article sven,a few days ago, the Toronto Star published a front-page story entitled, “A ‘toxic culture’ in our universities”.
It described a culture of rampant racism and sexism that was destroying our universities and threatening to undermine the very existence of the profession.
“It is a toxic culture that is creating toxic conditions for the university students who need and deserve safe spaces and safe spaces to feel safe,” the article said.
“This is the message that the university has to take.
Universities and universities alone cannot change these attitudes and we have to start doing it ourselves.”
The article also warned that a lack of understanding about racism and misogyny is contributing to the “dangerous environment” in which many students are raised.
The Star article came days after the University of Toronto, which is home to one of Canada’s top 10 universities, released a report on the state of racism and sexual violence on campus.
In the report, released Wednesday, the university’s president and vice-chancellor, Michael Gianni, said that universities are “part of a much larger societal problem of structural oppression and structural violence”.
The report found that the proportion of university students experiencing some form of harassment or assault increased from 10 per cent in 2011 to 24 per cent last year, with a higher incidence of sexual assault in women’s colleges.
“The numbers of students experiencing sexual violence, harassment or intimidation on campus are a growing concern for our institutions and their students,” Gianni said in the report.
“They are the result of an incredibly high level of inequality, racism and the perpetuation of systemic violence.”
In recent years, the Ontario government has launched an investigation into the way universities deal with sexual violence and gender-based violence on campuses.
A review of the Ontario university system was launched in 2015 after the Star article and the University Act was passed.
After months of public outcry, the province launched its own inquiry in May, which was chaired by Toronto lawyer David Shiner.
Under Shiner’s inquiry, universities have been ordered to report on their response to sexual assault and harassment, but the scope of the findings have not yet been made public.
Shiner also released a letter sent to the University Association of Ontario last week, detailing concerns over how the university system is dealing with the sexual violence issue.
According to Shiner, the letter outlined concerns about “troubling patterns of discrimination and lack of accountability for campus incidents of sexual violence.”
It also pointed out that “universities are failing to report and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.”
Shiller also said that “systemic barriers” exist on campuses that prevent students from accessing support and services.
However, according to the university association, the majority of incidents of assault are reported to the police, while the vast majority of reports of sexual harassment and assault are not investigated by police.
When it comes to sexual violence at universities, it is often not the sexual assault itself that is problematic.
Rather, the problem is that many people in higher education are not trained in dealing with sexual assault.
One of the key findings of the Shiner inquiry was that sexual violence is the most commonly reported campus crime and that “women and girls are disproportionately at risk.”
“Our university system has a responsibility to improve,” said Shiner in the letter.
“It is important that our universities are equipped to better protect students from harm and better understand the issues that impact their health and well-being.”
With files from CBC’s Olivia Chow