Dawson College theatre department commits to 'immediate action plan' after allegations of harassment

Dawson harrasment CTV

By Amy Luft, CTV Montreal

MONTREAL — The faculty in the professional theatre department at Dawson College said it is committed to drawing an action plan to make "concrete changes" following allegations a teacher in the department harassed and bullied more than two dozen former students.

In a message to the community posted to social media Wednesday morning, the faculty said it wanted to acknowledge the survivors who have "spoken out so courageously and shared their stories."

The allegations against longtime professor Winston Sutton include public humiliation, inappropriate comments about students’ weight and looks, sexual comments, and suggestions that the students undress for each other.

Some of the allegations go back as far as 10 years, and they have trickled out over the past three years.

Last week, Dawson College confirmed Sutton is no longer teaching this fall after the allegations surfaced. 

Sutton has not returned any of CTV’s calls or emails asking for comment.

"We are committed to drafting an immediate action plan to address these issues and work towards positive change," the notice from Dawson faculty read. "The plan will include consultation with the college, the community, and our former students about the ways that we can make concrete changes in how we deliver the training of our program."

The letter went on to say that it is only the beginning of its response and that the process would be ongoing for "months and years."

"We will seek guidance and support from the wider theatre community as we implement meaningful change through further policy and procedures so this can never happen to any student ever again."

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