As of March 18, election campaigning for not only Brock University Students’ Administrative Council (BUSAC) positions and the sole Brock University Senate position, but also two important referendums has begun. The Sexual Violence and Education (SVE) referendum in particular seeks to fund an on-campus sexual violence education and support service provider.
If passed, the SVE referendum would see a transfer of a mandatory $2.75 per credit fee from the Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Centre, also known as A Safer Brock, to an on-campus service provider who will be able to help students with a number of sexual violence concerns. For a student with a full course load, this fee totals $13.50. As per the memorandum of understanding, the new service provider will focus on offering students three main things: accessible and immediate access to sexual violence education and support in the heart of student life and activity; a set of highly qualified and experienced personnel; transparent practices in all aspects of operation during the fiscal year. The service provider will work directly as part of Brock’s Human Rights and Equity (HRE) department and subsequently, A Safer Brock will lose its funding.
Installation of an on-campus sexual violence education and support service provider is expected to replace and noticeably increase the existing framework and services offered by A Safer Brock by broadening the scope of support service, training and educative initiatives offered to Brock students. Some of the notable improvements that are to be made include:
- Support Services 24/7: Students will be able to interact with the provider at a designated drop-in site with no appointment needed; Survivor support groups will be created and monitored; Peer support networks will be created and there will be increased disclosure intake personnel.
- Increased Trauma-Informed Counselling on-campus
- On-Campus Training and Programming focusing on: consent, being an active bystander, empathy and disclosure, masculinity, cultural biases, unconscious biases, the violence continuum and trauma integration.
- Advocacy, court support and practical assistance
- Educative workshops, campaigns and speaker series to staff, faculty and students
- External training and conference opportunities for students
- Disclosure services and interventions: on campus in general, in classes, and through activities.
- Respondent support: restorative justice practices and supportive programming.
- Development of a diverse network of support services and partnerships: multilingual services- including counselling; access to Brock media outlets and access to internal systems to streamline other service and initiatives.
Brock’s HRE department provides expertise on university policies and procedures that have implications for human rights and equity issues on campus. The department will maintain accountability measures whether or not the referendum is passed, including but not limited to: Offering regular presentations on service, initiatives and budget to the BUSU Board of Directors and BUSAC; Hosting quarterly presentations to the Brock University Board about progress and finally, offer all relevant financial statements to the BUSU Board of Directors, BUSAC and Senior Staff of Brock University.
The transfer of the student credit fee would occur during the Spring term of 2019 and apply to both full-time and part-time students in all academic sessions and durations. It is important to note that BUSU will be coordinating the “yes” side of the referendum through VPEA Nadia Bathish and there is no opposing side. In addition to that, students should be aware that the referendum, if passed, may increase annually by up to 5 per cent, however any increase to the per credit fee will first have to be approved by the BUSU Board of Directors or one of their designates.
The Brock community is reminded that voting begins on Mar. 26. and will be open for three days until 9:00 p.m. on Mar. 28. Students will be able to cast their vote via their Brock email accounts and are encouraged to take place in the process to have a say in what funds are used for at the university. More information about the SVE Referendum along with the other referendum being run can be found online at brockbusu.ca/government/elections/.