Photo gallery – Carleton University still has unsafe areas for students

December 1, 2009

Story and photos by Teghan Beaudette

Lockers in Loeb building

Rows of lockers in the basement of the Loeb building on campus are poorly lit even during the day. With low student traffic in the area and the absence of emergency telephones or consistent monitoring, the quiet location inspires uneasiness.

Kimalee Phillip, the president of the Graduate Students Association at Carleton University, has been advocating for a sexual assault center on the Carleton campus—something that administration has been stalling on for over two years.

Since a highly publicized sexual assault on the Carleton University campus in 2007, the university has spent over $1.6 million on emergency phones, cameras and lights.

Phillip took Hartwells staff on a walking tour of the campus—showing some of the changes that have been made to increase the physical safety of students on campus and some areas that remain unmonitored, poorly lit and continue to worry students who have to navigate through those areas, especially at night.

Phillip stressed that while additional lights, cameras and emergency phones contribute to feelings of safety on campus, they do not address the larger issues surrounding attitudes towards sexual assault of women. Further, she said, sexual assault is much more likely to be perpetrated by someone familiar to the victim—so these types of measures only address a fraction of the issue.

A sexual assault centre on campus is a critical step in addressing violence against women, especially those on Carleton’s campus, added Phillip.

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Two years after student vote, Carleton to consider centre for sexual assault

December 1, 2009

Students were asked to 'air out their dirty laundry' at a sexual assault task force meeting last month. Four of the students who wrote on clothing at the meeting said they had been sexually assaulted by someone who still goes to school at Carleton. Photo courtesy of Coalition for a Carleton Sexual Assault Centre.

By Kim Mackrael

After two years of student lobbying, Carleton University says it is prepared to consider a proposal for the creation of a sexual assault centre on campus.

“The sexual assault centre has always been a possibility,” Carleton president Roseann Runte said in an email Monday.

But Runte’s statement contrasts with what student groups have characterized as strong resistance to the centre on the grounds that it could be bad publicity for the school.

“I cannot emphasize enough how much of a shift this is from [the administrations’] previous attitude that the centre was just not going to happen,” said Julie Lalonde, co-founder of the Coalition for a Sexual Assault Centre.

Runte’s comments came one week after the university’s equity services department posted a notice on its website asking for student feedback on the school’s sexual assault services and stating that a student-run sexual assault centre “will be included in our review“ of services.

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Sexual assault defence class not a knock-out punch: Carleton student groups

November 24, 2009

By Meghan Potkins

Posters like this one are in Carleton University bathrooms. They advertise classes that teach women to defend against attacks. Photo: Paul Moore

Aim for the eyes, throat, nose or groin. Const. Alicia Poole with Carleton’s department of university safety demonstrates how to throw a punch.

“You’ve got to keep your arm straight out. Punch straight through and make sure everything stays solid because you don’t want your wrist to be floppy… keep your thumb out [of your fist]. You don’t want to break your thumb.”

Poole spent Saturday demonstrating physical defense techniques to female staff, students and members of the public as part of the Rape Aggression Defense Systems program on the Carleton University campus. The program uses a combination of classroom instruction and simulations of real-life attacks.

Known by practitioners as RAD, the workshops saw a record number of participants this fall. The Carleton University has hosted two workshops so far this year and is planning three more.

But the program has not been well received by everyone in the university community. Some student groups are calling on the university to do more than train students in self-defense. Read the rest of this entry »