Brock University issued the following statement today:
On Dec. 14, Brock University received an arbitration decision from arbitrator Kevin Burkett requiring that Professor David Schimmelpenninck be permitted to return to the classroom, pursuant to the University’s collective agreement with its Faculty Association. As a result, he is scheduled to teach a non-compulsory second-year course in the Winter Term, starting in January 2019.
Professor Schimmelpenninck has been absent from the classroom since March 2016, as a result of discipline following an investigation into sexual harassment, as well as for related health issues and accrued academic leave. Upon his return to campus in the summer of 2018, he was not scheduled to teach in the Fall Term of 2018. However, the decision of arbitrator Burkett has since required his course be scheduled.
The University has put in place a set of conditions associated with Professor Schimmelpenninck’s return to the classroom. He agreed to these conditions and has undertaken steps to meet them, including completing coaching for respectful workplace practices.
Brock University appreciates that the 2016 incident was a difficult chapter for the University community. In the past three years, Brock has taken significant steps to develop its policies, procedures and resources to more effectively address human rights issues and to better address the well-being of everyone on campus.
A Human Rights Task Force of students, faculty, staff and members of the public spent a year reviewing all policies and procedures that deal with sexual harassment, sexual violence and unprofessional behaviour. Its recommendations were used to update policies, create new response structures and institute clear and transparent processes to deal with serious matters.
The University has taken a number of steps to protect members of its community, including:
- Implementing a new Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy.
- Creating the new staff position of Sexual Violence Response and Education Coordinator.
- Providing further and ongoing training to the Brock community on how to respond appropriately to a disclosure of sexual violence.
- Establishing the Human Rights and Equity Office as an independent entity that reports directly to the President.
- Adopting an updated policy governing the use and serving of alcohol on campus.
Brock continues to take steps to review its practices, and to ensure a safe environment and extensive awareness of sexual assault and harassment policies. The University continuously exercises improvements and best practices to address concerns related to sexual assault and harassment, and to ensure a safe environment for the Brock community.