"It just got increasingly vulgar": Graphic email sent to VP of UBC student society

Jan 13 2022, 8:53 pm

Editor’s note: This article contains graphic language.

On January 12, UBC announced that they would delay the return to in-person classes until February 7.

UBC Alma Mater Society (AMS) President Cole Evans tweeted his support for the move, suggesting that UBC took their recommendations into consideration.

The vice president of Academic and University Affairs at the UBC AMS, Eshana Bhangu, also tweeted about the situation and then she shared the contents of an email she received.

Bhangu tweeted a screenshot of the email from someone claiming to be a UBC student.

In the email, the supposed student claimed that Bhangu forced UBC to make vaccines, masks, rapid testing, and online exams mandatory, as if it were her decision alone.

Daily Hive asked Bhangu about the email.

“Oh my god, it’s another one,” she said when asked about her reaction.

“As I made my way down the email, it just got increasingly vulgar and made me a bit uncomfortable, as the criticism was full of outright misogyny, sexism, and insinuations that the men (whose names I have blurred) would never listen to me unless I was performing sexual favours for them.”

Bhangu said this wasn’t the first time something like this has happened.

“I’m sure there are others who are on the receiving end of far worse than I have been. During all our advocacy for required vaccines, masks, testing in the summer, during our advocacy for safe conditions for exams, and now when UBC has made a safety decision to extend until February 7th, I have received profane emails.”

She added that this was one of the more explicit ones. When asked if she would pursue any action to hold the person behind the email accountable, she said no.

“I just think it’s unfortunate that the pandemic is making people like this individual feel so stressed that they have no other way or outlet to voice their concerns. I don’t wish to pursue this when that person is clearly going through a great deal of stress and is expressing themselves in this way.”

Part of the reason the AMS recommended the delay was due to immunocompromised students being at increased risk with the Omicron variant.

“I keep hearing, ‘It’s time to live with the virus,'” said Bhangu. “We need to ensure decisions are being made to ensure the most vulnerable people who have been consistently overlooked during the pandemic are at the forefront.”

She hopes that people who have concerns reach out in a more respectful way. Bhangu did receive a lot of support from the community on social media after she shared the contents of the email.

“It was very kind of people to offer support, many members of the University personally reached out to me as well, and I think it serves as a reminder to anyone who’s on the receiving end of these emails that anonymous emails with no constructive criticism shouldn’t be taken to heart.”

She ended by saying, “What’s most important is to continue focusing on your duty, which for me is to fight for students.”

Amir AliAmir Ali

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