April 13, 2018

ASFA Statement on the Situation Regarding Our Former President

The Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) would like to acknowledge and address the situation that has arisen regarding our now former President, Jonathan Roy.

We begin by saying emphatically that the ASFA wants to support survivors. We wholeheartedly regret the way that this situation has been handled. We apologize, and we are working to do better in the future.

In February, the ASFA became aware that members of our community had concerns with Jonathan’s behaviour. At that time we understood that the situation was being addressed through a mediation process. It has now become clear that such a process did not occur. We are deeply sorry that it has taken until now for the situation to be addressed, and that we were not more proactive in handling it internally.

Last week, members of our community created a website which brought forward allegations against Jonathan Roy and the ASFA. In response, the ASFA’s lawyers sent a cease and desist letter demanding the removal of the website. While we do not agree with all the statements made on the website, we recognize that this action by an institution like the ASFA is completely inappropriate and incompatible with a survivor-centred approach. The ASFA apologizes for having authorized the letter. We assure the letter’s recipients and the Concordia community that no legal action is being pursued.

We would like to emphasize the importance of process and policy in sensitive cases like this one. As it stands, our policies and procedures to deal with harassment are insufficient. We are working to prevent situations like these from occurring in the future. Since February of this year, we have been rewriting our policies to bring them in line with a survivor-centred approach. We are consulting with our community, including the Centre for Gender Advocacy and the Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC), to ensure that our policies are accessible and survivor centred. We have also partnered with the SARC to hold consent and sensitivity workshops throughout the year. We hope they will benefit Arts and Science students, and ensure the safety of all people in our community.

While we work to improve our policies and processes, we always encourage students who have experienced harassment or sexual violence to approach the organizations on campus who deal with these issues. These include the Centre for Gender Advocacy and the Sexual Assault Resource Centre. A more complete list of resources, as well as a description of the particular expertise of each organization, can be found on our website.

We are very sorry for the inappropriate actions we have taken, for our insufficient response, and for our failure to include a survivor-centred approach in our harassment policy sooner. We recognize that trust in the ASFA cannot be built with words alone, so we are working to ensure that future actions align with our values of compassion, solidarity, and survivor empowerment.