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Montreal, March 13, 2018 — Campus sexual violence as a civil rights issue will be the focus of a seminar co-sponsored by the Concordia Student Union (CSU) and CRARR tonight and tomorrow evening.

Framing campus sexual violence as a Charter rights and gender-based discrimination issue, the seminar will examine ways and means to ensure effective protection, support and accommodation for survivors of campus sexual violence, and to hold educational institutions liable under civil rights laws for failure to protect survivors.

Each evening will consist of a panel discussion. On Tuesday, March 13, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, panelists who will discuss “Campus Sexual Violence: Issues and Challenges” include Marhilan Lopez (Liaison Officer, RQCALACS), Caitlin Salvino (Chair of the National Our Turn Committee, a group that recently conducted a survey of Canadian universities and their response to campus sexual violence), and Dayna Danger (Programming and Campaigns Coordinator, Centre for Gender Advocacy).

These panelists will discuss gender-based violence and systemic barriers faced by survivors in dealing with institutional policies and practices that can result in further violations of their civil rights. CSU Student Life Coordinator Leyla Sutherland will moderate the panel discussion.

On Wednesday, March 14, from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, the theme will be “Campus Sexual Violence and the Law.” Panelists include Ava Williams (#LawNeedsFeminismBecause; Unfounded series, a survivor of sexual assault and law student from Ontario who is suing the police for violating her Charter rights), Prof. Colleen Sheppard (at McGill University’s Faculty of Law and a leading authority on equality rights); Patricia Harewood (legal counsel, Collective Bargaining Branch, Public Service Alliance of Canada), and Julia Bellehumeur and Nazampal Jaswal (research assistants for a project on cyberbullying at the Department of Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University).

Dr. Myrna Lashley, Assistant Professor of psychiatry at McGill University and a consultant in mental health and cross-cultural policing, will moderate the panel discussion on discrimination, harassment, cyber-bullying and institutional liability for civil rights violations on campus.

The Wednesday evening’s panel discussion will be followed by small group discussions on concrete recommendations for actions for survivors, their families and allies, and strategies to monitor educational institutions' implementation of Law 151. Adopted in December 2017, this law requires institutions to adopt a wide range of measures to combat campus sexual violence; it does not specifically address campus sexual violence as a civil rights issue.

Since 2012, CRARR has assisted and represented many victims of discrimination and harassment and survivors of campus sexual violence at Concordia University and its affiliates, before human rights commissions and the Quebec Labor Tribunal.

Open to the public, the seminar will take place at the CSU 7th floor Lounge,1455 de Maisonneuve West, 7th floor, Montreal. There is no registration fee.