I am deeply distressed by the recent news report detailing an RCMP investigation into alleged voyeurism incidents on the UBCO campus. The safety and security of our students is my utmost concern and the RCMP is an essential partner in ensuring that our campus community is protected. I have requested a meeting with RCMP to discuss this.
While we work closely with the RCMP on a variety of matters, we cannot comment on the administrative processes of any external entity. Nor can we share information about any particular complaint so as to protect the privacy of our students, faculty and staff.
But I do want to highlight important campus resources like the Sexual Violence and Prevention (SVPRO) office, which is a confidential place for those who have been impacted by sexual or gender-based violence, harassment or harm. This office provides resources and supports and builds on the UBC Sexual Misconduct and Sexualized Violence Policy, Policy SC17.
The SVPRO recognizes that all harm and oppressions are connected and provide support from an anti-oppressive, intersectional and survivor-centred practice. It is there for those in the UBC community who have experienced or been impacted by sexualized violence, no matter where or when it took place.
The SVPRO assists, accompanies and supports those who decide to make a report to police or the university. It acts as a single point of contact for survivors so they don’t need to share their story over and over again to get their needs met. It also delivers workshops and awareness events to prevent sexualized violence, disrupt victim–blaming myths and dismantle rape culture in an effort to create a safer campus and community.
Campus Security is also one of the tenets of providing a safe campus and we are grateful for the work our security personnel do every day. Campus Security supports the university community through incident reporting, first aid, building access and Safewalk Services. There is also the UBC Safe App, which provides the user with immediate access to Emergency Services, First Aid and Safewalk, as well as information on emergency procedures, support resources and other vital links. The app is free and is available through mobile App Stores.
Campus Security works closely with the Investigations Office (IO), which has a diligent and thoughtful team in place to support students, faculty and staff. The IO is impartial, neutral and conducts investigations using a trauma-informed approach. In some cases, an allegation may be investigated by both the IO and an external entity such as the police. In instances where the alleged conduct is of a criminal nature, the criminal (police/RCMP) process should continue unencumbered, given the higher legal standard of proof required by a criminal investigation process. When a criminal process is concluded, the UBC IO may resume its investigation, as appropriate in the circumstances.
Students, faculty and staff are equally protected by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), which governs what, if anything, UBC is permitted to publicly say. Our commitment to privacy is designed to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and with impartiality. This is true not only for those facing accusations, but also, just as importantly, for those making complaints or raising issues. We run the very real risk of discouraging them from coming forward if they believe their story will be on display in public. You can read more about the rules around protection of privacy for students, faculty and staff in a recent blog post.
The safety and privacy of our students are paramount and we are confident that those on both campuses have access to the resources they need, when they need them.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal