Acadia University in Nova Scotia investigates sexual assault allegation
HALIFAX — A male Acadia University student accused of sexually assaulting a female student has failed in his bid to stop the school's Equity Office from investigating the allegation.
In a decision released Thursday, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge dismissed the male student's application for an injunction.
The court's decision, which only refers to "Student X" and "Student Y," says the female student was a minor when she complained to the university's security service that she had been sexually assaulted by a male student at his off-campus residence on Nov. 19, 2016.
The complaint was handed to Acadia's judicial board, which on March 6, 2017, found the male student guilty of sexual assault and recommended he be dismissed from the university, banned from the Wolfville, N.S., campus, and prohibited from contacting the complainant.
However, the male student filed an appeal with the university's disciplinary appeals committee. It rendered a not guilty verdict on May 8, 2017, issuing a three-line statement outlining its reasons.
Less than a month later, the female student filed a complaint of sexual harassment with the university's Equity Office, under its discrimination and harassment policy.
When the male student was told of the complaint process, his lawyer responded that his client would not be taking part because the case had already been dealt with by another administrative quasi-judicial process.
The lawyer then sought an injunction to stop the investigation.
In its submission to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Acadia University argued that while the female student's two complaints were made on the same facts, "the two processes do not involve the same question nor lead to the same result," the decision says.
The university said its equity policy is narrower in scope than its judicial policy.
"Its purpose is to maintain a learning environment free from sexual harassment," the decision says. "Under the judicial policy, neither the judicial board nor the (disciplinary appeals committee) considered whether the alleged conduct constituted discrimination or harassment under the equity policy."
In the end, the court agreed and dismissed the male student's application.
A spokeswoman for the RCMP says the Mounties could be investigating this case as a criminal matter, but she could not confirm that was happening because there isn't enough detail provided in the court ruling.
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