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UPEI students step up to stop sexual assault with national prevention group


CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The University of Prince Edward Island’s student union (UPEISU) is stepping up to help prevent sexual violence.

The student union recently signed on to the Our Turn National Student Action Plan to End Campus Sexual Violence campaign.

The nationwide student movement has scored sexual assault policies from 14 schools across the country. Almost half of the 14 campuses received failing grades when it came to sexual violence prevention strategies.

Based on the Our Turn evaluation method, UPEISU has given the current 2007 UPEI Fair Treatment Policy a score of 59% and an overall grade of D+.

The student union has been working with the university to create the UPEI Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Task Force, a working group that will review and implement UPEI’s new stand-alone sexual assault policy, host campus-wide consultations, and provide recommendations on campus sexual violence education and prevention programming.

“I wanted to ensure that there was something long-term in place which would outlive my time at UPEI and ensure that we can build off the momentum of the work of the Task Force,” said Taya Nabuurs, the student union’s vice-president academic. “Sexual violence is a persistent, systemic issue which is particularly prevalent on university campuses; it will require a consistent, long-term approach, and Our Turn UPEI will strive to provide that.”

The task force will hold its consultations this Wednesday, Oct. 18, 1-3 p.m. in McMillan Hall in the W. A. Murphy Student Centre at UPEI.

Nabuurs said the Our Turn UPEI chapter is in the process of being ratified as a society under the student union.

“The passion I’ve seen from students who are interested in becoming involved with Our Turn has been inspiring, and I think that says a great deal about how important this issue is to students on our campus,” she said. “I hope that this opportunity can empower our students and help them recognize how instrumental their voice is in working towards change on university campuses.”

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