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Q+A: Western University president on fallout of tumultuous O-Week


Alan Shepard, Western College’s president, fielded Free Press questions Thursday following the discharge of two stories generated within the wake of the varsity’s orientation week final fall, which introduced allegations of widespread sexual violence.

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Alan Shepard, Western College’s president, fielded Free Press questions Thursday following the discharge of two stories generated within the wake of the varsity’s orientation week final fall, which introduced allegations of widespread sexual violence.

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One report, an impartial evaluation of campus occasions that week, stated the investigation “revealed that there was a minimum of one occasion of sexual assault” at a scholar residence, Medway Sydenham Corridor, on Sept. 10 and 11, “and that some ladies felt that they had been drugged and didn’t understand how.”

A second report outlined an in depth plan to alter the tradition of gender-based and sexual violence on the college.

Q: Had been you stunned by something within the impartial evaluation?

A: No, I don’t suppose I used to be. These stories are the fruits of quite a lot of work by lots of people. I believe they mirror quite a lot of session with our group. I’m accepting the suggestions they usually gave us street map going ahead. A number of the stuff now we have already began, for instance, the partnership with scholar leaders is already underway.

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Q: What is going to orientation week appear to be this yr?

A: I believe we shall be working actually collaboratively with scholar leaders to make sure the occasions on campus and occasions that occur elsewhere are safer than they could have been in any other case. We wish to be sure when college students arrive on campus, they’re welcomed into the group. We set some expectations for his or her conduct and present them among the educational alternatives they are going to have with us. We acknowledge it’s a time for socializing and making new buddies and new good friend networks. We wish to ensure that orientation week is enjoyable and protected.

Q: What have been the gaps that must be stuffed?

A: One of many gaps was round communication. That may be tightened up and strengthened round our emergency communications when one thing is being known as in. I believe we acknowledge the necessity for extra engagement with workers within the residence halls, significantly at night time and early-morning hours. We employed about 100 advisers on security who’re working with us on our residences workers.

Q: What do you suppose was achieved proper final yr?

A: The stories say they didn’t discover any coverage violations . . . so I used to be completely happy to see that.

Q: Are these suggestions sufficient?

A: It is a massive societal situation  . . . you solely should learn the information to see (gender-based violence) is a widespread cultural situation. I’m not certain what sufficient would appear to be, however these are good begins, for certain.

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Q: The impartial report was launched April 25, and the report on the motion committee was April 5. Why are we solely seeing them now?

A: They’re very advanced stories they usually take cautious evaluation. You may’t learn them at some point and reply in 24 hours. You must watch out since you are committing to sure programs of motion and also you wish to take into consideration specific issues correctly.

Q: Do you suppose these occasions of orientation week final yr have completely broken the fame of Western?

A: Western is likely one of the world’s main universities. Nice analysis, nice instructing. And it units folks up for a lifetime {of professional} and private success. The occasions of Sept. 10 and 11 didn’t assist us, that’s for certain. However I believe we’re on monitor for an ideal yr to return.

Q: What was the primary factor that the campus group discovered from the occasions of final orientation week?

A: All people has some duty right here, and we are able to’t assume that everybody arrives on campus understanding the expectations of our group. We must be fairly express about that.

hrivers@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/HeatheratLFP

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