August 17, 2018 - York Phd student, mandi gray files breach of settlement at ontario human rights tribunal

Read the application for breach of settlement here.

Press release August 17, 2018: Don’t Believe the Campus Sexual Assault Policy Hype: New Policy, Same Institutional Failure

In June 2015, PhD student Mandi Gray filed a human rights complaint against York University for systemic gender discrimination.

The complaint was settled in mediation on November 23, 2016.

While the parties were unable to reach agreement on many of the necessary systemic remedies during mediation, as a condition of settlement the university would partner with the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic to provide counselling services on campus for four years.  

The partnership between the university and the clinic began on August 1, 2017. In the official press release, York administrators and the Sexual Violence Response Office have routinely misstated the origins of the partnership, concealing that it came about solely as a result of Mandi’s legal intervention.

On June 30th, 2018, less than one year after establishing the partnership, York quietly terminated the contract with the Clinic. There is evidence to suggest that there was never an intention to continue the partnership but rather, was a strategic exercise in public relations while privately hoping that the community would not find out that the university prematurely ended the contract.

“This demonstrates that York University cannot be trusted” says Mandi Gray, “York has diminished my experience of sexual violence at every step from the initial report to security to the mediation process. They put in writing that they were committed to this partnership. They used my idea to demonstrate their own benevolence then quietly cancelled the contract. This is an absolute reflection of what reporting sexual assault at York is like. Blatant lies and false promises”

We are disappointed by York University for a number of reasons:

  • Failure to consult with Mandi, Silence is Violence, nor the larger community prior to terminating the partnership with the Schlifer Clinic.

  • Failure of the Sexual Violence Advisory Committee. Silence is Violence was appointed to the Sexual Violence Advisory Committee in late 2017. There have been no committee meetings in 2018.

  • Failure to ensure that there are meaningful consequences for those found responsible for acts of sexual violence. There is no evidence—statistical or otherwise—that the implementation of the new Policy on Sexual Violence at York University has resulted in consequences for those found to have committed acts of sexual violence.

  • Failure of the Centre for Sexual Violence, Response, Support & Education to record the names of alleged perpetrators and is, therefore, incapable of identifying repeat offenders.

  • Failure to respond to concerns regarding sexual violence from the broader community. This September, members of the Political Science Department will potentially have to share office space and a classroom with someone who has not taken accountability for an act of sexual violence and has been hired by a male supremacist group that has an explicit mandate of advocating for men falsely accused of sexual violence. York has diminished the safety concerns of the university community.

  • Failure to recognize the need for an independently adjudicated Sexual Violence Fund during CUPE 3903 bargaining. York University refused to relinquish full control over who can access the funds and wishes to act as the sole gatekeeper for support funds. We cannot trust the university to allocate funds without external oversight.

We encourage anyone who is a member of the York University community who wishes to disclose or report an experience of sexual violence to be critical of any promises made, and to make use of community resources such as the Ontario Human Rights Legal Support Centre (not to be confused with the York University Human Rights Centre) and the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic.  
 

Media Contact:  

Mandi Gray – (647) 533-8251 – sivyork@gmail.com – www.silenceisviolence.ca

 

May 31, 2016: human rights complaint filed against york university for systemic discrimination against sexual assault survivors

Toronto, Ontario - York University -- In 2015, PhD student and Teaching Assistant, Mandi Gray filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging the school’s policy on sexual assault discriminates against victims, a majority of whom are women. This is a systemic case and has the potential to lead to large-scale remedy across the country. 

Silence is Violence is currently seeking current and former York University community members with similar experiences to Mandi to testify that the failure to support sexual violence survivors is a systemic issue on campus.   

Silence is Violence has retained Joanna Birenbaum, a senior lawyer with expertise in the areas of social justice, human rights, sexual and gendered violence.

Following her sexual assault, Mandi was required to disclose details of her assault to numerous York University employees. She was processed through an internal tribunal at the university without her consent  and against legal advice advising her not to participate due to an ongoing criminal investigation. Mandi was forced to endure numerous barriers before being able to return to campus. 

Silence is Violence is seeking community members (including staff, faculty and students) who have reported sexual assault to York University. We are also looking to speak to staff or faculty who have had students/colleagues disclose sexual assault to them and have acted as an advocate or support person during the process.

The specific details of the assault will not be discussed but rather the process following the report or disclosure to York University.

The case is precedent setting and may result in  larger systemic changes at university campuses across the country. 

Witnesses will not be required to pay legal fees to participate in the tribunal hearing but will be required to take time off work to testify, if required. 

**Sexual assault is defined as any act that is sexual in nature and is not consensual. This may range from unwanted touching, groping, forced oral sex or rape. The sexual assault may have taken place on or off campus. 

All communication is confidential. 

We are also currently accepting donations to assist in covering the cost to pay legal counsel and expert witnesses. If you are able to donate, please click here.

Email: sivyork@gmail.com for more information