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Associated Alumni

Updates: UNB's sexual assault policy and resources at UNB

We will always stand with our students and alumni who have been affected by sexual violence. 

Below you will find the most recent communications from UNB on the establishment of a Sexual Assault Policy Review Committee.  We will share any future communications with you as they become available.

If you are a survivor or are supporting a survivor we encourage you to seek support if needed. Sexual Violence New Brunswick offers a support line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 506-454-0437.

January 22, 2021

Dear members of the University Community,

As indicated before the holidays, UNB is committed to addressing all forms of sexual violence on campus and recognizes the importance of reviewing current policies and practices to ensure appropriate supports and responses are in place to support survivors.

I have now established a UNB Sexual Assault Policy Review Committee. The University is committed to undertaking regular reviews of our Sexual Assault Policy to ensure it best serves survivors.  The events that were brought to our attention prior to the holidays illustrate the complexities associated with sexual violence in a university context, and also the need to take a wide view in considering areas for review and reform.

This important review will be Chaired by Dr. Cathy Holtmann, Director of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research (MMFC).  The review will be comprehensive and undertaken over several months with an expectation for reporting in the fall of 2021.  Individuals from both UNB campuses, including student representatives, Sexual Violence New Brunswick, the New Brunswick Community College and Saint Thomas University will be part of this Review Committee. 

Over the course of the review, there will be opportunities for the University community to provide feedback and participate in various consultation processes.  We look forward to your engagement and participation in this important review.

With kind regards,

November 20, 2020

Dear students, 

Survivors of sexual violence have been on the hearts and minds of the UNB community over the past 10 days. Members of our community have courageously come forward to tell their personal accounts and share their traumatic experiences. We condemn sexual violence and harassment in any form or in any place. In all that we do, the safety of our students remains our top priority and we commit to make every effort to prevent sexual violence at UNB.

When UNB was informed of the recent reports of students impacted by sexual violence, we immediately took measures to ensure that students are protected. Appropriate supports are in place at the Student Health Centre, and clients should feel safe to contact them at (506) 453-4837. UNB has ended its service contract with Dr. Bhargava and, in addition to some interim measures, we are working with Horizon Health authorities to develop a more robust structure for supporting the health needs of the student community on campus.

The recent student reporting raises important questions about our institutional responses to sexual violence which we take seriously and will address directly. 

UNB is commencing a comprehensive review of the current Sexual Assault Policy and the safeguards that encourage survivors to report with confidence that their interests will be protected. It is evident that greater awareness is required to educate all our people about the dangers of sexual violence and the support and reporting channels available for survivors. UNB will take an active role in raising this awareness while maintaining the precautions and legal requirements associated with handling allegations of sexual violence, especially the privacy restrictions and risks of increased trauma associated with allegations being disclosed publicly.

These recent troubling experiences of our students provide us with an important opportunity to share insights and perspectives for the benefit of the entire community. Greater awareness of sexual violence can surely contribute to increased reporting of incidents as well as increased engagement with preventative initiatives. This is a community wide responsibility, and we all have a role to play to support survivors and prevent all acts of sexual violence and harassment. 

We will be hosting an important awareness event to hear from professionals, researchers, advocates, students, and survivors about their experiences and perspectives. I encourage you all to participate in these events, to contribute to our collective knowledge and understanding of sexual violence and how to best prevent its recurrence. 

With kind regards,
Paul J. Mazerolle
President and Vice-Chancellor

November 17, 2020

Over the past week, several public disclosures reporting allegations of sexual assault have surfaced at UNB. 

Since these incidents have been raised, the university has acted to protect students, identify and promote supports available, and encourage survivors – if they choose-- to pursue various reporting avenues. Earlier today we learned that the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New Brunswick has suspended the license of a doctor who practiced at the UNB Fredericton Student Health Centre.

The safety and welling being of our community is, and will always be, our top priority. While we may not be able to provide details at this time, please know that our silence does not mean inaction, nor does it mean that we haven’t been listening. We are actively working to address your concerns.

There is more we can do as a university to respond to sexual violence. We must be prepared to raise greater awareness across our university community of the nature of sexual assault and sexual victimization. 

We also need better ways to inform students, staff and faculty where to go for support and the nature of the support available for assisting survivors.  UNB has a number of campus sexual support officers in place, but survivors need to know how to access such support.

Equally important is for the need for the wider university community of staff and faculty to understand the risks many of our students face, to become better informed and to find out further information on how they can assist if someone discloses information.

We acknowledge the seriousness of sexual violence and the courage required to come forward with deeply personal information about such traumatic events. Counselling Services are available for support. Fredericton students can book an appointment through the Counselling Services website, email or call (506) 453-4820. Saint John students can book an appointment through the Counselling Services website, email or call (506) 506-648-5501, and have access 24/7 to, or call 1-877-390-7325.

With kind regards,
Paul J. Mazerolle
President and Vice-Chancellor

The University of New Brunswick