Message from the President on Gender-Based Violence and Harassment

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

To the OCAD University Community,

Given the recent prominence of cases involving sexual violence and sexual harassment in educational institutions, cultural organizations, and beyond, I wanted to take this moment to remind members of our community about OCAD University’s policies and resources.

OCAD U is committed to creating and maintaining an environment where members of the university community can study and work free of sexual violence. Sexual violence is any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent, and includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism and sexual exploitation.

The university takes sexual violence seriously and will address all acts of sexual violence that affect the University community promptly and fairly. OCAD U is committed to a survivor-centred approach and members of the university community who experience sexual violence will be supported and treated with compassion. The university will provide accommodations to ensure that all members of the university community can be successful in their work and studies.

The university recognizes that sexual violence can occur between individuals regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or relationship status, and that sexual violence is overwhelmingly committed against individuals who identify as women. Those who experience the intersection of multiple identities such as racialized and Indigenous Peoples, queer and trans individuals, people with disabilities, the international student community, and refugee and immigrant members of the OCAD U community are especially vulnerable to sexual violence. OCAD U acknowledges the missing and murdered Indigenous women, trans-women and women across the world whose lives have been harmed or lost to gender-based violence.

OCAD U is also committed to combatting the broader social attitudes about gender, sex and sexuality that normalize sexual violence and undermine gender-based equality. The university is dedicated to working together with survivors, first responders, experts in sexual violence, community organizations and the wider campus community to prevent and respond to sexual violence. Throughout the academic year, the university will provide a range of training and educational opportunities to support the university community in preventing and addressing sexual violence.

OCAD U will also work to support the right to sexual expression, representation and dialogue about sex and sexualities on our campus and in society.

On-campus support for student survivors of sexual violence

The Health & Wellness Centre is OCAD U’s primary point of contact for students affected by sexual or gender-based violence. Staff will provide information on internal and external supports and services, coordinate academic accommodations, outline options for reporting the incident and formal complaint options through the university’s Prevention and Response to Sexual and Gender-based Violence Policy

Even if students are unsure what their options are, or what their next step should be, Health & Wellness staff will discuss all options in a confidential, non-judgmental and safe environment. Students will be respected and supported in whatever decisions they make about next steps. A student is not required to make a report or file a complaint about an incident of sexual violence in order to obtain support or accommodations from the university.

Health & Wellness Centre
416-977-6000 Ext. 260 
6th Floor, 230 Richmond St. W. 
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Urgent same-day appointments are available. Drop-in for a day-of appointment or email/call to make a scheduled appointment time.

Safety & Security Services
Emergencies: 416-977-6000, Ext. 511 
or pick up the closest red phone on campus to be immediately connected.
Non-emergency: 416-977-6000, Ext. 366

Safety & Security Services staff are trained to respond to sexual assault disclosures. They will support members of the OCAD U community who wish to report a sexual assault either to the Toronto Police or internally through the Policy on Prevention and Response to Sexual and Gender-based Violence. Safety & Security Services can also work with you to develop a personal safety plan.

Through the Safety & Security Services Walk Safe Program, a personal security escort can be arranged 10 minutes prior to departure to walk you to or from the subway station/streetcar stops, parking facilities, between buildings on campus, inside buildings when changing locations, as well as to the Health & Wellness Centre or nearby supports.

On-campus support for faculty and staff survivors of sexual violence

Office of Diversity Equity & Sustainability Initiatives
416-977-6000 Ext. 4860
6th Floor, 230 Richmond St. W.,

OCAD U has a Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy (RWLEP). It says that harassment and discrimination violate an individual’s human rights and run contrary to the University’s fundamental values. OCAD U will act promptly to address this conduct and will ensure that individuals are able to express concerns and register complaints without fear of reprisal.

At any time, you can contact ODESI to confidentially ask a question, raise a concern or seek assistance on how to address an issue, including gender-based violence.

As President of OCAD University, I cannot emphasize enough how important the safety and security of our students, staff and faculty is to the institution. I believe we must work together to support those who have been affected by sexual violence and harassment, take action if we’ve been witness to such activity and build a community where we can build communities that are safer for all of us.


Sara Diamond


Dr. Sara Diamond
President & Vice Chancellor, OCAD University

Ribbons & Roses: OCAD Remembers the Montreal Massacre

white ribbon campaign support
Friday, December 5, 2008 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

On December 6, 1989, a twenty-five year-old man, armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife, entered a classroom at École Polytechnique in Montreal , where he separated the male and female students. After claiming that he was “fighting feminism”, he shot all nine women in the room, killing six. He then moved through corridors, the cafeteria and another classroom, targeting women. In just under twenty minutes he had killed fourteen women and injured four men before turning the gun on himself:

Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student

Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student

Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student

Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department

Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student

Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student

Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student

Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student

Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women is a day commemorated in Canada each December 6, the anniversary of the massacre. Please join CAASA at OCAD, OCADSU, and Campus Life & Career Services for this special memorial and presentation on Friday.

White ribbons will be sold at this event. Proceeds will benefit the White Ribbon Campaign.

Venue & Address: 
Butterfield Park 100 McCaul Street, Toronto, Ontario