A University of Victoria student has been arrested and could face up to five counts of sexual assault for alleged incidents involving four female students.
In a statement released late this evening the school confirms the investigation, saying assaults of this nature are not tolerated on campus.
“Sexualized violence is never acceptable and UVic is deeply committed to providing all members of our campus community with a safe, supportive and respectful environment.”
The school says the assaults were reported to campus security in mid-February, that the alleged victims knew the suspect, and that the incidents allegedly took place on campus.
It says school officials stepped in to assist them in filing reports with Saanich Police along with counselling services.
The university says the suspect has been barred from campus, though it’s unclear whether he has been suspended or expelled.
“We can confirm that related to this incident, the university has removed a male student from our campus community. The individual is not permitted on university property.”
The investigation is currently with the Saanich Police, and the suspect is expected to appear in court in April.
In the wake of the allegations, one Uvic student leader is calling for more action to fight campus sexual assaults.
Kenya Rogers with the Uvic Student Society says the school did well to connect the victims with police, but more needs to be done.
“Given the fact that the university doesn’t have any framework specifically for sexualized violence, they’re doing the best they can, but I think it just shows we really do needs some framework for how the university reacts to these situations.”
Rogers says Uvic needs a stand alone sexual assault policy, and she’d like to see the B.C. look to Ontario, which last year required universities and colleges to work with students to develop just that.
As to the two week delay between the alleged incidents and word getting out to students Rogers says it depends on whether it was at the request of the women involved.
“Any time we’re dealing with these assaults, we have to centre the survivors. If that was the wish of the survivors that it wasn’t brought forward until things were, secured, that this person was going to be removed from campus I completely respect that and I think we have to make sure that the survivors are the ones that are being held with a lot of support. But it is definitely frustrating finding out via media calls.”
Rogers says while the allegations are devastating, she’s encouraged that the school has fostered a safe environment in which the women were comfortable coming forward.