Warning: the following communication discusses sexualized violence and criminal charges of sexual assault.
Dear King’s community,
In February 2021, the University of King’s College announced it would commission an Independent Review into the facts surrounding charges of sexual assault brought against retired Professor Wayne Hankey and King’s responsibilities in light of those facts. In March of that year, Janice Rubin of Rubin Thomlinson LLP was appointed to conduct the Independent Review and the Terms of Reference were made public. With the matter then before the courts, King’s and Rubin Thomlinson committed to conduct the Review in a manner respectful of the criminal justice system.
Following the death of Professor Hankey in February 2022, King’s reiterated its commitment to the Independent Review.
The Independent Review is dual purpose:
On May 20 of this year, King’s received an Interim Report from Rubin Thomlinson that addresses the second purpose of the Independent Review. The Report contains “the measures King’s should take to ensure King’s is a safe community that supports the survivors and victims of sexual violence, and also responds effectively and accountably to sexualized violence in ways that are survivor/victim-centered.” These measures are outlined in 10 recommendations addressing culture, campus life, policy and procedure at King’s, as each of these may affect, and be affected by, sexualized violence.
The message to all members of the King’s community issued alongside the Interim Report on May 31 unequivocally accepted all recommendations and this was the beginning of the university’s response.
In further response, today King’s has published the Action Plan for a Culture of Consent and Respect (“the Action Plan”).
The Action Plan was developed by King’s Sexual Health & Safety Officer Jordan Roberts and Dean of Students Katie Merwin with the support of President William Lahey and Vice-President Dr. Sarah Clift. Further insights and information were gained through recent, direct consultation with constituencies including current students and alumni.
The Action Plan references efforts and cultural shifts at King’s that precede the Independent Review process. These include the creation of the role of Sexual Health & Safety Officer at King’s, the development of King’s Sexualized Violence Policy and collaborations across the post-secondary sector through the Provincial Sexual Violence Prevention Committee. King’s understands that the change called for in the Interim Report must go deeper than the development of policies, plans and offices; it must be more pervasive than the work already begun. As stated in the Action Plan’s Introduction, “What is called for is a fundamental change in our culture and a deep reckoning with our past.”
King’s publishes this Action Plan as a living document. To approach the work of fundamental change and deep reckoning in good faith, the University proceeds knowing that its understanding of this work and the resources we have to pursue it will strengthen with time. To ensure transparency, updates to this plan tracking our progress will be made regularly.
The ethos we embrace at King’s is to live and learn in community. We will live this work and learn from this work together. This document is one step in the process and signals a great step forward, one that will undoubtedly make the King’s community stronger.
President, Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Law
Sexual Health and Safety Officer
Dean of Students