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“It Takes All of Us” Revamped

McGill introduces new version of mandatory sexual violence prevention training in wake of OSVRSE’s closure

On January 30, McGill implemented a new version of “It Takes All of Us” (ITAOU), the university’s sexual violence prevention training program. All current students, staff, and faculty are required to complete the new online modules by April 28, 2023 – regardless of completion status of the previous version. The new program was designed by the Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support, and Education (OSVRSE) and Teaching and Learning Services (TLS), and utilizes a “learning approach with trauma-informed pedagogy, resulting in an improved, more survivor-centric learning experience,” according to a message from Co-Acting Provosts and Vice Principals Fabrice Labeau and Angela Campbell sent to the McGill community on January 30. 

History of It Takes All of Us

ITAOU was originally designed and implemented in 2019, prior to which McGill had no sexual violence prevention training. ITAOU was McGill’s first mandatory, online, and university-wide sexual violence education program, according to OSVRSE’s website. 

Much of the sexual violence prevention infrastructure on McGill’s campus today – including the OSVRSE – arose from the adoption of the “Policy Against Sexual Violence” in 2016. Prior to the adoption of the policy, there was no explicit policy against sexual violence, and cases were only handled in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct of the time. Jean Murray, a member of the working group for drafting the policy, told the Daily in 2016 of the policy’s two central aims: “One, make it so that folks who’ve experienced sexual assault don’t have to go to the police, and that doesn’t have to be their only recourse, and two, that there will be institutionalized safety measures in place so that folks can feel safe and comfortable in their community.” The policy was officially passed in November 2016. OSVRSE was founded in 2016 as well, under the Office of the Dean of Students, to help implement the policy.

Then, in 2017, Quebec adopted Bill 151 – “An Act to prevent and fight sexual violence in higher education institutions.” The bill stated that higher education institutions in the province “must, before 1 September 2019, adopt a policy to prevent and fight sexual violence,” and further stipulates that “mandatory training” be an element of the policy; McGill failed to meet this deadline. While the university had the “Policy Against Sexual Violence” in place, it had failed to comply with the updated standards of Bill 151 – specifically that of mandatory training and mandatory consultation with students in creation of the policy. Thus, in January 2019, the working group reconvened, and later in the year to address these groups, the policy was revised and re-approved. 

The original ITAOU was made available in September 2019 for students, and in January 2020 for staff and administrators – months past the deadlines set by Bill 151. The program was modeled off of Concordia’s similar program, “It Takes All of Us – Creating a Campus Community Free of Sexual Violence,” launched in the same month as McGill’s. The training, however, received backlash from students at Concordia. “I have always been very concerned with the idea that the training they’re offering is online,” a recent graduate of Concordia told the Link in 2019, “[studies have] showed empirically that in-person consent and sexual violence training was more effective than online training for this specific topic.” Another then-current student on the standing committee added: “[With] online trainings, you can’t really monitor who’s not paying attention or just clicking random boxes, or rolling their eyes and joking with their friends while they’re doing this […] People have begged [the university] to have in-person training and they just don’t particularly want to put the resources into it.” 

The introduction of ITAOU at McGill in 2019 was met with similar concerns and criticism. An editorial from the Daily on the new program in 2019 pointed out that all of the sections were skippable, allowing students to complete the program in mere minutes. “In order to be truly effective, McGill must follow up with tangible support it is not currently providing,” the editorial board wrote, “A 45-minute online program cannot, and will not, solve McGill’s sexual violence problem.” They ultimately concluded that “a revamped ‘It Takes All of Us’ could potentially serve as an introduction to the topic, but in-person follow-up sessions are necessary.” 

A revamped version of “It Takes All of Us”

Three years later, McGill has indeed introduced an updated version of ITAOU – the modules, however, are still online. According the McGill Reporter, ITAOU was intended to be updated at least every three years, as “sexual violence education is an ongoing, iterative process.”

Over the last year, representatives from TLS, OSVRSE, and the Office for Mediation and Reporting worked together on a “thorough overhaul” of the original content, considering both formal user feedback and “thoughts expressed on social media and other platforms,” per the media relations office. “The ITAOU refresh […] puts sharper focus on the intersectionality of sexual violence and gender, race and different abilities,” they explained in a written statement to the Daily, redesigned to be more survivor-centric. 

Whereas the previous version of ITAOU contained four modules that used “character-driven scenarios,” the new program is longer, featuring five modules on the subjects of 1) sexual violence, 2) sexual consent, 3) McGill’s Policy Against Sexual Violence, 4) bystander intervention, and 5) supporting survivors. The program also includes the “Take a Break” icon, which you can click on if you feel overwhelmed or distressed by the content of the program, and the program will subsequently guide you through a calming breathing exercise. Students, faculty, and staff will now all take the same modules – unlike in the previous version. 

All current members of the McGill community must complete the new program by April 28, 2023. Students who do not complete the program by this date will have a hold placed on their account, per the media relations office. As for staff and faculty, the Office did not specify a system of accountability for completion of the updated program, just that those hired after January 30 are required to complete the training within three months or before the end of their probation period. “The goal is for everyone who studies or works at McGill to have a shared understanding of what sexual violence is, the populations that it affects most, notions of consent and what resources and policies are available on campus that relate to these issues,” the office writes. 

Closure of OSVRSE

The new ITAOU has been introduced at a time when the university’s sexual violence prevention infrastructure has recently come under fire. OSVRSE temporarily closed early in the Fall 2022 semester. Documents obtained by the Daily indicate that a staff departure in July 2022 left the office staffed by one employee. This information was not disclosed to the greater McGill community until December 4. 

Yara Coussa, collective member of the Union for Gender Empowerment (UGE), founder of McGill Neurodivergent Self-Advocacy Collective, and Queer McGill coordinator, wrote to the Daily that she “found out the service was not functional by directing a student who needed support to it, which is devastating and unacceptable.”

As of January 3, OSVRSE has reopened, but at limited capacity. 

If you are a survivor of sexual violence, you can access support services apart from the OSVRSE through the Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Student’s Society or through SSMU’s Anti-Violence Coordinators, who can be reached at Other community resources include the Montreal Sexual Assault Support Centre, which is open 24/7.