Warning: the following communication discusses sexualized violence and criminal charges of sexual assault.
Dear King’s community,
Following charges of sexual assault brought against retired professor Wayne Hankey in February 2021, the University of King’s College announced it would commission an independent review of the facts of the matter, then before the courts, and of King’s responsibilities in light of those facts.
In March 2021, King’s announced that Janice Rubin at Rubin Thomlinson LLP would conduct the Independent Review and the terms of the review were made public. In a statement following the death of Wayne Hankey in February 2022, King’s reiterated its commitment to the Independent Review, which was always separate from any criminal justice matters.
The Independent Review is dual purpose and is to be released in two parts. The first purpose is to determine the facts and an appropriate response to the historic incidents that led to the charges against Wayne Hankey. We expect this report in September.
The second purpose of the Independent Review is to make recommendations on the steps King’s must now take to ensure it provides a safe environment for all members of its community in accordance with the commitments it has made in its Sexualized Violence Awareness and Response Policy. On Friday, May 20, King’s received an Interim Report from Rubin Thomlinson dealing with this part of the Independent Review. As promised in the terms of reference of the Independent Review, it is now on our website.
We thank the many who contributed to the work of Rubin Thomlinson LLP in preparing this Interim Report, King’s students, alumni, faculty and staff alike. There was robust participation from each of these groups in the survey conducted by Rubin Thomlinson and in the large number of follow up interviews they conducted. We acknowledge that many of the participants will have recalled and discussed information and experiences that would have been difficult to share. Thank you for doing this. King’s must act on the Interim Report in the fulsome way that will honour the trust and faith you placed in the Independent Review.
The information shared with Rubin Thomlinson shows that many members of our community have experienced sexualized violence or vulnerability to sexualized violence without having the protection and support they should have been provided. To all of these members of our community, we are sorry. We must address the ways in which King’s has failed you. To accomplish this, we will intensify our work that began in 2018 with the adoption of our Sexualized Violence Awareness, Prevention and Response Policy, enhancing the scope of this work to include the recommendations proposed in the Interim Report.
Today, the university unequivocally accepts all recommendations set forth in the Interim Report. To guide our adoption of these recommendations, King’s is developing a comprehensive action plan under the shared leadership of Jordan Roberts, King’s Sexual Health and Safety Officer, and Dean of Students Katie Merwin, both of whom are already at the forefront of contributing to our institutional change. Advice on the action plan will be taken from the university’s Sexualized Violence Policy Implementation Advisory Committee and all appropriate discussions within our governance processes will occur, including with King’s faculty on recommendations that concern faculty. All of this work will be for the purpose of determining how the recommendations of this Interim Report can be most effectively and fully implemented with urgency.
It should be noted that Rubin Thomlinson presented a preliminary summary of their Interim Report to various university constituencies in March, to solicit feedback on their preliminary findings and recommendations. Work on our action plan has been in progress since those presentations in anticipation of our receipt of the Interim Report.
When the action plan is finalized, it will be published on the King’s website with regular reports on the progress of its implementation. Today, the website is simply used to share the Interim Report as expeditiously as possible.
While an action plan is necessary, we understand that more is required than policy, procedures and sharing information on the university’s website. What is called for is a fundamental change in our culture and a deep reckoning with our past. We have started that process of change, but we must recognize we have a long way to go and that it is the responsibility of the university as a whole and not of those who have individualized experiences with, and vulnerabilities to, sexualized violence to take the lead role in this work.
Throughout this work, the University of King’s College will be steadfast in its commitment to provide a safe and supportive environment for everyone, one that is free of discrimination, harassment and all forms of violence.
President, Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Law
Sexual Health and Safety Officer
Dean of Students