Algonquin College security services make sure students and staff are safe while on campus. Photo credit: Roberto Iraheta

The Algonquin College Security Services has been searching for someone to become the new investigator of sexual assault and sexual violence starting in January 2023.

Nov. 9 was the final day to apply for the investigator position.

The new hire will be required to review and investigate incidents occurring on college grounds relating to sexual assault and sexual violence. The person will participate in security investigations ranging from criminal incidents to delivery of specialized investigative expertise to security services and other college departments.

Until the position is filled, Michel Houle, a retired police officer and current coordinator of security investigations at Algonquin College, will be overseeing the work.

Houle, who was previously the sexual assault investigator, said while there are many candidates qualified for the position, being a sexual assault and sexual violence investigator on a college campus takes more than just qualifications.

“You know, there’s police officers applying to it,” said Houle. “It has to be someone with previous investigative experience, especially as it relates to sexual assault investigations because you have to basically address concerns here through our student conduct policy, but you’ve got to also keep in mind of what could potentially happen in criminal court down the road.”

Currently in Ontario, one in three women experience sexual assault, according to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.

While Algonquin College provides security services for students, the college also started an initiative in 2017 called Project Lighthouse to support survivors of sexual assault and sexual violence.

Project Lighthouse also aims to shed light on sexual violence and promote healthy sexual relationships.

According to the annual Sexual Assault/Sexual Violence Prevention Project, 23 students contacted Project Lighthouse seeking counselling services or services and accommodations due to sexual violence, sexual exploitation and stalking in 2018-19.

The pandemic brought those numbers down with the majority of students unable to attend campus. However, this year those numbers have returned to pre-pandemic levels with 20 visits at the time of this story’s publication.