BY LUCAS HUTTERI
Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI) has proposed a new campaign to create a more LGBTQ2+ inclusive campus at Conestoga College, as well as raise awareness for sexual assault.
“We will be working collaboratively with the college to implement this campaign and hope to begin within the month,” said Aimee Calma, president of CSI.
First the student association will advocate for access for students to gender neutral restrooms on all campuses. They want these restrooms to be accessible to all students regardless of gender and the plan is to have them in addition to gender segregated restrooms in order to provide a safe space for transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals.
A CSI report stated, “Being able to safely use a public restroom isn’t a privilege – it is a right. Furthermore, all-user restrooms aren’t only for transgender people. There are many people who don’t identify as transgender but do not appear stereotypically male or female and may experience harassment in gender-specific facilities.
“Non-gender-segregated restrooms would also be helpful to fathers caring for their daughters or mothers caring for their sons. In addition, disabled people who have a caretaker of a different gender to assist them in restrooms benefit from non-gender-segregated facilities.”
A “bricks and mortar” safe space is also a topic in the proposal. Two options for where this space would be located on campus would be the A-wing staff lounge (2A601) or B-wing staff lounge (1B19). Students who need a place to feel safe and accepted could use the space, which ideally would be stocked with resources and a peer-to-peer support member.
CSI is also advocating for the college to review and revise college policies and procedures, including using the pronouns they/them/their to ensure that someone’s gender is not assumed or implied. This would ensure those who don’t identify as either gender will be respected.
Next on the proposal is a sexual assault awareness campaign.
“Conestoga College has been strong in creating a Sexual Assault Policy and Procedure on campus over the past year, but we have yet to truly create awareness of sexual assault and how to prevent it. We must continue to be a proactive college community and be hands-on by creating awareness to break the stigma of speaking about sexual assault,” says the report.
CSI is also looking to introduce a visual advocacy campaign. It would ensure no vulgar or offensive language is used and also clearly communicate the simple message of consent and that no one owes anyone sexual favours. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness, remove the stigma of sexual assault and encourage victims to speak up about the abuse they suffered.
CSI aims to continue to represent students of all backgrounds with this proposal and make the campus a safer place for all students.