Thousands of Western University students walk out to support survivors of sexual violence

Thousands of Western University students walk out to support survivors of sexual violence-Milenio Stadium-Ontario
Thousands of Western University students came from across campus to protest on University College Hill, walking out of classes Friday to demand the London, Ont., school take action to end sexual violence and support survivors. (Kate Dubinski/CBC)

Thousands of Western University students said no to class and yes to standing in support for those who have experienced sexual violence after four women came forward with formal complains about being assaulted on the London, Ont., campus last week.

There have also been allegations that a number of female students were drugged and sexually assaulted at a party at a the Medway-Sydenham Hall student residence. According to police, no one has come forward with a formal complaint.

The walkout comes with the support of administrators at the school, who sent an email to CBC News.

“We see this as a positive step forward in publicly affirming a collective commitment to stop gender-based sexual violence. This is an opportunity to work together on Western’s culture and to ensure everyone feels safe on campus.”

Western University protest-Milenio Stadium-Ontario
Western University students carry placards to protest sexual violence on campus, and the school’s response to alleged assaults in early September. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

On Thursday, Western announced an action plan and task force on sexual violence and student safety that includes mandating in-person consent and violence prevention training for students, along with hiring additional security staff.

The Ontario government has also given universities until March 2022 to update their policies around reporting sexual violence to include provisions that will ensure alleged victims do not have to reveal their sexual history.

Western campus-Milenio Stadium-Ontario
The walkout Friday is the latest in student efforts to address sexual violence on campus. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)


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