A Safe, Positive Community for All
Your safety is our top concern.
Columbia does not tolerate sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind.
At Columbia, we strive to be a Christ-centered community. We are 100% committed to providing an educational experience in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. We consider harassment and sexual misconduct in all their forms to be serious offenses and we do not tolerate any behaviour that undermines the self-worth, learning, or productivity of a member of our community.
If you feel you have experienced sexual misconduct or harassment as a student, please read the information and resources below. We put them together to give you a clear guide about how to access help and the process the College will take as we respond.
A Few Definitions
What do we mean by sexual misconduct and harassment?
- A form of discrimination based on personal characteristics (gender, race, beliefs, sexual orientation, and physical or mental disability).
- Any behaviour that would be reasonably expected to be unwelcome or objectionable, and which has a negative impact on a person’s work/learning environment.
- persistent demeaning comments or jokes,
- the display of offensive materials or media that degrades others’ dignity,
- staring, innuendoes, bullying, ostracizing,
- repeated unwelcome advances or flirtation,
- verbal abuse or threats,
- unwanted physical contact, threats, actual assault,
- undermining a person’s dignity by causing embarrassment or discomfort.
Sexual Misconduct is…
An umbrella terms for any violence (physical or psychological) carried out without consent through sexual means and/or that targets sexuality.Sexual misconduct includes:
- Sexual assault (non-consensual sexual action done by an individual to another involving touching of a sexual nature.)
- Sexual harassment (a form of harassment involving unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, persistent and repeated unwanted discussions of sexual nature.)
- Stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism,
- Attempts or threats to do any of the above,
- Doing any of the above using electronic devices or digital media.
What to do if You've Been Sexually Assaulted
Get Somewhere Safe
If you’re in immediate danger or you are seriously injured,
If you’re on campus,
also call Campus Security
Go to the Hospital
Abbotsford Regional Hospital has a 24-hour on-call SANE nurse (sexual assault nurse examiner).
Ask for the SANE nurse, who will give you expert care and collect any evidence.
Get in touch with your Columbia RD or another member of the Student Development staff team that you trust.
He or she will offer you immediate support and help you with your next steps, including reporting options.
If You've Experienced Harassment
When possible, start by approaching the person directly.
In the case of less severe harassment, people are not always aware that their actions are offensive. Consider approaching the person directly and making it clear that their behaviour is harmful to you. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this for any reason, feel free to ask for help (see next step.)
Ask the Dean of Students for help.
The Dean of Student, Karen Thiessen, is the Contact Officer for students in situations of harassment or sexual misconduct. You’ll start by disclosing (explaining) your situation to Karen Thiessen.
Depending on the situation, the Dean’s assistance may involve advice on how to resolve the matter informally, a mediated conversation between you and the alleged harasser, or a request for you to make a formal written complaint.
Submit the ‘Safe Community Incident Report.’
REES provides a victim centered, trauma-informed platform that empowers victims of sexual violence with multiple options for reporting and support. One of those options is to submit a report that goes directly to Karen H Thiessen, Dean of Students, who will follow up with you as soon as possible.
When you meet with Karen, she may request that you make a written complaint. An official investigation is only launched when this formal written complaint is received.
Every effort will be made to protect your confidentiality throughout this process. In cases where there is a risk to other members of the college community, the Dean may be required to make further disclosures. In some cases, disclosure to local police authorities may be required by law.
An investigation will be completed within 30 working days and a written report submitted to the College Lead Team.
An appeal may be requested within 30 days of the investigation’s conclusion. The College Lead Team will convene a committee to hear the appeal and its decision will be final.
Note that the above process is adapted from three College documents, which should be consulted for further information and guidance. In case of any discrepancy between this webpage and approved policies, the policies are authoritative.