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This article was published 13/10/2016 (1196 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A national student organization is applauding the Pallister government's bill addressing campus rape culture.
The Canadian Federation of Students issued a statement Thursday pledging its support to help the legislation get passed into law.
The province tabled the legislation Wednesday. Bill 15, The Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Act, mandates sexual assault policies on Manitoba's public and private university and college campuses, along with 46 private vocational schools.
"We are happy to see that the Progressive Conservative government has tabled legislation that will protect students on our campuses and move our public institutions to challenge rape culture and proactively replace it with a culture of consent," Manitoba CFS chairperson Michael Barkman said in the statement.
Bill 15 requires schools to implement comprehensive sexual violence policies on campus, including student consultation and five-year policy reviews. The bill also broadens the definition of sexual assault to include social media and online communications.
Rochelle Squires, the minister responsible for the status of women, told the legislature the government expects unanimous support to push the law through the house.
CFS has actively lobbied governments and institutions for the implementation of strong measures, releasing a video in September and hosting events to draw attention to the need for policies. They’re more than willing to stump for the bill, too.
"We’d be happy to be present at any consultations that come forward to make sure students' voices continue to be put forward," said Laura Garinger, vice-president of student affairs at the University of Winnipeg Student Association and a women’s commissioner with the federation.
The University of Manitoba has a policy in place and both the University of Winnipeg and Brandon University are in the process of doing so. Student leaders are concerned that other campuses may lack the financial resources to enforce any policies they design on their own or the government imposes.
"That’s why I’m in favour of the bill, to make sure universities have standards across the board they can meet," Garinger said.
The federation is the largest post-secondary association of its kind in Canada, representing some 650,000 students on 80 campuses.