Western investigating reports of sexual violence at student residence

Western University. (File Photo by Victoria Sartor, BlackburnNews.com)

Western University has launched an investigation into multiple reports of sexual violence alleged to have occurred at a student residence over the weekend.

The post-secondary school’s student newspaper, the Western Gazette, first reported about the sexual violence on Sunday after obtaining an email sent to students who live in Medway-Sydenham Hall.

Residence Life Coordinator Jacob Clarke wrote to students about “rumours” of incidents of gender-based or sexual violence in that have taken place inside the 613 bed residence.

“We are currently following up with information that has come forward and will be utilizing campus and community resources such as Campus Safety and Emergency Services and London Police Services as needed,” Clarke wrote. “We wish to ensure that follow up occurs with anyone who has experienced harm.”

The email goes on to encourage anyone who has experienced or witnessed sexual violence on campus to come forward.

Western has not yet provided any details about the alleged incidents of sexual violence on its campus. Blackburn News has reached out to university officials and London police for comment, but had not yet received a response by publication time.

“None of this is okay and it can’t be swept underground or ignored,” said London Mayor Ed Holder on Monday afternoon. “I’ve spoken today with the police and with Western’s President Alan Shepard and I’ve made my feelings clear. This type of behavior will absolutely not be tolerated.”

“I cannot imagine what the individuals who have been impacted are going through.”

The university is said to have beefed up security for the time being with additional staff at residences and special constables on campus.

Western has a gender-based and sexual violence policy that holds anyone who commits such an offence accountable.

-At the time of publication of this story, Western University had not yet provided details regarding the alleged sexual assault incidents. Both Western and London police have since provided statements. An updated version of this story can be found here.