TORONTO — A student who reached a human rights settlement with a Toronto university after an alleged sexual assault by a fellow student says the school breached the terms of their deal.
Mandi Gray says the settlement saw York University agree to engage the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic to provide sexual assault counselling services for four years.
But Gray contends the school terminated the partnership after less than a year, calling the move a violation of the previously undisclosed settlement.
York University says it is not at liberty to discuss the terms of the settlement, but concedes a one-year partnership contract with the clinic expired earlier this year.
The school says it still lists the clinic among its external resources for sexual assault survivors and says it’s confident it is still in compliance with the 2016 settlement.
Gray, who took York to Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal alleging that it did not have adequate protocols in place to address sexual assaults, says she feels the school took advantage of her complaints in an effort to refurbish its image as a supportive institution for survivors.
“They used my idea (to engage the clinic) to publicly demonstrate their own benevolence and commitment to sexual violence response on campus then quietly cancelled the contract,” Gray said in a statement. “This is an absolute reflection of what reporting sexual assault at York continues to be like. Blatant lies and false promises.”
Gray emerged as a vocal advocate after she accused a fellow student with whom she had a casual relationship of sexual assault.
Mustafa Ururyar was convicted on the charge in 2016, but appealed by arguing the judge who oversaw his trial was biased against him.
The conviction was quashed last July, with appeal judge Michael Dambrot saying the convicting judge relied too heavily on “rape literature.” Ururyar was not given a retrial, but instead asked to sign a peace bond barring him from contact with Gray for a year.
The human rights tribunal complaint against York, which stemmed from the same alleged incident, was settled in 2016 with both parties agreeing not to discuss its terms.
In documents filed with the tribunal outlining the alleged settlement breach, however, Gray cites what she said was one of the terms of the original deal.
She said York agreed to “create a partnership with one or more sexual assault centres, one of which will be the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic … to provide counselling services from a registered practitioner with expertise in gender-based violence.”
The settlement stipulated the partnership would go into effect within six months of the date it was signed and would not be subject to change for four years, Gray alleged.
Gray’s application states that York quietly launched the partnership with the Schlifer Clinic eight months after the settlement was reached, two months later than the deadline laid out in the deal.
She said the school’s partnership with the clinic was set out in two short-term contracts lasting six months and five months respectively, further alleging that York did little to publicize the clinic’s services.
Clinic executive director Amanda Dale confirmed that the school signed two short-term contracts, adding there was a gap in counselling service delivery between the two contract terms due to “uncertainty” as to whether the arrangement would continue.
Dale said she was informed that York would not be proceeding with the partnership and would be hiring sexual assault counsellors of its own, but was not explicitly given a reason for the end of the partnership.
“York did not enter into the Minutes of Settlement in good faith and did not intend to, nor did it, fulfil the terms of the Minutes of Settlement by meaningfully committing to a partnership with the clinic,” Gray alleged in the tribunal application.
York spokeswoman Barbara Joy said the university would respond to Gray’s allegations through the tribunal process rather than in public.
“We are very confident the university is in full compliance with the terms of settlement reached in 2016,” Joy said in a statement.
York said it’s arrangement with the Schlifer Clinic lasted one year, adding it continues to list the facility among its external partners.
Joy said the school currently has a counsellor on staff with a background in supporting survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, adding there are plans to hire a second.
Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press