Sunday, December 17, 2017

New Camosun position aims to increase student support

June 14, 2017 by Adam Marsh, student editor 

Lori Horne is the new student support manager for Camosun College. The position, which is part of the office of student experience, was created to assist students in learning about the college’s new Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy, as well as other support services available to Camosun students.

Horne, who is a candidate for a PhD in philosophy from the University of Victoria, will be working largely with at-risk individuals in her full-time position at the college. Horne can also provide information on resources for those affected by sexual violence and misconduct, as well as information for those who are affected in a secondary way, such as by someone they care about becoming a victim of sexual violence.

Camosun College student support manager Lori Horne (photo by Camosun College A/V Services).

Horne says the new legislation passed by government requiring post-secondary institutions to have an official sexual-violence policy is a positive step, but she adds that her position goes beyond sexual violence and misconduct.

“It’s dealing a lot with student-conduct issues that come up in class and manifest in different behaviours in the classroom,” she says. “We help support the student in addressing the root causes of those behaviours; often it gets particularly stressful during exam time.”

The office of student support’s website says the college worked with various outside parties, such as the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, to develop the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy so that it’s above and beyond government standards. Horne says that she focuses particularly hard on education and prevention.

“That’s a huge component that we’re focused on right now,” she says, “obviously, as well as helping survivors make informed decisions that are best for that particular individual. The focus is definitely on recovery and empowerment.”

Horne—who refers to a “strong focus on creating a culture of empowerment” through the college’s new changes—says that coming forward is the first step to progressing as a society, and as an institution.

“I think one of the biggest fears in people coming forward is the idea of reporting an incident. There are a lot of survivors who go along with life and just suffer quietly instead of reaching out,” she says.

Horne stresses that incidents can be reported in a variety of ways.

“This office and this role is here to help support those students,” she says. “It doesn’t necessarily mean pursuing formal avenues with it. It’s more about, ‘How can we help that individual move forward in a way that allows them to recover and empower themselves in going forward?’”

Camosun College Student Society external executive Rachael Grant says that the creation of this position is a positive step for students.

“The student society is definitely eager to contribute and offer context to the student experience; the position’s placed in the fabric of the college community,” says Grant. “The college is figuring out what this position means because it’s an entirely new position. We as a student society are excited to contribute to that process of making it the most meaningful position to students it can be.”

Horne says that if someone experiences sexual violence during their educational studies, that can have a very negative impact on their success at school.

“So everything we as an institution can do to help support that individual just makes good sense,” she says.

Horne says BC’s legislation was a “fantastic” step in the right direction, adding that it was well thought out and created as a response to occurrences at post-secondary institutions across Canada.

“Camosun, for sure, feels strongly about this sort of thing,” she says.

The office of student support is located at 121 Isabel Dawson at Lansdowne and 218 Liz Ashton Campus Centre at Interurban. See camosun.ca for more information.

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