Rocky road ahead at uOttawa, as many community members excluded from Task Force

Press release of the Interunion Committee of the University of Ottawa. This group includes the APTPUO and other unions on campus.

Ottawa, 18 March 2014 – Unions representing students and workers of the University of Ottawa are surprised that many of them are excluded from uOttawa’s Task Force on Respect and Equality, whose composition was made public by the Rock administration yesterday (17 March).

“Administrative support staff, Teaching Assistants, Part-Time Professors, IT Professionals, Trades workers, all these groups are absent from the Task Force,” says Isabelle Hétu, President of CUPE 2626 (representing TAs). “The University’s Task Force definitely starts on the wrong foot,” added Anne-Marie Roy, President of the SFUO.

Moreover, the response from the Rock administration to this matter has been sub-par at best. The administration appears completely disorganized, and representation of the campus community is more than limited.

Although many members of the Task Force hand-picked by the Rock administration possess a certain expertise regarding sexual violence, unions are concerned that the mandate of the University Taskforce is too superficial and does not target the specific issue of rape culture. Unions are also concerned about the lack of resources available to the Taskforce to complete its mandate and for the implementation of its recommendations following its final report. The mandate and timeline are problematic.

Unions remind the Rock administration that it promised a campaign to address harassment and discrimination during the consultations for its Policy 67a on the prevention of harassment and discrimination more than two years ago. This campaign is yet to be launched. This past experience with the Rock administration’s lack of commitment casts serious doubts on the future of its current initiative.

On Friday, March 21 at 3:30 in the UCU Agrora, the SFUO and the GSAÉD will be holding an open town hall on rape culture. All members of the community -students, faculty, and staff - are invited to participate in a collective response to rape culture and gender-based violence.