Yukon College adopts new Sexualized Violence Prevention and Response Policy

Wally Rude, Colleen Wirth and Michael Hale
(l-r) Yukon College senior executives Wally Rude, Colleen Wirth and Michael Hale.

WHITEHORSE—Yukon College has adopted a new sexualized violence prevention and response policy. The new policy and response procedures provide a clear pathway for the disclosure, reporting and investigation of sexualized violence and commits the College to taking a trauma-informed and coordinated approach in responding to and addressing disclosures.  

The new policy also commits the College to coordinate ongoing education and prevention efforts to counter rape culture, promote a culture of informed consent and reduce the risk of incidences of sexualized violence. Along with the policy is a list of community supports available to anyone who may have experienced sexual violence. 

“We must do much more to educate the College community about informed consent and promote a culture of safety,” said Colleen Wirth, director of Student and Infrastructure Support. “National statistics indicate that 20 per cent of female students experience sexualized violence while in post-secondary education which would translate to approximately 145 female Yukon College students.” 

“Incidents of sexualized violence in our society too often go undisclosed and unreported. Our goal is to reduce barriers for anyone in the College community disclosing or reporting an incident of sexualized violence,” said Michael Hale, Chief Administrative Officer. “As well as support the individual in their own decision-making process—if and how they might choose to disclose, and which supports they may choose to access or external processes they may choose to pursue.”  

Over the past three years, Yukon College has followed the national conversation around this issue closely, learning from institutions cited as having developed best practices, as well as reaching out to students, employees, the RCMP and community organizations for feedback on multiple policy drafts.  

“In this instance the policy development process has taken longer than expected. This is a complex issue and in recent years the conversation around how our society and post-secondary institutions address and respond to sexualized violence has been dynamic and evolving. We have learned a lot and have incorporated our research into this new policy,” said Wirth.  

“What we know from survivor stories is that how well we handle this challenging process is a major factor in whether the student can continue their education and successfully achieve their life goals,” added Wally Rude, Registrar and dean of Enrolment Services. 

The College is rolling out a comprehensive plan to educate and inform students and employees about sexualized violence, consent, and College-specific and community supports. This plan includes consent workshops for students. Workshops commenced in September and have been part of orientation activities at Ayamdigut campus since 2014. As well, the College has purchased Bringing in the Bystander training and will hold workshops for employees and students this term. 

This policy is a living document. The policy, procedures and support information will be reviewed after one year and updated if necessary, based upon feedback received from students, employees and the wider community, as well as evolving best practices across Canadian post-secondary institutions. 

A copy of the new sexualized violence prevention and response policy and procedures can be found on the policies page of the Yukon College website 

For more information, please contact:

Colleen Wirth

Director, Student Infrastructure Support
Student and Infrastructure Support

Michael Vernon

Communications Coordinator
College and External Relations