UBC has taken the initial steps in solving their ongoing controversy regarding sexual assault claims on campus by hiring an investigator to review the university’s response to these serious allegations.
The controversy hit a fever pitch last month when an investigation by the CBC’s Fifth Estate revealed that school officials took over a year to discipline a graduate student who had mounting claims of sexual assault and harassment made against him.
Paula Butler, a labour and employment lawyer, has now been hired by the university to independently review the school’s response to these allegations.
Butler will publish her report in February and a summary will be made available to the public.
Sara-Jane Finlay, the Associate Vice-President of UBC’s Equity and Inclusion department, adds that more initiatives to improve the university’s response to sexual assault cases will be announced in January. The university does not have a current sexual assault or gender sensitivity policy. In fact, out of Canada’s 78 universities, only nine have sexual assault policies in place.
Butler’s firm, Butler Workplace Solutions, says they specialize in acting to “resolve disputes in a confidential manner, even in the most hostile work environments”.
This is the end of a rocky centennial year for B.C.’s largest post secondary institution, in which controversies have been one after the other, including the mysterious resignation of former President Arvind Gupta, academic freedom infringements, the resignation of the Chair of the Board, an ominous earthquake-proof building scoresheet, the suspension of author and chair of the Creative Writing department Steven Galloway after “serious allegations”, student protests against international tuition increases, and an ongoing issue with sexual assault.