Western University taking steps to address sexual violence, change culture on campus


Western University says it will fully re-evaluate its orientation week activities and appoint a special advisor to address culture and safety following two reviews that analyzed the school’s operations and environment.

The reports, publicly released today, were carried out in the wake of allegations of gender-based and sexual violence that surfaced on social media during Western’s orientation week last September.

They contained several recommendations for the university and suggested a “complex process” needed to begin to shift Western’s culture away from being a “party school.”

The university says the steps it’s taking in response to the reviews also include requiring all new students to complete gender-based and sexual violence prevention and awareness training before arriving on campus.

Western President Alan Shepard says changing the university’s campus culture “will take time, persistence and the active engagement of all campus members to achieve.”

Allegations of mass drugging and sexual assaults at Western’s Medway-Sydenham Hall residence surfaced on social media last September. Days later, hundreds of students walked out of classes to demand a change in what they described as a toxic campus culture at the university.

Police later said they had received no formal complaints of sexual violence at the residence, but that their investigation into the allegations remains open.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly said the reports were released last month.



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