the move of the provincial government to address sexual violence on campuses.

The provincial government is working out the details for the allocation of funds. 

"It is the responsibility of every member of our community to take active steps to promote safe and healthy relationships." - Rachel Timmermans, CAUS Chair

The post-secondary institutions have been directed to update their campus violence policy by the end of 2022 to reflect current best practices.

CAUS represents over 100,000 undergraduate students from the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, the University of Lethbridge, Mount Royal University, and MacEwan University. The Student Council has been reaching out to the government to take action against sexual violence on campuses and it came out with a white paper on campus sexual violence in 2020.

The White paper mentioned the following:

  • In 2014, Statistics Canada indicated that of the 636,000 cases of self-reported sexual assault incidents, 87% were committed against women.
  • Nearly 47% of these involved women between the ages of 15-24 (Conroy & Cotter, 2017).

The student council believes that correct and timely reforms can help resolve this issue upto some extent. Deliberate efforts will have to be made by the institutions as well to curb this menace.

The students hope to work with the government in the future as well to create an environment that everybody feels safe studying in.

ABM College already has a robust sexual misconduct policy in place. You can check it out here.

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