The Campus Sexual Assault Industrial Complex: A Story of Professionalization & Bureaucratization

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On this episode of AGSC, Tamsyn and Paniz are joined by...each other, to talk about the reason they first met years ago: campus sexual assault, and the profound uselessness of the university administrators getting paid to address it. Having spent many years organizing, researching, and writing about the issue since then, they have seen how universities spend all their time and money on programs like consent education and sweeping policy change, without seeing any actual reduction in the number of students being assaulted on their campuses. Paniz and Tamsyn talk about why these neoliberal approaches don’t meet survivors’ actual (namely, material) needs or take into account the role of power in sexual violence - and what we can do instead.
Resources for survivors:
Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/ Multicultural Women Against Rape (counselling, court support, advocacy, and other programs for survivors of all genders)
TRCC/MWAR 24/7 Crisis Line: 416-597-8808
Gerstein Crisis Centre: 416-929-5200
Assaulted Women's Helpline: 416-863-0511
For more information about Tamsyn’s human rights case and sexual assault at U of T:
Tamsyn Riddle, “Why I Filed my Human Rights Complaint Against U of T.” The Varsity, 2017.
Hilary Beaumont, “Rape victims say Canadian universities are failing them.” Vice, 2016.
The SIV report:
Wright, Jessica, Dhunna, Simran, Riddle, Tamsyn, De Gannes, Paulysha, & Berzins, Taylor.
2019. End the Silence, End the Violence: Experiences and Understandings of Sexual Violence at the University of Toronto. Toronto, Ontario: Silence is Violence.
More about Andy Orchard:
Olivia Bowden and Marco Chown Oved, “U of T received formal complaints against ex-Trinity College provost accused of sexual harassment, but he wasn’t punished.” Toronto Star, Oct. 21st, 2021.
Aljazeera. Degrees of Abuse. 2021.
Articles about campus sexual violence policy in Canada:
Bourassa, Carrie, Melissa Bendig, Eric J. Oleson, Cassandra A. Ozog, and Jennifer L. Billan. "Campus Violence, Indigenous Women, and the Policy Void." In Sexual Violence at Canadian Universities Activism, Institutional Responses, and Strategies for Change, edited by Elizabeth Quinlan, Andrea Quinlan, Curtis Fogel, and Gail Taylor, Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2017.
Lopes-Baker, Aliza, and Mathew McDonald. 2017. “Canada and United States: Campus Sexual Assault Law & Policy Comparative Analysis” 41: 13.
Quinlan, Elizabeth, Allyson Clarke, and Natasha Miller. 2016. “Enhancing Care and Advocacy for Sexual Assault Survivors on Canadian Campuses.” The Canadian Journal of Higher Education; Toronto 46 (2): 40–54.
Shariff, Shaheen. 2017. “Navigating the Minefield of Sexual Violence Policy in Expanding ‘University Contexts.’” Education Law Journal; Scarborough 27 (1): 39-58,XI-XII.
The idea of students as revenue generating units: Quinlan, Elizabeth. "Institutional Betrayal and Sexual Violence in the Corporate University." In Sexual Violence at Canadian Universities Activism, Institutional Responses, and Strategies for Change, edited by Elizabeth Quinlan, Andrea Quinlan, Curtis Fogel, and Gail Taylor, Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2017.
Systems of oppression and sexual violence victimization:
Brubaker, S., Keegan, B., Guadalupe-Diaz, X., & Beasley, B. 2017. “Measuring and reporting campus sexual assault: Privilege and exclusion in what we know and what we do.” Sociology Compass,11(12). doi: 10.1111/soc4.12543
DisAbled Women’s Network. 2019. More than a footnote: A research report on women and girls with disabilities in Canada. Retrieved from https://www.dawncanada.net/news/mtafreport/.
Egale Canada. 2016. Discrimination and Violence against Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Women and Gender Diverse and Two Spirit People on the Basis of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression. Retrieved from http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CEDAW/Shared%20Documents/CAN/INT_CEDAW_NGO_CAN_25380_E.pdf
Adam Cotter and Laura Savage. “Gender-based violence and unwanted sexual behaviour in Canada, 2018: Initial findings from the Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces,” StatCan. (2018)
The Courage to Act report:
Khan, F., Rowe, C. J., and Bidgood, R. (2019). Courage to Act: Developing a National Framework to Address and Prevent Gender-Based Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions in Canada. Toronto, ON: Possibility Seeds.
For sources on the history of policymaking about sexual harassment and violence in US workplaces, see:
Williams v Saxbe (413 F Supp 654). In this case, a US Court recognized that sexual harassment constitutes discrimination in the workplace. Title VII is a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.
Frank Dobbin and Erin Kelly, “How to Stop Harassment: Professional Construction of Legal Compliance in Organizations” (2007) 112: 4 American Journal of Sociology 1203.
Lauren Edelman, “How HR and Judges Made It Almost Impossible for Victims of Sexual Harassment to Win inCourt” Harvard Busines Review (22 August 2018).
Elizabeth Potter “When Women’s Silence Is Reasonable: Reforming the Faragher/ Ellerth Defence in the #MeToo Era” (2020) 85:2 Brooklyn Law Review 603.
For sources on the history of policymaking about sexual harassment and violence in Canadian workplaces, see:
Janzen v Platy Enterprises Ltd, [1989] 1 SCR 1252. In this case, the Supreme Court of Canada found that employees are entitled to work in an environment free from sexual harassment.
Constance Backhouse, “Sexual Harassment: A Feminist Phrase That Transformed the Workplace” (2012) 24:2 CJWL 275.
Karen Schucher, "Achieving a Workplace Free of Sexual Harassment: The Employer's Obligations" (1994-1995) 3 CLELJ 171.
For sources on the history of sexual harassment policymaking in Canada (pre-2010), see:
University of British Columbia v Berg, [1993] 2 SCR 353. In this case, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that universities were under the purview of human rights law.
Nora Gillespie, "Sexual Harassment Policies in the University Context" (1994-1995) 3 CLELJ 225.
John Kilcoyne, "The Politics of Policies: Responding to Sexual Harassment on Campus" (1994-1995) 3 CLELJ 33.
Four source on the history of sexual harassment policymaking in Canada (post-2010), see:
Government of Ontario, “Developing a Response to Sexual Violence: A Resource Guide for Ontario’s Colleges andUniversities” (Toronto: Ontario Women’s Directorate, 2013).
METRAC Action on Violence, “Sexual Assault Policies on Campus: A Discussion Paper” (30 October 2014).
Courage to Act Report
Kristin Rushowy, "Province adds $3M in funding for on-campus safety" Toronto Star (19 March 2019).
Dear Colleague Letter of 2011. The “Letter” was a 21-page-long policy that clarified ambiguities that may have existed regarding PSIs’ responses to sexual violence. Arguably, the DCL introduced new requirements in addressing sexual violence complaints. US law had recognized sexual harassment as a violation of Title IX in as early as 1980.
Defamation articles:
Douglas Quan, "She accused a university prof of sexual assault. Now he’s suing for defamation. Some fear the ‘landmark’ case could have a chilling effect" Toronto Star (8 April 2021)
Leah Hendry, "McGill University professor sues student and colleague for $600K" CBC (5 July 2018)
Paul Cherry, "McGill University student sues school, newspaper, associations and accuser" Montreal Gazette (18 Nov 2020)
Tyler Kingkade, "As More College Students Say “Me Too,” Accused Men Are Suing For Defamation" Buzzfeed News (5 Dec 2017).
Production by Paniz Khosroshahy and Andre Goulet

9 episode