Version 2 shows the major changes made by the editor using Track Changes in Word. (Note that some portions are not shown for ease of reading; for example, where larger portions were moved from one place to another, the deleted portion is not shown.)
Track Changes can be hard to follow, but they are worth studying to see how the editor deleted unnecessary or repetitive words and phrases, reorganized content for better flow, and generally smoothed the language.
BEST PRACTICE: Review at least some of the tracked changes to study the plain language process.
To write effectively:
- Put the most important information first
- Use headings to help your reader find important information
- Write the way you speak
- Address your readers directly
The document and accompanying comments and edits for this chapter are provided in two ways:
- As a PDF that can be downloaded: Student Sexual Misconduct Procedures: Version 2 [PDF]
- Directly in this resource in the following textbox. Comments are provided in footnotes. Deleted text is in red and has a line through it; added text is in blue and underlined. Throughout this version, nouns like “Sexual Misconduct” and “University” that had been capitalized in the previous version were changed to lower case.
Terms used in these procedures are as defined in the policy.
These procedures set out the process for bringing Sexual Misconduct to the attention of the and explain the steps you can take to notify the university of an incident of sexual misconduct. They also explain the process the university will follow in cases of sexual misconduct. where such matters are brought to its attention.
How to Notify the University of Sexual Misconduct: Three Options
If a person witnesses or experiences If you have experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct, or there is reason to believe or you know sexual misconduct has occurred or may occur, the person may pursue one or more of the following options you have three options to notify the university:
- Making a disclosure
- Making a formal complaint
- Reporting to the police
You can choose one, two, or all three of these options. For example, you may decide you want to make a disclosure, and then later elevate the notification to a formal complaint.
The university recognizes that individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct may wish to maintain control over whether and how the university will deal with their experience. The choice you make on how to notify the university will affect your level of control.
- Making a Disclosure.
- A disclosure is an informal notification to the university that sexual misconduct has occurred or that a person has there is reason to believe it may occur.
- A person making You can make a disclosure may make the Disclosure to any employee of the university or support person on campus (e.g., counsellor, nurse practitioner, doctor, manager, Regional Principal, residence advisor, security, or students’ union).
- A person who makes a Disclosure that they have experienced Sexual Misconduct By making a disclosure that you have experienced sexual misconduct, you may obtain supports (e.g., medical assistance, counselling) and where appropriate, reasonable academic accommodations without making a Complaint or Report.
- The university will not formally investigate a disclosure unless the university believes there is an imminent risk of harm to someone or there is a legal requirement to do so. That means you will not have access to certain remedies and no one will be disciplined for what happened. If you want the university to investigate the sexual misconduct, you need to make formal complaint or a report to the police (see below).will not be treated as a Complaint and will not be formally investigated by the university unless the university believes there is an imminent risk of harm to a person or there is a legal requirement for the university to do so.
- Making a Complaint
- A complaint is a formal notification to the university of sexual misconduct, made by the person who experiences the sexual misconduct.
- A person who is If you are considering filing a complaint, you may consult with a counsellor or wellness coach who can answer questions and assist the individual with the Complaint process. help you with the process.
- It is helpful to file a complaint as soon as possible after the incident of sexual misconduct. A delay in filing a complaint could affect the investigation and the outcome. However, the university recognizes that individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct may need some time before they are prepared to file a complaint.
- Your complaint must be submitted in writing to the Student Services Director. It must contain sufficient information of the allegations of sexual misconduct to allow the university to conduct an investigation. This includes:
- the date, time, and location of the alleged sexual misconduct;
- the names, and if available, contact information, of any individuals involved; and
- the names, and if available, contact information, of any witnesses.
- Upon receipt of a complaint, the university When the university receives the complaint, it will initiate begin a formal investigation. If the complaint is substantiated, you will have access to remedies that are not available through a disclosure. In this process, the university will consider your wishes as far as possible. as provided for in these Procedures.
- The person who files the Complaint may You may withdraw the complaint at any time. Note, however, if you withdraw a complaint, the university may still proceed with an investigation. However, the withdrawal of a Complaint does not guarantee that the Complaint will not be investigated or that there will be no consequences to any individuals flowing from the Complaint.
- Making a Report
- A report is a notification to the RCMP of that sexual misconduct that has occurred that a person reasonably believes rises to the level of criminal conduct. is a crime.
- Individuals The university strongly encourages anyone who experiences or witnessess sexual misconduct that rises to the level of criminal conduct are strongly encouraged that they believe is a crime to file a report.
- If a person advises If you advise the university that they you intend to make a report, the university will make available to them a support person on campus who can support them in making the report a support person on campus can help you with it.
- The university will cooperate with any criminal investigation arising from a report, to the extent it is reasonable to do so and is permitted by law, will cooperate with any criminal investigation arising from a Report.
- The university may be required to initiate an investigation and/or report of alleged sexual misconduct to the RCMP, even without the consent of the individual who has experienced the sexual misconduct even without your consent in certain cases:
- if the allegation involves sexual misconduct involving a minor;
- if the applicable legislation law requires the university to carry out an investigation to investigate; or
- if the university has a reasonable belief that there exists believes there is a risk to the health or safety of a member of the university community.
Should the If the university initiates an investigation or informs the RCMP about alleged sexual misconduct without the consent of the individual your consent, the university will notify that individual you that it has done so.
Control over Process
The university recognizes that individuals who have experienced Sexual Misconduct may wish to maintain control over whether and how their experience will be dealt with by the university. Which of the above option(s) the individual elects to pursue will impact on the level of that control.
Responding to How the University Responds to Disclosures
Where an individual When you make a disclosure of sexual misconduct to an employee of the university or support person on campus that they have experienced Sexual Misconduct, you can expect the employee or support person should to:
- listen without judgment;
- communicate that sexual misconduct is not the fault of the person who has experienced it your fault;
- help the individual to you identify and/or access available on or off campus services services, on or off campus, such as emergency medical care or counselling;
- respect the individual’s respect your right to choose the services they you feel are most appropriate, for them and the individual’s right and to decide whether to make a complaint or a report;
- recognize that disclosing sexual misconduct can be traumatic, and that an individual’s ability your ability to recall the events may be limited or otherwise impacted;
- respect the individual’s choice your choice about how much they you disclose about their your experience; and
- make every effort to respect your confidentiality and anonymity.
Employees of the University to whom a Disclosure is made University employees who receive a disclosure or who otherwise become aware of sexual misconduct are required to notify the Student Services Director (the “Director”) and, where appropriate or university security. The identities of the individuals involved in the Sexual Misconduct should only be disclosed where reasonably required for University purposes and/or for the purposes of protecting the health and safety of any individual. They will not disclose your identity (or the identity of anyone else involved) unless required for university purposes to protect the health and safety of any individual.
The Director and/or university security who receives the information will assess it and determine whether, based on that information, there is a risk to the health or safety of anyone anyone’s health and safety. If so, the Director and/or university security they will take steps to protect the health and safety of those at risk. If not, and unless otherwise required by law, the university will not formally investigate a disclosure unless required by law.
Should a student, in making a Disclosure, request If you ask for support or academic accommodation when you make a disclosure, the student and the Director will meet to discuss the request. the Director will meet with you to discuss your request and work with you and any instructors, as needed, to meet your needs. The Director will keep the information confidential as far as possible. Where there is a reasonable basis for the request, the Director will work together with the student and any instructors as appropriate, to ensure that the student receives all necessary reasonable support and/or academic accommodations, while maintaining confidentiality, to the extent that it is reasonably possible to do so.
Responding to How the University Responds to Complaints
Ensuring Health and Safety
When the Director receives a complaint, their first priority will be is to ensure the health and safety of those involved and of all members of the university community. In order to do so To do this, the Director may:
- meet with whomever they deem anyone necessary to determine whether there is a threat to the health or safety of any member of the university;
- take action the Director deems appropriate appropriate action to ensure the health and safety of any member of the university community; and
- contact the RCMP.
In doing so, The Director will maintain the confidentiality of individuals involved to the extent that it is reasonably possible to do so as far as possible.
Initial Complaint ReviewReviewing the Complaint
A complaint against a student
If you make a formal complaint against another student, the Director will take the following steps:
- The Director will Review the complaint to ensure it contains sufficient detail necessary for the University to enough detail to carry out an investigation.
- If there is not enough detail in the complaint, the Director will Contact you and give you the opportunity to provide further details, if needed.
- If the Director determines that a complaint has enough detail, they will Initiate an investigation if there is enough detail.
- When the Director receives a Complaint, prior to commencing an investigation, the Director will review the Complaint and ensure that it contains sufficient detail necessary for the university to carry out an investigation.
Where the Director determines there is insufficient detail in the Complaint,the Director will contact the individual who filed the Complaint, advise them of the deficiencies, and allow them the opportunity to provide further details in a timely manner.
Where the Director determines that a Complaint has sufficient detail necessary for the university to carry out an investigation, the Director will initiate the investigation process.
At any point prior to At any time before or during an investigation, the university may take interim measures to address any concerns it may have about the well-being of any member of the university pending the investigation, while minimizing the impact on other individuals involved and recognizing the principle of the presumption of innocence. upholding the principle that a person is presumed innocent until found guilty.
When an Employee is Party to ComplaintA complaint against an employee
If you make a formal complaint against an employee, the university will investigate in one of the following ways:
- Where a party to a Complaint If the person you accuse of sexual misconduct is a union employee whose employment is governed by a collective agreement, the university will investigate following the procedures of the collective agreement.
- Where a party to a Complaint is an employee who is not subject to a collective agreement that requires the University to investigate such Complaints in accordance with procedures provided therein, the University will investigate the Complaint in accordance with the procedures provided for in the University’s Respectful Workplace Policy. In such circumstances, at the commencement of the investigation, the University will provide the student involved in the Complaint with a copy of those procedures. If the person you accuse of sexual misconduct is a non-union employee, the university will investigate following the procedures in the university’s Respectful Workplace Policy.
In both these cases, the university will provide you with a copy of the relevant procedures at the start of the investigation.
InvestigationInvestigating the Complaint
Where When the Director determines an investigation is to proceed under these Procedures, the Director will assess the Complaint and, depending on their assessment of the Complaint, their relevant knowledge and expertise, and any other factors they deem appropriate, will: should proceed, they will decide the next steps depending on their assessment of the complaint. They will either:
- carry out the investigation;
- delegate another individual someone else at the university with who has the necessary knowledge and expertise to carry out the investigation internally; or
- engage an external investigator to carry out the investigation.
The Director will advise the parties to the Complaint everyone involved in the complaint that an investigation is proceeding under these Procedures, will advise them of the identity of the investigator, will notify them that the investigator will be in contact with them, and will offer both and who the investigator will be. They will also notify those involved that the investigator will contact them, and offer the option of seeking support in relation to the complaint and/or investigation.
The investigator will carry out an investigation into the Complaint. The investigation process will be determined by the investigator and will take into account The investigator will determine the investigation process, considering:
- the sensitive nature of the Complaint as a complaint of sexual misconduct; and
- the interests of all those involved. in the Complaint;
while ensuring procedural fairness.
The investigation process will include, but will not necessarily be limited to:
- allowing the complainant the opportunity you, as the person who made the complaint, an opportunity to participate in the investigation and to provide further information as appropriate;
- notifying the respondent person accused of the allegations against them; and
- providing the respondent person accused an opportunity to respond to the allegations.
Where requested by an investigator, all members of the university community are required to cooperate and fully participate in an investigation pursuant to these Procedures. Failure to do so may lead to sanctions or discipline up to dismissal or expulsion. If they do not, they may be sanctioned or disciplined. This may include being dismissed or expelled.
After the Investigation
Once the investigation is complete, the investigator will write a report that will state whether the complaint has been proven. If the investigator is someone other than the Director, they will give the report to the Director. Where the investigator is not the Director, upon completion of the investigation, the investigator will provide the Director an investigation report which will include a determination of whether or not the Complaint is substantiated.
Following completion of the investigation, The Director will notify the parties to the Complaint those involved of whether or not the complaint was found to be substantiated.
Where If the complaint is not substantiated, the respondent to the Complaint will not be subject to sanctions or discipline for the alleged conduct complained of in the Complaint. the person accused will not have any sanctions or discipline imposed.
Where a If the complaint is substantiated, the university will take steps it determines appropriate to address the substantiated Complaint determine appropriate action, which may include:
- steps towards ensuring to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the individual who was subject to experienced the sexual misconduct which, where appropriate,. This may include but not limited to:
- academic accommodations (e.g., extension on an assignment);
- transfer or movement, removal from classes, or restrictions on the individual who carried out the sexual misconduct; and/or
- other steps to eliminate or limit contact between the complainant the person who made the complaint and the individual who carried out the sexual misconduct.;
- where the individual who carried out the sexual misconduct is a student or employee of the university, discipline, up to being dismissed or expelled;
- where the individual who carried out the sexual misconduct is not a student or employee of the university but has a connection to the university is connected in some way (i.e. e.g., contractors a contractor, suppliers, volunteer, visitor who attend on campus), sanctions or any other action the university deems appropriate to address the substantiated Complaint; and
- any other remedies the university determines as appropriate.
- Comment [EDITOR18]: I have edited the heads to give more information; in this case, the reader now knows this section is “how to do it” rather than general information on disclosures, complaints, and reports ↵
- Comment [EDITOR19]: Plain language principle: wherever possible, write directly to the reader (use second person –“you”). Comment [EDITOR20]: Suggest putting “experienced” before “witnessed” so victims are addressed first. ↵
- Comment [EDITOR21]: Plain language principle: Use lists for readability and clarity ↵
- Comment [EDITOR22]: Examples help to clarify instructions. ↵
- Comment [EDITOR23]: I have moved this up from the original section on maintaining control and rearranged the information from that section throughout to make it clear in each choice provided ↵
- Comment [EDITOR24]: I’ve reordered these steps (and split one into two) so they more logically answer the questions that are most likely at the forefront of the reader’s mind: 1) What is a disclosure? 2) How do I make a disclosure? 3) How will I be helped? 4) What does the university do (or, in this case, not do)? ↵
- Comment [EDITOR25]: This item edited to correct the overuse of negatives and simplify the statement. ↵
- Comment [EDITOR26]: Edited to be more direct and succinct. I also think you need to be cautious of wording that the misconduct might “rise to the level...” which could be read as judging the severity of how the misconduct impacted the survivor/person. I do understand the legal nuance, and that to be a crime, several tests must be met –but the point here is that a person may report the incident to the police –and the police will then determine if a crime has been committed. ↵
- Comment [EDITOR27]: This section was problematic structurally. I have incorporated the information into other sections of the document. ↵
- Comment [EDITOR28]: I have edited this section to keep the point of view to the reader –the victim –rather than to the person receiving the disclosure ↵
- Comment [EDITOR29]: I have added sub-heads to this section to help orient the reader to the next steps ↵
- Comment [EDITOR30]: Simplify words and phrases where possible. ↵
- Comment [EDITOR31]: I’ve restructured and heavily edited this section. The original topic sentence referenced a student respondent, underneath the heading referring to employees, and the legalese language will be challenging to most readers ↵
- Comment [EDITOR32]: “Party to a complaint” (used in the original) is not helpful language. Besides being legalese, it is not clear, because both the person making the complaint and the person accused are a “party.” ↵
- Comment [EDITOR33]: Changed to simply “non-union” for fewer words and clarity ↵
- Comment [EDITOR34]: Removed this phrase because without a clear definition it is not helpful. Also, the entire process implies “procedural fairness,” so I don’t think you need it. ↵
- Comment [EDITOR35]: I have changed language here because you do not define “respondent,” which not every reader will understand ↵
- Comment [EDITOR36]: “Pursuant to” is legalese (and the phrase isn’t needed in this sentence for the meaning). ↵
- Comment [EDITOR37]: I have changed “substantiated” here to “proven,” acknowledging that there is a slight difference in meaning. Please review and okay, if possible (in which case other references to “substantiated” can also be changed). If it can’t be changed, can “substantiated” be briefly defined? What does it take to be “substantiated”? ↵