By Jason Herring, January 11 2018 —
The University of Calgary released a statement attributed to vice-provost Dru Marshall on Jan. 11 characterizing the situation with Connor Neurauter “complicated and difficult.” Neurauter is a convicted sexual offender who had his 90-day sentence postponed in order for him to complete his semester at the U of C. Neurauter was convicted of sexual interference with a 13-year old on Jan. 4.
The statement reads that Neurauter has been “advised” not to return to campus for the remainder of the semester and that the university “has no grounds to expel him” as charges were brought forward prior to his enrolment at the U of C.
The U of C’s statement is in response to outrage expressed through social media, emails and a petition for Neurauter’s expulsion that’s now accumulated over 47,500 signatures.
Marshall writes in the statement that the U of C’s policies don’t allow for Neurauter’s expulsion because his charges took place before he began school at the U of C.
“The matter in British Columbia occurred before Mr. Neurauter was a student at the University of Calgary,” the statement read. “This is important, because our policies do not apply to activity that occurred before the person was a member of our campus community.”
The school’s Non-Academic Misconduct policy does not address situations of this nature. Section 4.3 of the school’s sexual violence policy, which was implemented in June 2017, states that “the University’s policies, administrative processes and discipline systems are independent of the civil and criminal justice legal systems. University Community members alleged to have perpetrated Sexual Violence may be subject to the University’s administrative processes and discipline systems in addition to the civil or criminal legal system.”
The U of C’s full statement can be read below.
“To our campus community:
The situation with University of Calgary student Connor Neurauter is complicated and difficult. He was convicted in British Columbia late last week of sexual interference related to a matter that took place before he was a student here. The B.C. judge decided to allow him to begin serving his three-month sentence in May so he could complete his current semester at the university.
Since this news came to light, there has been significant outrage expressed on social media, through emails to the university, and through a petition calling for the university to expel Mr. Neurauter. We have heard and understand the concerns raised by the community inside and outside the university about him remaining a student here. Although there is a lot of information in social media in particular, all facts about the case are not known because the B.C. court has issued a publication ban. One fact we can correct, not connected to the court case, is that Mr. Neurauter is not and never was a member of the Dinos hockey team. He played junior hockey in B.C. before he came to the university.
We live in an increasingly complex world. As a public university, we have a responsibility to create a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone in our community, and for those we welcome to campus. We are deeply committed to this, working hard over the last two years as a campus community to develop policies, procedures and resources specifically geared towards creating a safe and secure space for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors. UCalgary has conduct, sexual violence and harassment policies in place and extensive services that provide assistance to anyone in need of support. Our recently appointed Sexual Violence Support Advocate is available to support anyone on campus who has been impacted by sexual violence, offering one-on-one support, guidance on reporting processes, and educational outreach. Our broad campus mental health strategy is advancing a campus culture where we care for each other and where all students, faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars feel supported and valued.
The matter in British Columbia occurred before Mr. Neurauter was a student at the University of Calgary. This is important, because our policies do not apply to activity that occurred before the person was a member of our campus community. We have no grounds on which to expel him.
This does not mean that the university condones sexual violence or harassment, nor does it mean that we prioritize the rights of a convicted individual over the safety of our university community. On the contrary, we aspire to be leaders in creating a safe and inclusive learning environment that helps advance all of our students and improve society as a whole.
We would like to clarify that Mr. Neurauter has not been on campus since Tuesday January 9 and we have advised him not to return to campus for the remainder of the term. Management is continuing to assess the situation and is working with Mr. Neurauter to come to a resolution that respects all involved.
Thank you for your patience and understanding of our need to be thoughtful and thorough in our assessment of this situation. We will keep the community informed.”