Misogyny, sexism, racism, ethnocentrism, heterosexism, colonialism, socio-economic disadvantage, ableism, ageism, sexualized violence, harassment and discrimination are prevalent in our community and in the world around us. The harms we suffer from exclusion are real and painful. The University must be committed to offering healing supports to the survivors of discrimination in our community, and to building a place where sexual expression and healthy sexual practices are encouraged. This theme explores the healing supports we currently offer, and considers ways in which they might be further enhanced.
15. Build capacity to address the impact of exclusion
A) Students who have experienced the profound effects of sexualized violence, racism, and other discriminatory practices often find discussing these topics in an “academic” way in classrooms where their personal experiences may be disregarded, dismissed, or ridiculed to be difficult. They often experience additional trauma as a result of these classroom experiences. We recommend a statement of complex content, or other system of appropriately supporting students who have experienced trauma, be developed to avoid triggering distress or re-traumatizing learners.
Timeline: Medium term
Accountability community: Centre for Learning and Teaching, Senate, DSU, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charter 1.3
B) Enhance counselling services with appropriate resourcing and structures that meet the needs of a diverse community. We heard often that counselling services is understaffed and that the location, focus and practice model of its supports may sometimes miss the mark for some students from marginalized communities. For example, we heard that some students would prefer to see a counsellor attached to their own faculty who might grow to understand the student pressures within that faculty; that there might be spaces where the University could support a feminist, traumacentred counsellor who would be versed in the needs of survivors of sexualized violence; that racialized and Indigenous students should be supported by counsellors with an expressed commitment to anti-oppression approaches; and that students who engage in unhealthy or harmful sexual practices or substance consumption may not feel comfortable seeking support or know that supports are available. We do not know whether those kinds of needs can be met with the current counselling complement. We heard endorsement of some of the online modules (SHIFT) developed by counselling services and encourage further developing “in the moment” supports for students that can be available 24/7. We recommend a gap analysis of the counselling services we are currently able to provide, the counselling services that our students might need and the appropriate location of those services, and the public release of a strategy for the provision of counselling supports on campus. We also recommend a review of counselling supports as part of the overall wellness strategy for faculty and staff.
Timeline: Medium term
Accountability community: Office of the Vice- Provost Student Affairs and Health Services, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charter 1.3