UBC’s Sauder School of Business, the department blamed for the September “rape chants” during frosh week, has put to vote whether to fund a position to provide counselling services to students.
An overwhelming decision was made earlier this month, with over 70 per cent voting no to funding during a referendum by commerce students.
The full-time sexual assault counsellor will be provided regardless of the vote, with the school of business contributing $200k.
The vote came just after media coverage of the university increased due to the attacks on women. With six assaults since April, UBC is doing everything they can to inform and offer support for all students.
The attacks occurred on September 28, October 13, and October 19. On Wednesday, October 30, UBC students rallied together in protest in a “Take Back the Night” (TBTN) event that has been around North America for over 40 years. UBC and Vancouver have held such events since 1978. TBTN brought together over 200 male and female students, while the Facebook event page boasted 950 to attend.
Beginning at 5pm, the group of both men and women gathered outside the Museum of Anthropology in the rain, holding placards and megaphones as they walked a designated route around campus. The goal was to show solidarity and to go against the current media’s approach to inform female students “not to walk alone” rather than addressing the problem.
“We’re here because we are drowning in a culture of rape—a culture that ignores rape, condones rape, and therefore normalizes rape,” said Kiera Smith with Vancouver Rape Relief, an organization that provides counselling and services to victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse.
CBC News reported that the string of attacks may be connected, as they all happened late at night or early in the morning and all six women were grabbed from behind. They suspect the perpetrator knows the university’s campus well and may be a former or current student.
The president of the university, Stephen Toope, held a press conference on October 29 regarding these events and said the police presence on the campus is at its highest and campus security is looking to enhance safety.
“I want to reassure all of our community that we will do all in our power to increase a sense of security on the campus,” said Toope.
UBC’s location near Point Grey in Vancouver has made it one of the safest in North America, with a forest separating the campus from the rest of Vancouver.
The campus is so large that the RCMP has yet to find the suspect. BC Mounties have released a sketch of the attacker they believe to be involved. The sketch is of a Caucasian male with short dark hair, a broad forehead, and a tan or olive skin tone. He is between 5’8” and 6’2”.
While there have been several persons of interest identified, there is no definitive suspect. The RCMP is hoping the broader community will view the sketch and contact RCMP tip lines: 778-290-5291 or 1-877-543-4822.