Dear Members of the Trinity College Community:
You may be aware that a U.K. media outlet recently published material concerning Andy Orchard, a former provost of Trinity College and a former professor of English and Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. While Professor Orchard left Trinity College (and the University of Toronto) in 2013 and no longer retains a connection to the college, the material that has been published raises very serious issues that are deeply troubling.
No one should be subjected to sexual harassment or sexual violence – something that is particularly destructive in an educational environment. It takes courage for survivors to come forward to share experiences of sexual harassment and sexual violence. We want to remind the Trinity community that anyone who has a concern should contact the Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre for confidential support and advice in a trauma-informed space. For Trinity students and Trinity faculty and staff, please see the end of the message for a list of resources and supports available at the College and the University.
Sexual harassment and sexual violence must never be tolerated and over the past several years, Trinity College has taken a number of concrete steps to ensure that people have the tools, support and advice needed to address any incidents. As part of this effort, in 2017, the Trinity College Board of Trustees approved the adoption of the University of Toronto Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment for the college. Among other provisions, the policy ensures that all members of the community have access to the U of T Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre. The Centre provides support and advice to members of the community who have been affected by sexual violence or sexual harassment, regardless of whether or not they choose to report it. Trinity faculty and staff, as well as other members of the community, also received mandatory training in sexual harassment and sexual violence. That training is now part of the onboarding process for new faculty and staff and is also periodically updated for all members of the community.
While privacy and related considerations prevent us from commenting on any specific case, our goal is to do everything within our power to protect the safety of all members of the community – to create an environment where survivors feel safe to seek support and empowered to disclose and report their experiences without the fear of reprisal – and to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect. However more needs to be done. While it is ultimately up to survivors to determine how they wish to proceed, it is important to acknowledge the power imbalances on university campuses and the systemic barriers that may make it difficult for a survivor to make a report or participate in a process.
Trinity College will be fully participating in the review of the U of T Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Members of the university community will have the opportunity to share their experiences and perspectives during the policy review process. As announced by the University of Toronto and in light of these issues, the policy review will address four specific questions regarding the University’s sexual violence policies and practices:
While the media reports do not focus on Trinity College, we cannot be complacent either about that or about the absence of formal complaints. As a result, in addition to the policy review, Trinity plans to retain an external expert to examine any Trinity-specific issues that may need to be addressed. We will share details in the coming weeks. While the Trinity review is underway, the portrait of the former provost will not be displayed in Strachan Hall.
I know that these issues are a matter of great concern to the community – a concern shared by me personally. Accordingly, we will endeavour to share as much information as we are able to. Given the sensitive and disturbing nature of the issues, I would also like to remind the community of the additional resources and supports that are listed below.
Provost & Vice-Chancellor
Sexual violence resources for:
University of Toronto and community resources:
The Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre serves all students, staff, and faculty at the University of Toronto who are affected by sexual violence and harassment.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault or harassment, 24/7 crisis support is also available from these community resources.
If you are in crisis or immediate danger, call 911
Categories: Provost’s Messages