By Tina Shaygan, January 12 2018 —
Marshall fields questions about statement
University of Calgary Provost Dru Marshall has responded to criticisms of the recent decision made by the school to not expel convicted sexual offender Connor Neurauter. In a statement released on Jan. 11, the provost called the situation “complicated” and said Neurauter has been “advised” to stay off campus for the winter 2018 semester.
When asked for clarification, Marshall specified that Campus Security officers would escort Neurauter off campus if he were to appear.
“He’s been advised to not come on campus. If he does appear he will be escorted off campus,” Marshall said.
“We’re taking into account his rights and rights of students on our campus and this is why this is a complex and complicated situation,” Marshall added.
The school’s Jan. 11 statement read that the U of C does not have grounds to expel Neurauter. Marshall said this is because the U of C’s sexual violence policy only addresses crimes committed by students, which she defined as a person taking a course at the U of C.
“In light of the definition of student, Mr. Neurater committed a crime when he was not a student,” Marshall said. “He did this prior to becoming a student at the U of C.”
In response to student concerns, Marshall said the U of C consulted with the Students’ Union.
“We have had a number of discussions with students, in particular our leadership of our SU and certainly [U of C students] have not been shy in sharing their opinion with us,” she said. “We have taken their feedback into consideration.”
Marshall added that she cannot confirm whether or not the SU was in support of the U of C’s decision to not expel Neurateur. The SU has declined interviews throughout the case.
Students say posters taken down
Students at the U of C have continued to express frustration with the school’s handling of the case since it was first reported on Jan. 8.
Three students expressed concerns after around 200 posters they put around campus saying “Expel Connor Neurauter” were taken down.
“Nothing profane, really simple. We printed out 250 [posters] at Staples,” said U of C French major Emily Macpherson. “We looked at the guidelines for posting on the University of Calgary website and the Students’ Union website, and it pretty much just said you can’t post on paint because that will damage walls so we just posted on concrete and brick.”
Macpherson, along with psychology major Kali Vall and education student Fiona Boyce, allege that they were approached by a member of Campus Security who asked for their student identifications, took their names and told them to not proceed with the posters.
“He said exactly, ‘Just so you know all those posters are going to be taken down and no one’s even going to see them.’ Those were [the Campus Security officer’s] exact words,” Boyce said.
“Security, who are supposed to be the people protecting us, said that ‘sexual assault isn’t really an issue,’ ” Macpherson added.
In response, Campus Security said they have not taken down any posters. They could not be reached for further comments by press time.
Neuratuer’s case came to light when it was reported that his 90-day sentence for pleading guilty to sexual interference with a minor was delayed until May to allow him to complete his semester at the U of C. Since then, a petition to expel Neurauter has gathered over 56,000 signatures.
“I find it really hypocritical that [the U of C] implemented this new sexual violence policy, they waved it around, said, ‘We’re leaders, we’re trailblazers. We’re really trying to stop sexual assault.’ And then as soon as something actually happens they don’t use it,” Macpherson said. “It’s just a lot of talk.”