Allegations of sexual assault at Concordia

Photo: David Afriat Duty
Mike Spry, a former student of literature at Concordia University, reported in a blog of various specific behaviours, like sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Concordia University has responded Tuesday to allegations of sexual assault and abuse of power aimed at professors in the Department of English studies.


In a statement online Monday, president Alan Shepard said he “was troubled” by the text published by Mike Spry, a former student of literature and an instructor for the same university. “These allegations are serious and will be treated with the utmost seriousness,” writes Mr. Shepard.


The blog of Mr. Spry reported various specific behaviours, like sexual assault and sexual harassment. He is said to have been witness to a number ” countless cases of gestures of affection unwanted touching, remarks and inappropriate proposals “.


“When they were rejected by women, men in positions of authority have spread rumors, denigrated and degraded those who had rejected,” he wrote.


This text also reports that “general allegations about the existence of a climate of psychological violence within the renowned creative writing program,” acknowledged the vice-chancellor Shepard.


“As a student at Concordia, I have been witness to abuse of power and the normalization of the sexualization of students by teachers, writers and publishers,” wrote Mike Spry without giving names.


He argues that at least two professors from Concordia have had sex repeated with different students. One of them, in addition to a ” known writer “, and boasted openly and ” handled in their purchasing of alcoholic drinks “.


Literary world rocked


These allegations are not, however, of Monday. In 2014, the author and former student of Concordia Emma Healey was also recounted her relationship with a literature professor. Without the name, Healey described it, in a ticket being widely disseminated, his behavior qualified as unfair.


Mike Spry calls this “masculinity is toxic” as a broader problem for the literary community in canada.


In November 2015, the University of British Columbia has suspended the professor and novelist Steven Galloway, because of allegations weighing on him. He was laid off in June 2016, following an investigation, without that the nature of the allegations to be revealed at this time.


Concordia University stresses the measures taken in response to sexual violence, including the launching of a help center and a new policy to clarify the reporting process.


Cegeps and universities of Quebec have until January 1, 2019, to manage ” the intimate relationship, love or sex which can be established between a student and a person with influence on the progress of his studies “.


The framework law adopted by the national Assembly on 8 December last do not prohibit relationships between professors and students. It forces the institutions to build themselves a code of conduct to mark out the potential abuse of power. Moreover, the act provides that a policy of prevention of sexual violence must include a clear process for formulating and following up a complaint.