Responding to Sexual Assault on Campus: What Can Canadian Universities Learn from US Law and Policy?

Forthcoming, in Elizabeth Quinlan, Andrea Quinlan, Curtis Fogel & Gail Taylor, eds Sexual Assault on Canadian University and College Campuses (Wilfrid Laurier University Press).

Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2015-26

34 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2015 Last revised: 9 Feb 2017

Elizabeth A. Sheehy

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Daphne Gilbert

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: August 10, 2015

Abstract

Our starting point is that universities should provide avenues of redress for women who experience sexual violence and that these cannot simply be absorbed into pre-existing disciplinary codes and sexual harassment policies. Canadian governments have the power to impose uniform reporting and disciplinary procedures on universities, but in the absence of national or provincial standards, best practices should be identified for such policies. We first turn to a brief discussion of the legal context in which Canadian post-secondary institutions operate, particularly federalism, provincial human rights codes, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and tort law. Second we describe the legal context in which US universities and colleges sit: Title IX, the Clery Act, the Obama Task Force and its 2014 Report, and the ongoing investigations and litigation arising from federal regulation. Third we look at what Canadian institutions might learn from the US experience specifically on the issues around reporting obligations, disciplinary measures, and protections for women who report sexual violence.

Keywords: Canadian sexual assault law, US sexual assault law, sexual violence and universities, government regulation of universities

Suggested Citation

Sheehy, Elizabeth A. and Gilbert, Daphne, Responding to Sexual Assault on Campus: What Can Canadian Universities Learn from US Law and Policy? (August 10, 2015). Forthcoming, in Elizabeth Quinlan, Andrea Quinlan, Curtis Fogel & Gail Taylor, eds Sexual Assault on Canadian University and College Campuses (Wilfrid Laurier University Press).; Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2015-26. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2641844

Elizabeth A. Sheehy (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

Daphne Gilbert

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

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