The university was thrown into the controversy after a B.C. judge on January 4 sentenced the man to 90 days in jail for a single count of sexual interference involving a 13-year-old girl, but also ruled he can serve the remainder of it starting May 4, after finishing his semester at the U of C. He then solicited nude photos from her, which he threatened to release to her family if she told anyone about their previous encounters. The University did advise him not to return to school. This is important because our policies do not apply to activity that occurred before the person was a member of our campus community.
"There were a number of safety concerns that we took into account in our decision", she said Friday."We know that victims of sexual violence ... may have been triggered by this incident and we were also anxious about his safety, given some of the commentary on social media".
The U of C's vow to keep Neurauter off campus for now and to seek wider policies on sex abuse and universities is encouraging, said Kaitlyn Casswell, the person behind the petition. Their excuse is that they have "no grounds" to expel the student - who is, if they missed it, a child sexual abuser.
"What that policy does say, is that if the university becomes aware that a student has committed a sexual offence, they can be expelled", said Casswell.
The University of Calgary says it is not expelling Connor Neurauter, but has advised him to stay away from its campus for the remainder of the term.
The university said in a statement this week that it is "reviewing the situation", but did not respond to questions from BuzzFeed Canada about what, if any, consequences Neurauter could face.
However, the statement goes on to state that Neurauter isn't now on campus.
As for the University's sexual violence policy, Marshall says that it is still relatively new.
"It discourages victims from coming forward as perpetrators are accommodated and their actions are excused for the sake of not impeding their 'potential'".
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The fourth grader also added a note to the assignment, which read, "I am proud to be black because we are strong and fearless ". Many who saw the post reached out to Our Redeemer Lutheran School to share their concerns and voice their anger.
Neurauter is a sophomore at the University of Calgary, studying chemistry. I was hoping for more. "He should just go to jail".
He said he's not surprised the latest case is drawing so much outrage at a time when accusations of sexual assault and harassment have been toppling the careers of some of the most powerful men in Hollywood, the press and politics.
"We've seen a mixed response from students, it's a complex and serious issue", she said.
In interviews with Postmedia and CBC News, the victim's mother said Neurauter was given special treatment by the courts throughout the trial and that it's unfair he has the opportunity to finish his semester before going to jail.
"He's very upset. He's trying to deal with it and work through it".
She adds that he made some "very, very poor choices" when he was younger and is undergoing counselling to get his life back on track.
She said there's nothing unusual about a court allowing an intermittent sentence and her son was not treated differently.
"We can't be swayed necessarily by public opinion", said Marshall.