Premier backs Green bill on sex assault

Andrew Weaver calls for mandatory policies and education at colleges and universities

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver

Premier Christy Clark voiced support Wednesday for Green Party leader Andrew Weaver’s call for university policies to prevent sexual assault.

Weaver told the legislature that a Thompson Rivers University student was recently assaulted twice in one term, and was told “maybe you would be better suited to a different school.”

A University of Victoria student described a recent university investigation of her sexual assault complaint left her feeling “completely invalidated and silenced,” Weaver said.

A male UVic student was arrested in late February and charged with five counts of sexual assault after a series of attacks in recent months.

Weaver’s bill would require colleges and universities to develop policies to educate students and prevent sexual assault as well as support people who are assaulted on campus.

Clark said it’s unlikely that legislation can be prepared and passed this spring, but she agrees the problem of sexual assault on campuses is an urgent priority and the advanced education ministry is working on it.

“Sexual assault on campus is a cultural problem,” Clark said. “So yes, we have to help and support women if they are attacked. But we have to change the culture so it doesn’t happen.

“It’s like anti-bullying programs in schools. We focus on changing the culture of schools so the school rewards kindness rather than meanness.”