WATCH: Campaign brewing to tackle the way sexual assaults are reported at UBC
As UBC gets ready for the start of another school year, the student society has launched a coffee cup campaign aimed at the way the university has handled sexual assault reports in the past.
UBC’s Alma Mater Society is brewing up the campaign to point out flaws in how sexual assaults are reported on campus: every cup of coffee at UBC now comes with a sobering message about women’s safety on campus.
The statistics, printed on coffee sleeves, show that over the course of a decade from 2004 to 2014, 257 students were suspended for plagiarism, but none for sexual assault.
“It’s kind of frightening actually,” one female student told Global News after looking at the message on the cup. “To hear it’s happening on your own campus is disheartening.”
Over the past two years, 350 students sought help from UBC’s sex assault support centre.
Fed up with how the university handled their concerns about the behaviour of a fellow student, several former and current history graduate students held a news conference in November to allege UBC had dragged its heels on complaints against the man. One student even said she planned to go the province’s human rights tribunal over what she calls the school’s broken and dysfunctional system for reporting and processing alleged cases of sexual assault and harassment.
Previously, the school relied on the general discrimination and harassment policy and a non-academic misconduct process within the student code of conduct to address sexual assault.
The incident prompted an apology from interim president Martha Piper and a promise to develop a standalone sexual assault policy.
“Survivors don’t feel supported through the process,” says AMS VP External Kathleen Simpson. “There are a lot of problems with how the non-academic misconduct reporting takes place.”
READ MORE: UBC faculty hold sexual assault conference
Nobody from the university was available for an interview, but officials are creating a new sexual assault policy they say will make the reporting process more straightforward for survivors.
The AMS is asking students to give their feedback, in the hopes that speaking out will make campus safer.
With files from Tanya Beja and the Canadian Press
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