As a UBC alumni and a survivor of sexual assault that took place on the UBC Vancouver campus in 2006, I feel that I can only express deep disappointment for how UBC has chosen to handle these matters. As an alumni, I do not feel that UBC is reflecting well on me, my values and the community at large. Furthermore, as a woman who survived a sexual assault in a UBC residence, I feel that I am in a position to say that UBC is not an institution that is able to support survivors of sexualized violence.
From the staff at the student health clinic to the residence assistants in the dorms, no one fully understands how to best support an individual who has been sexually assaulted. This is because of the inadequate training provided by UBC. The result is a system and environment that is even more difficult for survivors to try to navigate at a time when they most need support”.
UBC has an opportunity to step up and be a leader in the community, where they will be able to demonstrate their support for women and other marginalized groups on campus. They could do this through innovative trainings, awareness work and facilitating conversations to shift the campus culture. I sincerely hope that this moment does not pass unseized”
-UBC Alumni Woman & WAVAW Society Member
The University of British Columbia Vancouver campus is an increasingly an unsafe and unsupportive environment for women and the Aboriginal community. Today we are asking you to take action to ensure change happens on The University of British Columbia (UBC) campus.
Since school started on September 3rd, UBC has been at the centre of multiple controversies that suggest their disregard for gender equality, women’s rights and disinterest in addressing the culture of violence against women on campus.
You may recall that during the Sauder School of Business first year orientation, students were saying pro-rape and anti-Aboriginal chants. The poor judgement shown in these instances point to the deeply inadequate education on campus about these issues.
UBC is situated on Musqueam territory and to chant “white man, steal our land”, is an act that condones the violence that came with colonization. As Dr. Daniel Justice of the First Nations Studies Program points out, “In a time of institutional and community engagement with the idea and hope of reconciliation, this is an act of astonishingly poor judgment.”
More recently, there have been a string of sexual assaults on campus that have warranted the RCMP to release a statement warning the campus community about women’s personal safety. While these particular instances have been highly publicized, this is not an uncommon occurrence on campus. It is estimated that only 10% of sexual assaults are reported.
Despite these disturbing emerging trends on campus, UBC administration is not taking any proactive measures to change campus culture or develop supportive ways to help survivors of sexual assault.
“Imagine if the UBC leadership team finally started taking responsibility for the sexual assaults, for the rape and racist anti-Indigenous “chants”; imagine accountability.” says Irene Tsepnopoulos-Elhaimer, WAVAW’s Executive Director.
If ever there was a time for UBC to be an ally to women and support social change, now is that time.
Will you allow the UBC administration to be a barrier to creating a space where every woman feels safe and is free from the threat of violence?
Will you allow the UBC administration to continue their hands-off approach to creating an inclusive community that honours and respects Aboriginal culture?
A university campus should be a safe, inclusive environment that allows every person the opportunity to be themselves and learn, without fear of discrimination or violence.
Please join WAVAW is catalyzing the necessary change for all women who attend, live or work on the UBC Vancouver campus. Email President Stephen Toope and tell him that UBC is not doing enough to support women on campus.
Standing together in solidarity will show UBC that the Vancouver community will not tolerate their inaction and disrespectful responses to the situations on campus.
Show your support for women current going to school or working at UBC, and for future generations of women in the Lower Mainland. Send President Stephen Toope an email today to show your support for women.
– From all of us at WAVAW!