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OCAD U to implement recommendations from investigative review

Toronto, January 22, 2020 – In May 2019, OCAD U initiated an external review of its policies and practices in response to a student’s complaint that the University’s processes for investigating complaints were not inclusive and did not meet that student’s needs.

To ensure our approach was extensive and objective, OCAD U commissioned an independent expert with more than 20 years of experience working with individuals from diverse communities, and with experience in investigations in post-secondary settings, to conduct a review of both the incident and relevant University policies.

In December 2019, OCAD U received insightful recommendations by Rubin Thomlinson LLP. OCAD U appreciates these recommendations and has already begun to implement them.

“While students come to OCAD U to learn, the University is always learning too. We are grateful for the results of this review and are pleased to report that implementation is already underway” said Sara Diamond, OCAD U’s President. “These recommendations will allow us to improve our policies and procedures and help foster a learning environment where students feel safe and supported,” she added. 

The results of the review demonstrate that our policies for handling complaints did not, in some key respects, provide clear direction to staff. Rubin Thomlinson LLP did find OCAD U staff – working under the policies available at the time – made extensive efforts to address the complainant’s concerns.  Nonetheless, OCAD U acknowledges that the interests of students both making and responding to complaints could have been better served. In order to remedy these issues, the independent expert has provided OCAD U with a list of recommendations. 

Below is a summary of the five recommendations made in the investigative review. Further details regarding the recommendations can be found here

  • Recommendation 1: Review, update and ensure cohesiveness of Non-Academic Misconduct Policy (NAMP), Response to Violent or Threatening Behaviour Policy (RVTBP) and the Respectful Work and Learning Policy (RWLEP)
  • Recommendation 2: Assign individual to oversee conduct policies. Individual will be responsible for reviewing and updating policies, ensuring they are cohesive with other conduct policies and administering audits on OCAD U’s compliance with the policies
  • Recommendation 3: Adapt existing and introduce new practices to support the participation of Indigenous people within the OCADU environment. This includes introducing specific reference in relevant policies to the role that an Indigenous community elder or knowledge-keeper might play as a support person
  • Recommendation 4: Clarify the informal resolution process under the RWLEP 
  • Recommendation 5: Ensure training for representatives who have a formal role under each of the conduct policies to ensure they understand the scope of the respective policies and their specific obligations under those policies

OCAD U accepts all recommendations made in the review. Implementation is already underway. Once the policy revisions are completed, OCAD U will have the same independent expert verify that the University’s improvements satisfy each recommendation made in this review.

As the review report contains sensitive information regarding students, family of students and staff, OCAD U is obligated to maintain the confidentiality of the report.  We are therefore unable to share its full contents publicly. We are also mindful of the need to foster an environment where students feel comfortable coming forward with their complaints, without concern that their confidential information will be shared. For more information, please contact Brian Stock, Senior Manager, Communications and Media (bstock@ocadu.ca).

On behalf of OCAD U -
Sara Diamond
President