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Updated on Monday, November 3

#20036

OMG: When will UW fix this poisoned environment where staff has to stay quiet to keep their job? Jian Ghomeshi would feel at home.

22 comments

  1. So according to your comparison, UW staff are being sexually abused and the abusers are keeping them quiet?

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    1. Yes Re: Counselling Service Groper Guy

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    2. False, 1a. That wasn't kept quiet. It went before a Human Rights Tribunal, who ruled that, while the respondent had behaved inappropriately (and ordered him to pay a few thousand out of the $25000 requested by the claimant in response), the University had done everything it could to deal with the situation in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights code, and there was no need for any further action on its part, or any further discipline/restriction of the respondent. It should be noted that this was a ruling by a tribunal that had the power to enforce further action by the university if it saw fit.

      No criminal charges were ever pursued.

      If you have a problem, it's with the Ontario Human Rights Code (and the tribunals that enforce that code), not the University per se. If the tribunal had demanded more, the University would have done more, plain and simple. These staff are public servants, holding them to a standard that even the law does not would be unfair.

      This is a tired and pointless discussion that really just ends with a few angry people going in circles attacking each other while engaging in dangerous witch hunting; let's not rehash it AGAIN on this site.

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    3. 1, due to privacy concerns UW can't comment.
      1a, staff likely isn't allowed to confirm that during work hours.
      1b, I'm sorry, *who* spoke up? Are you implying it was UW?

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    4. @1 the guy wouldn't be able to keep staff quiet on his own. No one is allowed to talk about the incidents. It's like they never happened. But they did. And it affects the whole department every day. New interns/clients coming in aren't warned. So is this about UW or the CBC?

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    5. 1c, the woman who felt she'd been harassed spoke up. She filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, requesting $25000 in compensation. She also accused the University of attempting to muzzle her.

      The Tribunal that convened found that the behaviour was inappropriate, but not itself damning. They ordered him to pay $7000 for "damage to the claimant's feelings."

      Find the ruling in CanLiII. You'll find they found a lot of her requests for further discipline/punishment to be unwarranted, decided the university had done everything to be expected of it, and left it to UW to ascertain that the two counsellors were still capable of working together.

      That's our legal system. You don't like it? Suggest an alternative.

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  2. Except Jian Ghomeshi actually very likely DID assault several women.

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    1. ... several +10? That's a lot.

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    2. What do you mean "Except"? We don't know the numbers on our local guy. Except he's had continuing access to Lots of vulnerable women for years due to his job. More vulnerable than Jian's list.

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    3. How many less could there have been if his employer took complaints about him seriously?

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  3. No one knows the real numbers for either of them, (and any others who've never been bravely reported) except the perpetrators and they'll never tell.

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  4. UW won't fix anything about its behavior.

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  5. Goddamn you people are stupid. There's this thing called due process. It exists to prevent what happened in Salem. Sexual predators are the witches of the 21st century.

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    1. Sexual harassment is real. It happened here. By a counselor, on staff, who UW has never punished. Why? Because no one forced them to, and UW does not self-police effectively. Reprisal by those in power against those few who report sexual harassment and assault is real too. It's against the law. But it continues until forced to stop. It has not been forced to stop. So it continues.

      What I see is a trend of institutions not enforcing laws against each other if the victim is seen as weak. So those in power get away with it, with ineffective oversight. The HRTO looked the other way rather than confront UW. The grand juries in the United States let police forces off. Neither means the offences didn't happen. Neither means people did not get hurt by those offences. Neither means we must forget. Quite the opposite.

      Use a 300+ year-old analogy all you want. Due process here is ineffective at controlling the risk realized against women today at UW.

      Women's safety on campus continues to be eroded more and more each year. I've noticed and I'm not the only one.

      Call us stupid all you want.

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    2. 5a, okay, what's your solution?

      Not trying to be dismissive here, this is honestly one of the most challenging issues involved in a legal system. Due process is extremely important! Currently, the system places emphasis on making sure due process is followed in order to prevent the innocent from being wrongfully convicted, even if that means the guilty occasionally go free. The prevailing belief is that such a system is superior to one that punishes all guilty, but might accidentally punish an innocent as well.

      But what do you suggest? Should we flip that on its head, force those charged with offences to prove their innocence? Should criminal charges proceed from civil findings (as in the case of the incident to which you are referring, in which no charges were laid)? Should there perhaps be a better oversight system in place (the tribunal in this particular incident actively made a point of telling the University that no further action was required on their part, and openly dismissed all claims that the University had taken any wrongfully punitive action - who gets to tell them that they made the wrong decision)?

      I'm open to ideas here. How do we prosecute the guilty in a way that avoids witchhunting and still protects the fundamental rights of the innocent?

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    3. Abstracting or generalizing this distracts us from the specific problem. The justice system won't reform based on anything we say here so it's a pointless diversion.

      Act locally. If there's a women's safety issue right here on campus, I want to help resolve it. One thing at a time.

      Stay focused on what's happening about the specific case. What are its effects? Raise awareness of it. Inform people of it.

      So what should I know or do about this one women's safety issue? It's the night of December 6th. I want to help.

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    4. You see, for me 5c, this one issue you're referring to is ended and resolved. It went through the established legal process. The tribunal - convened in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code - heard all arguments, and made its decision:

      ->The defendant had behaved "inappropriately," but had not committed the sort of harassment he was being accused of - hence he was asked to pay out $7500 for damage to the complainants feelings, rather than the $20000 she was requesting;
      ->The Tribunal found the University had handled the issue adequately, and insisted no further action was required;
      ->The Tribunal believed there was little to no risk of the defendant repeating his actions, and so insisted there was no need to his movements on campus to be curtailed, or for the University to take further disciplinary action against him (something they DO have the power to force him to do).

      That's it. That's done. This woman had her hearing, and she got handed the result. This isn't a result that arose out of secret closed-room deals or meetings, but out of a transparent and relatively objective process that examined the facts provided. Because that's what the justice system is there to do.

      If I would cite ONE flaw in this whole thing, it's that she never attempted to press charges criminally. I'll be honest, looking at the facts that the tribunal was presented with makes me very doubtful that charges would have led to a conviction in this case, but my opinion counts for very little in all this.

      But since he was never charged, this issue is resolved all the quicker. You don't have to like the guy. Is he sexist? The evidence suggests 'probably.' Is he a bit of a handsy pig when drunk? The evidence suggests 'very likely.' But he is not a criminal, and there's no evidence to suggest he's some kind of predator. This issue was resolved when he paid out his $7500 to the complainant.

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    5. 5d, he committed a crime. He's still employed at UW counselling vulnerable young women, maybe for the same thing he did to a counsellor in the next office. This is problematic.

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    6. "He committed a crime" you say. Interesting statement. Unfounded and unproven statement. He couldn't even be found fully liable in a civil case before a human rights tribunal (which works based on balance of facts, NOT innocent until proven guilty) - the complainant asked for $20000 in compensation and damages, the tribunal dismissed most of her claims, refused most of her request for punitive measures, and awarded her a $7500 payout to compensate her for 'hurt feelings.' Basically, they said she'd overreacted. What makes you think even remotely that he'd be found guilty of harassment in a court of law?

      This is the point. If somebody working for the University (especially in a position that puts them around vulnerable people) is found to have committed a crime, then the University should absolutely act on it. But HE HAS NOT BEEN CHARGED, TRIED, OR CONVICTED OF ANYTHING. And that's the kicker. The University can't act on hearsay, nor should they.

      The guy is not some sort of sexual predator! He's a dude who got a little too handsy after a few drinks at a social function. This is not okay or appropriate - but that doesn't necessarily make it criminal.

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    7. And then when she reported, he intimidated her multiple times. She reported his intimidation. Then their boss instead of having it investigated threatened her not to report again. Then both the groper/intimidator and her boss / his enabler got off and are still at Counselling Services, up the hall from her holding pattern of less safety and more exclusion than before he did it in the first place. Yeah we all know.

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  6. No the women's safety issues on campus from this have never been resolved.

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