PSE institutions face challenges around reporting of sexual assaults

November 7, 2014

New Title IX regulations in the US highlight some of the issues faced by PSE institutions around reporting sexual assault. The new rules require faculty to file a report if a student confides in them about sexual assault. However, students often assume that their interactions with professors are confidential and may not expect these discussions to become matters of record. Issues of responsibility around reporting incidents of sexual assault or harassment have also been in the news in Canada recently in the wake of the scandal involving former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi. Allegations published by the Toronto Star indicate that Ghomeshi had a reputation for such behaviour when he was a student at York University; a former student has also claimed that Ghomeshi “fondled” him while Ghomeshi was President of the York Federation of Students. Moreover, a former Western University student and current faculty member told the Star that journalism students at the school were told that internships on Ghomeshi’s show were “off limits” due to Ghomeshi’s behaviour. The institutions in question say that they have no records of any such events, but such incidents often go unreported; a Statistics Canada survey found that fewer than 10% of sexual assault cases are reported to police. None of the allegations against Ghomeshi have been proven in court. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Toronto Star (1) | Toronto Star (2) | National Post