The University of British Columbia announced today comprehensive measures to address a chant endorsing rape and sexual violence during Commerce Undergraduate Society FROSH events for first-year students of the Sauder School of Business, held the week of September 3rd 2013.
The University’s decision is based on the report of its fact-finding panel, indicating there is no evidence C.U.S. leaders planned and directed others to use the rape chant. However, the report concluded that this and other offensive chants were a C.U.S. oral tradition, no C.U.S. leader intervened to stop anyone from using offensive chants, and the vast majority of first-year students attending the C.U.S. FROSH events would have been exposed to the rape chant. The report also concludes that some C.U.S. FROSH activities were inappropriately sexualized.
“After serious consideration, we believe it is essential that the C.U.S. and all FROSH leaders make tangible amends,” said UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope. “At the same time, the whole UBC community needs to embark upon deeper, transformative and lasting change that would make such chants entirely and obviously unacceptable in our community.”
Measures announced by Prof. Toope, Vice President, Students Louise Cowin and Sauder School of Business Dean Robert Helsley address three broad areas: holding accountable the student leaders who were involved in this year’s C.U.S. FROSH events, supporting robust education and change efforts at the Sauder School of Business and across the entire University, and restoring the community’s trust.
Specifically, a voluntary contribution of $250,000 over three years from the C.U.S. with additional resources from the University will fund a professional position to provide student counseling and education on sexual abuse and violence. The president has also appointed Cowin to lead a task force to design broader measures to address deeper systemic and organizational issues.
“We all need to be involved – those who made serious mistakes and misjudgments, and those who didn’t,” said Prof. Toope. “UBC is seizing this moment to strike at the violence, sexualization and discrimination that still lurks below the surface in pockets of our society.”
“UBC is committed to addressing these issues head on. While we deeply regret this happened, I embrace the opportunity this provides to work with faculty experts and community groups to bring about long-term change,” said Louise Cowin.
“I am deeply concerned by the events of the past weeks. The reported events are completely inconsistent with the values of the Sauder School of Business and UBC,” said Robert Helsley. “I am committed to taking steps to ensure this will not happen again and that all students will feel safe and welcome when they begin their studies.”
Enhancing responsibility and accountability
Restoring community trust
Education and culture change
Source: UBC / Featured Image: Imgur