Campus sexual violence – creating a culture of collaboration

Jan Byrd, photo courtesy of UWinnipeg

Jan Byrd, photo courtesy of UWinnipeg

UWinnipeg staff and student share keynote at national conference in Toronto; premiere student video

WINNIPEG, MB – When Jan Byrd was asked to deliver a keynote address at a national conference dedicated to campus sexual violence later this week, she agreed….as long as she could share her platform with a University of Winnipeg student leader. For Byrd, Executive Director Wellness and Student Life at The University of Winnipeg, student involvement is critical.

“Our students are the experts in terms of their own experiences,” says Byrd. “Sexual misconduct is something that deeply impacts them and they need to be alongside us every step of the way in this work.”

Byrd will be accompanied by Emily Epp, the former Vice-President, Internal Affairs, University of Winnipeg Students’ Association and a recent graduate. Epp was instrumental in helping develop and launch UWinnipeg’s comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Protocol and training program in 2015, along with several other students who formed the campus committee.

Emily Epp photo supplied

Emily Epp photo supplied

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase how a university can build relationships that result in real engagement with students,” says Epp, who graduated in fall 2016 with a BA in Human Rights and Conflict Resolution and is now working at Global College.

To further include authentic student voices, student filmmakers and actors from UWinnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film got involved, resulting in a short video that will premiere at the Toronto conference.




Kristin Carlow photo supplied

Kristin Carlow photo supplied

Kristin Carlow is the 3rd year student who is directing the video. ”This has been a really interesting project. We filmed a group of students discussing consent, drinking, and rape culture in the Hive. Then five actors helped us give shape to the messages in film.”

The hands-on student project was also an opportunity to network with professionals as Winnipeg’s Swish Productions facilitated student discussions and assisted with the video. “It was a really great, supportive experience,” says Carlow.

The 2nd Annual National Conference on Campus Sexual Assault for Higher Education Administrators takes place Thursday, November 10 and Friday, November 11, 2016 in
Toronto, Ontario. Byrd and Epp’s talk is entitled: Involving Students in Prevention, Response, and Policy Development.

The conference brings together administrators and practitioners from across Canada to provide insights, evidence-based prevention strategies, and legal updates.

Following many months of extensive consultations with students, and discussions with some faculty and community partners such as Klinic Community Health Centre, UWinnipeg developed a comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Protocol in spring 2015. It includes a Sexual Misconduct Response Team (SMRT) and incorporates best practices from across North America. The protocol focuses on building a respectful, safe climate that is free from any type of sexual violence, and provides a broad range of supports for people involved.

UWinnipeg then developed and is delivering ongoing education workshops around sexual misconduct, now mandatory for incoming students.  Training has reached approximately 3600 people to date, including students in residence, first year students, athletes, coaches, security guards, support staff and faculty.

In the just released 2017 university rankings by Macleans magazine, students surveyed placed UWinnipeg 2nd in Canada among undergraduate schools in the category “Steps to Prevent Sexual Assaults.”

UWinnipeg has website dedicated to sexual misconduct information.

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Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7135, E:




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