King’s signs the “Can’t Buy My Silence” pledge and announces Action Plan update

King’s signs the "Can’t Buy My Silence" pledge and announces Action Plan update

Dear King’s Community,

Today King’s announced that we have adopted the “Can’t Buy My Silence” pledge, (“the pledge”). By signing this pledge, we commit to never use a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in a case involving sexual harassment, discrimination, other forms of misconduct and/or bullying. We join Acadia University, which announced its own adoption of the pledge today, as the first institutions to sign this pledge in Nova Scotia.

Non-disclosure agreements (“NDAs”) are sometimes used as a tool to silence victims in circumstances of sexual misconduct, racism, pregnancy discrimination and other human rights violations. You can read more about the many implications and results of NDAs being used in this way in our announcement and on the “Can’t Buy My Silence” campaign’s website. The campaign is led by Professor Julie Macfarlane, a Canadian law professor and member of the Order of Canada, and British activist and former employee of Harvey Weinstein, Zelda Perkins. Its purpose is to make non-disclosure agreements “unenforceable for anything other than their original purpose – the prevention of sharing confidential business information (“intellectual property”) and trade secrets.”

King’s adoption of this pledge is in keeping with other actions taken in response to recommendations made by Rubin Thomlinson LLP in both the Interim Report and Final Report of the Independent Review of Accusations of Sexual Assault Against Dr. Wayne Hankey. In particular, it is consistent with how King’s acted on the second recommendation of the Rubin Thomlinson Final Report, which called on the university to make amends to individuals harmed by Dr. Hankey. In settling claims against the university arising out of Hankey’s misconduct, the university did not ask or require any claimant to enter into a non-disclosure agreement.

Additional information about actions taken in response to the Rubin Thomlinson Independent Review can be found in the Action Plan for a Culture of Consent & Respect: Response to the Rubin Thomlinson Interim Report & Final Report (“the Action Plan”). First published in September 2022 in response to recommendations provided in the Rubin Thomlinson Interim Report, an update to this document was published today. The updated version includes the addition of those recommendations made in the Final Report and the status of King’s response to each.

My thanks to all those who are leading, participating in and supporting the very important work reflected in the Action Plan, and in King’s becoming a signatory of the pledge. In particular, I would like to thank Sexual Health & Safety Officer Jordan Roberts, Vice-President Sarah Clift and Dean of Students Katie Merwin and all the members past and present of the Sexualized Violence Policy Implementation Advisory Committee.



William Lahey
President, Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Law

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