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Two Nova Scotian Universities pledge to “Can’t Buy My Silence” campaign

By Caitlin Snow Dec 7, 2023 | 1:47 PM

Two Nova Scotian Universities are leading the way in the “Can’t Buy My Silence” campaign.

University of King’s College and Acadia University have pledged to never use a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in a case involving sexual harassment, discrimination and other forms of misconduct or bullying, so that victims are not silenced.

In a statement King’s says the use of NDA’s used in this way could cause the following implications:

• allowing a problem to perpetuate as those who have behaved abusively or even criminally may remain in their role or move to other organizations with impunity;
• the protection of employers’ reputations and of perpetrators’, but not victims’;
• preventing victims from reporting, speaking to family and friends about their own experiences, or warning others;
• compelling victims to lie or risk being sued for defamation;
• creating a so-called “chilling effect” that discourages those wishing to speak up about abuse in the workplace from doing so.

Kings says this pledge is in addition to other actions it’s taken in response to an independent review of former late professor Dr. Wayne Hankey, who was accused of sexual assault.

The ‘Can’t Buy My Silence’ campaign is pursuing legislative and regulatory change for NDA’s to only be used for what they were originally intended for: confidential business information and trade secrets.

Meanwhile, Acadia University is following suit.

“This is an important pledge we’re proud to sign”, says Dr. Jeff Hennessy, Acadia’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “The misuse of NDAs can lead to significant harm. It’s important that victims not only recognize the support readily available but also feel empowered to openly share their experiences”.

The campaign was founded and is led by British activist and former employee of Harvey Weinstein, Zelda Perkins, together with Professor Julie Macfarlane, a Canadian law professor and member of the Order of Canada.

Learn more at cantbuymysilence.com