Mohawk College is committed to preventing and addressing all forms of sexual assault and sexual violence within the college community. The primary purpose of the Sexual Assault and Sexualized Violence Policy is to ensure that those affected are believed, appropriately supported and accommodated, and to set out the way in which the college responds to and addresses sexual violence. It also makes clear that the college's process of investigation provides procedural fairness and holds individuals who have committed sexual violence accountable. This page provides information from key areas of the policy in response to some commonly asked questions.
Please review the Sexual Assault and Sexualized Violence Policy, for more detailed information, or contact consent [at] mohawkcollege.ca (subject: Questions%20about%20Policy) with any further questions.
In accordance with Ministry requirements, Mohawk College reports annually to its Board of Governors on sexual assault and sexualized violence.
Copies of the annual reports to the Board are available by contacting Tim Fricker, Dean of Students. tim.fricker [at] mohawkcollege.ca (subject: Request%20for%20Board%20of%20Governors%20Annual%20Report%2C%20Sexual%20Assault%20and%20Sexualized%20Violence) (Email Tim Fricker)
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What measures will be implemented to protect and keep confidential the personal information of the persons involved in the investigation of an incident or complaint at Mohawk College?
A: The College has a responsibility and obligation to ensure that any private and personal information provided in a disclosure, report and/or investigation of sexualized violence is collected, used, maintained and secured appropriately. The College will make every effort to maintain confidentiality of all persons involved in a disclosure or report of sexualized violence including the survivor, respondent and witnesses. However, confidentiality cannot be assured in circumstances where:
- The College’s Risk Assessment process determines that a risk to an individual or the college community exists;
- A Formal College Report has been made and the respondent must be informed of the details of the report as part of the investigation and in keeping with procedural fairness; and/or
- Reporting is required by law.
All persons participating in the process are required to maintain confidentiality with respect to information provided in the course of the disclosure, reporting, assessment and/or investigation of an incident of sexualized violence.
Q: How will information pertaining to the investigation be stored?
A: Security Services will collect, maintain and secure all pertinent information gathered through Informal, Formal and Third Party Reports and subsequent investigations. Information will remain confidential. Aggregate data about the numbers of reports received annually will be shared in compliance with legislated requirements.
Q: What is the process at Mohawk College for deciding whether an incident or complaint of sexual violence will be investigated by the college?
A: The college will investigate all Formal College Reports or an Informal Report where results of the risk assessment identify a risk to the safety of the survivor and/or the College Community. The survivor has the right to choose not to participate in any investigation arising from an Informal Report.
For further clarity, these reporting options are further defined in the Sexual Assault Sexualized Violence Policy under Section 3 “Definitions”, and on the Reporting section of this website.
“Formal College Report” is an allegation of a violation of this policy made by a survivor to Security Services in order to initiate an investigation. This type of report may not be made anonymously, and the College is obligated to inform respondents of allegations made against them. Making a Formal College Report does not prevent the survivor from also reporting the incident to police.
“Informal Report” is an allegation of a violation of this policy made by a survivor to Security Services; this type of report may not result in a formal investigation by the College but can help ensure the safety of the College community. The survivor may choose to make a Formal College Report at a later time to initiate a formal investigation by the College.
Q: Does the survivor have choice in requesting an investigation, or the right not to participate in any investigation that may occur at Mohawk College?
A: Members of the College Community who experience sexualized violence may choose none, one or all of the following reporting options:
- Informal Report: The survivor has the right to choose not to participate in any investigation arising from an Informal Report.
- Formal College Report
Right to Withdraw a Report (Section 6.4): A survivor has the right to withdraw a report at any stage of the subsequent investigation process. Where a report has been withdrawn, the survivor may choose at any time to reactivate the report to continue with the investigation process. If the College determines that an incident about which a report has been withdrawn puts the safety of other members of the College Community at risk, it will conduct an internal investigation and/or may inform police. In these circumstances, the College will make every effort to protect the confidentiality and anonymity of person(s) affected.
Q: What are multiple proceedings?
A: Survivors who file a report with Security Services may also choose to file a Formal Police Report or report through the civil courts or the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. When a report of sexualized violence results in civil or criminal proceedings, the College will conduct an independent investigation and make its own determination in accordance with its policies and procedures. The College will cooperate with any external investigations.
Q: What can I expect if I become involved in an investigation at Mohawk College?
A: : In situations where police are not the primary investigators, Mohawk College Security Services will lead the investigation by collecting evidence and statements from the survivor, respondent, witnesses, and others as necessary. This may require more than one interview with each person. At no point during the investigation will the survivor be expected to meet face-to-face with the respondent. Survivors have the right to choose not to participate in the investigation after their initial disclosure or report. The respondent may also choose not to participate. The College reserves the right to hire a third-party investigator to lead an investigation as required.
Q: Can I have support in meetings as part of the investigation?
A: The College’s investigation and decision-making processes include individual meetings with the survivor and respondent. Each may attend these meetings accompanied by support persons of their own choosing whose role is providing support rather than participating.
Q: What are interim measures, and what are some examples of interim measures that may be implemented while an incident is being investigated or a decision is being made?
A: Interim measures are restrictions placed on an individual’s rights and privileges in order to ensure the safety of the college community and provide time for the college to determine its response and conduct an investigation. Examples of such measures include restricting access to certain parts of campus and/or attending class. The college may impose interim measures immediately, prior to a full investigation. Interim measures will be imposed only as necessary, and the college will take steps to minimize any academic impact. Imposing these measures does not represent a finding of misconduct and is not intended as a punitive measure.
Q: What are some examples of the measures that may be implemented for the purpose of protecting a person reporting an incident of sexual violence, from retaliation (and the threat of retaliation) at Mohawk College?
A) It is a violation of this policy (Section 6.5) for anyone to retaliate, engage in reprisals, or threaten to retaliate against a survivor or other individual for:
- having pursued rights under this policy or the Ontario Human Rights Code;
- having participated or cooperated in an investigation under this Policy or the Ontario Human Rights Code; or
- having been associated with someone who has pursued rights under this policy or the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The college will take reasonable steps to protect persons from reprisal, retaliation and threat; examples of which include:
- advising individuals in writing of their duty to refrain from committing a reprisal;
- restricting an individual’s access to areas of the campus; and
- restricting an individual's communication.
Q: How are decisions about an investigation made?
A: The standard of proof used by the College to conclude that a violation of the Sexual Assault and Sexualized Violence policy has occurred is the Balance of Probabilities, which means the information and evidence gathered in the investigation indicates that the allegation is more likely to be true than not to be true. If the investigator finds that there has been no violation of the policy, the survivor and respondent will each be informed in writing that the investigation has been closed. If the investigator finds that there has been a violation of this or another College policy, Mohawk College Security Services will provide the appropriate decision maker with a summary of the investigative report that includes any statements, evidence and relevant supporting documentation.
Q: What is the role of the decision-maker?
A: The decision maker will review the summary investigative report and any relevant supporting documentation to determine whether a violation of the Policy has occurred, and will determine appropriate outcomes in consultation with others as required.
Q: How is the identity of the decision-maker determined?
Q: What are some examples of the decisions that may be made and measures that may be imposed after an incident or complaint is investigated at Mohawk College?
A: The identity of the decision-maker is determined by the respondent's role in the college, as outlined below:
- Where the Respondent is a Student: If findings of the investigation substantiate a report of sexualized violence, the Dean of Students (or designate) will determine the appropriate disciplinary action. In keeping with the Student Behavior Policy (Appendix C), this may include measures up to and including expulsion.
- Where the Respondent is a College Employee: If findings of the College’s investigation substantiate a report of sexualized violence, the Chief Human Resources Officer (or designate) will determine the appropriate disciplinary action consistent with any applicable laws College policies and their specific Terms and Conditions of Employment. Discipline could include measures up to and including termination.
- Where the Respondent is not a Student or a College Employee: Contractors, suppliers, volunteers or visitors to College property who engage in prohibited conduct will be subject to this policy. If a report of sexualized violence against the respondent is substantiated, the Vice President, Corporate Services (or designate) will determine appropriate College action, including imposition of penalties, cancellation of contracts, and other sanctions.
Q: How will I be informed of the decision for an investigation in which I'm involved?
A: The decision maker will inform the survivor and respondent of the results of the College’s investigation within seven (7) days of its conclusion in a written communication that includes a brief description of any corrective action that the College has taken or will take as a result of its investigation.
Q: What are the elements of procedural fairness that will be part of the investigation and decision-making processes at Mohawk College?
A: Procedural Fairness is achieved by informing respondents of all allegations and evidence against them, and by giving them reasonable notice of the time, place and nature of the meeting where they can respond to the allegations. It also involves providing survivors and respondents with information about the College’s investigation and decision-making processes, and ensuring that outcomes are determined by an impartial decision maker.
Q: I do not agree with the outcome of an investigation. Can I appeal the decision?
A: Procedures for appeal differ based on the respondent's role in the college:
- Where the Respondent is a Student: Students have the right to appeal. Appeals of violations of the Policy is governed by an amendment to the appeal procedure outlined in the Student Behaviour Policy (Appendix D). The amendment will specify that the College will appoint an independent third-party expert in appeal proceedings who is not a College employee as Chair of the appeal committee.
- Where the Respondent is a College Employee: College employees who are members of a union may file a grievance as permitted by the applicable collective agreement. Administrative employees may appeal under the Terms and Conditions of Employment for Administrative Staff.
- Where the Respondent is not a Student or a College Employee: There is no formal appeal process for violations by suppliers, volunteers or visitors.
Roles & Responsibilities
Q: What are my responsibilities as a member of the Mohawk College community, upon becoming aware of a complaint of sexual violence?
A: College employees, governors, volunteers, appointees, suppliers, contractors, etc. who witness or have knowledge of sexualized violence have an obligation to make a Third Party Report immediately to Security Services. All other members of the College Community are strongly encouraged to make a Third Party Report to Security Services. Those making Third Party Reports will not identify the survivor without consent.
Mohawk College's Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Policy and Procedure
Process for Student Input
As per the MTCU Act, Ontario Regulation 131/16, Mohawk College is required to:
3.(a) establish a process, in consultation with representatives of the college's or university's elected student governing bodies, for the provision of input from a diverse selection of students regarding the college's or university's sexual violence policy, and;
3.(b) follow the process in the development of its sexual violence policy and every time the sexual violence policy is reviewed or amended, and;
4. publish it's sexual violence policy, and a description of the student input process established under clause 3 (1) (a), on it's website, and shall make a copy of the policy available to anyone who requests it.
The Mohawk Students' Association (MSA) and Mohawk College agree to the following approach to elicit student input on Mohawk College's Sexual Assault and Sexualized Violence Policy:
- The MSA will lead the coordination, communications, recruitment and scheduling of three student focus groups, at each of the College's three main campuses (Fennell, McMaster, and Stoney Creek), to elicit feedback from students on the revisions to the Policy and Procedures. The student participants will be provided with the Policy and Procedures and a summary of the proposed revisions at least one week before the focus groups take place. During the sessions, MSA board members will participate as students, and the College representatives will facilitate the focus group, present the summary revisions at the meetings, and record summary comments and feedback from participants.
- The following committees and groups, which include student members, will also provided feedback on any proposed revisions to the policy and Procedures:
a) The MSA Board of Directors;
b) Mohawk College's Sexual Violence Education and Awareness Committee; and
c) Mohawk College's President's Advisory Council.
THIS AGREEMENT HAS BEEN DULY SIGNED BY THE PARTIES; MARCH 13, 2018.