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The Athabasca University Students’ Union calls for immediate action after recent results of a post-secondary sexual-based violence report released by the Government of Alberta.

The Athabasca University Students’ Union (AUSU) is calling on the provincial government to increase funding and resources for post-secondary learning environments to prevent sexual and gender-based violence. AUSU is proud to join our partners at the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) in this call to action to stop gender-based violence. Preventing gender-based violence is as essential for online learning environments as it is for in-person campuses. At Athabasca University, this includes students attending in-person labs and work-integrated learning spaces for practicums, as well as online spaces that should be a safe space for learning and collaboration. Ensuring that all spaces at AU are respectful and inclusive, and do not marginalize or sexualize someone without consent.

“Today, the Government of Alberta shared the data collected on sexual and gender-based violence at post-secondary institutions. The results of this report are shocking, with 50% of students reporting that they have experienced this violence while attending school.”

Statement by the Council of Alberta University Students.

With over 12,940 survey responses between the dates of January 30, 2023, to March 16, 2023, the report data highlights that sexual harassment is the most common form of sexual and gender-based violence that students experience.

AUSU is calling for immediate action to be taken by the Government of Alberta on this critical issue. Athabasca University and all post-secondary institutions need funding and resources to foster a sustainable culture of consent. AUSU is deeply concerned about this crisis and stands with all students as we advocate for student safety while attending University.

“The report has solidified what has been known by students for a long time. Gender-based violence is incredibly prevalent across all Alberta schools and must be eliminated. This is no longer an institutional issue but rather one of culture. The Athabasca University Students’ Union is calling for the Government of Alberta to work with students and institutions to dismiss this culture of violence and instead create one of consent.”

Naju Syed, AUSU President

The report shows this is an intersectional issue with 74% of self-identified 2SLGBTQIA+ students experiencing sexual or gender-based violence since attending post-secondary.

The AU Students’ Union sees this as a critical advocacy issue that demands immediate attention by the Government of Alberta and Athabasca University and is ready to take steps to make AU a safe place for in-person and online learning. This includes a call to action for the Ministry of Advanced Education in Alberta to develop a working group, with student representation, to address the current policies, and develop concrete steps forward that are informed by the findings of the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Alberta Post-Secondary Education report.

For more information please contact:

Athabasca University Students’ Union
Naju Syed
AUSU President